Adventures Of Batman (1968/Filmation Animated/DC Comics/Warner
DVD Set)/Dora's Magical Sleepover (2014/Nickelodeon
DVD)/Graceland: The Complete First Season (2013/Fox DVD)/Perry
Mason Movie Collection Double Feature, V. 1 (1985 - 1987/CBS
DVDs)/Sesame Street: Monster Manners (2014/Warner DVD)
C+/C+/C+/C/C+ Sound: C/C+/C+/C/C+ Extras: D/D/C/D/C+ Main
our latest look at TV releases, including some old favorites in
previously unreleased versions...
Adventures Of Batman
(1968) was the second-ever animated series produced by the Filmation
animation house, following The
Adventures Of Superman
(reviewed in two DVD sets elsewhere on this site), beginning the
studio's association with DC Comics that created several more
adaptations that continued DC's permanent place in world pop culture.
The live action Adam West/Burt Ward series might have been wrapping
up its original seasons, but this new animated show had the same
greta color range, narrative set-up, actually less humor and
introduced Olan Soule as the voice of Batman and Casey Kasem as
Robin, work they would continue for many years later over at Hanna
Barbera when Superfriends!
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) was launched in 1973.
Filmation's credit the show's color and designs look exactly like
Batman comics of the period and all the major Bat Villains (Mr.
Freeze, The Joker, The Penguin, Catwoman, The Riddler) are all here
in what is a really fun, even smart show that holds up better than
you might think or those who have seen it might remember. No, the
animation may not be the most detailed, but it is better than later,
cheaper Filmation (though they pulled ahead of Hanna Barbera in the
late 1970s!) or blobby Hanna Barbera work, so that's another plus.
multi-part adventures were produced with Jane Webb voicing Batgirl
and Ted Knight voicing Commissioner Gordon among others. Larry
Storch allegedly voiced The Joker uncredited, but that is
unconfirmed. No matter, this is a fun show whose appearance on DVD
is long overdue. All serious fans need to see it at least once and
it is more than worth your time.
are sadly no extras, but you can read about the DC/Filmation 1977
animated sequel series with Adam West and Burt Ward voicing the
characters that put them on the pop culture map at this link:
(2014) is one of the minority of widescreen releases in the
long-running DVD series with a program that lasts only 71 minutes,
even with Diego showing up. It is not bad, but I expected more and
you might to. It is fine for what is here, but considering there are
no extras, that is too basic a DVD for my tastes.
The Complete First Season
(2013) is a new TV series from Fox based on a real-life operation of
undercover cops in a fancy Los Angeles locale, but the show is
surprisingly flat, dull, uninspired and always plays like a lesser
version of other past hit TV shows (Mod
et al) and in 12 episodes, plays it too safe and is not well written
either. I never bought the plots, dialogue or interactions with the
characters. LA never looks as good as it could and people talk at
each other for the most part. You can see for yourself, but I was
simply bored by its outright forgetability.
include a Gag Reel, Real Graceland featurette and Deleted Scenes.
Mason Movie Collection Double Feature, V. 1
(1985 - 1987) is now out as three single DVDs with the same first 6
TV movies from the surprisingly long revival series. Though the show
ended in the 1960s, Perry
with Raymond Burr stayed in syndication (were reviewed many of the
episodes elsewhere on this site) and more impressively so since they
were in black and white. The telefilms here include:
(1985) has Mason as a judge, but when old friend Della Street
(Barbara Hale) is accused of murder, he resigns and becomes a lawyer
again to help her and find out what exactly is going on. Who is the
real murderer? William Katt (Hale's real life son) is a new hot shot
lawyer and the supporting cats includes Cassie Yates, Richard
Anderson, Holland Taylor, Al Freeman Jr. and Patrick O'Neal.
Case Of The Notorious Nun
(1986) has a nun (Michele Green) accused of killing a priest, but
Mason thinks otherwise and takes her case. Jon Cypher, Timothy
Bottoms, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, David Odgen Stiers (as a D.A.
regular), Tom Bosley and Barbara Perkins also star.
Case Of The Lost Love
(1986) has an actor staging a fake shooting that becomes a real one,
so Mason takes on the case to see how. Joe Penny, Ron Glass and Alan
Thicke also star.
Case Of The Shooting Star
(1987) a one time lover of Mason's (Jean Simmons) is being
blackmailed over her husband and has only Mason to turn to for help,
who does. However, more dirty laundry might be involved than first
appears. Robert Mandan, Robert Walden, Gordon Jump and Gene Barry
Case Of The Murdered Madam
(1987) has an old friend of Della's in trouble, a young lady (Ann
Jillian) she used to babysit, but things take a turn for the worst
and Mason gets involved before things get worse. Bill Macy, Anthony
Geary, James Noble and John Rhys-Davies also star.
Case Of The Sinister Spirit (1987)
has Robert Stack as an old publishing friend of Mason;s who needs him
to help when a man who wrote a tell-all book was about to be sued
over it and turns up dead after a stupid prank. Kim Delaney, Dwight
Schultz, Percy Rodriguez and Leigh Taylor-Young also star.
I like some of the actors and I can see the appeal of fans of the
show, none of these telefilms impressed me much playing like
too-laid-back versions of the best original shows. They were not so
good to start with and have not aged well, especially playing it so
safe, but they deserve DVD release and better late than never.
are no extras, but we did cover the second volume of these telefilms
and you can read more about them at this link:
we have the more amusing than usual Sesame
Street: Monster Manners
(2014) which has a hilarious cover (Elmo and Cookie Monster bingeing
on food that is flying all over the place) and the main program has
it amusing moments. The skits are often amusing and as usual, the
programs are well thought out compilations. With extras that include
(15 minutes) segment, this is one of the better releases in the
series of late.
1080p 1.33 X 1 color transfers on Batman
can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior to
any version or clip of this series I have ever seen. The credits say
the color is by Technicolor and I would not be surprised if (save the
opening credits looking a generation down) these were mostly
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints being used here.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Dora,
are all newer productions, bit somehow cannot surpass Batman
for overall playback quality. The 1.33 X 1 on the Mason
telefilms are the poor performers here, shot on 35mm film, but here
finished on analog videotape. They are just too soft.
for sound, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Dora
are the best performers here as expected, yet the lossy Dolby Digital
2.0 Stereo on Sesame
is able to compete by being so well and consistently recorded and the
others have soundfields that fall short. The lossy Dolby Digital 1.0
Mono on Batman
and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Mason
are the sonic disappointments here, each down a generation and not
what they should be.