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Unsolved Mysteries - UFOs Unsolved Mysteries - Ghosts




DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004 (First Look Home Entertainment)
Color/approx. 360 min. plus approx. 258 mins. bonus features
MSRP: $49.98
Number of discs: 4
Number of episodes: 26 segments
Languages and Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
Special Features: UFOs - Introduction by John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer, 8 segment commentaries by the series producers/creators/directors, Behind the Scenes - The 150th Solve, A Special Tribute to Robert Stack

DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004 (First Look Home Entertainment)
Color/approx. 372 min. plus approx. 216 mins. bonus features
MSRP: $49.98
Number of discs: 4
Number of episodes: 34 segments
Languages and Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
Special Features: UFOs - Introduction by John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer, 8 segment commentaries by the series producers/creators/directors, Behind the Scenes - The 200th Solve, 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: 4.6
Menu Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.7/5


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 first 2 that have been released: UFOs and Ghosts. Miracles will be released on 10/26/04 and Psychics, Bizarre Murders, and Legends will be available in 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 ufos or ghosts genre then these sets would be perfect to pick up.

Unsolved Mysteries-UFOs investigates the most shocking and mysterious stories of our time. Dozens of crop circles-up to 100 feet across-are being carved in the countryside. Are they a freak of nature, or UFO landing pads? Did life on Earth begin on Mars? A startling new theory emerges! Roswell and Area 51. UFO or Government cover-up? Judge for yourself as host Robert Stack takes you behind the scenes of these and other best of the unexplained alien encounters.

UFOs contains 26 segments including: Bentwaters UFO, Allagash Abductions, Crop Circles, Phoenix UFO, Nazca Lines, Mexico UFO, Vancouver Lights, Roswell, Roswell/Area 51 Connection, Hudson Valley UFO, Belgian UFO, Falcon Lake UFO, UFO Healing, Australian UFO, Missing Time, Socorro Close Encounter, Kecksburg UFO, Texas UFO, Face on Mars, Men in Black, Canadian UFO, Wheatfields Visitations, Life on Mars, Interceptors, The Blob, and UFO Odyssey. For descriptions of the episodes and their time lengths, click here.

Explore the paranormal with host Robert Stack in this collection of the best of Unsolved Mysteries--Ghosts. From the deck of the ocean liner Queen Mary to the Black Hope Curse of a Texas subdivision built on an old Slave burial ground, these are the true stories of neighbors, relatives and government officials who have witnessed strange phenomena that scientists canít explain.

Ghosts contains 34 segments including: Friendly Ghost, Resurrection Mary, Matchmaker Ghost, Queen Mary Ghosts, Grace's Ghost, Voice From the Grace, Ghosts Go to Court, The Entity, Ghost Boy, Black Hope Curse, Tallman's Ghost, Ghost Blimp, Gordy's Ghost, Highway Vision, Civil War Ghosts, Profiling the Paranormal, Ghost Lights, Lizzie Borden's House, Tatum's Ghost, Ghostly Attraction, Ghost Writer, Mary Celeste, Comedy Store Ghosts, Myrtles Plantation, General Wayne's Inn, Devil's Backbone, Gettysburg Ghosts, Frightening Family, Moss Beach Ghost, Lady in Black, Bullock's Deadwood, Lake Whales Haunting, Mystery Hum, and Always Karen. For descriptions of the episodes and their time lengths, click here.

Both sets have very slick, professional looking packaging. UFOs has a green theme with a hologram/metallic type effect on the covers. 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 man 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 man on the front. Disc 1 has 7 segments, disc 2 has 6, disc 3 has 6, and disc 4 has 7. The Ghosts set has a similar look except the theme is a metallic blue with an image of a skull on the front of the slimcases and on the actual discs. Disc 1 of Ghosts has 9 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 are basically in the same format on each set except UFOs has a green theme and Ghosts has a blue 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 both sets. There is an introduction by series creators and executive producers John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer on each set. On UFOs, they talk about how the show started on NBC as a series of specials and the general history of the show. It's interesting that throughout the show's run, people tuned in 13 1/2 billion times. The stories are truly timeless. On Ghosts, they talk about how the most interesting ghost cases had multiple witnesses. They also talk about the various ghosts stories they did including poltergeist stories, ghost stories, crime stories, and haunted houses. The intros by Cosgrove and Meurer on each set are approximately 6 to 6 1/2 minutes in length.

The UFOs set has an 8 minute segment called Behind the Scenes the 150th Solve. John Cosgrove talks about how they were the first show with an interactive component with an 1-800 number. Various solved cases are highlighted. The 150th solved case involved an innocent man convicted of armed robbery named Tony Miller being released from prison after a witness called into the show after seeing his photo and corroborated his story.

The Ghosts set has a 7 minute segment called Behind the Scenes the 200th Solve. It highlights some of the solved cases and mentions that 100 fugitives had been captured at that point and that 63% of the Lost Cases were solved. The 200th solved case involved Mitchell Shigemato reuniting in Hawaii with his Army buddy James Pearson who had helped save his life in Vietnam.

There are 8 audio commentaries on each set. On UFOs, there is commentary on the Allagash Abductions by John Cosgrove and Supervising Producer Raymond Bridgers who worked on the show for 10 years. The Allagash story was one of the most credible and creepiest UFO stories they ever did. Director David Vassar who did a lot of the UFO segments comments on the Phoenix UFO segment. Raymond Bridgers does the commentary on the Roswell segment which he directed. David Vassar comments on the Belgian UFO segment and how they did some of the CGI effects. Raymond Bridgers comments on the Missing Time segment. John Cosgrove does the commentary on the Texas UFO and also gives an interesting story on a segment they filmed but never aired. Director Bob Wise comments on the Canadian UFO. Finally, David Vassar talks about the Life on Mars segment.

Ghosts also has 2 commentaries on each of the 4 discs. John Cosgrove and Keva Rosenfeld, who was a segment director for seasons 1-4, comment on the Queen Mary Ghosts. David Vassar does the commentary for Ghosts Go to Court. John Cosgrove comments on the Black Hope Curse segment which he directed. Director Bob Wise talks about Gordy's Ghost. David Vassar does the commentary on the Myrtles Plantation segment. John Cosgrove and Keva Rosenfeld team up again to discuss the General Wayne's Inn segment. John Cosgrove and Raymond Bridgers comment on the Gettsysburg Ghosts segment. Bob Wise comments on the Mystery Hum segment which he directed. I think they generally did a good job on choosing segments, but I would question the inclusion of the Mystery Hum segment on the Ghosts dvd. I think it would have been a better fit on a Sci-Med theme dvd. Overall, I think the commentaries are pretty interesting especially when there are 2 people commenting on them. The segments with John Cosgrove and Raymond Bridgers are probably the most detailed. Some of the others with the directors talk about the on location shooting and the use of cgi effects. One minor issue with the commentaries is that some of them seem to end several minutes before the segments end. They don't end abruptly with just silence as the person commenting tells you that are done talking and to enjoy the rest of the segment. I guess there is only so much that can be commented on a segment produced years ago, it's really not the same as a film director commenting on his movie.

There is a very moving 15 minute tribute to Robert Stack feature that is available on each disc of both 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, I was very pleased with the set. First Look Home Entertainment has done an excellent job with these first 2 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. If you are a fan of the UFOs and Ghost related stories, you will definitely want to pick up these sets as they are a lot of fun to watch especially around Halloween time. Look for the 3rd volume, Miracles, to be available on October 26th with 3 more sets to be released in 2005 (Psychics, Bizarre Murders, and Legends). 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 10/05/04

To order the UFOs DVD click below and help support

To order the Ghosts DVD click below and help support

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

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