Any news on Welcome Back, Kotter???

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Randy*S, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Just got the set from Shout today. Packaging is just like that of the Barney Miller set and both actually go great together on the shelf since they were the quintessential late 70s ABC videotaped sitcoms.
     
  2. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    Jack, what about the videotape quality? Does it have the smooth fluid look of videotape, like it should? What about the running times?

    Also, did you know there was a different version of the pilot episode? It was about 25:40 long, instead of 25:10 long, featured a few extra scenes, and a different opening credits sequence. It used to be on Hulu. Don't know if it still is.
     
  3. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    Mine arrived yesterday and I haven't started watching it yet.
     
  4. moviebuff75

    moviebuff75 Supporting Actor

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    I hope the show isn't cut at all. The first season was great.
     
  5. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Jumped to the first episode I wanted to watch, S3's parody of "Network" which despite its silliness is the funniest episode of the series IMO (with Horshack doing Peter Finch and Kotter doing Ned Beatty's angry rant). Videotape quality is solid and this episode was uncut. I got a reminder also how they would sometimes run short and let the end credits with the song run very long (sometimes 90 seconds).
     
  6. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    I have pre-order my set as I love Welcome Back Kotter as a kid. The only concern I have is with the later years of Welcome Back Kotter as Vinnie's character left the show and was replaced with guy name Beau. Beau's character was ok, but the beau character was no where near the following Vinnie's character had on the show.
     
  7. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    I pre-ordered (ordered?) my copy the other day, since it seems you guys have already started receiving your copies.

    Hopefully it will be shipped and arrive soon.

    Season 4 had issues, anyway, and not just because Travolta left and was replaced by Beau. If you recall, the show was still called "Welcome Back, Kotter", but Mr. Kotter appeared in something like four episodes the entire season.

    IIRC, he was off somewhere with Shirley from season 8 of Laverne and Shirley.
     
  8. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Kaplan had some kind of dispute with the producers and writers that year that resulted in him walking off. Those episdoes are indeed terrible and pretty much killed the show even on Nick at Nite as well.
     
  9. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Cinematographer

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    Oops! Wrong thread...
     
  10. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    I remember that. They only went through, what, one or two runthroughs of the show and dumped it?

    That was where I first saw it (and taped it). But soon after, it was gone. I don't even think it made it very far into 1996.

    I always had a soft spot for season 4, though. It made me a fan of trainwreck final seasons of shows where things go so horribly wrong you can't help but watch. And that's why I'm thrilled the complete Facts of Life is coming from Shout... we get the trainwreck Beverly Ann years. :lol:
     
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  11. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    A couple of interesting things regarding season 2:

    1) "Sadie Hawkins Day" features a then-unknown Dinah Manoff (Lee Grant's daughter) a year before she and John starred in Grease.

    2) Part 2 of the one-hour special, "There Goes Number 5", was tape a good while before part 1 ("Has Anybody Seen Arnold?"). For reaons I do not know why.
     
  12. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    Set arrived in the mail today

    First impressions... packaging looks nice. I like the interior of the case being designed like a school textbook. And the case and box designs are way better than WB's S1 attempt all those years ago.

    Each set is spread over four discs, so the episodes aren't crammed on there like Sony shows.

    I'm surprised there was no essay in the booklet, but hey, as long as the episode descriptions are in there, I can live without anything extra.

    And on another topic entirely... I think Kotter completes the Nick at Nite 1995 line-up on DVD.
     
  13. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    Well, I'm hobbling toward the end of Kotter.... have something like 6 episodes left. For once, I'm done with a series I paid to get before the wide release date.

    Man, I didn't remember the fourth season being quite such a chore to watch when it was on Nick at Nite. Mr. Kotter is sorely missed.

    However, John Travolta has been in more episodes, and the focus of more episodes, than I remembered. He was essentially still a regular, just with a special billing because he was famous. But Gabe Kaplan? I think he's been in only four or five episodes out of the first 18, and has one appearance coming up at Horshack's wedding.

    Overall, seasons 1 and 2 were great, season 3 was a mixed bag, and season 4... yeah.

    As for things like picture quality, Seasons 2-4 don't look too bad. Season 3 had one disc where Shout apologized for any picture imperfections or tape hits, but that was about it. Pretty much all episodes are over 25 minutes, with the occasional one in the high 24s... and some of them originally ran so short the closing theme plays all the way through, long after credits have stopped rolling.
     
  14. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    IMHO I was not impressed with Beau being added. I felt him to fake and did not really fit into the sweathogs.

    Yes, John Travolta came back as an orderly at a hospitals as way to boost ratings.
     
  15. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    I just found out my set will be delayed due to shortage of sets. I have contacted amazon.ca as such they told me my set would be shipped out September 16-October 2 time frame. I also called Amazon.ca to vent my concern as my last few pre-orders have been delayed as such I had concerns with "Batman" and "WKRP" sets as they will have a larger following than "Welcome Back, Kotter" would reach me on the order date!
     
  16. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    I got my set today! The first thing I notice from S1 that I purchased years back that the pilot is shown as the 1st episode in the complete series as compare to S1 were it was shown as 3rd episode.

    The box cover is solid as it is like the Barney Miller set that was made cardboard.
     
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  17. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    Well, I'm on the final disc of the series and boy has this show gone down hill. In my opinion it wasn't that great to begin with, but it has really taken a nose dive in the final season. What a train wreck. It was nice of Travolta to attempt to fulfill his contract with the series and not just up and leave because he became a big movie star. By the way, you can tell he lost a lot of weight compared to seasons 1-3. However, his appearances just seemed forced and not natural at all.

    While I've never been that big of a fan of Gabe Kaplan, his absence is really felt. The show has just lost focus. In seasons 2 and 3 the show started to have some genuine emotional appeal. I started to actually care for the characters and the show did make me laugh out loud several times. Most of the character catch phrases were used less and less as seasons 2 and 3 went along.

    Julie and Mr. Woodman just can't carry the show. Mr. Woodman now behaves totally out of character from the way he was portrayed in the first three seasons. While he did grow to...well not exactly like the Sweathogs, but he did at least tolerate them. In season 4 Woodman went so far as to buy Vinnie Barbarino (and the other Sweathogs) a Christmas present. Totally not believable. There were a few other instances of this odd behavior, but I can't recall any off the top of my head.

    And Julie is a poor substitute for Mr. Kotter. You can tell 90% of her scenes were written for Kaplan and she's just filling in.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I have the series and I have enjoyed it more than I thought I would. This last season is just a mess. Characters behaving out of character. Actors who were way too old to be playing High School Seniors. Actors missing in action and secondary characters poorly attempting to fill the void and acting out of character. Just a disaster. I guess ABC knew the show was sunk once Travolta made it big in the movies and just kept it around to try and cash in on his success. A sad down turn for what was becoming a decent series. It was only a mediocre show to begin with, but it was getting better by the middle of the second season and it continued to improve into the third season.
     
  18. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I guess that last season really did hurt the show's reputation and made it difficult to syndicate. Chico and the Man, James Komack's other hit show, met a similar fate after the same amount of time for different — albeit more tragic — reasons.
     
  19. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    Yeah, Chico and the Man is another series that took a serious nose dive. While it wasn't the writers fault, NBC should have told the producers that there just wasn't any reason to carry on once Freddie Prinze was gone. Yeah, it too lost its focus and just sort of spun out of control. Sad.

    Unlike most people, I did like the character of Beau on Kotter, but he just never seemed to fit in with the rest. He always looked out of place. A little too neat and proper to be a Sweathog.
     
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  20. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    I was nine years-old when Kotter started and man, did I LOVE that show! But even my pre-adolescent fandom couldn't withstand the last couple of seasons. I'll probably get this set eventually, but my wallet can only take so much this fall.

    I'm still hopeful that we'll get a full series release of Chico & The Man someday as that was another childhood favorite.
     

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