McCloud - Season 1 and 2 - Short Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Brent Avery, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. Brent Avery

    Brent Avery Supporting Actor

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    Purchased an early copy and the first item I should mention is that although the three individual slim keep cases included in this boxset is becoming a common way to package multiple dvds the downside is that there seems to be more of a tendency for the disc to seperate from the hub - in my case the second disc was badly scratched from moving around. The hub design on this set is not great and the disc was too easy to release, so when you get a copy - especially at a retail seller - try to hear if they are loose inside, it might save you some frustration and time later on. If the one damaged side plays without a hitch I will probably just live with it.

    On to the actual content. There are 11 episodes in total with a complete running time of 15 hrs. and 45 min. Audio is listed as 2.0 Mono and I will say that the dialogue and the theme music sounded very good with the soundtrack having very decent dynamic range. It won't tax your speaker system at any reasonable level but it did come across with good detail. I hadn't heard it since the series aired in the early '70's and couldn't remember the theme but I really liked it.
    The video elements have held up well enough with good colours and images that are reasonably sharp and while scenes can look somewhat dull in appearance - it seems to be a case of the film stock of the time -there is also some speckling noticeable in night shots. For the most part McCloud gets 4 out of 5 overall. I have only watched the pilot episode and part of the second but if these are any indication Universal gets a passing grade. No extras except for a Bonus Episode of McMillan & Wife entitled "Murder By The Barrel"
    The 11 episodes are on three flip discs which I will list.

    Disc 1 Side A: Portrait Of A Dead Girl - Pilot
    Man From Taos

    Disc 1 Side B: Manhatten Manhunt
    Murder Arena

    Disc 2 Side A: Encounter With Aries
    Top Of The Word, Ma!

    Disc 2 Side B: Somebody's Out To Get Jenny
    The Disposal Man

    Disc 3 Side A: A Little Plot At Tranquil Valley
    Fifth Man In A String Quartet

    Disc 3 Side B: Give My Regrets To Broadway


    The third disc also includes the McMillan & Wife bonus episode. One Last mention, the onscreen menu displays a still shot of each of the two episodes per side and when you choose one another menu comes up with a short overview on that episode from which you can hit play etc. It has been a long time without McCloud and although not at the top of my must have list I still find it enjoyable to watch. This will prime me for Adam 12 and possibly Emergency! - just up the road.
     
  2. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    i like the use of thin packs, and i generally don't have a problem with double sided discs, but the two Universal sets i've bought so far since they switched to this format (Dragnet and Quincy) BOTH had the middle disc off its hub, and in both cases the disc was scratched.
    in the case of Quincy, its the first disc in a long time i'm going to have to return for a replacement because it affected playback.

    the thing is- i shook both these cases, and never heard anything loose.
    i do like the 3 thin packs with a slipcase format, and hope they continue to use it (much better than standard amray sized cases, and better than digipaks) but Universal clearly needs to tweak this a bit(i've had other thin pack collections and never had a problem, they need a different case supplier evidently).

    never used to watch McCloud way back when, but i'm looking forward to it as a blind buy after greatly enjoying Kojak and Quincy this year.
    both were shows i never would have thought to ask for, but have been some of the most entertaining purchases of the year for me so far.

    apart from the loose disc issue-i'm really happy with the Universal TV output this year-
     
  3. Dan McW

    Dan McW Second Unit

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    I mentioned this possibility in two other threads several weeks ago, but it may be best to post this here in the review thread: My main fear about the McCloud DVD set was realized. The six first-season episodes after the pilot are presented in their edited-together form. Instead of six separate 1-hour shows totaling some 306 minutes (51 x 6), Universal has put on DVD the three TV movies made from them, presumably so they could run in the 90-minute and 2-hour slots with the later episodes. "Man From Taos" is about 94 minutes long, and the other two are about 74 minutes each, so with a total of 242 minutes the viewer is left with more than an hour of missing footage.

    These edited-together versions have the "Mystery Movie"-style yellow-block-letter credits for the open and close, which I doubt were on the Four in One broadcasts (although various forms of yellow block letters were a Universal title staple), and the end-credit background has McCloud riding through the streets a la earlier Mystery Movie credits (McCloud may eventually have used the still of the MM man-with-a-flashlight behind the end titles, as did the other series). No "McCloud" title appears at the beginning of any of these three paired episodes, as it would have later in MM credits even after the MM fanfare told you which MM you were about to see. Each paired ep begins simply with "Man From Taos," etc.

    Also, with the combined episodes, you have lengthy cast and crew credits with two directors and two or more DP's, editors, etc., as well as two copyright years--1970 for the original and 1976 or 1977 for the altered version. A mess.

    First clue that should have told me something was wrong: the fact that the set included 11 episodes. The pilot and first-season eps alone should have totaled 7, plus 7 from the second season for a total of 14. Second clue: the plot capsules on the DVD menus. One of them for the first season says something like, "McCloud becomes embroiled in two cases at once..." Gee, I wonder why. Do you think IT'S BECAUSE THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT PLOTS FROM TWO DIFFERENT EPISODES SPLICED TOGETHER?!?!

    The plot capsules also cite guest stars and other shows they are known for--but mention only other Universal TV series/movies, not shows/movies a viewer would likely remember specific people from. I know that's smart on Universal's part for marketing purposes, but it makes for some ridiculous references. One example: "Richard Dawson ('Munster Go Home')." Seems like he was more famous for a couple of other shows. The plot capsules also mix in credits for series regulars and semi-regulars with guest stars' credits, as if the regulars are just passing through and not part of the show--they should have been featured more prominently on the cover of the packaging or within the DVD menus.

    Of course, there's no Universal '70s-style fanfare at the end of the end credits, only the modern-day one at the beginning of the episodes. There's no Four in One or Mystery Movie opening, although I doubt anyone really expected those.

    Some good points--the second-season episodes seem to be complete minus the MM opening, although no ep on the set seems to have a teaser (don't know if those were on there originally). If the pilot-movie's title or its alternate version ever appeared on screen, I missed it. There's a "McCloud" title at the start of the pilot credits, and--as many pilots simply bear the name of the show--there's a chance this could be the original credit sequence.

    Obviously, no one at Universal knows the history of the show and just slapped together the three paired shows for the set. This forum, from before the DVD set was even announced, and any number of print resources could have told them that the show was originally of 1-hour length in the first season. I know Night Gallery emerged from the Four in One family and ended up getting butchered another way (via Sixth Sense splicing), but it was restored fairly well for Columbia House and DVD. McCloud fans deserve the same.

    "So, Dan, how did you like the 'McCloud' set?" Not much--I guess I set my standards too high. Universal seems to have done a fairly decent job with older shows such as Baretta, Kojak, McMillan and Wife (these were released this week and seem complete, and most if not all have the Universal '70s fanfare), and Quincy. That's why I'm a little peeved at the treatment for McCloud, which I watched as a kid. Few people if any have seen the Four in One 60-minute eps since their original airings in the 1970-71 season, and unless Universal offers replacement DVD's, I suppose no one ever will.
     
  4. John Stell

    John Stell Supporting Actor

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    I hear ya Dan. I was going to post about this too but I see you've taken care of every little detail. This is really annoying, on top of which, of the 3 Mystery Movie releases on Tuesday, I had to take the Columbo and McCloud sets back because of a bad disc.

    I'm glad Universal announced the Night Stalker set today as having 20 episodes. I was starting to worry that they would feature the 4 episodes that were edited into 2 "movies" in their movie format - just like they did with McCloud. Who was in charge of assembling this set, J.D. Cannon? ("MCCLOUD!!")
     
  5. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Yeah but 20 eps on 3 disks means Flippers God I hate universal, I don't think I bought a set of disks from them without at least one bad one.
     
  6. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    wow. i wasn't aware of the spliced episode issue before i picked this up- if i were i would have gotten Columbo S3 for the $10 off coupon(which i probably should have anyway since it is considered such a strong season for that show).

    i was just worrying today that Uni might some how screw up the Kolchak set and include Crackle of Death and the other one in place of those 4 unsyndicated eps. i would be enraged if that happened as those 'comp movies' were awful bastardizations.
     
  7. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I didn't buy it or even see the DVD release of it, but based on what you're saying, Dan, the McMillan and Wife episodes had to have the original 1970s Universal theme at the end, because the McMillan theme song leads right into the Universal logo. They had no choice! [​IMG]
     
  8. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    the uni fanfare was present on the bonus episode (which is the second ep on the M&W set), but it wasn't present on the first episode.

    haven't checked the rest.
     
  9. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Does anyone know if Universal plans to release more McCloud on DVD?
     

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