Moonlighting - Seasons 1 & 2 DVD Review


This review was originally written on September 6, 2005
Great Episodes, Very Poor Packaging

I'm very disappointed by the cheap packaging used for this Moonlighting - Seasons 1 & 2 DVD set. The last plastic disc page fell out as I opened the factory-sealed item. Obviously the glue wasn't strong enough to hold it to the cardboard. I had to use lots of super glue to fix it. I really hope that Lion's Gate uses better packaging for future Moonlighting sets.

TNA The Best of the Asylum Years, Vol. 1 DVD Review


This review was originally written on August 18, 2011
Archive Footage Shown In Wrong Aspect Ratio (4:3 Stretched Or Cropped Into 16:9), Stretched Footage Gives Me A Headache

I really don't understand why any company would author a DVD like TNA did with their The Best of the Asylum Years, Vol. 1 DVD. The majority of the footage on this DVD was shot in 2002-2004 in a 4:3 aspect ratio. However, NONE of the footage is presented in the proper aspect ratio on the DVD. It is either stretched into a 16:9 aspect ratio, or the top and bottom is cropped off to put it into a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Take a look for yourself in these two screenshot comparisons of stretched footage.


1. On the top is the 4:3 footage stretched into 16:9. Notice that Jeremy Borash's face and body both look fat due to the horizontal stretching. Lest you think that I have my player or TV set up incorrectly, at the bottom is that same image properly shown in a 4:3 aspect ratio. You'll notice that Jeremy Borash's face and body now look as they should, but that the newly-added graphic on the bottom is squeezed. That the archive footage and the graphic don't BOTH display correctly at the same time shows that the problem is on the DVD, and not on the player or TV setup.


2. On the top is the 4:3 footage stretched into 16:9. Notice that Dusty Rhodes' (in the black shirt and cowboy hat) is a little fatter than usual. At the bottom is that same image properly shown in a 4:3 aspect ratio, where you can see that Dusty's body now looks as it should.

The archive footage is bookended by new interviews which were filmed in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is unfortunate that TNA chose to alter the archive footage to match the new interviews, rather than cropping the sides off the interview footage to match the archive footage, and leaving it all in a 4:3 aspect ratio. Absolutely nothing is gained on the left and right sides of the interview footage.

I can't watch the footage stretched like this without getting a headache. If this is indicative of what TNA is going to do with their future DVDs containing archive 4:3 footage, then this may very well be the last TNA DVD I ever buy.

For the sake of completedness, here's the match list.

1. Sabu vs. Ken Shamrock (July 24, 2002)
2. AJ Styles vs. Low Ki vs. Jerry Lynn (August 28, 2002)
3. Raven vs. Jeff Jarrett (April 30, 2003)
4. Elix Skipper and Low Ki vs. AJ Styles and D'Lo Brown (May 7, 2003)
5. Jeff Jarrett vs. Raven vs. AJ Styles (June 11, 2003)
6. Triple X vs. America's Most Wanted (June 25, 2003)
7. Raven vs. Shane Douglas (September 17, 2003)
8. Jeff Jarrett and Lex Luger vs. AJ Styles and Sting (November 12, 2003)
9. AJ Styles vs. D'Lo Brown (August 6, 2003)

1. Julio Dinero and CM Punk vs. Terry Funk and Raven (February 18, 2004)
2. AJ Styles vs. Abyss (March 17, 2004)
3. Sabu vs. Monty Brown (April 14, 2004)
4. Jeff Jarrett vs. AJ Styles (April 21, 2004)
5. Kazarian vs. AJ Styles (June 9, 2004)
6. Monty Brown vs. Jeff Hardy (July 28, 2004)
7. Kid Kash vs. AJ Styles (August 18, 2004)
8. Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett (September 18, 2004)
9. Sabu vs. Abyss (April 28, 2004)
10. Monty Brown and Abyss vs. America's Most Wanted (June 9, 2004)
11. AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy (June 23, 2004)
12. Monty Brown vs. D'Lo Brown (July 7, 2004)

That is all.

TNA Lockdown 2005 & TNA Anthology: The Epic Set Box Set DVD Review


This review was originally written on September 23, 2010
An Analysis Of The Lockdown 2005 DVD Alterations

Included in the TNA Anthology: The Epic Set box set are the following three pay-per-views:

* Victory Road 2004 (November 7, 2004) [TNA's first three-hour PPV]
* Turning Point 2004 (December 5, 2004) [TNA's second three-hour PPV]
* Lockdown 2005 (April 24, 2005) [TNA's first all-steel cage PPV]

Each PPV is split across two single-layer discs, as this was before TNA started using dual-layer discs. I'm not very found of this, as I prefer for each event to be shown as one continuous three-hour program, but there's nothing us fans could do about it now. TNA isn't going to re-release new DVDs of these old PPVs. So we just have to live with the minor inconvenience of ejecting one disc and inserting another into the player to watch each event. Bonus features are on the second disc of each PPV, in case you were wondering.

You should be aware that if you buy this set online, the three Disc 1's MIGHT be loose in the cases. The first box set I ordered from Amazon had the first and third Disc 1's loose (Turning Point was the one that stayed put), while the second box set had all three Disc 1's loose. All of the loose discs were scratched as a result of being loose and moving around while being shipped. I had to return the first set because the scratches caused glitches when playing one of the discs. The scratches on the second set looked bad, but thankfully the discs played fine.

There are lots of reviews of the three PPV's that cover the matches and give you the reviewer's opinions on them. So I'm not going to say anything about that - though I did enjoy all of the matches, some a little more than others - rather I'm going to go into detail about the alterations that exist in the DVDs, when compared to the original live broadcasts.

I don't have the original live broadcasts of Victory Road 2004 and Turning Point 2004, so I don't know for sure if there are any alterations, but there *might* be in the Michael Shane (now Matt Bentley) matches. You see, all instances of the name "Michael Shane" in commentary and on-screen graphics had to be changed to "Matt Bentley" for legal reasons. This is because in July 2005, Matt Bentley was forced to refrain from using the "Michael Shane" alias, which he had used for his entire career, following threats of legal action from World Wrestling Entertainment, the employers of Mike Shane (one of the Gymini twins at the time), who had trademarked his name, something Bentley had neglected to do.

Bentley appears in the Victory Road 2004 PPV in the battle royale on Disc 1 (Chapter 2). He enters at 12:42 and is eliminated around 27:57. Bentley's match in the Turning Point 2004 PPV is on Disc 1 (Chapter 3) from 21:54 to 35:30. In all likelihood, he originally used the name Michael Shane at these two events, so the commentary was probably re-recorded on the DVDs.

Now, the Lockdown 2005 PPV is one I have on tape, so I can give you complete details as to what was altered. In fact, Lockdown 2005 was the first 3-hour TNA PPV I ever ordered, and the only one until Hardcore Justice 2010.

-- The 10-second long "This is TNA: The new face of professional wrestling" intro, which preceded the live program, has been removed from the DVD.

-- For legal reasons (the name was already copyrighted by another wrestler, then working for WWE), the wrestler known as "Michael Shane" had to have all instances of his name changed to "Matt Bentley". The first alteration is in the video package that precedes the match, where a screen that read "Shane", now reads "Bentley". When Michael/Matt comes out for the match, the graphic shown at the bottom of the screen was changed from "Michael Shane" to "Matt Bentley w/ Trinity". The biggest change is that the commentary from Don West and Mike Tenay has been completely changed (re-recorded) for the entire match. It's interesting to note that the name "Michael Shane" still appears on the entrance video playing in the background when he makes his entrance, and you can still hear the ring announcer announce him as "Michael Shane" behind the commentary at 40:17.

-- The Daniels/Skipper video package (which is the last footage on Disc 1) that precedes their match was much longer in the original live broadcast. It stayed on the shot of the team on the entrance ramp longer, then followed for a minute or two with more footage and narration, before showing the black & white Turning Point footage. The DVD cuts from a brief bit of the entrance ramp opening footage right to the Turning Point footage.

-- For legal reasons (WWE claimed copyright ownership), the wrestler known as "The Outlaw" had to have all instances of his name blurred or silenced out, with the name changed to "Kip James" on the DVD packaging and new commentary. The first alteration is in the backstage segment with Dusty Rhodes where he picks the name of the next Lethal Lottery combatant. He picks "The Outlaw", but the words are silenced out, thus leaving DVD viewers in the dark as to who just got picked (unless they could read Dusty's lips). In the video package that follows the Dusty segment, a few instances of "The Outlaw" are silenced out. The name "Outlaw" is blurred out on the pre-match line-up screen. Finally, the commentary from Don West and Mike Tenay has been completely changed (re-recorded) for the entire match.

-- The DVD cuts out the Hard Justice 2005 ad at the end, originally shown on the live broadcast in between the end of the Styles/Abyss match and the TNA copyright ending.

The Lockdown 2005 DVD is dedicated to Chris Candido, who broke his leg at the live event, which lead to the post-surgery blood clot that caused his death four days later on April 28, 2005. Since I did the research, I'd like to give you some information about the Chris Candido bonus features.

-- The first match - Chris Candido and The Naturals (Chase Stevens & Andy Douglas) vs. Petey Williams (with Scott D'Amore), Elix Skipper, and Mikey Batts - was from the March 4, 2005 episode of Impact!

-- The second match - The Naturals (with Chris Candido) vs. America's Most Wanted (Lance Storm & Chris Harris) - was taped on April 26, 2005, and aired on the April 29, 2005 episode of Impact! on Fox Sports Net. This episode was filmed and completed just before he passed away, but was dedicated to Chris with a photographic "In Memory of Chris Candido" screen at the start, and a photographic "Chris Candido, 1972-2005" screen at the end. This was his final wrestling appearance.

-- The Xplosion outtakes were filmed about two weeks before he died, according to Jeremy Borash's exclusive comments on the Forever Hardcore DVD-R (which includes the same footage in chapter 42 of the main program - it's not on the retail DVD). According to Borash, he was bandaged up and in a wheelchair because he was working an angle where he was supposedly injured as a result of getting beat up by Kevin Nash.

Since I taped the April 29, 2005 episode of Impact!, in which the second Candido match originally appeared, here are some notes on the differences between the original broadcast and the DVD.

* The original broadcast had a "Tag Team Championship" graphic over the initial close-up of the lights.

* The original broadcast had an "Impact!" on-screen graphic at the bottom of the screen naming each competitor as they entered: "The Naturals, Chris Candido" and "America's Most Wanted".

* The original broadcast had a 30 minute countdown banner across the top of the screen (with "The Naturals vs AMW" on the left and the Fox Sport Net logo on the right) for the entire match duration. This is the "Fox Box" that Mike Tenay refers to at 9:27.

* In the original broadcast, 3 times during the match the Lockdown results would appear in a banner at the bottom of the screen.

* In the original broadcast from 17:10 to 17:17 there was a white banner at the top of the screen (right below the countdown banner) advertising the following month's Hard Justice pay-per-view. It was accompanied by a sound effect when it appeared and disappeared, which is still heard on the DVD!

* The original broadcast at 18:30 there was a quick shot of a crowd member holding a nice AMW sign, which is missing from the DVD as it remains on the shot of the action that preceded and followed this crowd shot.

* In the original broadcast from 19:21 to 19:29 there was a small Hard Justice logo in the bottom right corner of the screen advertising the following month's pay-per-view.

* In the original broadcast from 21:26 to 21:32 there was a white banner at the top of the screen (right below the countdown banner) advertising the Jeff Jarrett vs. AJ Styles match on May 15th (at the Hard Justice PPV). It was accompanied by a sound effect when it appeared and disappeared, which is still heard on the DVD!

* In the original broadcast, after the post-match comments, there was a replay of a shot of Candido on the floor by the side of the ring holding the belts, while Tenay's voiceover mentioned the matches for next week's show. This was immediately followed by another Candido tribute screen which used a frame from that belt-holding shot.

And that concludes this analysis of the alterations between the original broadcasts and the DVDs. The two biggest alterations in the Lockdown 2005 event are the result of legal name changes, so while I don't like the changes, I can't blame TNA for them. Though I do think it's sad they let WWE claim copyright ownership of "The Outlaw" without fighting it. There's no reason TNA should have left out the "This is TNA" intro (it's on the other two PPVs), and shorten down the Daniels/Skipper video package, as there was PLENTY of room for those extra few minutes on the disc. So that's not forgivable. And I only mentioned the removal of the Hard Justice 2005 ad at the end just to be complete. That's definitely no great loss.

The changes to the Impact! match featuring The Naturals (with Chris Candido) vs. America's Most Wanted are, for the most part, completely welcome. Watching the original tape from 2005, it was really sad that Fox Sports Net (FSN) forced TNA to put up that stupid countdown banner across the top of the screen for the entirety of the match. Like anybody really cares about time limits anymore in wrestling. The constant banner ads for the next PPV and scrolling Lockdown results on the bottom just added to the screen clutter. So I'm happy that all of that crud is gone on the DVD. Though I do find it funny that the PPV banner ad sound effect is still there. I don't like that TNA removed the "Tag Team Championship" graphic and entrance name graphics as they added to the presentation. That initial close-up of the lights looks naked without the graphic over it. I still don't know what to make of the removal of the quick shot of the crowd member holding the AMW sign. The sign had a really nice drawing on it, and was certainly worth showing a quick shot of. It's not like there was any real action going on in the match for those 3 or 4 seconds, anyway.

That is all.

SpongeBob SquarePants - The Complete 2nd Season DVD Review


This review was originally written on May 5, 2005
Not As "Complete" As It Should Be

How can this be the "complete" 2nd season when the two alternate versions of "Shanghaied" are missing? Paramount/Viacom/Nick included the Patrick and Squidward ending versions on the "Sea Stories" DVD, but yet left them out as bonus features on this set. I'd like to know why. Double-dipping, I suppose. They've done that with almost all of the 13 (as of this writing) unnecessary individual releases, some of which contain bonus materials not found on the season sets.

Speaking of bonus materials, this set has very little of them, especially when compared to season 1. Since they already have a lot of bonus materials in the vault from the individual releases, it wouldn't have been a lot of trouble to include them in this set. Again, double-dipping, I guess, provides the answer.

SpongeBob SquarePants - Sponge Buddies/Nautical Nonsense DVD Review


This review was originally written on May 5, 2005
Why Did They Have To Ruin The Cast & Crew Interviews?

I'm not going to comment on the episodes found on the SpongeBob SquarePants - Sponge Buddies/Nautical Nonsense DVD because almost all of them can be found on the Season 1 & Season 2 box sets, which is how you're better off seeing them (at least they're in order and paired together with the proper companion episodes). Instead I will be focusing on the bonus features. Not the Violent Femmes music video, because that too can be found on the Season 1 box set, but on the cast and crew interviews that make up the rest of the bonus features. I love the interviews and the "in studio" voice recording re-enactments, but I *HATE* how EVERY piece of this great footage is ruined because someone thought it would be a great idea to cover up almost the entire screen with a bubble graphic frame. You can only see the video through a small round part of the middle of your tv screen, and even then it isn't clear as there's a bubble "shine" over it. I'd love for Paramount/Nick to include all of the original, non-bubblefied footage on the season 3 box set, even though most of the episodes are for seasons 1 and 2.