Adventures Of Merlin Complete Second Season (2009/BBC) +
All In The Family The Complete Eighth Season (1977 1978/Shout! Factory)
+ Andy Griffith Show 50th
Anniversary DVD set (CBS) + Hawaii
5-0 Season Eight thru Ten (1975 1978/CBS) + United States Of Tara The Second Season (2010/Showtime/CBS) + Vegas Season Two, Volume One (CBS) + Webster Season One (1983 1984/CBS/Shout!
C+ (Webster: C) Sound: C+ Extras: C+/C/C+/C-/C+/C-/C- Episodes: C+/B/C+/B-/B-/C+/C-
DVD sales are in decline, we are seeing more and more TV on DVD and this
includes some favorites that may even be running late. Of the seven titles we look at next, three
are classics (one of which is a moderate hit remade as another series), two are
new shows, leaving two that are hits form the past that are not exactly
classics but popular.
out that The Adventures Of Merlin
Complete Second Season (2009/BBC) really is a continuation of the show
simply called Merlin when BBC issued the First
Season, as this link will show:
was not as big a fan of this show as my fellow reviewer, it is still a quality
show that has its moments and its formula.
Really made for a younger audience or Fantasy genre obsessees, The cats
of mostly unknowns are not bad, but I can only take so much of this, but
thought I should give it a good look at for the record as older such shows are
on their way on DVD and even Blu-ray from TVs early decades and wanted to be
able to compare in advance. Still, start
with the first set if you must watch.
This set has 5 DVDs and 12 hour-long shows. Extras include Cast/Crew Introduction to this
season, Cast/Crew audio commentary tracks, a Behind The Scenes featurette,
Photo Gallery and separate Making Of
there is All In The Family The
Complete Eighth Season (1977 1978), which fans know as the season that
ended what we would call the classic period of the show, with Archie, Edith,
Gloria and Mike still together, even if they were living next door at this
point. The show did everything it needed
to do and this was as strong as season as they had made lately, though you can
tell and even feel the end was near.
half-hours are here on three DVDs, including Archie buying Kelseys against
economic odds over several episode of the show, a two-part KKK story, Ediths
hilarious detergent commercial episode (Jean Stapleton has done actual such ads
before becoming a cast member), the remarkable two-parter where Edith is held
hostage by a rapist and The Stivics leaving.
The show continued to be groundbreaking and innovate and that remained
so at this point. The only extra is a
paper pullout with a brief episode guide.
reviewed many of the seasons of The Andy
Griffith Show and the new 50th
Anniversary DVD set (aka The Best
From Mayberry, all official and from CBS) is really a compilation of early
black and white favorites with really little color episodes to see. Not a big fan of the show, that sort of
short-changes the later seasons, but there are those big monochrome fans and I understand
the appeal. From the 1960 1965 period,
17 half-hours are included and is a nice set for those who do not already have
the separate seasons, plus I expect since the show was shot on 35mm film, a
series of Blu-rays are inevitable.
Extras include the Danny Meets
Andy Griffith episode of Make Room
For Daddy (aka The Danny Thomas Show),
Opening Night 1963 clips, Original Sponsor material on select episodes
(including with Thomas!) and the Return
To Mayberry telefilm. For more on
the show itself, here are links to our past DVD coverage:
Season Six (the first color season)
Now a hit
again in a recycled version with mixed results, I will not go into covering the
new Hawaii 5-0 until we get the set
on disc, but it has not impressed me as much as the early versions of the
series. By the period covered by the
three DVD sets that make up Season Eight
thru Ten (1975 1978), the original Jack Lord show peaked and was starting
to loose its energy, excitement and pace, yet this still looks better than
plays smarter than what I have seen of the new show.
Season Two - Seven
Hawaii always looked good, but it seems
the cast was starting to get a bit bored.
The only extras on the sets continue to be Episodic Promos, but they are
nowhere to be found on the Tenth Season
set, so that just adds to the feeling of decline here.
newcomer here is the very interesting United
States Of Tara The Second Season (2010/Showtime/CBS), which has as
challenging a premise as any show here save All In The Family as Toni Collette plays a woman who suffers
multiple personality disorder (called Dissociate Identity Disorder here) and
Collette plays all the personalities and well, to her credit.
half-hours are here over two DVDs and it is a very interesting show, though I
have not seen all of the first season and that may be impairing what I am
seeing, but on its own the sophomore season is a good one and the supporting
cast (including John Corbett, Rosemary DeWitt, Keir Gilchrist and Brie Larson)
are a plus, along with some smart writing.
Cable may have an exclusive on this show, but a larger audience is out
there for it and I hope it finds it.
Extras include separate chats, interviews with and text bios on the
looked at the first full season of Vegas
in the two sets CBS already issued and the show plays a little better now than
it used to, getting better as it went along, but Season Two, Volume One still has Phyllis Davis, but Tony Curtis is
gone and though these 11 hour-long shows are entertaining, the show was
starting to become a bit formulaic and it does not stay with you much after you
finish watching, though it is good while you are and better than most dramas on
now. It also has a good sense of humor
most shows now lack. Episodic promos are
the only extras and both Audrey Landers and Bart Braverman also remained in the
regular cast, along with that classic red Ford Thunderbird.
read more about the past sets at these links:
newcomer here is the overrated, remarkably long-running Webster, which became ABCs Diffrent
Strokes when they went into decline and NBC became #1 for the first time in
their history. The Cosby Show succeeding was no doubt was responsible for added
appeal, but Emmanuel Lewis was absolutely the top reason this was a hit. It was not the scripts and the supporting
cast (Alex Karras, Susan Clark (Colossus,
Night Moves) and not-so-funny-either
Henry Polic II, still the most talented actor here and they could not survive
the material) as they were limited by what is really a regressive set up. Season
One (1983 1984) introduces the adoption nit, then it is supposed laughs
all the way. This does not hold up well
either and even seems more condescending than when it first broadcast.
extras are trivia (for children, apparently), a paper pullout with a brief
episode guide and you get all 22 half-hours episodes also showing their age.
classic shows are at 1.33 X 1, while Merlin
and Tara are here in anamorphically
enhanced 1.78 X 1 presentations, but they all look about even (the never shows
look HD recorded, while the older shows are 35mm film or NTSC videotape) but it
is Webster with its digititis and
softness throughout that is the most dated-looking of all, including video
noise, video banding, tape scratching, cross color and tape damage. This needs some restoration. All have Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, with most
of the shows monophonic, but Merlin
is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and Tara
has Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo (with light Pro Logic surrounds) options, which
should offer the best audio of all these sets, but the dialogue-based show has
its sound too much in the center channel and towards the front speakers.
- Nicholas Sheffo