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HTF REVIEW: Golden Girls, Season Five

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#1 of 48 DaViD Boulet

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Posted May 08 2006 - 11:01 AM

Posted Image
Golden Girls
Season Five

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





Feature...




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:

Quote:
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.

Take heed!





Picture...



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

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image


Rating Rationale...


Rating Key:

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.




Viewing Equipment:
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.







Sound...



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

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image



Listening Equipment:
B&K AVR 212 processor/receiver driving my Onix-Rocket Loudspeaker system.



Special Features...



Yes, we finally get a real special feature worth talking about!

Posted Image


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...



Disc 1:

  • 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):

    Disc 2:

  • 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:
    Disc 3:

  • 72 Hours (23:10):
  • Twice in a Lifetime (23:55):
  • Sisters and Other Stranger" (24:00):
  • Cheaters (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. Posted Image 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.



    All 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.


    Definitely Recommended
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    #2 of 48 Demis G

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    Posted May 08 2006 - 06:37 PM

    Great review dude!
    Thanx!

    I already preordered mine about a week ago from ebay.
    Let's see if they announce season 6 for a late August release..

    #3 of 48 RoryR

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    Posted May 08 2006 - 07:57 PM

    Yipee!

    Disney did something good for once, it amazes me how they treat such a classic so shabbily - but hey, we know we'd buy it anyway.

    #4 of 48 Demis G

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    Posted May 08 2006 - 09:06 PM

    It's like the CHARMED DVDs.. just be happy we get them!

    #5 of 48 MatthewA

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 12:39 AM

    I wouldn't say the treatment was that bad, as all the episodes have appeared to be unedited, and most episodes from season 3 on have been in stereo.

    Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


    #6 of 48 Jason_V

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 01:32 AM

    One little thing:

    "The packaging for season six is just like the previous series"--this is the five season, not the sixth...unless you know something we don't Posted Image

    Other than that, I preordered my on Friday and it (supposedly) shipped yesterday. It'll take a while to get here, which is fine, since I'm still working on S4.

    #7 of 48 Demis G

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 01:41 AM

    I watched all over again various episodes from the previous seasons dvds.. timeless.. priceless episodes!

    lol @ the typos for the sixth season.. although it's true..!

    #8 of 48 RoryR

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 05:04 AM

    Disney are reliable - but they're not pushing the barrier, like Scrubs, so its a shame. I am glad we got some cast participation, I for one would have preffed no special features on the previous sets (if it meant cheaper, or better quality) than what they threw on.

    #9 of 48 MatthewA

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 03:51 PM

    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.

    What's the email address for Disney so that I can tell them this?

    Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


    #10 of 48 MatthewA

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 03:52 PM

    BTW, anyone who has the network airing of "The Mangicavello Curse" needs to compare it to the DVD version.

    Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


    #11 of 48 RobertSiegel

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 03:56 PM

    Thanks for the great review David. You are always reviewing here with such expertise and detail, it's really nice, and your time (and I don't doubt it's alot) is always appreciated.

    I am so happy to see that Disney has finally done something extra that is worthwhile. I guess I tend to be harsh on studios releasing tv series for over 30.00 (a few were 40), and offering not much more than the program itself. The first season's extra with Joan Rivers was a total insult to fans of the show (and no, the costume design was very good, in my opinion, not a joke).

    I have often wondered why Lifetime TV has what seems like hours of intereviews from when the show ran, dozens of out-takes, and other extras, and not one of those has appeared. In this respect, the first 4 sets were upsetting to me, including the loss of the original stereo on the first two seasons. I suspect the fans have backlashed with some of these complaints. I personally went on a big web-wide spree to every Golden Girls web site and fan site and every club, and all of the webmasters of those sites gave the stereo (or lack of) story front page press, along with the phone number to Buena Vista and their postal office address. I indeed hope that helped us to get stereo at least for seasons 3-on.

    This is my favorite comedy tv series, aside from Honeymooners and some of the British sitcoms like Are You Being Served. I wonder if Buena Vista will ever reissue the first 2 sets in stereo, I doubt it. But it's nice to have the full-length versions, I never realized how much they cut out.

    I am so glad Disney has included some commentaries. While I was going to wait awhile to buy this one (finances this month), the commentaries can't wait.....I'll buy one tomorrow.

    Classics on Blu-ray is what it is all about!


    #12 of 48 RobertSiegel

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 04:03 PM

    Matthew, I read your post after I wrote my previous one, so I'll comment here. I have seen on many of the episodes after season 2, that there are scenes missing (I also have most of the originals). I think I might have an explaination, of course I could be way off.

    Seasons 1 and 2 were complete, I found them to be the same as aired on network originally. After that-scenes started missing. I wonder if they lost the stereo masters, and in order to provide stereo, used the Lifetime masters. Many of the episodes on seasons 3 and 4 seem to be exactly the same as Lifetime, and I was wondering where the rest of the footage was and why it was gone. I have compared them (the dvd's on seasons 3 and 4) with the Lifetime showings, and many episodes are exactly the same. When I compare the dvd sets to the original network airings, there seems to be missing scenes on the dvd's after season 2.

    Maybe I will time them out, the difference between one episodes time on the season 1-2 sets and seasons 3-on...the latger I think will be somewhat shorter. Of course, there may have been a change in commercial time, so that might not be the best way. I am going t, in the next week, go to my original tapes of season 4, and the dvd's and write out the missing scenes. I'll post it here, I justy need some time.

    David, any comment or opinion on this?

    Classics on Blu-ray is what it is all about!


    #13 of 48 MatthewA

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 04:32 PM

    I have some season 3 episodes from off of NBC and I didn't notice anything missing in the DVDs. Season 4 has dodgy running times but I don't have as many NBC airings to compare them to. But here's what I could find from "Like the Beep..."

    --
    Beginning of act 2 until "I stole the money from out of her dresser"

    ———beginning of missing footage———
    Sophia: Hey, where's the microwave popcorn?
    Rose: We gave it away. Since Blanche got her pacemaker the doctor says we can't use the microwave.
    Sophia: But I love that popcorn!
    Dorothy: Ma, if we use the microwave, Blanche could die.
    Sophia: Same thing with Cup O'Noodles?
    (audience laughter)
    Dorothy: We're not going to use it, Ma. As a matter of fact, tomorrow the people from Goodwill are coming to pick it up.
    Sophia: But I love this microwave. I'm 83 years old, do you want me to spend what little time I have left waiting for a baked potato?
    (audience laughter)

    time: approximately 30 seconds
    ———end of missing footage———
    from "Where's my money old woman" to "If a 5,000 year old Indian shows up, tell him I want to learn more about his people"

    ———beginning of missing footage———
    Sophia: For this we're giving up Cheez Whiz nachos?
    (audience laughter)

    time: approximately 5 seconds
    ———end of missing footage———

    transition to next scene
    --
    total footage missing: approximately 35 seconds

    Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


    #14 of 48 Malcolm R

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 04:42 PM

    Dammit! And I was going to pick up S5 this weekend.
    (scratches that off the "to do" list...) Posted Image
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    #15 of 48 David Rain

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 04:43 PM

    Well, now I'm confused because I do remember those lines of dialogue from the original NBC airings and I could swear I've also seen some of the same footage in the syndie versions, especially the "cheese whiz nachos" line. I could swear I've heard that line on the Lifetime airings. I have been suspicious for years that there was more than one version of the syndicated episodes. There's a scene from an episode where a little girl tells Blanche that she likes astronauts and Blanche replies "me too". I'm almost certain I've seen reruns where Blanche's line is there and other versions where it's not. Although I had seen syndie versions that aired on local stations before Lifetime picked up the show. I'm wondering if Lifetime received different edited versions ? It still concerns me that this new set has dialogue missing. We need to know who to complain to.
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    #16 of 48 MatthewA

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 04:53 PM

    David Rain,
    Lifetime did get episodes that were edited differently than the episodes which aired on my local CBS station (WRAL-TV, who replaced the hourlong 4 o'clock block with Young and the Restless to compete with Oprah) in the 1990s.

    Complain to anyone who will listen, especially to Disney.

    I sent an email to Disney telling them. Contact them here:

    http://disney.go.com...pport/home.html

    Ask them not only to make sure seasons 6 and 7 don't foul up, but to replace the cut episodes on season 5 (and season 4 if RobertSiegel finds any, and hopefully he won't).

    Frankly, if I had to choose between uncut episodes and stereo, I'd take uncut episodes.

    It makes me sick.

    Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


    #17 of 48 MichaelFA

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 05:15 PM

    It's really disappointing to hear that some of the episodes might be indeed cut. Posted Image Looking back, when I first watched Seasons 1 & 2, I would always notice every episode the cut lines/scenes, but then from Season 3 on, I wouldn't notice it every episode... hmmm....

    #18 of 48 MatthewA

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 05:18 PM

    BTW, I do not buy the argument that Disney lost the stereo versions of the network-length episodes. Unless they were:

    A. Misplaced and not catalogued (possible, but unlikely)
    B. Accidentally erased (also unlikely)
    C. Kept only on a track separate from the 1" video tapes which has now gone missing or was thrown away (doubtful)

    Even if this is true, the music cues can be put back in using the original stereo tapes (if they exist).

    As for other studios, Sony still has stereo tracks for their shows from this era (Season 1 of Embassy's 227, for instance, has every episode in stereo but the pilot). But I digress.

    Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


    #19 of 48 MatthewA

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 05:39 PM

    BTW, in the episode I mentioned, you can check the beginning of act 2 for telltale clues. In the wide shots of the first kitchen scene, you can see the microwave in the back right hand corner, but in the next kitchen scene, it is gone.

    Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


    #20 of 48 DanielHEN

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    Posted May 09 2006 - 05:49 PM

    This is very disappointing. The main reason I buy these discs is so that I can own the ORIGINAL and COMPLETE episodes that are no longer aired on television today. If I wanted the Lifetime TV cuts, I'd simply record those onto DVD myself and not bother buying these sets for $30 a pop. To me, this is much more unforgiving than the lack of stereo sound. Ridiculous.