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Jeopardy! - An Inside Look at America's Favorite Game Show



Release Date: November 8, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color/1984, 2004-05
MSRP: $19.98
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 5
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 67 Minutes
Languages: English; No Subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features:
*21 Years of Answers and Questions
*Jeopardy!: Behind the Answers
*What does it Take to Get a Clue?
*Parts of a Jeopardy! Episode viewable through multiple camera angles


Catch some of your favorite episodes of America’s favorite quiz show PLUS go behind the scenes and see what really makes “Jeopardy!” the top quiz show ever! Have your questions and many more answered directly from the writers, researchers, producers, the Clue Crew, and even Alex Trebek himself. Never before has “Jeopardy!” been seen this way.

The Episodes:

Included in the release are five episodes. This set’s really more of a “best of last season” set that they happened to include the first episode on, as four of five are from the 04-05 season. The episodes ARE in airdate order. The episodes are listed below in the order they appear on the disc, with a brief episode summary and original airdate included. There are no guest stars in any episodes.

#1: Episode #1: September 17, 1984 -­ Season One
Contestants: Greg Hopkins vs. Lois Feinstein vs. Frank Selibas
First Episode of Jeopardy

#2: Episode #4657: November 30, 2004 -­ Season Twenty-One
Contestants: Ken Jennings vs. Nancy Zerg vs. David Hankins
Ken Jennings 75th and Final Episode

#3: Episode #4783, May 23, 2005 -­ Season Twenty-One
Ultimate Tournament of Champions Finals -­ Day 1
Contestants: Jerome Vered vs. Brad Rutter vs. Ken Jennings

#4: Episode #4784, May 24, 2005 - Season Twenty-One
Ultimate Tournament of Champions Finals ­- Day 2
Contestants: Jerome Vered vs. Brad Rutter vs. Ken Jennings

#5: Episode #4785, May 25, 2005 -­ Season Twenty-One
Ultimate Tournament of Champions Finals ­ Day 3 [FINAL DAY]
Contestants: Jerome Vered vs. Brad Rutter vs. Ken Jennings

Episode information courtesy of the J! Archive


Packaging is a single black keep case ­ appropriate for a single-disc set like this is. Front cover has Alex Trebek leaning on a chair with his name on it, in front of the “Jeopardy!” set (random thing: the Jeopardy logo on the screen behind Alex would indicate that the particular picture of the set was taken in 2002 to 2003.) Reverse cover is solid blue, with a little bar of five pictures spanning part of the back cover near the top. Disc art features the same shot of Alex, closer-up, in front of the rest of the disc art. The bottom lower third of the disc is a panoramic shot of the “Jeopardy!” set taken during a game, while the rest of the disc…is blue. Considering this is only a one disc set, a disc breakdown really isn’t necessary.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus on this set are actually impressive. Sony actually went to some degree of effort for the menus of a single-disc release of a game show -­ it’s one of the better menus on a Sony set, though that doesn’t necessarily say much. The show starts out with the “This….is…Jeopardy!” intro animation from last season, complete with Johnny Gilbert voiceover. The main theme then cues up, and you go to the main menu ­ the big board. The menu options are “categories”, with the Jeopardy logo taking up the question…err…answer part of the board. The categories are: Play All Episodes, Episode Selections, Extras, Previews, DVD-ROM, and Potpourri. Picking any of the “categories” causes the board to load up, as it does in the show, complete with board loading sound effect.

Each selectable option takes the place of a different dollar amount ­ as does a screenshot of the episode on the episode selection menu. Normal Jeopardy round dollar values fills the rest of the spaces. All sub-menus follow the Big Board design…the DVD-ROM and Potpourri screens actually use the “screen” format of a Jeopardy clue, complete with accompanying font.

Video and Audio Quality:

Ever want to compare something shot in 1984 with something shot in 2005? Well, here’s your chance. The video on the 1984 episode looks grainier. The video on the 1984 show also looked way, WAY, overly edge-corrected. The video on the 2005 episodes, on the other hand, looks great. There’s a minor edge correction artifacts here and there, but otherwise looks fine. The audio on the 1984 show also sounds extremely low compared to the rest of the episodes, while the audio on the 2005 episode sounds fuller and richer than anything I’ve ever heard watching Jeopardy in syndication.

Edit Time: The Fee Plugs -­ the usual “promotional consideration provided by” plugs you hear near the end of each show­ have been replaced by a spot for the Jeopardy DVD­ and then it’s back to the show. This occurs on the 1984 AND 2005 shows. Interestingly enough, though, the mid-show plugs for 2nd and 3rd place’s prizes, on the 1984 show, are left in. Chapter stops occur at fade-to-blacks.

Special Features:

All four features feature an introduction by Alex Trebek, for what it’s worth.

Multi-Camera Episode (6:43): The description for this episode is wildly deceptive. It’s not an entire episode viewable from multiple camera angles -­ it’s only roughly a third of an episode -­ the Jeopardy category introductions and first few questions, daily double, other question answers, Final Jeopardy. The one truly unique thing is that when the first camera goes to a still that says “Commercial Break”, the other 4 keep going, showing you part what goes on during a commercial break before Final Jeopardy. The five angles are the TV Broadcast, directly above Alex’ podium, behind the contestants, and two cameras from the control room.

21 Years of Answers and Questions (21:05): Interviews with a few contestants, Merv Griffin, Alex Trebek, Johnny Gilbert, etc. about the show. Alex Trebek’s planned salary for the show was rather low, so he wound up signing on as producer to bump up his paycheck…he wound up producing the first three years. Also talks about how, originally, the clue database was printed out on old IBM printer paper, and they had to manually flip through for clues. This is essentially a quickened version of Jeopardy history to-date, with interesting anecdotes throughout.

What Does it Take to Get a Clue? (19:56): Similar to the above, but focusing on the contestants, Ken Jennings, Frank Spangenberg, Eddie Timanus, plus more interview material with Alex Trebek, Harry Friedman, etc. The anatomy of a good Jeopardy contestant, Ken Jennings, the Brain Bus, and so on--also includes tips on being a good contestant.

Jeopardy! Behind the Answers 22:00: This feature’s the third counterpart to the previous to, this one about the behind the scenes efforts on the show. The cast and crew, writing, anatomy of a clue, etc. are discussed. Also mentioned is something you never see on camera, Alex’ interaction with the audience.

Potpourri (No Time): This is just a still screen that comes up when the option is selected featuring various facts and figures about the show.

Total Runtime of Special Features: 67 Minutes.

Final Comments:

This is an amazingly well-done set, lack of episodes (5 in a series that’s made almost 5000?) aside. What’s here is really, really, really good. It was a genuine treat getting to see the first episode again ­ particularly given Game Show Network’s lack of desire to run the older episodes.

I’d like to be able to state what I’d like to see in future releases, but given the nature of the set, that’s hardly a given. Sony, you have a vast, vast, game show library at your disposal (Jeopardy, Wheel, Pyramid, etc) ­ PLEASE ­ use it. The only CURRENT manufacturing method, currently, that would allow for game shows ­ or talk shows, or any other show that airs in a “daily” format ­ to be placed onto a purchasable medium is the dual-layer double-sided method. The upcoming BluRay and HD-DVD formats have storage capacities as such they could also support releases. The fan bases of these shows,­ particularly Wheel and Jeopardy,­ could probably justify some production once the cost­ even in mass bulk­ of double-duals comes down. I just hope Sony will consider it.

I urge the millions of fans of this show,­ three of whom are probably actually reading this,­ to go out and purchase this set, particularly if you’d like to see more releases of the show in the future. And even if you’re not a fan of the show, but are a fan of any show that produces such high numbers of episodes (talk shows come to mind) as Jeopardy does, you should pick this set up, in order to make sales volume high enough that season sets of “daily” series become justifiable options.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

--Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 10/22/05

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