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Digital Digest: Kojak - Season Three DVD Review

Date April 05, 2012
Happy St. Patrick's Day and welcome to Digital O'Digest! No, we haven't really changed our name, and we aren't even going to turn the blog green today. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy your holiday after you check out our news for this week, as well as Tuesday's upcoming releases, and our Click of the Week. And this week, you'll feel especially lucky after you read our review of Shout! Factory's upcoming release of Kojak - Season Three. So with all of that said, we'll go ahead and bring you what we bring you every Saturday--a little pot of gold about bringing the digital world and television together!

DIGITAL NEWS

We've been keeping you up-to-date on the happenings of the 2012 PaleyFest here in Digital Digest over the past few weeks, mostly because they have provided opportunities for fans at home to have a "look inside" on their events, and as we had already mentioned, those videos would be available on Hulu. But when? The time for that is now! There are far too many of these clips for us to cover each one individually, but you can find the clips on the respective pages for Community, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, and New Girl.

Speaking of Hulu, we thought we would tell you about some of their recent additions (and by recent, we mean a couple of months... we apologize for not keeping up the pace!) additions to their ever growing online library of video. Recently, series including The New Three Stooges, The Comedy Shop, and Celebrity Bowling. Admittedly, we can't say that any of these were great programs, but all of them do have their "classic television" ties and are worth checking out an episode or two (or as was the case for me, a few minutes of an episode) just for fun.

Amazon Prime subscribers have a lot of new material at their fingertips these days as well. The latest content agreement comes from Discovery Networks. Clearly, the deal doesn't include anything that is of real interest to us, as just about all of their content is reality series, but there are several popular series that fans will be happy to see online, all with their $79.99 per year (you can get it for half price if you have a valid *.edu email address) pricing structure.

Looking for that release of Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection which we mentioned a few weeks ago? Well, you may have a hard time finding it in stores, because it is NOT coming from Lionsgate as the individual season sets did. In fact, it is not even a United States release, but rather a Canadian release. However, if you are interested in the series, it is in fact a Region 1 release (meaning that it will play on DVD players in the United States) and it is out on DVD from the Canadian distributor Alliance Films Media. The thirteen-disc set contains the five "regular" seasons of the series (that means no Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which has still not made it to DVD), as well as the two reunion movies featuring the original cast, Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style and Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.

We've known for quite some time that the series Car 54, Where Are You? is coming to DVD in April, but if you try to find it what was the scheduled release date of April 10, you would literally be asking "where are you?" That is because the set has been delayed by two weeks, and will now be released on April 24. So there is no need to worry. We will, in fact, be getting the entire second season, and the episodes will be in order of when they actually aired this time and not that incredibly bizarre "order of popularity" as the first season was presented.

The sun has set on HBO's Entourage and now the series has already gone from a series which defined the current era to somewhat of a time capsule of the '00s (don't bother informing VH-1, though, I'm sure they're so past that and working on their '10s retrospectives). The time capsule gets closed on June 12 with HBO's release of Entourage - The Complete Eighth Season. As has been the case for the past few seasons, it will be available on both DVD and Blu-ray.

Finally, we know that voters across America are trying to decide on their choice for president in 2012 (even Roseanne Barr has her eyes on the White House, sort of), but there is another election that we specifically want you to take part in, and no, you won't hear anybody talking about eating grits in this one... although if the TV series Alice would be released on DVD in complete series sets, perhaps we could be talking about kissing grits. Our point here is that Home Media Magazine is now taking your votes for their home media awards for "the best of the best." The ballot includes categories for best current series on home media, best vintage series on home media, best complete series set, and more. The candidates in this election are all decisively highly qualified, but only one can be "the best," and you can help decide that! Additionally, you don't even have to be over 18 or a citizen of the United States. We suggest that you read more about the TV specific categories in this article from TVShowsOnDVD.com, and then when you finish that, head on over to the poll. Oh, and if you need a bit of help making your decisions, you can always check out our DVD reviews page, because we've done our own non-partisan candidate questionnaires of many of these!

UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (March 20) brings a highly anticipated release from MPI, with that release being the classic (and largely forgotten) series, My Living Doll - The Official Collection: Volume 1. The release contains eleven episodes from the first twenty five. The other episodes are still lost and/or unrestored, for the time being, but the producers hope this will change and have ambitious plans to eventually bring us as many of the episodes as possible, if not all of them. You can read our review of this excellent set here. That isn't the only set that MPI has in the works for Tuesday, though. There is also a new release of The Lucille Ball Specials, with the final one, The Lucille Ball Specials - Lucy Moves to NBC. You can read our review of this DVD here. Mill Creek brings one of the Carsey-Werner sitcoms to Blu-ray for the first time ever with That '70s Show - Season One (Blu-ray). We hope to have a review of this set, one of the few (if not only) '90s sitcoms to ever make it to Blu-ray, as soon as possible. Warner Home Video continues their releases of the cult classic series Scarecrow and Mrs. King, with Scarecrow and Mrs. King - The Complete Third Season. Finally, Shout! Factory continues their releases of the classic series Kojak, with Kojak - Season Three. We have a review of this set today in Digital Digest.

BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Digital Digest: Kojak - Season Three DVD Review

Blog DVD Review: Kojak - Season Three (Shout! Factory, $44.99)
by skees53

Lieutenant Theo Kojak (Telly Savalas) reports back for duty in the latest release of the classic detective series Kojak. The edgy police drama was among the "new breed" of police dramas from the '70s that didn't stick to the storylines of police dramas of earlier days, and dealt with tough issues such as coldblooded murder, the mafia, cop killers, rapists, and more. It certainly wasn't a series about a few purse thefts or bunco artists. The award-winning series ran for five seasons on CBS, and served as the backdrop for several made-for-TV movies that aired primarily on ABC in the late '80s and early '90s. Now, all 23 episodes of the action-packed 1975-1976 season are available together on DVD in the United States (it was actually released some time ago internationally) for the first time ever.

The third season kicks off with "A Question of Answers," a double-length episode where Kojak attempts to clear the name of a wrongly imprisoned man. In "My Brother, My Enemy," Kojak has to figure out how to protect a detective who accidentally shot a boy. Kojak's nephew is in danger of ending up like a friend who overdosed in "Sweeter than Life." A visit to a local Catholic school to give a lecture on rape suddenly turns into a murder investigation when a priest is killed in "Be Careful What You Pray For." In "Secret Snow, Deadly Snow," Kojak is out to get a drug dealer who shot a man who was already dead. In "Life, Liberation, and the Pursuit of Death," a woman really regrets seeing a body being dumped into the harbor. A cop battling alcoholism impedes Kojak's latest investigation in "Out of the Frying Pan..." In "Over the Water," a mobster's son puts out a contract on Kojak's life. One of Kojak's colleagues finds out that people aren't always how they used to be in "The Nicest Guys on the Block." Kojak interferes with an FBI investigation when he thinks that they are wrong in "No Immunity for Murder." A trip to Nevada to pick up a witness turns out to be much more in "A Long Way from Times Square."

Kojak is on the trail of a car-theft ring that seems very bizarre in "Money Back Guarantee." In "A House of Prayer, A Den of Thieves," a death complicates a counterfeiting investigation. It isn't such a great Christmas while Kojak is investigating why a man shot a woman at a bar in "How Cruel the Frost, How Bright the Stars." Kojak is out to defend a man that he doubts is guilty of the murder of a prostitute in "The Forgotten Room." In "On the Edge," Kojak is concerned about a fellow detective's obsessive work habits. Kojak has to prevent a murder in "A Wind from Corsica." In "Bad Dude," Kojak is trying to figure out why a recently arrived private detective wants to be a killer's next target. Kojak is accused of taking a bribe in "The Frame." In "Deadly Innocence," a hit-and-run death of a police chemist becomes complicated very quickly. An 18-year-old murder case is reopened in "Justice Deferred." In "Both Sides of the Law," Kojak is out to recover five priceless Rembrandt drawings. The season ends with "A Grave Too Son," where an undercover cop is murdered, and of course, Kojak is on the case.

The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "A Question of Answers" (1:40:58)
2. "My Brother, My Enemy" (50:25)
3. "Sweeter than Life" (49:56)

Disc 2:
4. "Be Careful What You Pray For" (49:06)
5. "Secret Snow, Deadly Snow" (50:29)
6. "Life, Liberation, and the Pursuit of Death" (50:00)
7. "Out of the Frying Pan..." (50:08)

Disc 3:
8. "Over the Water" (50:12)
9. "The Nicest Guys on the Block" (49:51)
10. "No Immunity for Murder" (50:07)
11. "A Long Way from Time Square" (50:07)

Disc 4:
12. "Money Back Guarantee" (50:29)
13. "A House of Prayer, A Den of Thieves" (50:08)
14. "How Cruel the Frost, How Bright the Stars" (50:28)
15. "The Forgotten Room" (50:27)

Disc 5:
16. "On the Edge" (49:48)
17. "A Wind from Corsica" (50:28)
18. "Bad Dude" (50:29)
19. "The Frame" (50:29)

Disc 6:
20. "Deadly Innocence" (50:20)
21. "Justice Deferred" (50:28)
22. "Both Sides of the Law" (50:28)
23. "A Grave Too Soon" (50:25)

When Shout! Factory released the second season of the series just a few short months ago (their first release after taking over the series from Universal), they used slimcase packaging, which was unusual considering that Shout! had mostly gone to Viva cases by then. Well, now, for the third season, we actually DO have Viva case packaging. The cover art has a photo of Kojak with a shot of the New York City skyline in the background. On the back, there are a few episode snapshots, along with a brief description of the season, including the unique tagline that the studio gave to describe Kojak: "Bald, bold, and badass." Inside the case, you'll find the six discs, with each containing four episodes (except Disc 1, which contains the double-length pilot and two more episodes). The bonus feature can be found on Disc 6. The disc artwork is rather basic, with the series logo and the New York City skyline in an orangish-brown color scheme. All of the episode titles are printed inside the case, and a brief description and original airdate is listed with each episode.

The menus on the set are very basic, but also very nicely done. An animated transition plays on the main menu that is similar to the opening credits, while the opening theme song plays in the background. Once the menu comes up, you have options of Play All and a listing of all of the episodes on the disc. Each episode contains chapters that are placed appropriately throughout the episode.

As the case usually seems to be for, well, all of these '70s police dramas from Universal, the video and audio quality of the episodes is very good. I honestly couldn't really find any defects to complain about, although it does show a bit of age for sure. The audio is presented in mono (as it originally aired), and seems to be pretty loud and clear. Unfortunately, the episodes are neither closed-captioned nor subtitled.

The DVD set actually has one special feature, and it is actually a pretty nice one. On Disc 6, there is an interview featurette (16:26) where we get to see a few interviews with those involved with the show, as well as many of those related to Savalas. In a sense, this is basically a continuation of the interview featurette that was featured on Kojak - The Complete Movie Collection. Among those interviewed here are Kario Salem, Brian Murray, Alan Metzger, Christina Savalas, Ariana Savalas, Selwyn Raab, Christopher Savalas, Gus Savalas, Angie Dickinson, Robert Dorfman, Dan Frazer, Roger Robinson, Geoffrey Erb, and Candace Savalas. Hopefully, I didn't forget anybody in that long and extensive list which seems to include all of his surviving family members! It is obvious that his family is really dedicated to the legacy left in his role of Kojak, which is something that is very rare (but also very nice) to see. I think that the interviews on these sets have been very nice, and if special features continue on future releases, I honestly think that these are more than sufficient. It is just too bad that Telly Savalas himself is no longer with us, because I believe that he would have contributed even more to these great interviews.

I never really watched this series much until recently (primarily when I started to watch it on MeTV), but surprisingly, it has quickly become one of my (many) favorite police dramas. The stories and crimes presented on the series were unique and really pushed the edge in the era that the episodes aired. I certainly believe that fans of police dramas of all eras will love this series, including the ones of the modern era. Of course, you shouldn't expect to find all of the excessive (and if you ask me, obnoxious) flash and glitz that the current series have, but that leaves plenty of time in each episode to develop a great storyline. Shout! Factory has already announced Kojak - Season Four for a May 1 release (only six weeks after this release!), so that'll leave only one more season of the series to be released. But in the meantime, check out this set... and to borrow (and mangle and rearrange) a famous quote, "you'll love it, baby."

Digital Digest: Kojak - Season Three DVD ReviewDigital Digest: Kojak - Season Three DVD ReviewDigital Digest: Kojak - Season Three DVD ReviewDigital Digest: Kojak - Season Three DVD ReviewDigital Digest: Kojak - Season Three DVD Review (4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Kojak TV.com Page

CLICK OF THE WEEK

allinthefamilysit.com - We made a reference this week to us being Digital "O'Digest," which we aren't, but that does transition us into our Click of the Week, a website about a series starring Carroll O'Connor (of course, that was his real name). Of course, O'Connor's best known sitcom role was his starring role as Archie Bunker in the classic series All in the Family. And allinthefamilysit.com is, as the name suggests, a website that is all about the classic sitcom.

The website is hardly a newcomer to the internet. Like many of the websites that we bring you as our Click of the Week, this is one of those websites that has been around since the earliest days of the internet. In fact, the website has been around since 1995, a time when most of us probably didn't even know what the internet was. But the website is a content-filled website (and, unlike many websites of that era, still regularly updated) which has all of the basics such as an episode guide and FAQs, and goes a little bit beyond that. For example, there is a page dedicated to Archie-isms, which explains all of the unusual vocabulary which comes from Archie's mouth throughout the series. You'll find plenty of archived news articles on the site, which you can read the full text of. And if you are looking for photos, the website has a very large image gallery which you can browse. In short, the website is great when it comes to historical archive materials, and fans of the series should check it out.

That's it for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!

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