Posted May 08 2006 - 11:01 AM
|Studio:||Buena Vista |
| Year:||1989-1990 |
| RunTime:||26 episodes |
|Aspect Ratio:||4x3 encoded 1.33:1 (TV OAR) |
| Audio:||2.0 DD English STEREO |
| SpecialFeatures:||Actual Bonus material…six commentary tracks from each of the three main actresses (two each) |
| ReleaseDate:||May 9, 2006 |
If you’re reading this, you’re a Golden Girls fan and need no convincing. Welcome aboard. If you’ve already bought Seasons one through four then it’s time to pony it up for number five. Disney has to be commended for really cranking out these season sets quickly…has it been about 2 a year? The good news is that this series appears to be in stereo and has some (breathe with deep and controlled breaths…) actual “bonus features”…we get commentary on six episodes from the Golden Girls themselves. (Yes!)
The packaging for season five is just like the previous series…a cardboard fold-out cover with three discs…two of which overlap one another in the holder (meaning to get to the disc underneath you have to first remove the outer disc). Not my favorite packaging style but it does fit nicely on the shelf and I suppose now that we’re on season five it’s nice just to keep the sets consistent so that they all match.
There is a really outstanding review of these season set by skees53 at http://www.sitcomson....dvdreview.html
. I would recommend this review to all fans as he really has some interesting things to say and is clearly a boni-fide fan of the show.
Be sure to post your own comments about Season five in this thread and share the Golden Girls love…
IMPORTANT UPDATE MAY 10
It appears that the shows on this DVD set (unlike previous sets) may not be full-length after all. Matthew says:
| I've got bad news. I compared the DVD version of the episode "Like the Beep Beep Beep of the Tom Tom" to a copy of the original NBC airing, and it is indeed edited. |
After Sophia says "I stole the money and jewelry from her dresser," there is a scene where Dorothy tells Sophia they have to give away the microwave because of Blanche's pacemaker. The DVD version picks up where Blanche storms into the room saying "Where's my money, old woman?"
Then after Blanche walks out, Sophia says "for this I'm giving up Cheez Whiz nachos?" That part is also cut from the DVD.
It is what it is. I’m certain that the Golden Girls have never looked better, but keep in mind “better” means faithful to the source material, which is basically VHS-quality video (whether or not this show was shot on professional betacam, the resulting quality looks “good” VHS to my eyes). Colors are not very saturated and a bit drab. There is no fine-object detail whatsoever, and the image looks pretty marginal on a wide-angle system (like my 106” screen viewed from 1.6 screen widths) though I’m certain that “normal TV viewing” from more than 2 screen-widths would result in a more satisfyingly “sharp” image. The good news is that the program material appears relatively free from MPEG noise and I notice no added ringing from edge-enhancement. That’s a blessing.
Bottom line, The Golden Girls isn’t the demo material to convince your wife it’s time to upgrade to a new projector. But the show has never looked better….so as long as you’re aware of the limitations of the source material, enjoy the Golden Girls looking about as good as they can…
Picture Quality: 2.5 / 5
|SCORE ||Description |
|1-2 ||An absolute abomination. Hurts to watch even on a 32” 4x3 480I TV. Think Outland or Jean De Flourette (scan-line aliasing, chroma noise, dotcrawl, PAL-NTSC conversion artifacts etc.)-- truly horrid. |
|2-3 ||Has some serious problems, but one can at least watch it without getting a headache despite all the problems though you might try to talk your guests into picking a different movie to watch if you have a large projection screen. Think Kill Bill Vol 1. |
|3-4 ||Good or at least "acceptable" on a big-screen, but not winning any awards and definitely room for improvement if you view the image wide-angle (though smaller-screen viewers may be quite content). Think the first extended cut of Fellowship of the Ring...decent picture but still some HF filtering and some edge-halos. |
|4-5 ||A reference picture that really makes the most of the DVD medium and shows extraordinary transparency to the film-source elements limited only by DVD’s 720 x 480 resolution. Non-videophile observers can't help but remark "WOW" and ask you if they are watching HD. Think The Empire Strikes Back, the Fifth Element Superbit or the new Toy Story 10th Anniversary Edition. |
Currently running DVDs on my OPPO DVD player (Faroudja deinterlacing) which scales to 720P, feeding my BenQ 8700+ PJ via DVI, projecting onto a 106” 16x9 Dalite HiPower screen, viewed from approximately 1.6 screen-widths distance. Well mastered DVDs produce a stunningly film-like image in this scenario, and lesser-mastered material quickly shows its flaws.
The show sounds great. It’s in stereo, and though much of the show is dialog driven and sounds “fat mono”, the laugh track and musical cues are in stereo an compliment the episodes with a nice sense of dimension. The dialogue is clean, clear, and full bodied (ie, not flat or tizzy sounding). I can honestly say that listening to the show on a revealing/high-resolution audio system is a pleasure. That’s high-praise for a TV show as decent audio gear often reveals flaws in the source material that become distracting and wish you were listening on old-fashioned TV speakers to hide the problems. Not here…Golden Girls sounds great.
Sound Quality: 4 / 5
B&K AVR 212 processor/receiver driving my Onix-Rocket Loudspeaker system.
Yes, we finally get a real special feature worth talking about!
I want to thank skees53 in his review at http://www.sitcomson....dvdreview.html
for doing the hard work of documenting the precise play-times of these episodes and identifying the actress providing the commentary on each track (he deserves the credit for the run-times mentioned here). He asserts that these runtimes are indeed longer than the syndicated playtimes so the indication is that these are all unedited original-length episodes.
IMPORTANT UPDATE MAY 10
Matthew from HTF notes that these shows may be edited after all and *** NOT *** full-length originals. Please see the discussion in this thread following the review for more details...
Sick and Tired (Part 1) (24:01):
Sick and Tired (Part 2) (23:51) Commentary by Rue McClanahan (Blanche):
The Accurate Conception (24:01) Commentary by Bea Arthur (Dorothy):
Rose Fights Back (23:51):
Love Under the Big Top (23:31):
Dancing in the Dark (23:49) Commentary by Betty White (Rose):
Not Another Monday (24:01) Commentary by Betty White:
That Old Feeling (23:28):
Comedy of Errors (23:51):
All That Jazz (24:00):
Ebb Tide (24:01):
Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas (23:36):
Mary Had a Little Lamb (23:40):
Great Expectations (23:55):
Triple Play (24:01):
Clinton Avenue Memoirs (23:55) Commentary by Bea Arthur:
Like the Beep Beep Beep of the Tom-Tom (22:49):
An Illegitimate Concern (24:00) Commentary by Rue McClanahan:
72 Hours (23:10):
Twice in a Lifetime (23:55):
Sisters and Other Stranger" (24:00):
The Mangiacavallo Curse Makes a Lousy Wedding Present (22:50):
All Bets are Off (23:50):
The President's Coming! (Parts 1):
The President's Coming! (Parts 2) (46:43 (for parts 1 and 2 together):
The commentary tracks are finally a taste of real bonus material like what fans have been waiting for all this time. Better late than never I suppose. The commentary isn’t rife with the kind of coveted detail that will open your eyes to the hidden world behind the making of these shows... most of it consists of pleasant anecdotes about the writing or acting on the set mixed with a charming dose of sentimentalism. Actually, what I’d suggest is that you approach this commentary as a chance to watch the specific episodes side-by-side with these fabulous gals…getting to share the experience of them looking back at their work after all these years. My only criticism (or suggestion for the next season, however you want to look at it) would have been to have had some of the commentaries collaborative…so we could have heard these golden girls talking to each other and bonding over the memories stirred up by watching these episodes together.
Golden Girls is a classic TV sit-com comedy that has a devout fan-base for a good reason – it’s a good show. It’s packed with truly hilarious moments that prompt out-loud laughter, and at the same time the show manages to at times become a very touching reveal of the lives and love shared between these remarkable characters.
Perfectly written. Perfectly cast. A great DVD with actual bonus-material in the form of commentary from the lead actresses themselves. Fans, rejoice.