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HTF REVIEW: "All In The Family" The Complete Second Season (with screenshots)


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#1 of 19 Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 06 2003 - 10:58 AM

Posted Image

All In The Family
The Complete Second Season







Studio: Columbia
Year: 1971-1972
Rated: NR
Film Length: 528 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
Subtitles: English and Spanish




All in the Family was simultaneously the most
popular and controversial show of the 1970's.
The show used controversial themes such as
sexuality and race relations to make a middle
ground for the show's story lines. The show
was actually based on a British Sitcom, "Till
Death Do Us Part", created by Johnny Speight.
When writer and director Norman Lear saw "Till
Death Do Us Part", he decided that if this
could be done for British TV, it could be done
for American TV too.

All in the Family effectively tackled issues
previously never discussed in situation comedies
before it. None of it would have been possible
if not for the perfect portrayal of Archie Bunker
by Carroll O'Connor, who plays off his loving,
understanding wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), whose
kindness and tolerance is a perfect contrast to
Archie's ignorance and bigotry. The show was an
instant lightning rod for controversy but went
on to earn the comedy Emmy Award in its first year.
By its second year, the show ran away with a whopping
7 Emmy Awards that included Outstanding Series.
By the beginning of 1972, an estimated 50 million
people a week were tuning in.

Posted ImagePosted Image

Following in the footsteps of the The Complete
First Season
, Columbia has just released The
Complete Second Season
which arrives in a
slipcovered 3-pane gatefold cardboard enclosure
with 3 DVDs set in plastic hub housing. A total of
24 episodes are presented here, uncut.

Posted Image

Inside the gatefold enclosure is a small paper
booklet that contains a synopsis for each episode
as well as credits for the writers and directors.
Unfortunately, what we do not get is original
air dates.

It's surprising to note that the episodes
presented here are not in order of original air
date, but rather what seems to be production date.

I sampled three episodes -- one from each disc (and
all personal favorites) -- in order to judge the
quality of this release.

Posted Image

Gloria Poses In The Nude
Mike's old friend Szabo (David Soul) comes to
town for an art show. He's an artist whose talent
is painting nudes. When Archie takes a look at
some of his artwork, he isn't very appreciative
of what he sees. He becomes even more unappreciative
when he learns that Szabo wants to paint his
daughter Gloria in the nude. Gloria excitedly
agrees to model much to the initial support of her
husband Mike. However, as time goes on, Mike
begins to have second thoughts.

Posted Image

Cousin Maude's Visit
Everyone in the family is sick, that is, except
Edith who is running around catering to everyone's
demands. When the flu overruns the household,
Edith calls on Cousin Maude to help out, much to
the discouragement of Archie. When Maude finally
arrives, the mudslinging begins in what has got
to be one of the best set of angry verbal exchanges
in the entire series.

Posted Image

Sammy's Visit
Archie is moonlighting at night as a cab driver
and ends up giving a ride to none other than Sammy
Davis Jr. When Sammy leaves his briefcase in the
cab, Archie offers Sammy to stop by the house to
pick it up. As usual, Archie displays his ignorance
and bigotry, but Sammy plays along. Truly one of
the best shows of the entire series!


How is the transfer?

Posted ImagePosted Image

Looking back on my review of The Complete First
Season
, I rated the overall transfer as being
pretty lackluster. As a matter of fact, I went
on to say, "this is one of the worst DVD television
transfers I have seen to date."

Well folks, things have significantly improved with
The Complete Second Season. Picture looks
much sharper with far better overall color stability
(the FIRST SEASON had a lot of color bleeding).
Colors still look rather dull here. Mind you,
nothing is perfect here as picture is still rather
soft and there appears to be a small amount of
background shimmer in props and furniture. That
green tinge is also still evident with a noticeable
amount of background grain in many shots. All of
this, of course, is the fault of the original
videotape source.

The mono sound still sounds harsh, but I never
really sensed any over modulation. I did notice the
introduction of hiss as I nudged the volume control
higher, though it never became bothersome.


Special Features

There are none.

Let me use this space to address the fact that
Columbia has not introduced chapter stops in any
of these episodes, a concern that was brought to
their attention upon the release of The Complete
First Season
.


Final Thoughts


By the time the second series had premiered some
32 years ago, the show was in full swing. Jean
Stapleton had turned Edith from a passive housewife
into one of the most vibrant characters ever created.
Yessiree, the Bunkers were becoming established as
one of the most beloved families in television history.

This second season contains some of the best shows
of its entire 9-year run -- some of which I have
mentioned above. Above most others, this is the
season you should own!


Release Date: NOW


All screen captures have been further compressed.
They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
represent actual picture quality

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 19 Andrew Budgell

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Posted February 06 2003 - 11:14 AM

Quote:
Maureen Stapelton had turned


Her name is actually Jean Stapelton.

Andy

#3 of 19 Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 06 2003 - 11:20 AM

Andrew,

Boy, that mistake was embedded in there.

Next time please send this sort of correction
to me via email. It's less embarrasing! Posted Image

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#4 of 19 Beast

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Posted February 06 2003 - 11:42 AM

Thanks for the excellent review, Ron. This was a must buy for me, and it was nice to see a better packaging and price then on the first season release. Posted Image

Can someone check an episode for me, I want to make sure that it's the actual episode and not an error on my DVD. Disc 2 - Episode 9 "The Blockbuster"

At the 06:40 point in the episode, when Edith and Archie are sitting and looking thru travel brouchers, there seems to be large patches of bad jittery lines going thru the picture. It's a bit hard to explain, but it lasts the whole scene. It's really noticable when the camera switches to "Meathead" and he says that "California is just as bad as New York". You can see really bad jittery distortion in the plates on the table. Posted Image
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#5 of 19 Roy Van Nostrand

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Posted February 06 2003 - 01:06 PM

Nice review ...as usual. It brings releases I'd otherwise dismiss to my attention. Thanks.

The series is time capsule material.
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#6 of 19 Ron Kaye

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Posted February 06 2003 - 03:28 PM

Nice review

And ... Nice Carpeting!

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#7 of 19 David Von Pein

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Posted February 06 2003 - 03:52 PM

Ron E. wrote.....

Quote:
Boy, that mistake [Maureen Stapelton] was embedded in there.
Oops again, Ron!
Another correction is still required.
Should be Stapleton, not Stapelton. Posted Image

(Don't ya hate it when somebody spells your name wrong? Posted Image)

#8 of 19 David Von Pein

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Posted February 06 2003 - 04:07 PM

Quote:
Can someone check an episode for me, I want to make sure that it's the actual episode and not an error on my DVD. Disc 2 - Episode 9 "The Blockbuster"

Hi Mike.
I just took a gander at my copy.
Yep, you're correct...some wavy horizontal lines going through the image for a couple of minutes. Not TOO distracting, but they're indeed visible. So it must be inherent to the source material, and not JUST your disc.

This 2nd Season of AITF just might (arguably, natch) be one of the BEST single seasons of a sitcom ever put on the boob-tube!

So many Classics in there. .... Elevator Story, Sammy Davis, Cousin Oscar, Maude, Edith's Accident, Mike Meets Archie, and Man In The Street. They're all great shows!

The writing is amazing for these episodes! .......

"I tell yas'all how to eliminate the skyjackings there. ... You simply ARM all yer passengers. At the beginning of each flight, ya simply pass out the pistols, then collect 'em up again when the flight's over!" Posted Image

Archie: "Edith, are you tellin' me you dented a car with a can of cling peaches?" ... Edith: "Must have been the heavy syrup." Posted Image

#9 of 19 Beast

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Posted February 06 2003 - 04:22 PM

Quote:
Hi Mike.
I just took a gander at my copy.
Yep, you're correct...some wavy horizontal lines going through the image for a couple of minutes. Not TOO distracting, but they're indeed visible. So it must be inherent to the source material, and not JUST your disc.
Thanks for taking a look, David VP. Wish it had been my disc, but atleast it's not to horrible. Frankly I'm suprised the episodes look as good as they do. For being 30+ years old, and probably not cared for all that well at one point. Posted Image

Hope that we get more seasons soon, I love the series. And I've never seen these uncut, I wasn't around the first few years this was on the air. I wonder if CTHE will put out "Archie Bunker's Place" after they are done with "All in the Family". After all, it isn't on their poll they're running. Posted Image
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#10 of 19 David Von Pein

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Posted February 06 2003 - 04:29 PM

Yes, Mike. I don't think I've ever seen them UNCUT either, come to think of it.

When you watch them in syndication, the "epilog" scene is nearly always cut out, plus bits 'n pieces elsewhere.

Watching the DVDs, it's like watching the shows for the 1st time again.

BTW.....

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#11 of 19 Jeff_A

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Posted February 06 2003 - 11:15 PM

Great review, Ron! I cannot wait to get to my favorite AITF episode of all-time: Edith's Change. Posted Image

#12 of 19 Tony Scello

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Posted February 07 2003 - 12:54 AM

Ron,
Thanks for the very nice review. I've had this second season set for a couple of days now and haven't laughed this hard in a long timePosted Image This is one of the best seasons of any sit-com in the history of TV in my opinion. Columbia has also provided a very attractive price point for this set. You can pick this set up at most on-line venders for a little over $20 for a full 24 episode season. If you enjoy great writing and great comedic acting do yourself a favor and pick this set up.
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#13 of 19 Dave Scarpa

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Posted February 07 2003 - 02:27 AM

I agree the AITF and Sanford Seasons are really the Best Value of any series being released to DVD. When you think you get 24 shows for under $20 it's amazing and I can excuse Columbia somewhat for the lack of extras and Chapter stops. These are even better deals then the MASH sets. WHen you watch a series Like AITF or Sanford and then try to watch almost any sitcom on today you can see how much the genre has fallen. I hope that we start seeing some 60's series soon
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#14 of 19 Cees Alons

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Posted February 07 2003 - 03:22 AM

Excellent review again Ron. I'm even more eagerly awaiting my copy now. Is in the plane!

Cees

#15 of 19 James_Garner

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Posted February 07 2003 - 03:59 PM

Quote:
There are none.

Ok, There are no overt special features like commentary, interviews, etc. However, Columbia/Tristar (And most other studios) have bent over backward trying to release these TV seasons in their original network length (a Whopping 25-26 minutes per 1970's sitcom episode) when they could've taken the easy way out & release the 22-minute syndication/TV Land versions.
I wish the studios could promote the fact more that these are the original versions. I wonder sometimes if some sales of Mash, All in the Family, etc are lost at Wal-mart because people mistakenly assume that these are nothing more than a cheap repackaging of the 22-minute versions people see on TVLand.
Columbia/Tristar doesn't help either by listing the incorrect running time on some of their season sets. Both All in the Family and Sanford & Son 2nd season sets have the wrong Total Running Time listed as being 528 minutes (24 episodes, 22 minutes each) when they should be listed at being 624 minutes (24 episodes, 26 minutes each). That averages out to 96 minutes of restored footage on a sitcom season. How many Fully packed DVD special editions can even try to make that claim? (Yes i know about the S&S "Blood is Thicker Than Junk" mastering error; just play along Posted Image )

#16 of 19 David Von Pein

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Posted February 07 2003 - 05:37 PM

Quote:
Is in the plane!
"Ze Plane! Ze Plane!"

Ahh, Fantasy Island! Now THERE'S one TV series I never hear anybody beating down the doors for. Hopefully, it's still way down the list. Posted Image

#17 of 19 Benjamin.D

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Posted February 09 2003 - 04:36 AM

Picked this up a couple of days ago. Some of the greatest episodes of AITF are on this set. Great value for the price. My only complaint is that the discs are hard to remove from the packaging. Bring on season three!!! Posted Image Posted Image

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#18 of 19 David Von Pein

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Posted February 09 2003 - 05:52 AM

Quote:
discs are hard to remove from the packaging.
You said it!

And oh so unnecessarily so! If they wouldn't plug up 2 of the 4 finger recessed areas with an unwanted hunk of plastic, it'd be a piece of cake. Posted Image

#19 of 19 Kurt N

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Posted February 10 2003 - 11:31 PM

Good review as always.

This season aired during my first year away from college and as I remember, hard as this may be to believe, there were only 3 tv sets on campus, so you couldn't always see what you wanted. I'm using this as an excuse for several of these episodes (unlike season 1) being totally new to me. A truly unexpected bonus. I've watched the entire season in the past couple days and there is not an weak episode in the bunch. Nearly 12 hours of great entertainment. What a value. Maybe the best DVD deal I've had yet...
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