HTF REVIEW Golden Girls (Season Two)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by DaViD Boulet, May 16, 2005.

  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    [​IMG]

    The
    GoldenGirls

    The Complete Second Season
    Studio:Touchstone Television Year:1986 RunTime:650 minutes (25 episodes)Aspect Ratio:4x3 encoded 1.33:1 OAR Audio:2.0 DD English (mono) SpecialFeatures:Trivia Game ReleaseDate:May 17, 2005





    Preface...


    The Second Season has arrived!


    The review thread for Season one can be found here:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=217832
    and I encourage anyone interested in this series to take a look—there is lots of great HTF discussion in the thread)



    Feature...

    (forgive me for repeating my synopsis from Season One…)

    The Golden Girls is a very special television series; It’s well written, expertly acted, uproariously funny, and is built on a somewhat risk-taking premise -- the experiences of three senior-aged women cohabitating together, sharing in the events of one another’s daily life. On paper it would seem a sparse foundation upon which to build a humorous, let alone engaging, series. Yet The Golden Girls demonstrates that good characters and a good script can park us on the sofa and motivate us to learn to program the VCR. Beatrice Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty not only reward us with endless stomach-grabbing laughter…they also portray characters that at times feel so real and touching, that the effect is quite poignant, even moving.

    Of course no TV show is perfect…so don’t go expecting miracles. But just ask any fan of the show and they’ll have little difficulty letting you know that this series well-deserved the Emmy Award it received its first season for “Outstanding Comedy Series”. Now if only they would release Designing Women on DVD…



    Packaging & Presentation...

    The Second Season of The Golden Girls comes in a handsome fold-out cardboard case that fits nicely into an outer box-sleeve. The inner jacket that houses the three DVDs folds out into three sections. The packaging format then gets a little unorthodox: rather than each fold-out section securing a disc, the first section lists the complete contents of each disc, the third fold-out section holds disc “one”, and the middle section holds both disc two and three in such a way that disc two overlaps disc three and needs to be lifted out to gain access to the third disc. You’ll see what I mean when you get it. Not an obstacle but a little odd to have to remove two discs at a time when you wish to view contents on the third disc. The programs on each disc are also nicely printed on the silkscreen art each disc making it easy to see just what you’re getting into before the disc ends up wasting time loading in player.

    Also worth mentioning is that each episode is preceded and followed by what appears to be its original opening and closing sequence, and the shows also appear to be unedited—these are the full-length original versions.



    Picture...


    What did you expect. Shot on analog video in the mid 1980’s before there was even a consciousness about a potential post-airwaves life for sitcoms such as this, the image quality of The Golden Girls is somewhat wanting…at least on a 106 inch screen. [​IMG]

    Detail is…or the better way to phrase it is “Detail is not”. The detail, by definition, must be better than the VHS recording you made off of cable…but not by much. But then again I don’t think that the creators of this program were aiming for large-screen front-projection systems when they envisioned the show. Colors are somewhat drab, though flesh-tones are soothingly comfortable. Contrast seems generally relaxed and the picture lacks dynamic snap. Even if none of this is contradicting your expectations I think it is fair to mention these things because there are television shows, shot on video, from the same or earlier era that hold up quite well (The Muppet Show series, for instance, looks remarkably detailed, crisp, with gorgeously saturated colors and solid black-level and dynamic range). One gets the distinct impression that this DVD edition is being faithful to the source, so what I’m really describing for you is the quality of the image of the video medium on which it was recorded. I’m curious to see if shows from the later seasons “clear up” from what the first season reveals.

    A disappointment? Not at all. We knew what we were getting…this was a 1980’s sitcom and the series on this DVD looks better than it ever has before to any consumer audience. And no commercials!



    Picture Quality: 2.5 / 5

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    Sound...

    Note: Season Two is also in MONO!!!

    The audio is presented in 2.0 and sounds as if it is mono (depending on the way your decoder processes such audio you may hear it play through your L/R speakers or your processor may process it like traditional surround which will send all the audio information to the center channel). I've heard reports that the show was supposed to have stereo…those of you better informed than I please comment.



    Sound Quality: 2.5 / 5

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]




    Special Features...



    You get one whopping trivia-game. It’s actually fun. But it sure doesn’t make up for all the special feature content that could have been a part of this set. What gives? And such great extras on Scrubs! I was hoping that BV would have responded to consumer disappointment in the lack of SE content on the first season set but I guess not.


    All Together...


    Fans know they have to get it. Picture quality is as good as the source material can allow, though there is still the question about the mono audio (fans swear that the show was broadcast in stereo…some even have stereo-taped copies on VHS…what gives???) and the lack of extras is a disappointment. But if you can get this set on sale, here’s your chance to own the complete second season un-edited for syndication.

    Your comments are welcome…
     
  2. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Well when you have a commentary like the one from Joan and Melissa Rivers on season 1, perhaps fewer extras is not necessarily a bad thing...afterall the more extras the more chances they have to screw something up...sorry that commentary was just that awful.

    Anyway thanks for the review DaViD.
     
  3. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    I'm looking forward to getting this tommorow! Thanks for the nice review, David.

    Andy
     
  4. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    Thanks for the review David. I am stunned and angry that they didn't do anything about the 1st season and reissue this in stereo, and even more angry about the 2nd season. I made a complaint to Bueva Vista, and they emailed me back (right after the 1st season came out) and wanted me to call them and explain this. The man I talked too was very friendly and seemed concerned that a mistake was made. He said they will be contacting me with a response (supposedly in February 2005) after the pressing facilities and tech department investigated the issue. There was no call in February, so when I called in March they said they would be contacting me by the end of March. Nothing yet. And we all know it was an error, because part of one episode on the first set changes over to stereo for a minute.

    I think it's sad that I can turn on Lifetime TV and see every episode in stereo from season 1 (Just turn on Lifetime and watch any of these episodes, full stereo). When we spend 30 to 40.00 for a tv show on dvd, it should be the best available. Granted, there's not alot of stereo information on the Golden Girls, but the themes, the audience, and any musical numbers were always stereo.

    Thanks Buena Vista, for giving us a 2nd hand transfer for the second time. Here's the link to complain directly, I hope everyone makes a report, maybe there is a small chance this will be the last mistake on the entire set:

    http://disney.go.com/disneyvideos/dvdsupport/
     
  5. DavidBC

    DavidBC Second Unit

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    I had thought that I could put off buying this set for a while, waiting until a more financially opportune time :b , but there's just no way! I'm leaving to go get it right now.
     
  6. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    David, honestly, you could have said this set is the worst thing ever produced and everyone in the world should boycott it and I would still buy it. It's on my list of things to do tomorrow.
     
  7. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    I've started to delve into my set, and while I love having the original full length un-cut episodes - the lack of a stereo soundtrack is extremely noticable to me! It just sounds flat.

    Andy
     
  8. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    Andrew, I have to fully agree. I just started playing these and they sound very flat. I did NOT buy the set, a friend did. I can't understand what's happening over at Disney dvd that they aren't presenting the stereo versions, especially at a retail price of 49.95 a set. The extras are pretty nill too, considering what Disney does have in their vaults with this tv show. I have a friend who was working for Buena Vista for some time and in the replies to the review on HTF of the first set, I presented a list of items they do have, hours and hours worth of interviews, promotions, outtakes, everything is there.

    What was really sad for me was turning on Lifetime the last few days and seeing episodes from the 2nd season set, in FULL STEREO. Not only the theme and end titles, but all of the audience is in stereo, and all of the underscore.

    While I think everyone has the right to do as they please and some people may not be happy with this remark, but it is my opinion....those of us who keep purchasing something sub-standard like this, when they charge us 49.95 retail per set, and reduce the soundtrack to mono, is only saying to Buena Vista that no one really cares, so why invest more in 2 channels of audio or the costs it may be to do it the way it was originally presented! I will not purchase any Golden Girls DVD sets in mono. The first I purchased because it says STEREO on the back. That one was mono too.

    I may seem like I am blowing this out of proportion, but when it's one of my favorite tv shows ever, I anxiously awaited prestine versions, and got mono soundtracks.
     
  9. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    This time the packaging actually states "mono" on the specs list...so at least it's not misadvertising.

    But that's no excuse if real stereo sources exist.

    I'm going to do my part and contact those that I can at Disney to figure out what's up with the mono sound.

    I encourage everyone who cares about this, and other programs from Buena Vista to do the same.
     
  10. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    David, thanks for taking some extra time to investigate. This morning I watched on Lifetime one of the episodes from season 2 set, in full stereo, and the sound was actually very good, clear and very separated.

    I've contacted 10 of the Golden Girls web sites and they are going to help me by posting this entire situation and the link to Disney dvd to make a complaint. Some of these groups and clubs have over a thousand people, so hopefully we can get future sets in stereo by letting Disney know, we DO notice, meanwhile I fear we're stuck with mono at least for the first 2 seasons.
     
  11. JeffWld

    JeffWld Stunt Coordinator

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    Considering that the original NTSC spec was never designed to be displayed on anything larger than a 26" set, this is definitely the case.
     
  12. R. Kay

    R. Kay Second Unit

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    Not that Blanche could be any hotter in Mono, but can you imagine how ultra-hot she'd be in Stereo?
     
  13. Steve JD

    Steve JD Stunt Coordinator

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    I hope everyone who cares will take the time to complain to B.V.
    If we don't, we are in for 7 seasons of Golden Girls in big fat Mono...
    And please ask for decent extras. Thanks.
     
  14. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    Steve, I just called today because I made a complaint when the first set came out, they are supposed to call me back but said there were no notes on my complaint. For anyone who wishes to make a complaint on the mono sound, here is the phone number of Buena Vista Home Video Tech support, they will make a full report of this. Please remember to state that you have heard the same episodes in stereo, and that on the season 1 set, on disc 3 there is an episode that switches to stereo for about a minute, proving there has been technical problems. Phone number is 1-800-477-2811, 9:30-6:30 CST,Monday-Friday.

    Let's all work together to at least get the final 5 sets in stereo..the more complaints, the better the chance, maybe even a repressing of the first 2? .thanks
     
  15. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Hey, at least we didn't get round 2 of Joan and Melissa! :puke:
     
  16. Ryan Wishton

    Ryan Wishton Screenwriter

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    Yes, I have to say Mono makes no sense. It's not like the stereo tracks are MIA. They are heard everyday.
     
  17. Steve JD

    Steve JD Stunt Coordinator

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    ARGH!! There are no chapter stops in Season 2!
    @*#$%?!!!
    Every episode in Season 1 is loaded with chapter stops but there are none for Season 2.

    What is going on at BV home video?!! It seems they have the St-Olaf village idiots in charge of quality control. If there is something convenient for TV shows on DVD, it's to be able to press a button to instantly skip the opening credits if you feel like it.

    Season 2 is more expensive than Season 1 (got both at Wal-Mart), yet there are less features, and they are giving it to us in Mono ON PURPOSE!!! I was watching this on TV in stereo 20 years ago, but we are not able to get in stereo on DVD in 2005, even though it still broadcast in stereo every day. Why, Why, Why??!!
     
  18. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Because Disney has no regard for its FIRST EVER SUCCESSFUL TV SITCOM or its fans. Just be glad we get uncut shows, as it is NOT broadcast uncut at all (at least in North America), nor has it been since the network run.

    Those NBC "In Stereo Where Available" tags on the network run (Punky Brewster S2 has them on 2 shows, and the sound there is flat and distorted and mono, too) weren't just there for show. I think I might have some tapes of this show from about 10 years ago when my CBS station ran it, before Lifetime's exclusive contract began, and they were stereo.

    I can just see what they'll do for season 3: Take the mono tracks and create a fake 5.1 "stereo" sound, like they did for many of their mono movies (all of the Vault Disney discs, for instance).
     
  19. Steve JD

    Steve JD Stunt Coordinator

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    You are right, they really DON'T seem to have any regard. "Let's just dump this on DVD any which way to make some fast cash, and who cares if we do a half-assed job?!"

    Now I don't want to get rid of all my VHS tapes of Golden Girls because they sound so much better. Even the pilot episode was stereo! But of course they are not the uncut versions... Oh well, I guess I'll keep just one tape to remind myself of just how good they used to sound compared to the DVDs.
     
  20. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I don't get it either. It's like these studios do these things purposely just to piss off the fans.

    It would be so simple to fix these issues, but no one cares.
     

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