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Best/worst bonuses on television disc releases?


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#1 of 15 bmasters9

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Posted December 20 2012 - 07:06 AM

In your opinion, what would you say are some of the best and worst bonus features on television disc releases? What I believe is one of the best is that featurette called The Real CHiPs, on the fourth disc of the #2 release of that NBC series. It's one of the best because Erik Estrada shows us around what the CHP is like nowadays, intercut with classic footage from when CHiPs was originally on NBC. For the most part, the CHP is much like it was portrayed then, with quite a few differences (for one, reports are written on computers now and can be edited for details, whereas then, they were handwritten and had to be accurate). One of the worst, on the other hand, is that "Dynasty Family Tree" from the #2 release of that ABC serial from CBS DVD. All it is is text outlines of only a few of the major players; not much in the way of substance here.
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(Don Robertson's original opening from The Prudential College Football Report in the 1985 season, Jim Nantz's debut)

#2 of 15 Jeff*H

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Posted December 20 2012 - 04:19 PM

THE BEST: The original release of the 1978 BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is chock full of goodies for each and every episode (all 24). This was a remarkable surprise for me, having worn out my TV recordings ages earlier, being able to see all of this never-before-seen material, including:
  • 3 hours of deleted and alternate scenes
  • Glen Larson interview
  • 45-minute making-of documentary
  • Documentary on the music of the series
  • Documentary on the creation of the Cylons
  • Audio commentaries
  • Photos and Drawings
  • The pre-show teasers (often cut in syndication)
  • Collector's book with episode guide
  • Digitally remastered picture with 5.1 surround sound
  • the collectible Cylon head packaging
Given the slavish attention that Universal focused on this release almost 10 years ago, I wouldn't be surprised at all if they are secretly working on a blu-ray release of the series, a la STAR TREK. BTW, this set gives the classic STAR TREK extras on those DVD sets a run for their money. Not bad at all for a one-season wonder (I refuse to count "Galactica 1980" as a second season). I would rank the plethora of extras on the Anchor Bay SLEDGE HAMMER! sets right up there as well! As for the WORST extras, that would be any classic show with NO extras at all for any season releases in the series, not even episode promos. Too many to count! I was about to offer up BUCK ROGERS as an example, but then lo and behold Universal gives us a bonus of the TV version of the pilot on the upcoming Season 2 re-release, so all is forgiven there.
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#3 of 15 bmasters9

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Posted December 20 2012 - 10:14 PM

Good response! Another one that I think is the best is that Moore on Sunday featurette from the #2 release of MTM (1971-72), where late Twin Cities journalist Dave Moore of WCCO (Twin Cities CBS station) shows us around how they made what would be the opening for #4 of that classic CBS comedy. Yet another would be Memories of Hawaii Five-O (from the first release of that famed CBS police series) where local Honolulu reporter Emme Tomimbang and late original Danno James MacArthur relived "Island Moments" from the run of that series. Like the CHiPs featurette, it is intercut with classic footage from the series run. This feature was originally aired in 1996 in Hawaii. And one more would be the Dallas Reunion: The Return to Southfork (on #4 of the series, and oddly enough on the movies release) because not only did it show the major players as they were in '04, it had a very clever opening combining images of how they looked in 2004 with classic images from the series (the current image in the middle, the original footage on the sides). What really made it great was that countdown of what fans said in an online poll about what they thought were the best cliffhangers (seven of the major cast members each revealed one of the first seven, and at the end in the Oil Baron's Ball, the final 3 would be revealed [guess which one was the first and foremost!]). You are also right that any classic series that has no extras is by default one of the worst. Perry Mason didn't have any bonuses up to what would be its latest release (AFAIK, the upcoming #8-2 release is supposed to have some kind of "Law Day" promo). The 50th anniversary release is just about the only place where you could get any kind of bonuses (Barbara Hale video introductions, Perry Mason Returns, Person to Person, etc.). Outside of that, there were no bonuses at all. The Waltons didn't have any bonuses either until the #8 release; on that one, Earl Hamner presented a 2-hr. retrospective, A Decade of The Waltons.
"CBS Sports presents...The Prudential College Football Report, sponsored by The Prudential, offering a full range of insurance and financial services. The Prudential: the Rock...it's strong, it's on the move, it's bigger than life."

(Don Robertson's original opening from The Prudential College Football Report in the 1985 season, Jim Nantz's debut)

#4 of 15 AndyMcKinney

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Posted December 21 2012 - 01:44 AM

To me the all-time worst extras for TV releases: when they try to cheat and count "interactive menus" and "chapter selection" as extras! I have to agree, the extras package for Classic Battlestar has to be one of the best out there. That being said, I'm sure there's much more they could have put on there (I'd have liked more behind-the-scenes close-up footage of the Imperious Leader, besides the couple of brief glances we got). I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of the cut scenes from the pilot on there, although in rough shape (including ones that were in the Marvel Comics adaptation) and with what seemed to be either Ted Cassidy's original Imperious Leader voice, or a temporary track before it was supposed to be refined (I recall someone in a vintage SF magazine claiming Cassidy's original voice--before being replaced by Patrick Macnee--was "reptilian" sounding). It would have also been nice to have heard/seen Paul Frees' original voice tracks over some footage of Lucifer (his voice later replaced by Jonathan Harris). Too bad the pilot footage was so rough that we couldn't have had an "original, alternate" cut (before ABC--or Larson--changed it to remove Serina's illness/death and try to get her to sign as a regular).

#5 of 15 Jack P

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Posted December 21 2012 - 04:15 AM

Yes, I recognized Cassidy's voice for Imperious Leader in some of those scenes. I have never heard though that Paul Frees recorded Lucifer's voice and then got replaced by Jonathan Harris and I thought I knew everything there was about Galactica! Those extras were terrific and are among the best for any TV on DVD release. As for the worst, I think more appropriately the most disappointing are commentary tracks that often turn out to be duds. Every Marlo Thomas commentary on "That Girl" falls in that category as they consist mostly of silence punctuated by chuckles.

#6 of 15 MatthewA

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Posted December 21 2012 - 05:04 AM

Seasons 1 and 2 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show had some great supplements, but the commentaries left something to be desired. Commentaries for every episode usually become exhausting to listen to. By the time The Simpsons got into a double digit age, the commentaries became like watching the show with the writers laughing at their own jokes, while other participants had started bringing their kids to commentary sessions! I was also bored silly by Diff'rent Strokes staff writer Fred Rubin's commentaries on season 1 of that show. For one thing, he kept getting the year of the show's debut wrong.


As for extras that seem to be bad on purpose: Season 1 of The Golden Girls had a "fashion commentary" by Joan and Melissa Rivers, essentially taking their E! Network red carpet schtick and snarking on out-of-context episode clips. And this was done while more of the cast was still alive!


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#7 of 15 AndyMcKinney

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Posted December 21 2012 - 06:33 AM

Back to Galactica: Here's more on that bit about the original imperious leader voice, according to Glen Larson (I'd forgotten that I posted this elsewhere years ago):

(... another actor whose voice [Ted Cassidy] was combined with the sound of a hissing cobra, which Mr. Larson was afraid would be too scary for younger viewers)

I'm not entirely sure the 'hissing cobra' effect is on that soundtrack in the deleted scenes. Maybe they did some experiments (way after Cassidy recorded the voice track) and then decided it too "scary", which would explain its absence from the deleted scenes package. The place I got all my info about Cassidy and Frees was from the "Reader Response" section of an early issue of Fantastic Films (forgot the number, but I have it in my collection). The writer of the letter seemed very knowledgeable on the subject, as if he'd see a rough-cut or worked on the show or something. It didn't seem made-up at all, and after watching the clips, the claims about Cassidy recording voice tracks seems to have been proven true, so I have no reason to doubt that Paul Frees may have recorded Lucifer's voice originally.

#8 of 15 Jack P

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Posted December 21 2012 - 07:06 AM

Interesting. That is a new item for me in Galactica history. I do know that later in the series they used Murray Matheson for the voice of Spektor in the "Young Lords" episode, while for G80's "Return Of Starbuck" episode the Cylon is voiced by Garry Owens of "Laugh-In" fame.

#9 of 15 Escapay

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Posted December 21 2012 - 07:15 AM

As for extras that seem to be bad on purpose: Season 1 of The Golden Girls had a "fashion commentary" by Joan and Melissa Rivers, essentially taking their E! Network red carpet schtick and snarking on out-of-context episode clips. And this was done while more of the cast was still alive!

I hated that featurette. It felt like such a slap in the face to any "Golden Girls" fan. It was just as bad as Season Four's "Top Ten Guest Stars" which made sure to highlight Quentin Tarentino as an Elvis Impersonator amidst a whole group of Elvis Impersonators. In my book, that doesn't quality as a guest star, that's an extra. Fortunately, the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons actually had worthwhile extras (commentaries on S5, cast-crew panel on S6, and "Memories from The Girls" on S7). One of the best bonus features I've seen on a TV-on-DVD set is "A Slice of Lynch" from the "Twin Peaks" Gold Box Edition (I just love that title, too). It could very well be a feature film on its own had it been longer (it's only 30 minutes), and has David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, and John Wentworth reminiscing about the series. Most of the extras in the "Gold Box" are quite good (the Japanese coffee commercials are quite fun to watch), but this one was always my favorite. I don't think a "bonus episode" counts as an extra unless it's a crossover with another series (like "Magnum P.I." on "Murder, She Wrote"). Several Universal DVDs will do this, either by including a bonus episode from the show itself, or from some other show entirely. Honestly, I don't see the point of it. "Sliders: Season Three," for example, has some bonus episodes from "Earth 2" and "Cleopatra 2525." The former show was interesting, but not something I'd want a sample of on "Sliders." The latter was laughably bad. I agree that the "Dynasty: Season Two" family tree was worthless.

#10 of 15 Brian Himes

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Posted December 21 2012 - 04:03 PM

On the original Galactica stuff, I wish that they had included the deleted scene from War of the Gods where we actually saw what was inside the crashed ship. They talk about it in the 'Making of' featurette stating what was filmed (even going so far as to say that ABC felt they had gone too far so Larson had the scene cut) but fail to include the scene in the deleted scenes for that episode.

#11 of 15 Ethan Riley

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Posted December 24 2012 - 05:48 AM

One of the worst, on the other hand, is that "Dynasty Family Tree" from the #2 release of that ABC serial from CBS DVD. All it is is text outlines of only a few of the major players; not much in the way of substance here.

Dynasty has been skimpy on the extras all along. They did get some lively commentary from Esther Shapiro and Al Corley in season one, but no commentaries since. They also had a ill-placed clip from Entertainment Tonight (or one of those shows) in Season 5; ill-placed because it interviewed Rock Hudson and hinted about the on-screen romance between him and Linda Evans which led to that on-screen kiss that rocked the tabloids for months to come. That clip made me cringe, knowing the fallout of that whole tragic mess; I have no idea why they chose to include that clip, of all the hundreds of news magazine clips that covered Dynasty over the years!!
 

 


#12 of 15 Kasey

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Posted December 25 2012 - 02:06 AM

Yes, that fashion featurette about the Golden Girls was tacky and I may be the minority but I found Bea's commentaries very disappointing. It seems she kept exclaiming "Oh my God...the writing, the WRITING" every few minutes. It may have worked better if she'd had a celebrity moderator there, someone like Rosie O'Donnell etc. to keep her on the right track. Rue's commentaries were slightly better but there still seemed to be something missing. I also hated the so-called Bloopers on the first few Bewitched sets. They basically ripped off Nick@Nite's "Oh-look-the-table-breaks-before-the-chandelier-hits-it" spots and tried to pass them off as worthy Bonus Features. I would have preferred some original openings since they didn't bother to restore them for the episodes themselves so we didn't get to hear the original themes for Seasons 2 and 3-4-5.

#13 of 15 Escapay

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Posted December 27 2012 - 06:50 AM

Dynasty has been skimpy on the extras all along. They did get some lively commentary from Esther Shapiro and Al Corley in season one, but no commentaries since.

I think that's mainly due to Fox handling the first season, during the time when they would include newly-produced extras on catalog TV sets. IIRC, the set didn't sell as well as they hoped, which is why they never bothered with future seasons. In addition, their distribution licence with Spelling expired and the show reverted back to Viacom. With CBS DVD distributing the show now, we get stupid half-season sets and no extras. I'm hoping that when they get around to Season 9, that they at least include "The Reunion" miniseries and the 2006 TV Special "Catfights & Caviar" even though neither are essential for me to have.

#14 of 15 bmasters9

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Posted January 19 2013 - 09:42 AM

Here's the back of that Mason 50th Anniversary release; it shows all the bonuses on it, and I think you'll agree that it has some pretty good ones.
"CBS Sports presents...The Prudential College Football Report, sponsored by The Prudential, offering a full range of insurance and financial services. The Prudential: the Rock...it's strong, it's on the move, it's bigger than life."

(Don Robertson's original opening from The Prudential College Football Report in the 1985 season, Jim Nantz's debut)

#15 of 15 Ron1973

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Posted January 19 2013 - 09:56 AM

I enjoyed the cast commercials/sponsor spots and the extra verse of the theme song plugging either Winston or Kelloggs on The Beverly Hillbillies on the season 2 & 3 sets. To see Granny and Jed pushing cigarettes is actually hilarious. I would have enjoyed seeing interviews with the few cast members remaining. Perhaps if Shout! picks this up, we'll see some extras, but I'm doubtful.

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