reviews by Greg Brobeck of The Digital Bits
Season One -
1968-1969 (2005) - NBC (Universal)
Program Rating: B+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A-/F
From Jack Webb, the talented producer and creator of Dragnet,
comes the exciting police drama Adam-12.
Officer Pete Malloy, (Martin Milner) whose former partner was
killed in the line of duty, is now teamed with rookie cop
Officer John Reed (Kent McCord). The two serve and protect in
the city of Los Angeles. Adam-12 is their unit's radio call
number. The show revolutionized how police drama is depicted on
television and has set the standard.
I saw a few episodes in cable reruns, but I never really sat
down through episodes in full until owning this set. I must say
I really enjoyed it. The human side of the officers shines
through in how they have to balance professional and personal
lives - and that's not an easy task when you're a cop. The
characters come across as real live people and I could easily
identify with them. The set contains all 26 episodes of season
one as originally broadcast on NBC - uncut and in beautiful
condition. Standout episodes include the premiere episode
entitled Log 1, and Log
22, the series' first Christmas episode - the
officers try to find a stolen car containing Christmas toys for
full frame video looks quite good for its age. It seems Universal
did quite a remastering job on these episodes. I remember cable
reruns looking rather grainy and occasionally murky - that is not
the case here. The magic of DVD may in itself make video quality
look better, but I don't think that is the case here. It looks to me
that real care was put into these.
The Dolby Mono (English or Spanish) audio is also quite nice. I was
unable to find any trace of scratches, hiss, or anything of the
sort. I've always loved the opening sequence to this show and the
music just comes though great through the remastered audio. I would
be glad to give anyone at Universal a pat on the back.
The two issues I am not happy about are the double-sided discs,
which can, in some cases, cause problems with playback, and the lack
of bonus features. There must have been some sort of bonus features
they could have included, even though ideas of what they could
possibly be elude me now.
All in all, this is a very nice set that is not at a bad price
(only $39... although I'm sure some outlets are selling it for
less). Adam-12 has now become
one of my favorite police dramas and it deserves a place on anyone's
shelf who is a fan of the genre.
Season One - 1972
(2005) - NBC (Universal)
Program Rating: A
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A-/F
Whoever decided that following firefighters, paramedics, and
emergency room doctors and nurses would make for exciting
television was a genius. Emergency!,
created by Dragnet and
Adam-12 genius Jack Webb
along with R.A. Cinader, was the first show to actually depict
what these wonderful and brave individuals have to actually go
through to save lives. It paved the way for such shows as ER
and Third Watch, of which
I am also a fan.
Fireman John Gage (Randolph Mantooth) is an ordinary fireman at
Station 10, responding to calls at all hours of the evening.
However, his captain suggests that he join a new
paramedic-training course that is being conducted by Fireman Roy
DeSoto (Kevin Tighe). After a call, which resulted in a man
dying, he realizes he could have saved him. He is convinced to
join the course and through such becomes Desoto's partner. Soon,
Gage and Desoto are assigned to the new station 51, however they
cannot practice medicine until the Wedsworth-Townsend Act is
passed. A California state senator who is seeking to pass this
bill solicits the testimony of Doctor Kelly Brackett (Robert
Fuller), who along with his colleagues Doctor Joe Early (Bobby
Troup) and Nurse Dixie McCall (Julie London), work in the
emergency room of Rampart General Hospital. Thanks to Dr.
Brackett's testimony, the act is passed and the paramedic
program is born.
set features all 12 episodes from season one, including the 2-hour
pilot episode (The Wedsworth-Townsend Act),
which is rarely seen in its unedited form. Typically in syndication
it is broken into two parts. I watched the pilot movie, not
expecting to really enjoy the series. I had tried to watch it a few
years ago but could not seem to get into the story. This time,
however, I was drawn into the episode. I enjoyed it quite a lot and
couldn't wait to see more. The show has turned out to be a great
blend of gripping drama with lighthearted comedy. Other standout
episodes include Botulism in
which the poisonous disease breaks out on a movie set, and Crash
which guest stars Cicely Tyson.
The set is presented in full screen 4:3 and looks just great. I
remember seeing reruns on cable a few years ago that looked simply
awful. These episodes on the other hand have been apparently
carefully restored by Universal. While there is grain once in a
great while, color is vibrant and jumps off the screen.
The audio is in English or Spanish Dolby Mono, but still sounds
great. Everything comes in clearly and sharply. It seems Universal
cleaned up the sound greatly. It really isn't necessary for Emergency!
to be in stereo since stereo television wasn't around in 1972.
The main issue I have with this set is the fact that the two discs
are double sided. While I understand that this is probably a cost
saving measure, I have seen reports of glitchy playback on some
episodes on some players that required a trip back to the store to
swap out the discs. The disc freezes and skips on certain episodes
and it is really quite annoying when trying to view. There also are
no special features at all on this set. Upon doing some research
online at the excellent fan resource site
I did find that there was a blooper reel for each season. Most of
the cast is also still alive, so interviews would have been a
possibility as well.
The set is, in general, a very good set that I would recommend
heartily. I enjoyed watching the episodes more than I ever thought I
would and I think anyone who likes medical drama of any sort will
get a kick out of seeing this great vintage show. The $39.99 price
is not bad either... especially for a Universal set which are
The Complete Sixth Season
- 1987-1988 (2005) - Paramount
Program Rating: A-
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/F
One cannot make enough trips to the place where everybody knows
your name. The popular series ran for 11 years on NBC - one of
its very first "Must-See" shows. I always enjoyed Cheers.
The major draw to this show is that it depends not on pratfalls
and one-liners, but on hilarious characterizations. Each
character has his or her own quirk that makes you roll on the
floor laughing. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the
premise is simple. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Sam Malone
(played by Ted Danson) is now the owner of a local pub, where
not only are the customers crazy, but so are the employees. The
ensemble supporting cast of Kelsey Grammer, Woody Harrelson,
John Ratzenburger, George Wendt, and Rhea Perlman add to the
major changes take place in season 6. Diane Chambers (Shelley Long)
has left for good and a very upset Sam has sold the bar and taken to
his boat. A conglomeration purchased the bar and put newcomer
Rebecca Howe (played excellently by Kirstie Alley) in charge.
Needless to say she has made lots of changes. Sam returns and hates
the changes, but can't afford to buy the bar back. So, he is forced
to become simply a bartender-the first time he's ever worked under
anyone at Cheers. Tom Skerritt and Jay Thomas also have regular
appearances this season. While there is constant sexual tension
between Sam and Rebecca, it's nowhere near what was between Sam and
Diane and the series, which has been gradually moving from romantic
comedy, moves to all-out ensemble comedy. Understandably, it lost a
few fans with this season, but I find that it is still just as funny
and enjoyable. There will always be fans of the "Diane Years"
and the "Rebecca Years."
This set contains all 25 episodes almost as originally broadcast on
NBC, digitally remastered. I used to watch this show in syndication
and I must say that the quality increase is breathtaking. I remember
being appalled at how washed out the picture was and how murky the
audio was. Instead, on this set, we're treated to episodes that look
like they might have been filmed last week rather than 18 years ago.
The video is in its original 4:3 aspect ratio.
The audio is presented in (English only) Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Sound. Stereo television was still somewhat new in 1987, and it is a
situation comedy series, so there isn't much stereo to listen to
besides music and audience effects, but it still sounds marvelous. I
am quite pleased. A disclaimer on the box art indicates that some
music changes have been made, however I don't have access to
original broadcasts, so I do not know what was changed.
Normally I am not that particular about box art, but I must make an
exception here. The first five seasons were packaged in quite lovely
brown and maroon boxes that resembled the bar itself. However with
season 6, the packaging is simply white and blue. The bar-colors are
gone and the set doesn't match the others on the shelf. It appears
season seven will be packaged similarly. I really wish they had
continued the pattern they set with the first five volumes, but in
the end, I guess I should be glad that season 6 was released at all.
There are no bonus features of any kind on this set (unless you
count the trailers for other Paramount DVD releases) and I am not
surprised. They haven't included any bonus materials since season
three. Overall, I am very glad to own this season of Cheers
and I think you will be too. It was a remarkably funny show that
deserves royal treatment and while there are a few issues with this
set, it's nonetheless well worth owning. Season 7 is supposed to be
released later this year, so let's all anticipate that.
The Complete Sixth Season
- 1998-1999 (2005) - NBC (Paramount)
Program Rating: B+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/F
Commonly discarded as too sophisticated, Frasier
is one of the best ensemble comedies in recent history. A
spinoff from the wildly successful Cheers,
the show ran for 11 years on NBC. Psychologist Frasier Crane has
moved from Beantown to the home of the Space Needle - Seattle -
to be a radio psychologist. Also in the mix are Frasier's father
Martin (John Mahoney) who has moved in with him, his brother
Niles (David Hyde Pierce), physical therapist Daphne (Jane
Leeves,) and radio station personnel Roz (Peri Gilpin) and
Bulldog (Dan Butler.)
season, things are really in upheaval. The radio station has changed
from all-talk to all-salsa, which means Frasier, Roz, and Bulldog
are all out of work. Roz and Bulldog start dating (a match
definitely not made in heaven,) and Daphne has a new beau - Roz's
ex-boyfriend Donny. Will Niles confess his love for Daphne before
it's too late? One of the highlights of this season is a hilarious
special guest appearance by Woody Harrelson as his Woody Boyd
character from Cheers.
The set is much like all the other Frasier
sets. As far as I can tell, these episodes are presented in their
original uncut form, as originally broadcast on NBC (minus
split-screen credits.) The hour-long season finale is even presented
in hour-long form. The episodes are in their original full screen
presentation, and considering they're only 7 years old, the quality
is very good; in fact, the prints are far superior than those in
syndication which have already begun to fade. The show was recorded
on film and it looks good after just that short time.
The audio is also quite good, presented in (English only) Dolby
Digital 2.0 Surround Sound. Considering that it's a situation
comedy, there aren't many stereo effects, but what are there sounds
great. I heartily recommend listening with a surround sound system.
Like with the Cheers sets,
bonus features stopped after season 3. The episodes are in their
full glory here, but it might have been nice to have had some of the
interviews and such that were on those first three seasons. Even the
compilation of celebrity guest voices would have been a nice touch.
Nevertheless, it's nice just to have the episodes and not be forced
to watch them edited in syndication.
Overall, it is a good set of a funny series. I would not recommend
starting with this season, but all the same, I do recommend the set.
It makes a great companion to the Cheers
sets. Even with its lack of bonus features, it's still a worthy
purchase for a good laugh. I enjoy laughing with and at the Cranes
and the way they never fail to make themselves look like buffoons.
Bring on season 7!