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Unsolved Mysteries - Miracless


TITLE: UNSOLVED MYSTERIES - MIRACLES


Info:

UFOs:
DVD Release Date: October 26, 2004 (First Look Home Entertainment)
Color/approx. 361 min. plus approx. 172 mins. bonus features
MSRP: $49.98
Number of discs: 4
Number of episodes: 33 segments
Languages and Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
Special Features: Introduction by John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer, 8 segment commentaries by the series producers/creators/directors, A Special Tribute to Robert Stack

Review (out of 5 stars) for both sets:

Video Quality: 4.8/5
Audio Quality: 4.7/5
Special Features: 4.5
Menu Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.6/5

Thoughts:

Unsolved Mysteries is available on dvd for the first time ever. The unassuming documentary series was one of the most popular reality programs of the late 1980s and the inspiration for dozens of network and syndicated imitators. The show began as a series of specials on NBC. Raymond Burr hosted the first special on January 20, 1987 and it was so successful that six more were produced during 1987 and early 1988. The first two were hosted by Karl Malden and the rest by Robert Stack. In 15 years on the air, over 250 hour episodes were produced with over 1,200 individual segments. NBC was home to the series from 1987-1997 and then it moved to CBS for 2 shortened seasons in 1998 and 1999 and finally it moved to Lifetime, where it had been shown in reruns for years, where they did new segments intermixed with the old segments in 2001 and 2002. The show has won 6 Emmys and has solved nearly 300 cases to date. It has also been responsible for 93 reunions and approximately 40% of the fugitives profiled on the series since its premiere have been apprehended.

A total of 6 sets have been planned. This review covers the 3rd set, Miracles, which was released on October 26, 2004. The first 2 releases were UFOs and Ghosts which were released on September 7, 2004. The next 3 releases, 4-6, which will include Psychics, Bizarre Murders, and Legends will be available in the first quarter of 2005. I know some fans may have preferred that they release the episodes by season, but I believe having them on sets by category was the best idea. In a regular episode, you may have only been interested in 2-3 of the 4 segments they presented per show. If you are a fan of the uplifting miracles stories then this set would be perfect to pick up.

Explore the paranormal with host Robert Stack in this collection of the best of Unsolved Mysteries--Miracles. Sacred locations, profound visions, Earth-bound angels and miraculous hearling powers! Unsolved Mysteries Miracles reveals the heavenly interventions that millions of believers have experienced around the world. From Christmas prayers that are answered to the unexplainable healing touch of alternative medicines and visitations by the Virgin Mary, observe the power of faith when science fails to answer what clergy and prophecy miraculously solve..

Miracles contains 33 segments including: Lucky School, Miracle of Lourdes, Fertility Statues, Shroud of Turin, Ice Woman, Lucky Choir, Coma Healer, Angels, Miracle of Fatima, Baby's Breath, Healing From The Grave, Powers of Prayer, Candy and Roxy, Trish's Miracle, Father Solanus Casey, Christmas Miracle, Medjugorje Miracles, Police Woman Savior, Healing Touch, Miracle Staircase, Miracle Child, Kentucky Visions, Life Saving Pets, Miracle Buffalo, Coma Recovery, Image of Guadalupe, Car Crash Lazarus, M.S. Miracle, Padre Pio, Christmas Miracle Baby, Miracle Cross, Signs From Heaven, and Money From Heaven. For descriptions of the episodes and their time lengths, click here.

Like the first 2 releases, this set has very slick, professional looking packaging. It has an overall gold theme with a hologram/metallic type effect on the cover. There are 4 slimcases that contain the individual discs. The slimcases are held in a half slip cover which have the Unsolved Mysteries logo on them with a summary of the set. The front of the dvd cases have a silhouetted hand and the back covers have various photos of Robert Stack and from the individual segments as well as a listing of the segments with nice, detailed descriptions. It would have been even better if they had included the original broadcast dates for the segments just for reference. The inside of the slimcases have the titles they gave the segments as well as listing the executive producers and supervising producers. Each disc has the Unsolved Mysteries logo with the same image of the silhouetted hand on the front. Disc 1 has 8 segments, disc 2 has 8, disc 3 has 9, and disc 4 has 8.

The main menus are very attractive with motion menus. They have the opening theme that they used on the new shows on Lifetime in 2001 with video from the segments that are on the disc playing in the background. There are Play All, Episodes, Commentaries, and Special Features options on each disc. When you select Episodes, there is a submenu that shows videoclips from the individual segments. Your selection is highlighted with a red border. The menus have a gold theme.

The video and audio quality of the segments is excellent. It looks like they have been remastered for this dvd set. They show one of the Lifetime's openings from 2001 when you play the first segment on each disc, but the rest of the segments only have a short music cue and they show the title of the segment at the beginning. The video is presented in full frame - 1.33:1. The early seasons were shot on film and some of them look a bit grainy, but overall they are great quality. In later seasons, they switched to videotape and the segments still looked good but I don't think it was as effective as when they were done on film. The audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is very loud and clear. Robert Stack's deep, gravely voice has never sounded better and you can really hear the sound effects they used in the episodes. If you want a good scare, try watching these episodes late at night while you are home alone and with the lights out!

There is a good amount of extras available on this set. There is an introduction by series creators and executive producers John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer that is on each disc. It is a segment that runs 4 minutes, 42 seconds. Terry Meurer mentions that Miracles were one of her favorite categories. They discuss the various kinds of miracle segments - religious miracles, animals, quirky miracles, and dramatic segments. They would receive quite a bit of mail from viewers asking for more information and contact information for stories such as the bee sting healing. The miracles stories were always uplifting.

There are 8 audio commentaries on this set. Director David Vassar comments on the Ice Woman segment. He says the segment was shot in very cold conditions in December on location and they typically had a crew of 6 and hired local actors and would do a segment in 3-4 days. He talks for about 7 1/2 minutes of the segment. John Cosgrove and Director Keva Rosenfeld comment on the Lucky Choir segment. They talk for the whole segment and give some good behind the scenes information and how they recreated the church being blown up. Director Bob Wise does the commentary for the Miracle of Fatima segment. This was the most interesting and detailed commentary on the set. He had been to Fatima before and his wife is Portuguese so he was very familiar with the story and gives lots of fascinating details on the production of the segment which runs nearly 18 minutes. John Cosgrove comments on the Healing From The Grave segment. He talks briefly about the actual segment, but the bulk of his commentary is about how he came up with the idea of Unsolved Mysteries which was quite interesting. The Miracle Staircase commentary is also done by John Cosgrove. He gives a little update on the case, so I'll let you watch the dvd for that surprise. Director David Vassar comments on the Life Saving Pets segment. Mr. Vassar's commentaries are usually pretty short and to the point, but he still offers some good information. The M.S. Miracle segment has commentary by David Vassar once again. He gives some information on the staff of Unsolved Mysteries which usually included 8 directors, 6 editors, 6 writers, and 4 primary directors of photography. He mentions that they tried to give the segments an universal look. Finally, Stuart Schwartz comments on the Miracle Cross segment. He was a supervising producer. He gives some interesting information on how they would come up with story ideas by calling relatives, librarians, and sometimes just randomly call people. His commentary was pretty interesting, but it only runs for about 7 minutes out of 14 minutes. I would have liked to hear more from him.

There is a very moving 15 minute tribute to Robert Stack feature that is available on each disc of the set. This is the same tribute which was contained on the first 2 dvd sets. Robert Stack died in May 2003 of a heart attack after battling cancer and beating it after a year. There are many great photos of Mr. Stack and his wife Rosemarie shown while some beautiful musical score is played in the background. John Cosgrove narrates the feature and gives the words he gave at the eulogy and talks about his life. He talks about how Robert appeared in over 40 films, went on to play Eliot Ness on The Untouchables, and finally on his hosting and being the star of Unsolved Mysteries. A great tribute to a great man. God bless Bob Stack.

Overall, this was another great set. First Look Home Entertainment has done an excellent job with these first 3 sets. It's first class all the way from the dvd cover art and packaging to the menus and the actual segments and bonus features. The miracles stories are really uplifting especially around the holidays. For a future release, I hope they include a feature on the musical score done by Gary Remal Malkin which I really think added a lot to the show. I'd also like to see some of the original intro theme credits in future releases. Pick up these dvds, and you may be able to help solve a mystery!

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 12/14/04

To order the Miracles DVD click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002DRE0Y/ref=nosim/happydaysonline


For more information on Unsolved Mysteries and to discuss the show with other fans, visit our site Unsolved Mysteries Online.


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