The Flintstone Flyer Warner Bros. TV Premiere DVD Review

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This review was originally written on April 5, 2007
Good Episode, Cheaply-Made & Over-Priced DVD

This DVD contains just one episode, "The Flintstone Flyer", which aired on 9/30/1960, and has an exact runtime of 26:23. Although this was the first episode to air, contrary to what it says in the upper right corner of the packaging, it is NOT the pilot episode (that would be "The Swimming Pool" which aired two weeks later - and can be found on the "Cartoon Crack-Ups" DVD). I know that this episode and many more can be found on the Season 1 release, but I'm not that big of a fan of the show, so I'm happy with just this one episode (which I previously taped from Cartoon Network). I also have no qualms about the video and audio quality as it looks and sounds good.

My issues with this DVD are in regards to features that are apparently prevalent in ALL of the titles in Warner Brothers' "TV Premiere DVD" series.

-- The disc does not come in a plastic case, but rather in a cardboard sleeve which opens on the side. I've purchased $1 public domain DVDs from no-name companies that came in plastic slim cases, so it's appalling that a $6 DVD from a big-name company would be done so cheaply. Also, the sleeve has a hole at the top in the center where the peg would go for it to be hung on a rack like an action figure or toy. The hole has been edited out of the promo photos that Warner Bros. gave Amazon to display for the DVDs.

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-- The text on the disc is very faint and hard to read - another way Warner Bros. skimped on production costs.

-- The cheapness doesn't stop at the packaging. The DVD does not contain a menu, not even a plain one. Because of this, there's an interesting glitch that happens if you let the DVD play past the episode. You see, after the episode plays, it goes to a FBI Warning on title 3, which then goes to the non-existent menu, so the player just hangs on a black screen.

-- They were even cheap in the placement of the chapters marks, which are placed every ten minutes (0:00, 10:00, and 20:00) no matter if it makes sense in the episode content for one to be there or not.

-- From what I've read, most (if not all) of the titles in the "TV Premiere DVD" series were originally released on VHS and/or laserdisc, with these DVDs being done from the VHS and laserdisc masters. The quality of The Flintstones DVD definitely appears to be better than VHS, so either it came from a laserdisc master, or not all of the titles were done from old home video masters.

Although at first I didn't mind paying $6 for one 26 minute episode, that was before I knew that the DVD didn't even come in a plastic case. Now that six dollars really seems like a rip-off.

Warner Bros. "TV Premiere DVD" Series (10 titles)
* The Flintstones - Flintstone Flyer
* The Jetsons - Microchip Chump
* ER - Pilot
* Babylon 5 - The Gathering
* Taboo - Tattoo
* Gilligan's Island - Two on a Raft & Home Sweet Hut
* The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest - Escape to Questworld
* Gilmore Girls - Pilot
* The Waltons - The Foundling
* Kung Fu - Pilot
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END

The Three Stooges PlayStation Video Game Review

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This review was originally written on December 4, 2006
A 2004 PlayStation Port Of A 2002 Gameboy Advance Game, Originally A 1987 Computer Game

I rented The Three Stooges PlayStation game, having played it originally on the NES back in 1988/1989. I even tried the Gameboy Advance version that was released two years before this version (in 2002). This version for the Playstation 1 is an EXACT EMULATION (A STRAIGHT PORT) OF THE GAMEBOY ADVANCE VERSION (but with some load screens). I was in utter shock when I loaded it up and saw the high amount of pixelation that could only come from taking the small GBA image and blowing it up to TV screen size.

The 2002 date being the ONLY date on the copyright screen is another dead giveaway of this being an emulation of the GBA version (normally a previously-released game like this would have on it's copyright screen the dates of the original release and the date of this release).

Most interesting, of course, is the fact that this game was originally released way back in 1987 on various computer systems (CBM 64, IBM, Atari, and Amiga).

To better illustrate the differences, check out the screen shots of the pie throwing scenes:

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It should be noted that the NES version is the only one with the Ghostbusters II reference/joke at the beginning. This is because it was (as far as I know) the only version published by Activision, who had the Ghostbusters video game license at the time.

Tales From The Crypt - The Complete First & Second Seasons DVDs Review

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This review was originally written on September 6, 2005 (updated February 14, 2007)
Bad Security Sticker Placement, Incomplete Episodes

I've been eagerly waiting for Tales From The Crypt to come to DVD in season sets. Unfortunately, there were a few bad decisions that kinda ruins the Season 1 and Season 2 sets for me.

(1) Who's brilliant idea was it to put the security sticker BEHIND the plastic disc holder and right on top of a photo printed on paperboard? Not only was it hard to get off without breaking the case, but the sticker glue ripped off part of the photo.

(2) Each episode is INCOMPLETE, as each episode does not have it's own series intro/title sequence (which featured the journey through the house accompanied by the Danny Elfman theme). They had only one intro/title sequence for all six episodes (at the start of the disc), and they even ruined that with a "Kill Intro" graphic overlay and having it go right into the menu (technically that intro is part of the menu). There is plenty of room for each episode to have it's own intro/title, as they didn't have to cram all six episodes onto Disc 1. They could have put episodes 1-4 on Disc 1, and episodes 4 & 5 on Disc 2, along with the two Disc 2 bonus features (which only total an hour or so).

If you're curious as to why the episodes on Seasons 1 and 2 are missing the title sequence, read this article.
Tales from the Crypt - Missing intro - Studio Explains
Posted by Gord Lacey (8/27/2005)

Some fans were upset with the first season release of Tales from the Crypt because the episodes didn't feature the standard intro to the series; a journey into the creepy house, down the stairs and then an encounter with the Crypt Keeper.

I called Warner Bros to ask about season 2, and whether we'll see the intro returned to the episodes. The second season will not have the intro, so I asked why. The removal of the intro was a specific request from the producers of the series for the season 1 set. Warner went back and asked about season 2, and the producers still wish to have it removed; no further explanation could be obtained.

The intro isn't missing from the set completely; it's featured in the menu for the disc. The intro is the same for each episode as well.

(source)
What the hell were the producers thinking! Why on Earth would they make such an odd request? What benefit could they have from not having the intro at the start of each episode? The same theme and almost all of the same footage appears under the end credits, so it can't be because they don't want to pay Danny Elfman for his theme music.

The series of videotapes released by HBO Home Video and Time-Life in the mid-1990s, featured an intro/title sequence on EACH of the three episodes contained on each tape. If it was done before, there's no reason it can't be done now.

Thankfully, enough fans complained to Warner Bros. to make the producers see the error of their ways. These two problems are now only resigned to Season 1 and Season 2. For Season 3 and onward the crappy Digipak packaging was replaced with slim cases in an outer sleeve, and each episode has its own series intro/title sequence - though it's missing the first two seconds showing the text "Home Box Office Presents" (white text on a black screen) over the low whisperings of the theme song.

Moonlighting - Seasons 1 & 2 DVD Review

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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.

Penn & Teller: Bullshit - Ghostbusters Episode Review

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This review was originally written on July 29, 2005
Worst BS Episode Ever. Didn't Disprove Anything.

[2016 NOTE: When I originally wrote this review back in 2005, the "Ghost Hunters" show was in its infancy, and they actually did attempt to disprove things. The show was not the joke it would later become, which caused me to stop watching many years ago.]

As a fan of the Ghostbusters movies and animated series, and having an interest in the paranormal, I was very interested to see this episode. I was really curious as to how Penn & Teller would try to prove that ghosts/spirits don't exist, when there is lots of hard evidence to the contrary.

First, I was expecting some sort of Ghostbusters reference, especially since that was the episode title. I thought maybe we'd see Penn & Teller wearing Ghostbusters jumpsuits/uniforms or something. I was highly disappointed to find that they mentioned the word/name "ghostbusters" 8 times total, and that was it. None of it was in reference to the movie, but to the "job" itself.

As for this particular episode, I thought it was a little shortsighted of Penn & Teller to simply dismiss all paranormal studies based on the two (count 'em, TWO) groups they got on the show. I wonder if they tried to get any famous paranormal investigators on the show, but couldn't. You know, the ones you frequently see on shows like Sightings, or the two guys from Ghost Hunters. It's very well possible that they just happened to get the worst two groups in the paranormal investigator community. There are no doubt frauds in that community (as in any group of people). Maybe they just happened to get two of them.

There's a famous haunting that (I believe) was shown on Sightings called the "Heartland Ghost" (a tv movie was made based on it). It was about an entity that was leaving actual physical cuts on this guy. They filmed it while it was happening, and the cuts just appeared out of thin air. Why didn't Penn & Teller try to disprove that case? What about any of the other famous hauntings commonly shown on the ghost specials that pop up around Halloween? Winchester House? Hotel del Coronado?

Normally, I agree wholeheartedly on the topics Penn & Teller cover. I mean, really, anyone with common sense knows that the Virgin Mary doesn't REALLY appear in a grilled cheese sandwich. But for this topic, they left so many things out, that they would need much more than a half-hour, and would need to deal with famous cases, in order to prove to me that the entire "world of the paranormal" is fake.

I highly suggest avoiding this particular episode and watching *any* episode of Ghost Hunters instead. Those guys thoroughly investigate supposed hauntings, using science and experimentation, and more often than not, they deem places to NOT be haunted.

If you're interested in seeing this episode for yourself, it is available on The Complete Third Season DVD set.