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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Adventure > Superhero > Comedy > Animals > Educational > Fantasy > Crime > Mystery > Law > Telefil > The Adventures Of Batman (1968/Filmation/DC Comics/Warner DVD Set)/Dora's Magical Sleepover (2014/Nickelodeon DVD)/Graceland: The Complete First Season (2013/Fox DVD)/Perry Mason Movie Collection Doub

The 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)

Picture: C+/C+/C+/C/C+ Sound: C/C+/C+/C/C+ Extras: D/D/C/D/C+ Main Programs: B-/C+/C/C/B-

Here's our latest look at TV releases, including some old favorites in previously unreleased versions...

The 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.

To 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.

17 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.

There 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:


Dora's Magical Sleepover (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.

Graceland: 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 Squad, 21 Jump Street, 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.

Extras include a Gag Reel, Real Graceland featurette and Deleted Scenes.

Perry 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 Mason 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:

Perry Mason Returns (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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 also star.

The 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.

The 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.

Though 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.

There are no extras, but we did cover the second volume of these telefilms and you can read more about them at this link:


Finally 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 Elmo's World: Helping! and Let's Eat (15 minutes) segment, this is one of the better releases in the series of late.

The 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.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Dora, Sesame and Graceland 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.

As for sound, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Dora and Graceland 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.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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