Updated on April 11, 2010.
I have not yet received the AS&J Seasons 2 and 3 DVD set that I ordered from Amazon (because the official release date has not yet arrived). However, I do have a copy of this set that I purchased at a brick and mortar store.
The video and audio quality is excellent! This is the first time that I’ve seen a bright, vivid, clear version of the second season opener “The Day They Hanged Kid Curry” since 1971! It is absolutely wonderful. The other episodes are great, too. The recordings on the DVDs appear to be the wonderfully remastered versions of the 50-minute episodes that Starz Encore Westerns aired on TV from 2005-2007.
Since the Amazon listing does not provide much detail at present, here’s what the set contains. There are 35 episodes on 6 DVDs. All have 6 episodes per DVD except the first one, which include the 75-minute episode “The Day They Hanged Kid Curry.” There are no “extras” on the DVDs. The DVDs are in three black plastic cases and the entire set is in a cardboard case. I think that the case graphics are gorgeous. There is a great picture of Heyes and Curry on the front (which can be seen at the website for Timeless Media Group, who was licensed from Universal Studios to put out the DVDs). On the back of the black cases, there is a short description of each episode. The descriptions are helpful, although they aren’t always totally accurate (e.g., the blonde female character in “Only Three to a Bed” wasn’t married as the box says). The show’s description on the back on the main cardboard case also has some errors (e.g., AS&J originally aired on ABC, not NBC). But, this certainly does not take away from the wonderful DVDs.
“Alias Smith and Jones” is my favorite TV show of all time. I’m an original fan from 1971. The series is a wonderful mix of charm, action, humor, and wit. It has held up over time extremely well. I am very happy that all 50 episodes are now available on commercial DVD sets.
Thank you to Timeless Media Group and Universal Studios for this wonderful release. I’m sure that it will be a big hit with fans of “Alias Smith and Jones.” I hope that this release and its availability at Amazon.com will cause new people to discover this wonderful show.
Edited on April 11, 2010: Now that I have had time to watch more of the DVDs, I have a few comments to add.
The second reviewer questioned whether these episodes were remastered. I believe that they are the remastered versions which aired on Starz Encore Westerns from 2005-2007 (except with more file compression, as I’ll mention below). For example, take the scene from “Smiler with a Gun” where Heyes and Curry find Seth’s body in the desert. In the original films, including the unremastered version airing online at Hulu (Hulu appears to be airing a remastered season 1, but unremastered seasons 2 and 3), there’s a boom mike hanging over Heyes and Curry as they discuss the dead Seth. This boom mike is gone from the remastered episode that aired on Encore Westerns. It is also missing from the commercial DVDs, showing that they were remastered. However, even on the remastered prints, there are flaws in frames of the film in the stock desert footage; the remastering was not perfect and some episodes look better than others.
Also, it’s obvious that the second season opener, “The Day They Hanged Kid Curry,” was not remastered at the same time as the other episodes. This episode originally aired in a 90-minute timeslot and was not shown on Encore Westerns in 2005-2007, when they aired remastered versions of the 48 episodes that originally aired in 60-minute timeslots. “They Day They Hanged Kid Curry” that is on the commercial DVDs has very vivid colors (sometimes too vivid, which I compensated for by setting down the chroma on my TV), with more color saturation than the other episodes. It was remastered, but probably by a different person than remastered the other episodes. (By the way, I have 5 versions of this episode that were recorded from TV to VCR over the past 25 years and the version on the commercial DVD set is far better than any of them-with brighter colors and a sharper picture. For me, just getting a good version of “They Day They Hanged Kid Curry” was worth the price of the DVD set.)
In 2005, I recorded all of the 50-minute AS&J episodes at the highest quality homemade DVD mode from digital cable TV when they aired on Starz Encore Westerns. My personal recordings have a picture quality that is somewhat sharper than those on the commercial DVDs. As for the color and audio of the commercial DVDs, both are excellent, although I do occasionally see a faint purple band running vertically through the commercial versions on some episodes that I don’t see in my own recordings from Encore (e.g., the initial chase scene in “The Posse That Wouldn’t Quit”). This may be a…
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When I learned that season 2 and 3 of Alias Smith and Jones was coming out on DVD, I was ecstatic!! I grabbed my credit card and went straight to Amazon to put in a pre-order. When I recieved my DVD set yesterday……….well……I was a bit disappointed. Although I am happy to have the shows on DVD, the packaging and treatment of this timelss Western classic is horrible.
First of all, the packaging is terrible! ASJ aired on ABC not NBC. There does not need to be a peacock on the top of the box–that is not the Universal Studios Logo, it is the NBC logo and although Universal and NBC are now part of the same company, the logos are definitely different. The notes on the dvds are not much better. Mistakes are made constantly. Possibly the worst mistake is not knowing which actor played which part. Pete Duel was not Kid Curry and to say that Roger Davis took over the role of Curry shows how little work and editing went into this project.
The menu does play the ASJ theme(the one used with the end credits), but instead of ending it at the end of the music, the track includes the Universal trademark music. When I heard this, I honestly thought that I had purchased a bootleg copy.
In fact, the entire set seems like a bootleg. It is definitely not up to the DVD set Universal produced in 2007.
The quality of “The Day They Hanged Kid Curry” was almost unwatchable. It looked as if they quickly transferred it from film to DVD, without any thought to re-mastering. The other episodes seem like the ones that aired on the Western Channel in 2005.
Although I am happy to have this series on DVD, I am extremely disappointed with both the packaging and the quality of the episodes. No one should pay over $20 for this set. If you taped the shows previously, you probably have better quality copies.
3.5 stars. While I’m glad to have the rest of this series, and while the episodes are watchable in terms of sound and picture quality, they were not cleaned up much, if at all (I am watching on a 42 inch LCD). I got my set for less than $20 at Sam’s and so feel like I got a good deal in terms of what I paid. But I am disappointed in the picture quality overall. Though they cram a lot of episodes on each disc (and it is strange that the discs are not numbered), compression doesn’t seem the big problem (slow drifting smoke doesn’t present a lot of artifacts)–the problem is less-than-pristine prints. If you’re a fan of the series, I’d recommend paying no more than $20 because the picture quality doesn’t warrant more. But great to have these wonderful shows. This set isn’t bad, and it’s certainly better than having nothing, it’s just hard to go from the season one set to this for me personally.