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TV DVD Reviews
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OF EVERY CLASSIC
TV SHOW ON DVD
CLASSIC TV DVD REVIEWS:
We'll feature the best collections right here!
on the titles to order - huge discounts
Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Three
They're calling this the best Looney Tunes DVD collection ever and the extras are abundant. Seriously abundant. Remember the opening to the Bugs Bunny Show on Saturday mornings in the late-1960s / early-70s? It's here. Along with audio commentaries by Joe Dante, Jerry Beck, Paul Dini, June Foray, John Kricfalusi and many other experts. "Philbert", a rare 1963 TV pilot, Private Snafu cartoons, wartime shorts, storyboards, the first Looney Tunes cartoon from 1930, a number of documentaries, music-only tracks and much more.
All that and 60 of the Looney's looniest, fully restored and remastered to a startling brilliance.
Looney Tunes is a perfect gift for kids and adults alike, so you can't miss with this one! The best part? You can have this massive collection delivered to your door for only $48.99 total. No sales tax, free shipping. (It will cost a bit more in stores.)
For a more affordable collection, there's the thirty episode Looney Tunes - The Premiere Collection for only $14.00 if you order now. It includes great cartoons with/ Tweety, Bugs, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Tasmanian Devil and all the greats - but I suggest you go for the gold!
Movies - Season Three
A part of the Adult Swim lineup on Cartoon Network, Home Movies is a smart, amusing and perfectly addictive animated sitcom. Think South Park without the vulgarity but ten times the charm. Done on the cheap, this Flash animation technique allows for greater personal expression, making Home Movies perhaps the network's best effort thus far, though it was supposedly the least watched.
It's the story of eight-year old Brendon Small (played by comic Brendon Small), who documents his movie fantasies with the help of his schoolmates. Besides his stellar writing, the real-life Small is a gifted vocal artist, imbibing his digital alter ego with a dry, laconic, everyman quality that's irresistible.
This 13-episode edition includes these special features: an interactive game, episode animatics (very interesting!), a music video, a radio interview with Jon Benjamin and Loren Bouchard (outright hilarious!) and more. There are a number of insightful, rambling episode commentaries from the show's two creators Brendan Small and Loren Bouchard, though some are poorly mixed. The graphics that adorn the box are superb, enhancing the attractive package more fully. It comes from Shout! Factory which is known for their top quality DVD releases.
Sadly, the show's been cancelled but we can look forward to another final season on DVD. A truly remarkable achievement and a delight to watch one after the other, which I did until they were done. Great gift!
Orlando & Dawn: The Ultimate Collection
Tony Orlando & Dawn: The Ultimate Collection is a beautifully designed package that brings together the best episodes of the various incarnations of the series, a magnificent set that collects 11 of the best episodes of the various incarnations of the series. I had originally dismissed TO&D as a bad Sonny and Cher Show clone but I have a new appreciation for the show now.
include the great Jackie Gleason, Phyllis Diller, Hank Aaron, Milton Berle,
Jerry Lewis, Freddie Prinze and more. They had stars then! You'll find
all, or most, of the group's hit tunes in this set (remember Who’s
In the Strawberry Patch With Sally?), and the weekly comedy bits
like Lou Effy and Moreen.
Extras include Tony Orlando on The Tonight Show with guest host Freddie Prinze from 1976, Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent on Fridays in 1981 with Don Novello as "Father Guido Sarducci & Dawn" and a short parody from the Carol Burnett Show in 1975. If you're a fan of variety shows, you have to have this one - for the extras alone!
The digital restoration is lovely to behold, you'll see every detail, right down to the sweat on Tony's brow. TO&D may not have been the funniest variety show of the era, but visually it's a never ending treat and the musical arrangements are crisp and bright in that vintage Las Vegas style.
The first disc begins with the first episodes from the initial summer run. Disc two covers the 1975-76 seasons. Disc three samples the final version of the series, the Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour with regular George Carlin. Carlin was the nation's hottest alternative comedian in 1976; putting him on in primetime with his own solo spot was quite a weird and wonderful thing to do. He performs his finest, early bits here on shows packed with guest stars.
By the time
Tony Orlando & Dawn left the air in 1977, the era of the network variety
show was coming to a close, this is a last look at a dying form of entertainment
captured in all its splendor.
Brady Bunch: The Complete Fourth Season
No more watching the condensed versions we see on TV today, these shows are all uncut like the original broadcasts. The crazy thing is, my ten year old niece loved watching thses DVDs - she's fascinated by the fashions!
Bunch is pure spun sugar, served light and frothy, but they don't
make programs like this anymore. Four DVDs contain all 23 episodes of
the 1972-1973 season and it comes in a retro book style package. Fun
for the entire family.
of Oz: Two-Disc Special Edition
Besides the wonderful movie (which is a joy to watch without commercials), you get several program length documentaries, a look at how the film restoration was accomplished, Harold Arlen's home movies, rare outtakes and deleted scenes, a 1950 Lux Radio Theater performance of Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland, 1939 short subjects, theatrical trailers and much, much more. Really, a lot more!
itself has been restored to crystal clarity, it's amazing how everything
shimmers - the detailing of the film's art direction finally shines through
after all these decades of muddy prints and fuzzy TV broadcasts. This
is a two-disc set - there is a newer three-disc collection but this one's
almost half the price and has everything you need. Less
that $20 if you order now - what a fantastic Christmas gift for several
people on your list!
Park: The Complete Sixth Season
If South Park isn't the most hilarious show currently on TV, I don't know what is. It's a work of genius, especially when you consider it's all done with construction paper and a lot of clever writing. Thanks to creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, satire on TV lives! South Park is to the modern age what Mad Magazine was to the sixties.
Standout storylines in this DVD volume include the very funny parody of the John Edwards show (remember the guy who supposedly talked with dead people?), Butters as Professor Chaos (with his evil assistant General Disarray), The Death Camp of Tolerance, The Return of Lord of the Rings to the Two Towers (a parody of the LOTR movie), Jared Has Aides and so many other laugh-out-loud favorites.
a fan of South Park this 3 DVD set is essential; as a bonus you
get the creators offering a mini-commentary on each episode. If you've
not discovered the joy of these foul-mouthed fourth graders it's high
time you did. Get
From the Crypt: The Complete Second Season
It all comes in a very handsome foldout box, a first class package. Special features include a behind-the-scenes documentary and a look at how Crypt was brought to radio.
There are 18 episodes here to thrill you, each with its own creepy twist ending. Fun from start to finish!
For instance, you can get Chico and the Man (6 episodes), F Troop (6 episodes), Maverick (3 episodes) and Cheyenne (3 episodes) in this format and the price is right - a bit less than ten bucks.
If you grew up on TV in the 1970s you'll remember F Troop from the ubiquitous reruns on local stations. It was a sixties' favorite that was in the same silly vein as Gilligan's Island. The six episodes chosen here are some of the best of the lot, three episodes each from the first and second seasons with guest stars Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, Harvey Korman and many others. Great for the kids.
Chico and the Man - This Television Favorites package contains the pilot and five other solid episodes. This was actually a pretty funny program, at least at first, and this selection represents some of the better storylines.
Maverick with James Garner is a truly fine early-sixties western in that stellar Warner Bros. TV tradition and should not be missed.
It's the first time for all of these shows on DVD - let's hope we see a lot more of the early Warner shows like Maverick, Sugarfoot and - is 77 Sunset Strip too much to ask?!?
Ali G Show -
The second season of this British comedy hit is now out on DVD and it is not to be missed. Let me give you an example of just how hilarious it is - as part of a new TV series I'm working on, I've been watching about 50 of the funniest movies from the last three decades - not one of them was as heart-stoppingly funny as the Ali G Show.
There are extras galore - besides the six episodes of the second season, you get over 50 minutes of unseen footage - including Ali G giving a commencement speech at Harvard and interviewing Noam Chomsky; Borat lunches with the Arizona Republican Party; Bruno dishes gossip with a Hollywood stylist and visits a psychic; and much more.
If you're a fan of Ali G and wonder if he lost his edge from the first season, fear not - this DVD collection is a must have for people who love to laugh! Don't miss it!
Like Columbo, ADAM-12 is an LA travelogue. As the officers drive down the streets, we get to see scenes of the city of Los Angeles circa 1968; unfortunately, all too often when they get to their destinations it's usually on the backlot.
This was one of those shows my whole family watched when I was a a kid. And no wonder, there isn't a lot of violence. This is a Jack Webb (Dragnet) production and it's a "Just the facts ma'am" type of show, simple morality plays with little nuance, just cut and dry examples of police work.
The stars chemistry, coupled with some interesting situations, make ADAM-12 a pleaser (it ran for 7 seasons). Recommended!
The Complete Fourth Season
all changed when Smallville debuted on the WB in 2001.
Smallville Season four is a standout, introducing new characters (Krypto, Mr. Mxyzptlk) and transitioning from Superboy to Superman.
This 6 DVD set is packed with lots of sparkling bonus material - 'Behind Closed Doors' takes you directly inside the writer's room; there is added commentary over three episodes with the crew and cast members; and best of all, a mini-documentary, 'Being Lois Lane,' with all of the surviving ladies who portrayed the character over the years, including the wonderful Noel Neill who played Lois in the original TV series. There's also some never before seen footage.
An added bonus disc delivers the first regular season episode of the 1980's series, The Flash, which is rumored to be coming to DVD in the near future. The Flash is a fan favorite, so whoever had the idea to package this along with Smallville deserves some kind of reward. These bonus features are worth the price of admission alone (only $41.99 total if you order now)!
Fu Season Three
While the scripts overall aren't as strong as the first two seasons, there's a lot to like here with guest stars Jose Feliciano, Patricia Neal John Carradine and David Carradine's future wife Barbara Hershey.
Extras include some very informative commentaries over two episodes by series star David Carradine that contain plenty of fascinating behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes along with "David Carradine's Shaolin Diary: Back to Beginning", a new documentary shot in China that follows David Carradine as he returns to the Shaolin Temple Monastery. Fans of the show will not be disappointed!
The packaging is handsome, the picture and the sound crisp - I recommend you collect this entire series, a great addition to your permanent library and a possible future collector's item.
Island Season Three
Sometimes during a show's third season the seams start to wear thin but not this one (in fact, CBS originally renewed the show for a fourth season). The best episodes of all are contained in this release, you know the ones I'm talking about - Gilligan is convinced that he is turning into a vampire, there's a Russian spy on the island, Mr. Howell changes his will, headhunters on the island, a jet pack floats ashore, and on and on for thirty wonderful episodes; with guest stars that include Don Rickles, Phil Silvers, Rory Calhoun and the irascible Strother Martin.
Fans of the show will love this lavish release, with added commentary over one episode ("The Producer") by creator Sherwood Schwartz and an amusing documentary, "Gilligan's Island A Pop Culture Phenomenon". For only $29.99 (no sales tax or delivery charge) you can bring Gilligan's Island to your family.
In Thundercats, anthropomorphic super heroic cats from the world of Thundera escape into space to find Third Earth and a horde of warring mutants who want to possess their Eye of Thundera. There's lots of action, not a lot of violence, and a plethora of wild characters and sci-fi fun to indulge in.
This DVD set represents is the first half of season one, you get 33 episodes on six discs. There were 65 episodes in all, Volume 2 is to be released in December. A lightweight documentary is included, 'Thundercats Fans Speak Out' features the show's super-fans (including Wil Wheaton).
One of the best written and animated series of the time, Thundercats was a show I enjoyed very much at the time and this collection brings back a lot of fond memories. You can pass it along to the kids without guilt - Highly enjoyable!
The Complete Third Season
There are several good reasons why Dallas was the most popular program in the world in 1980; the scripts move along at a rapid pace, everything's beautifully shot, and the characters are broadly drawn. Especially good are performances by Barbara Bel Geddes as Miss Ellie and Jim Davis as Jock, they give a strong center to what otherwise would be farcical. (Jim Davis, one of the great western stars of all time, tragically passed away during the fourth season.)
There is a documentary included as an extra, and it's surprisingly good, detailing the impact Dallas had with most of the principal actors involved. There is also added commentary over two episodes by Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy that is absolutely worthless in terms of insight as they discuss the clothing and the cars and little else; that was the one disappointment.
I really like the way Warner Home Video packages their DVD releases. The foldout boxes make a lot of sense, the whole package feels substantial and the graphics are consistently pleasing. You feel like you're getting a quality product, and you are.
If you're looking for a great, fun TV experience I whole-heartedly recommend the third season (and beyond) of Dallas.
Now you can begin collecting all of those programs.
Columbo, the most popular Mystery Movie feature, was the first to come to DVD last year. The latest collection, Columbo: The Complete Third Season, has some incredible star turns by Johnny Cash, Martin Sheen, Vincent Price, Ida Lupino, and another scene-chewing performance by Jack Cassidy (who turned up as the villain several times on Columbo).
Columbo never fails to entertain. Part of it is the irascible charm of Peter Falk in the title role, he won four Emmy Awards for the role. Another key element is in the choice of guest stars, most being legendary movie and TV actors. Witty scripts and an abundance of pristine 1970's Southern California locations add to the alchemy.
With Columbo: The Complete Third Season you get the 1973-74 season, eight episodes (15 hours), and a bonus episode of Mrs. Columbo which aired in 1979 starring Kate Mulgrew. Columbo has rewatchability and wide appeal - this is one for your library.
McCloud debuted in 1970 (the first season was a short one, it was one quarter of a show called Four-in-One before joining the Mystery Movie), with this new DVD collection you get the pilot episode and all of Season One and Two, along with a bonus episode of McMillian and Wife - quite a bargain for thirty bucks (if you order now, with free shipping)!
McCloud starred Dennis Weaver as a folksy detective from Taos, New Mexico operating in New York City; look for some lovely shots of what the City looked like in 1970 (although most of the shooting took place in LA so there are a lot of process shots and backlot scenes).
For the record, the first season of McCloud presented on this collection were actually re-edited, making the six one-hour episodes into three 90-minute episodes for reruns. Standouts feature guest stars Milton Berle, Susan Strasberg and Burgess Meredith. If you enjoyed the Universal style of drama during the seventies McCloud will be a pleaser.
All of the Universal Studios shows at the time took place in different cities - it was part of the gimmick - Columbo in LA, McCloud in NYC and McMillian and Wife in San Francisco.
& Wife, which started in 1971, is also new on DVD; you
get all of Season One. Rock Hudson, Susan St. James and Nancy Walker starred.
- Volume Three
- Season Two
Island - Season Two
Bunch - Season One
Dukes of Hazzard - Season Two
- Season One
Hope - The Vietnam Years
Albert and the Cosby Kids (Greatest Hits)
Leap Season 2
Teen Hunger Force - Volume 3
and Cher Comedy Hour - The Christmas Collection
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