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All In The Family DVD: Some Advice


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#1 of 71 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted January 17 2006 - 05:07 AM

I need to know something from everyone here who has purchased the first five seasons of this series on DVD. I grew up watching this series in the seventies along with other classic shows such as the Original Star Trek series, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers and MASH. I've been looking at finally picking up the All In The Family DVD sets since Best Buy is now running their buy one get one free TV DVD set offer and I've been hearing problems left and right that some fans have been having with some of the season sets.

These problems range everywhere from blurred video footage from some episodes along with red stripped lines on some of the episodes. These are comments from fans over at the Amazon.com website and while I'm skeptical about those revgiews I'd like to know if anyone here has experienced any distracting problems with any of the sets that they have purchased.

I'm hoiping to pick up some of these sets by end of this week so any comments are welcomed.

#2 of 71 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted January 17 2006 - 07:04 AM

All I have to say is that the tape quality of some of the AITF is fair-to-poor. That's not the fault of the dvd producers or the dvd itself; the original air tapes were simply not well cared-for. I am noticing the same blurring as I do when the series is aired in syndication. This is not a constant for ALL episodes, just some. The same problem happens with "Soap," very washed out, blurry episodes.

Other than that, AITF is what it is. I never did notice those red lines; I have no idea what that's about, although I believe those who point out that problem. I don't expect to see any kind of upgrading for this release anytime soon. I think you should go out and buy them if they're on sale. I'm fairly happy with the release as is; really, the problems with poor quality video can't be fixed. If you improperly store an old video it's hell to try and restore it to original broadcast-grade quality...quite unlike film. AITF is still within acceptable viewing limits and to me, it's looked the same as it has for the last 30 years. And how is it, that we got 2 seasons in one month?? And how rare? LOL
 

 


#3 of 71 OFFLINE   Mike*SC

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Posted January 17 2006 - 07:29 AM

This has been discussed in other threads, but here goes.

What was "broadcast quality" when "All in the Family" was shot (on tape) was quite a different thing from what we expect now. Televisions were not nearly as sharp (and I'm not just talking regular def vs. high def -- I mean in general), most people received mediocre over-the-air signals, sound was mono and came from that one tinny speaker. That's just how it is. With filmed shows, you can go back to the original film elements, and if they're in good shape, you can get a DVD of higher resolution than the show was ever shown originally. Not so with videotape.

Because lower quality was acceptable, there are occasional video problems from the original production that are quite visible now -- blur, the occasional reddish dot burned into one of the cameras, etc. I've never seen those lines, either, but I haven't started the fifth season yet.

Even if the show could be magically sharpened, and all the blemishes removed, what would we have as far as audio/video quality? A show that's over-lit, fairly flat looking, and in a dull mono (as the one track is all there is).

And so what? The show is great. I don't mean this as a slight to anybody who simply cares more about other things, but I don't think one would ever watch "All in the Family" for its technical achievements. That wasn't what it was. Somebody on a similar thread said he simply wouldn't get around to watching something that looked bad, and that's fine, but I love this show for the comedy, the characters, the acting... all of which is on fine display, even in lousy video quality.

#4 of 71 OFFLINE   ElijahS

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Posted January 17 2006 - 07:49 AM

I think everything I'd say has already been said, so I'd like to support the two previous posts. And in any case, the price isn't all that high for the sets (you might want to check out Amazon.com's deal before you purchase, though).
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#5 of 71 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted January 17 2006 - 08:44 AM

Bottom line is, I love the show and have had a wonderful time with all 5 seasons on DVD and I look forward to the rest. Quality of certain episodes may vary, but this show has never looked 'great', and it was always a "dingy videotape" affair, even when it was first on television in the 1970s. Some episodes are very nice; some are lacking; ALL are enjoyable. I am usually very concerned with video quality, but I just think some people are severely over-criticizing this DVD series. I hope nobody takes offense to this, but I think it's a shame that some people are so uptight about wanting some kind of sterling quality that will never exist for this show that they're missing the comedy, the actors, the "heart" and feel of the experience of enjoying ALL IN THE FAMILY.

#6 of 71 OFFLINE   Al_D

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Posted January 17 2006 - 10:43 AM

I think that the quality is most likely as good as it will ever be, so if you like the show then get it. I do not regret my purchase.

#7 of 71 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted January 17 2006 - 11:06 AM

Me either. I really like looking back. I did watch this show with my parents in the early 70s (go figure; at age 6, I graduated from "Green Acres" to AITF in about a weeks' time). I do vividly recall watching this back in the day. I will say (with some uncertainty) that the colors were brighter and the picture sharper. That's just how I remember it. Other shows like 3's Company look exactly as I remember them. Almost all filmed series look a little worse than I remember them. It's all in how well the films and tapes were preserved over the years. AITF wasn't preserved as well as it could have, but I doubt they thought we'd be watching 35 years later, either.

And I notice something else; I figured AITF to be the most dated of all the sitcoms, yet it's not. Most of the feelings and opinions are still being discussed today...! There's plenty of contemporary references (season 5 starts off with a discussion about Watergate), but for the most part, what the Bunkers have to say is still being said.
 

 


#8 of 71 OFFLINE   Mike*SC

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Posted January 17 2006 - 11:23 AM

Quote:
for the most part, what the Bunkers have to say is still being said.


Indeed. Replace the names and the debates sound disconcertingly current. The more things change...

#9 of 71 OFFLINE   Rob P S

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Posted January 17 2006 - 02:43 PM

Quote:
but for the most part, what the Bunkers have to say is still being said.

The strike episodes are a good example of this.

#10 of 71 OFFLINE   Ravi K

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Posted January 17 2006 - 04:12 PM

Do shows like Soap, AITF, etc. which were shot on tape look as good as they can on DVD? I've never seen them look great in syndication, so I assume that this is as good as it gets. In that case, go ahead and buy them.

Is the problem really the aging of the tapes or just that the quality was limited in the first place?
 

#11 of 71 OFFLINE   ElijahS

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Posted January 17 2006 - 04:27 PM

I think it's both.
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#12 of 71 OFFLINE   David Rain

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Posted January 17 2006 - 04:30 PM

Yes, the video and audio simply are what they are. I don't expect the show to ever look better than it does. But as far as quality of the SHOW (which is what matters most) you simply cannot go wrong with the first few seasons. It does run out of gas in the later years. It, like most long-running sitcoms, simply stayed on too long. Stephanie, anyone ? I didn't think so.

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#13 of 71 OFFLINE   Dan-P

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Posted January 18 2006 - 09:18 AM

Even with all the problems that some have stated (and I've never noticed red lines), the show looks vastly better than it ever did over the air. I have a LOT of 60's and 70's tv shows on DVD, including all 5 seasons of AITF, and I've watched every episode of this DVD series and enjoyed it. That's more than I can say for most of the other series I have on DVD. I recommend it - thumbs up.

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#14 of 71 OFFLINE   Eric_Bee

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Posted January 18 2006 - 12:03 PM

As I noted in the AITF Season 5 thread, the past seasons (and I believe Season 5, also), whatever their visual shortcomings, at least have complete episodes, as opposed to the butchered TV Land versions. I compared my Season 4 DVD episode "Pay the Twenty Dollars" to the version recently run on TV Land. The latter completely edited out the conversation between Archie and George Jefferson in which Archie tells Jefferson to attempt to pass a counterfeit $20 bill in Harlem, where it will wind up "with some white guy who sells purple Cadillacs to your people." Now what's the point of airing All in the Family if moments like that are not broadcast?

Actually, more than the video quality, I am more upset about the lack of any extras - not even clips of Emmy shows, in which this superb cast is rewarded for its work.

In sum, the DVDs present the only way to see full episodes of one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Go for it.

#15 of 71 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted January 20 2006 - 07:35 PM

Thanks for all of the helpful advice everyone. I finally broke down and stopped into Best Buy yesterday and picked up All In The Family Season 4 and Season 5 for that Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer and I've already watched through the first two DVD's in the Fifth Season set and I haven't experienced any problems with it.

The colors and video quality were crystal clear. I can't believe I waited this long in picking up this series bgut I'm glad I did. With this special offer I plan on going back and picking up the first three seasons as well.

#16 of 71 OFFLINE   Will Krupp

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Posted January 23 2006 - 04:20 PM

I, too just picked up some of these sets for the first time, taking advantage of BestBuy's sale and I think they look terrific. Maybe my expectations were lowered after reading about how poor everyone thought they were....I dunno.

I bought seasons two and four to start (they were out of three) and what made me pause was that the Season two episodes are in production, rather than broadcast order, which I find strange. I knew the first episode should have been the second season premiere, the Cousin Oscar episode, but it was "Gloria Poses in the Nude." I checked and they are all out of broadcast order, while Season Four looks to be ordered correctly.

It's a minor quibble, but sort of annoying to flip around to find the right order. Many of the story arcs were designed to flow in sequence, but often shot out of that order.

Other than that I think they're super sets (and you can't beat that two for one deal!!)

#17 of 71 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted January 23 2006 - 09:10 PM

I have to admit I had some lowered expectations of some of these sets and I took advantage of Best Buy's sale as well. I purchased Seasons 1-2, 4-5, the Best Buy in my area was completely out of Season 3 as well. What's up with Best Buy? Are they boycotting Season 3 of All in the Family?

At any rate, I only experienced some minor problems with just a few minor episodes aren't too distracting. I have plans on picking up all six seasons of Sanford and Son as well. All that's needed is to stop into Circuit City or Borders and pick up Season 3 of All in the Family.

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of these episodes and I'm looking forward to Season 6. Anyone hear anything about its release.

#18 of 71 OFFLINE   ElijahS

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Posted January 24 2006 - 12:28 AM

The recent trend has been nine months between releases, so there may be another release later this year.
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#19 of 71 OFFLINE   Carlos Garcia

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Posted January 24 2006 - 06:27 PM

Quote:
Is the problem really the aging of the tapes or just that the quality was limited in the first place?


AITF was aired from 1971-1979. If anyone here has seen the Elvis 1968 Singer Comeback Special then you'll know just how great video shot in 1968 can look today, if the DVD producers spend money to restore a shows quality. That show looks like it could've been shot yesterday. The bottom line however, is that there's quite a difference in spending the money to restore 1 quality 1 hour special, as opposed to 210 classic episodes. I'm sure if they wanted to restore every episode and pass the cost on to us consumers, we could expect to pay thousands of dollars for the complete and restored AITF on DVD.
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#20 of 71 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted January 24 2006 - 07:26 PM

Well, all in all, and after watching the four seasons that I bought at Best Buy and the fact that Best Buy stores obviously are boycotting Season 3 of All in the Family I was quite pleasantly pleased with these sets. But, where it concerns newer shows I do expect a better level of video quality on the DVD's, if you know what I mean. I plan on picking up Season 3 from Circuit City, who is their direct competitor which is also nestled across the street from Best Buy so adios.Posted Image





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