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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Drama > Satire > Thriller > Demonology > Science Fiction > Adventure > Puppets > UK > Stingray (1964 - 1965**)/That Dirty Black Bag: Season 1 (2022/AMC/RLJ Blu-ray)/Wanted: Dead Or Alive (1958 - 1961/**both Via Vision PAL Region Free Import DVD Complete Series sets)

Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriett: The Complete Season One + Two (1952 - 1954/MPI DVD Sets)/Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eleventh Season (2022/HBO*)/Lucifer: The Complete Fifth Season (2021/*both Warner DVD Sets)/Stingray (1964 - 1965**)/That Dirty Black Bag: Season 1 (2022/AMC/RLJ Blu-ray)/Wanted: Dead Or Alive (1958 - 1961/**both Via Vision PAL Region Free Import DVD Complete Series sets)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Stingray and Wanted: Dead Or Alive Import DVD sets now only available from our friends at ViaVision Entertainment in Australia, can only play on DVD, 4K and Blu-ray players that can handle PAL DVDs and can be ordered from the links below.

Up next are a group of TV shows, many of which are classics, including a few we are revisiting after a long time....

The TV sitcoms of the 1950s had many successes and some huge hits, though ironically, some actually started as and/or were continuations of hit radio comedies before TV arrived in homes post-WWII. Ozzie Nelson had been in show business since the 1930s, but as a musician and a successful one at that. By the 1940s, he was on a good run when Harriett Hilliard joined his band, the woman he would eventually marry in 1935.

In 1944, they landed up with a hit radio comedy called The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriett, with Harriett being billed as 'Harriett Hilliard' as many married couples on radio comedy (Jack Benny & Mary Livingston, Fred Allen and Portland) were pretending not to be married for whatever reasons. By 1952, as the radio show continued to be a hit, they started the TV version, becoming (along with the Danny Thomas hit Make Room For Daddy) a hit for the then-new TV network ABC, helping to put them on the map.

The couple was joined by sons David and Ricky and one of the quintessential sitcoms had arrived. I Love Lucy was TV's first sitcom megahit, but shows like this and Father Knows Best (also started as a radio comedy) were part of an early cycle of calm 'happy family' sitcoms that lasted into the 1960s before things changed. Running until 1966, Ozzie also had a highly successful syndicated run, even when most hit black and white TV shows (The Phil Silvers Show, Car 54, Where Are You? and Mister Peepers among them) were rarely seen, pushed out of the way for any full color content.

Racking up 435 half-hour episodes in 14 long seasons, the series was frankly a money machine with a wide audience, made wider by young Ricky becoming a teenager and suddenly a heartthrob with hit records of his own including a remarkable 34 Top 40 hits on the Billboard chart by 1964 and two of them, #1s!

Outside of variety shows and music series, the series also proved what MTV would later prove about TV selling music, that it could sell it very, very well. So with all this, it is no surprise that the TV series is now here in Season One and Two DVD sets restored and remastered after all these decades and I cannot remember the last time I saw an episode on any TV/Cable channel.

In the early years, the show focused on the four family members and Dom DeFore as the 'good neighbor' figure in a good fit, but there were occasionally more notable actors and character actors from the time turning up (some as semi-regulars) including Jeanette Nolan, comedy icon Frank Nelson (no relation, but best known for turning up to torment Jack Benny,) Herb Vigran, Janet Waldo (the voice of Judy Jetson,) Stanley Holloway, Joseph Kerns, Hal Smith, Ellen Corby, Lurene Tuttle, John Carradine, Frank Cady, a young Jerry Mathers in Episode 5, Arthur Q. Bryan (the original voice of Elmer Fudd,) Bob Sweeney, Parley Baer, Frank Jenks, Shirley Mitchell, Alan Mowbray, Vera Marshe, Verna Felton, Joan Shawlee, Almira Sessions, Jorja Curtright, Lloyd Corrigan and Don Beddoe.

There are sadly no extras per se, but the Nelsons have kept all the sponsor advertisements on the prints from brief plugs to surprisingly elaborate for the time advertising from Listerine and Hotpoint, including an animated piece where the family is animated and joined by the cherub version of their mascot Happy Hotpoint and Mary Tyler Moore shows up as the company's first live-action version. Also amusing is the family on a giant cutout of the Hotpoint logo of the time.

Yep, it was that big a hit!

Comedian Larry David is an endlessly hilarious and clever man that created one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld, back in '90s. Now on DVD in its eleventh season is his second hugely successful series from HBO - Curb Your Enthusiasm (2022) - in which he is the star. The series has many regulars including comedians as well including Jeff Garlan, Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman, Richard Lewis, J.B. Smoove, Ted Danson, and several other surprise celebrity cameos.

The series follows a kind of loose improvised storyline where Larry David plays himself and tries to navigate daily life in Los Angeles where he constantly bumps elbows with just about everyone that he comes in contact with in one way or another with his unique sense of humor that's mixed with his own unique brand of stubbornness and awkwardness. You either love him or hate him at the end of the day. Sometimes he means well, but comes across the opposite of his meaning - and sometimes, yeah, he's just a jerk. But the laughs here are a mile a minute, at least to this reviewer!

In this hilarious season, Larry discovers a dead body in his pool in his backyard due to his negligence of not building a required five foot fence around the pool. In order to keep the situation quiet, he ends up striking up a deal with a restaurant owner to cast his terrible daughter as the lead actress in his upcoming Netflix show that he is producing. Other hilarious situations ensue due to this awkward situation in this eleven episode season.

The 11 episodes here include The Five-Foot Fence, Angel Muffin, The Mini Bar, The Watermelon, IRASSHAIMASE!, Man Fight Tiny Woman, Irma Kostroski, What Have I Done?, Igor, Gregor, and Timor, and The Mormon Advantage.

No Extras.

This isn't the end of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and while I was expecting it to address the pandemic in a more direct way or continue a little more the storyline started in the prior season where he had the rise and fall of his spited coffee shop, this season just went ahead and did it's own thing and is pretty satisfying as a whole.

Lucifer goes to hell, but after 2 months, he suddenly returns when God says hell no longer needs a king, but he has bigger problems when his twin brother Michael has been impersonating him. But then, God suddenly decide come to earth for vacation and he suddenly announces he literally make the earth-shattering announcement he is also retiring. Along with Detective Decker, Lucifer continues to solve murders and now he has to deal with the celestial politics in Lucifer: The Complete Fifth Season (2021.)

Lucifer is the devil of course, tired of ruling Hell, he decides to move to L.A. and he joins Chloe Decker in solving murder cases. After 4 seasons, Chloe learns Lucifer IS the devil, but he is misunderstood and the both end up falling for one another... And after Lucifer goes to hell (twice) for Chloe, are they finally going to admit their feelings and confess to each other? But when Lucifer's twin brother Michael comes to earth, things go to hell, Michael secretly has plans to ascend the throne, but he first he needs to get rid of Lucifer. In this season, Lucifer realizes he is more like his father than he realizes and he becomes afraid he will make the same mistakes his father made with him with Chloe.

This is a great amusing TV series, it is funny, touching and serious at the same time. I would strongly recommend you watch the entire series from the beginning. It plays on how the Devil or 'Lucifer' is a good guy and helping to catch bad guys and punish them. From time to time, he uses his superpowers to help solve the murder. Meanwhile, there is the whole drama between heaven and hell and when the 'human' characters discover Lucifer has been telling the truth all along and he IS the devil. The Complete Fifth Season has the whole musical episode and extras include deleted scenes and gag reel.

Episodes this time include:

Really Sad Devil Guy: It's been two months since Lucifer returned to hell. As Chloe struggles not missing him, Lucifer helps a soul in hell solve his own murder as Chloe solves the murder in the real world, suddenly 'Lucifer' returns to save Chloe.

Lucifer! Lucifer! Lucifer!: Michael, Lucifer's twin brother pretending to be him and help Chloe, but Chloe realizes he isn't Lucifer when he has the opposite powers, to prey on people's fears instead of desires. Amenadiel goes to Hell and tells Lucifer he needs to return and deal with Michael.

Diablo!: The real Lucifer returns and he and Chloe investigate a murder in TV reality show, well... about 'them'.

It Never Ends Well for the Chicken: Lucifer tells Trixie the story of Maze's mother and what happened to her and how he got her ring.

Detective Amenadiel: Amenadiel helps Chloe in solving a murder of a nun. Chloe faces her own insecurities when she discovers she is 'gift' from God to Lucifer.

BlueBallz: Lucifer and Chloe investigate a murder of DJ. Chloe runs into her old ex-boyfriend and Lucifer become jealous, but in the end, they make up with each other and finally have sex. Dan finds out Lucifer is the Devil.

Our Mojo: After having sex, it turns out Chloe suddenly has Lucifer's powers and they investigate a serial killer. Dan is tricked by Michael into shooting Lucifer.

Spoiler Alert: With Lucifer's powers constantly shifting, he survives Michael's plot to kill him, but then Chloe discovers they caught a copycat killer. Before they can catch him Chloe is kidnapped, but it turns out Michael was behind it all.

Family Diner: God comes down to earth and tells Lucifer and Michael to make peace with one another. Lucifer becomes afraid and believes he is not capable of love... because he believes his father isn't.

Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam: God decides to stay on Earth a little long and be the father he never was to Lucifer, but in his presence, everyone starts randomly dancing and singing. (musical episode) God reveals to Lucifer he may be losing his control of his powers.

Resting Devil Face: God decides to become human for a day to help him better understand Lucifer. But when God gets hurt in the investigation, Lucifer defends his father. God reveals he is planning on retiring.

Daniel Espinoza: Naked and Afraid: Lucifer plays a prank on Dan into believing he is caught in a 3-way mob war to get back at him from shooting him.

A Little Harmless Stalking: Linda is the main suspect in a murder, but she is protecting the daughter she gave up long ago and buying time for Lucifer and Chloe to solve the murder.

Nothing Last Forever: Both Michael and Lucifer begin rallying forces to see who is going to become the next God. Lucifer tries to win God's favor by helping him find his retirement home, but then he reunites him with their mother the Goddess, but then God and the Goddess decides to leave for another universe.

Is This Really How it's Going to End?!: Michael has been secretly rebuilding the flaming sword and Dan pays the ultimate sacrifice when he comes close to his secret.

and A Chance At a Happy Ending: Michael raises an army of angels and Lucifer raises an army of demons and fight over who is becoming the new God. Michael then kills Chloe, but then Lucifer goes to heaven and trades places with Chloe, willing to die in her place, but then his act of self-sacrifice finally proves him worthy of becoming the new God and all the angels kneel before him.

The SuperMarionation U.K. series
Stingray (1964 - 1965) is back on DVD in Australia after going out of print from Umbrella by ViaVision, who are picking up all the Gerry Anderson shows that have split rights in the U.S. and handled exclusively by Network U.K. in its home country of origin. The first full color series from Anderson and what became ITC was actually the first full color series from British TV at all (live action shows like The Baron followed, then The Saint and The Avengers went to color like the rest of British TV soon after) as the famous advanced puppets with oversized heads struck again.

Set in 2065, the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (or WASP) battle evil worldwide with the advanced super submarine of the title, backed by a great voice cast (including the first Miss Moneypenny for James Bond, Lois Maxwell,) incredible effects and model by Derek Meddings and that catchy title song. The show was a hit and ran for 39 solid half-hour episodes before they folded it to make a more advanced series. This led to international superhit
Thunderbirds and the most complex of all puppet action shows, Captain Scarlet.

Almost 60 years alter, the imagination and hard work that went into making this show are more apparent than ever, especially in the often lazy digital era we are in. The craftsmanship, care and yes, art that went into each episodes could be painstaking and is now almost mind-boggling as the many people who produced this show were doing something not even Disney had attempted and for TV yet. Though some aspects have aged, including a little political correctness at times, Stingray is a minor all-time classic of action, fantasy, TV and even science fiction. That is why it deserves to be revisited and seeing it again was better than I expected.

Extras include Gerry Anderson audio commentary tracks on the episodes Stingray and Stand By For Action, character biographies, stills galleries and TV 21 audio adventures.

That Dirty Black Bag: Season 1 (2022) is one of two TV westerns series we are looking at and part of a retro cycle of productions going straight-to-video to on TV that have mostly been forgettable, weak, lame, tired and flat out dull. Though this one at least tries to be darker and a little more honest that the 'auto pilot' productions we've suffered from so often lately with its idea of beheadings and resultant trophies, but they are still a ways away from Leone, Tarantino and the better early entries in the genre until it collapsed in 1979.

To its advantage, the locales are not bad, while the cast is a bit better featuring Dominic Cooper, Douglas Booth, Aiden Gillen and Travis Fimmel, not shying away form the gruesomeness of the situations or death itself. Maybe it wallows in that a bit more than it should, but it also sometimes is evoking the Horror genre whether it means to or not.

This runs seven episodes (no extras included) and was enough of a success that it was renewed, so we'll see where it goes. For genre fans only, at least they are trying to make this work.

Finally, we revisit one of the more remembered and liked TV westerns, Wanted: Dead Or Alive (1958 - 1961) with Steve McQueen in an early role that helped put him on the map before he became a big movie star, world celebrity icon, king of cool and set fashion standards that are still with us today. Here, he plays bounty hunter Josh Randall, but one with a heart and moral code that led him to getting involved in situations beyond any bounty money he mighty collect.

Unlike today's TV series and westerns, each half-hour is a self-contained and that tales some smart narrative economy. In that, the shows hold up pretty well, especially in a sea of westerns then and now. These seem more probable than most of the many, competing shows of the time, including several of the hour-long shows and that is where all such TV shows eventually landed up going as TV grew and the audience wanted more. Sponsors were more than happy to go along financially with it all.

McQueen is a natural in all this, which is another reason the show holds up as well as it does, even when it seems set-bound. The case notes guest stars include Warren Oates, Ralph Meeker, James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef, Clu Gulager, DeForest Kelley, Martin Landau, Mary Tyler Moore and Dyan Cannon, but other great actors here include John Dehner, Gloria Talbot, William Schallert, Everett Sloane, Edgar Buchanan, Dick Foran, Virginia Gregg, Charles Aidman, James Best, Michael Pate, Noah Berry Jr., Richard Anderson, Don Gordon, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, Richard Farnsworth, Skip Homeier, Alan Hale Jr., J. Carol Naish, Gerald Mohr, John McIntire, Victor Jory, Darryl Hickman, Lawrence Dobkin, Fred Beir, Susan Oliver, Cloris Leachman, Jeanette Nolan, Joyce Meadows, Arthur Franz, Nick Adams, Royal Dano, J. Pat O'Malley, Lurene Tuttle, Vic Perrin, Jay Silverheels, Wayne Rogers, Claude Akins, Stafford Repp, Ned Glass, Jay North, C. Lindsay Workman, Jack Ging, Lee Bergere, Hal Needham, Herb Vigran and R.G. Armstrong, who just passed way as we posted this text.

Yes, Wanted: Dead Or Alive is at least a minor classic of TV Westerns and anyone who likes westerns and has not seen the show needs to now!

Extras include a vintage featurette at the end of Season Two, four more at the end of Season Three, four hideously colorized episodes of the show that have aged very, very badly, a rough low-def presentation of his early film The Great Train Robbery and a chance in a frame-by-frame section to read two tie-in comic books to the series issued by Dell Comics back in the day with fine definition and color reproduction.

Now for playback performance. As Kodak was eventually one of the show's biggest and smartest sponsors, the show was likely shot on 35mm Eastman Kodak black and white photochemical film negative, but early on here, maybe Ansco or DuPont film. Either way, the 1.33 X 1 black and white image corrects the issues the older Shout! Factory DVD compilations from years ago suffered in weak images that were no better or worse than seeing them on old analog TVs in syndication. There are some softer-than-expected shots here and there, but that was also the case on the first two Blu-ray seasons of The Andy Griffith Show and I Love Lucy that we covered a few years ago.

You also get some slight damage here and there, but nothing dramatic and nothing that could not be corrected at a later date. Like any independent-produced series at the time like those from Flying A or Four Star Productions, or even the Borax-produced Death Valley Days, this show is somewhere in between an orphan show and a major studio-owned series, so some flaws might show up here that would not happen with a billion-dollar company taking regular care of their catalog.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is interesting in that this would sound better lossless, but also like early such black and white TV shows, especially hits, you can hear the sonics start out simple and slowly get better. Season One has audio that is usually clear, but narrow, versus improvements in Season Two to the point that you can really hear everything clearly by the end of the sophomore season.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is presented here on DVD in standard definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital track, both of which are of the norm. Some compression issues are evident, but not terrible in an upscale.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Lucifer episodes look as good as they can in the format, but know it is also available exclusively from Warner Archive on Blu-ray with a 1080p image and lossless DTS-MA 5.1 sound. The show is well produced and presented, as discussed in the reviews of the first and third seasons we reviewed. Fans will be likely be happy with which format they choose.

The full color 1.33 X 1 image on Stingray looks better than the A&E U.S. set we covered about a few decades ago, though these may be the same transfers, they just have better color range and a little more detail and depth. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono also shows its age and a little more so, but often sound good, making this also competitive with later DVD set from the U.S. and U.K., so this is a solid release or you could wait for a Blu-ray edition sometime down the line.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Bag can be soft, but some of this is from the style the show chose, but also just from how it looks. I wish it had more visual clarity. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on each show can oddly have some compressed moments, though I do not know why, as that has nothing to do with style or realism at all. Maybe 5.1 was an afterthought?

The 1.33 X 1 black and white image on the Wanted series are the same transfers we encountered on the old MPI U.S. DVDs we got to cover, but some shows still look clearer than expected here, while the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono shows its age the most of all shows here, despite some of the early Ozzie shows sounding more off. This is the best these will look until the series is restored photochemically with 4K scans.

To order either or both of the ViaVision imports, go to the following links:



Wanted: Dead Or Alive


- Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Lucifer) and James Lockhart (Enthusiasm)



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