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This review is from: The Hardy Boys: Season 3 (DVD)
The long-awaited Season Three release, that contains the best episode of the whole series, "Last Kiss of Summer, long available only through *cough cough* other sources *cough cough*! Season Three gives us the Hardy Boys, grown up. The writing improved, the acting improved, the brothers were placed in more dangerous & more serious situations -- gone were the cheesy voodoo & flying saucer cases. Instead, we get Frank & Joe helping a scared woman defect to the West, rescuing a woman about to sold by pirates, Joe going on a rampage of revenge to avenge his fiance's death, Frank going deep undercover to bring down a financial scam...and Frank being shown to have severe issues with his constant role of gaining someone's trust, only to break it...
The changes to season three confused a lot of the show's teenage fans at the time, but re-watching them now, as an adult, one can see the potential that ABC had for the series...and lost by cancelling it. This will be a worthy finish to the Hardy Boys Mysteries.
A quick word about "Last Kiss of Summer": Some fans didn't like it, as it involved Joe having a fiance' (who gets killed in the first ten minutes of the ep anyway) -- since Joe was played by teen idol Shaun Cassidy, who had just gotten married in real life, you can imagine how the hordes of teeny-bop fans reacted to the thought that Shaun was no longer theirs. I stand by my assessment: the acting is tone-perfect (Shaun in particular does a stand-out job of showing the dark side of Joe Hardy), the writing is great, and we're shown the brothers becoming seriously cool & dangerous. ESPECIALLY Joe.
I can overlook the bit about the shark, really. Seriously. It was a small misstep, and it's followed by Frank's blow-up at Joe, with a solid, well-deserved punch -- Frank says "nothing personal" when he and Joe are talking later, but it's obvious from Frank's tone: he did mean it. Joe had crossed lines, trampled on-going investigations, cut himself off from family & his brother; it took his brother to shock him back to reality.
Okay, I'm raving. I like the ep that much.
Anyway, Frank get his Cool & Dangerous in Scorpion's Sting & Game Plan...in SPADES. Scorpion's Sting starts it, but Game Plan just brings down the house. Game Plan involves a securities plot in Atlantic City, NJ, with Frank going deep undercover to bring it down, and the ep leaves you wondering if Frank really has abandoned his brother...and THEN wondering if Frank would've followed through with the abandonment if the villain had taken just one small step. The ep is Parker's bravura performance of the show.
Episode list, if Shout! follows the actual season:
1. Last Kiss of Summer (2 parter)
2. Assault on the Tower
3. Search for Atlantis
4. Dangerous Waters
5. Scorpion's Sting
6. Defection to Paradise (2 parter)
7. Game Plan
8. Life on the Line
Edit: Okay, now that I've gotten the actual DVD and can review the DVD (instead of the eps based on the dubs I've gotten from other sources)...
The DVD is NOT from the original show masters. It is from "best available video sources" (read: syndication dubs from Nick at Nite or Disney Channel). The video quality is much better than the dubs that are out there from *cough cough* other sources *cough cough*, but still a bit on the grainy side, faded & not as sharp -- THAT is Shout's fault, because I was able to improve the color & sharpness even more on my own, just using the simple controls on my computer's DVD software. Shout, c'mon, a remaster means you improve the vid quality to the best you can!
On top of that, these are the versions that have been playing off & on in syndication on channels like Nick, Disney, Antenna, etc. They are NOT the full episodes...and in a couple cases, not even the full episode of a syndication edit. Chunks of the eps are missing, and haven't been restored; typical network shows are 50 min long, allowing 10 min. for commercials (all S1 & S2 eps are 50 min, for example); all the S3 eps are 45-46 min.
It makes for some very jarring edit-transitions between scenes; it's far too obvious when scenes are left out or edited away. Some of the eps have crucial scenes cut out (Scorpion's Sting, in particular, suffers; actors make reference to other scenes and plot points that we don't get to see); Game Plan has the entire opening sequence lopped off (where Joe captures one of the bad guys at an airport). I nearly tossed the DVD across the room at that point -- luckily, I still have those "other source" dubs WITH that scene in it (Disney Channel dub). So I know that the dub exists; did Shout only have access to Nick at Nite?
Now, to give Shout the benefit of a doubt, there was a fire at Universal Studios back in 2008, where a lot of masters were lost; likely the syndication dubs are now the only ones that exist. To the good, the eps here are still much better quality that the "other sources"; the picture is mostly clear with few artifacts, and what video problems I noted can be easily rectified using sharpness/saturation controls available in most DVD-player software. Sound quality is definitely much improved. With that in mind, yes, the DVD is worth the $16 to fans of the show, fans of the Hardy Boys in general, & fans of the two male leads.
To the bad, though: Shout could've done a lot BETTER on the re-mastering; the color is still faded and washed out, the picture gets decidedly grainy in spots, and the sound does drop out (notably in Assault on the Tower, where an entire scene sounds like it was sound-recorded from a distance in an echoey bathroom). These are the syndication edits, not the full original versions, with pieces & needed scenes chopped out (again, not Shout's fault, if that was the best they had to work with).
If there is ANYONE out there with full versions, please please PLEASE make them available, somehow....
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 27, 2012 6:23:56 AM PST
Lisa Heskett says:
I really enjoyed reading this well-written review! Thanks so much!
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 1:51:48 PM PST
Love the enthusiasm. But I think reviews should come after the product is actually observed. I do hope it actually does merit 5 stars. Only time will tell.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2013 8:02:42 AM PST
Eric Pregosin says:
As has been stated before by some DVD collectors, including someone with a HUGE library from Maryland whose name escapes me at the moment ;-), the preorder review is based on the content of the set known from the memories of one who saw the series elsewhere (in this case TV). While it is true that the review of the physical condition of the discs (which belongs elsewhere than this section anyway) is best left for after the street date, if you know something about the content from previous viewings, then sharing ahead of time helps the rest of us decide if it is worth buying or not.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2013 8:49:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2013 8:53:24 AM PST
Good thoughts. I guess it depends on why one consults these product reviews. I always pretty much know WHAT I am purchasing. I'm unsure, beforehand, of video and audio and packaging, etc.. We all know quality can vary greatly. Thanks for the cool post. One other quick note...it's really disappointing that music rights cause re-doing some classic TV shows like WKRP, isn't it? I hope none of the Hardy Boys episodes fall victim to that....I doubt it. The main problem is when multiple artists' tunes are on the original soundtracks. I'll bet most folks agree with me that TV and movie videos serve us best when original EVERYTHING is preserved! Cheers,my fellow fan of classic TV.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2013 12:01:51 AM PST
Paul J. Mular says:
The Hardy Boys season 2 had music changes to incidental music, but when the songs were integral to the plot, the rights were cleared.
For instance, in H.B. & N.D. MEET DRACULA, all of the important music performed in the concert festival were cleared and included, but some music that was performed by street musicians at the beginning of the episode was changed to generic music to save the costs of additional music clearances. I would think all of the songs performed by BREAD will be included in DEFECTION TO PARADISE.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2013 12:37:34 AM PST
Thanks. Great post. Very informative and helpful.
Posted on Jan 22, 2013 3:20:38 PM PST
Le Stryge says:
Excuse me, ....but your (ahem), ..."enthusiasm" is showing....!
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2013 6:22:30 AM PST
Jack, I've got the S3 eps from those "other sources", so I CAN review those eps and talk about them as I've currently seen them.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2013 6:24:33 AM PST
Jack, I suspect that was part of the problem with why S3 has taken so long -- David Gates & Bread's music are all through S3, and Bread & Gates star in two of the eps (Defection to Paradise). Music Rights are even more tangled & nonsensical than regular performance rights, I swear.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2013 6:25:41 AM PST
The phrase is "HELL YEAH". :)