I recently purchased S1 & 2 (separate season sets) and have started going through them and wanted to give my thoughts on the releases. I have not been able to find any review online of these sets not even Sitcoms Online which has reviewed other Mill Creek releases?!
First, I have not seen the original releases as they were not released here in Canada for some reason so my review will be a standalone one for the MIll Creek releases not a comparison between the two.
Packaging/Cover art- A standard DVD case with a disc on each side, however I noticed that the case is of cheaper quaity than cases that Mill Creek has used on other releases (3rd Rock from the Sun, Highway to Heaven). The Cover art of each season features a nice picture of the cast, a step up from the cover art of the original releases IMO which were dull and quite plain. Each cast photo appears to be from the relevant season, the back cover features screenshot photos from various episodes. S1 discs have a picture of Cliff & Claire (same for both discs) and the S2 discs have a picture of Bill Cosby.
Menu Design- The menus are very poor IMO, the main menu features the same photo that is on the cover and 'play all' & 'episode selection' options. The episode selection menu is exactly the same, it features the same photo and the list of episodes that are on the disc. Very disappointed in these bland, bare bones menu screens, it appears they did not put any effort into this at all. I don't understand why they don't have the theme song playing in the background on the main menu. In comparison, S1 of 3rd Rock from the Sun (another Carsey Werner series released by Mill Creek) featured a more animated main menu with the show logo in the corner and graphics of various planets with some actually moving around.
Video/Audio Quality- I am not an expert on these matters and as such do not know all the requisite technical terms for sound and video so I will just give my views in plain language. The video (as expected) is not great, I am noticing some pixelation and what I believe are referred to as digital artifacts which is most likley due to the compression. The color is fine but there is some fuzziness to the picture that is quite noticable at times. I am still very ticked off that they crammed everything into 2 discs when all the other Carsey Werner releases featured 3 disc sets. It's decent and watchable but not good enough IMO based on the popularity of this show and the quality of other sitcom releases from Mill Creek. The audio is very low, I had to turn the volume way up in order to be able to hear what is being said. The original release featured a DD stereo track which I assume is the same for this release and should result in fairly good audio quality- presuambly over compression is the reason for the audio being so low?!
Final Thoughts- This is an iconic show, one of the most popular sitcoms in its time period and arguably in all of TV history- it deserves a lot better IMO than the shoddy treatment it has gotten here. I understand that these are value releases and the low price point is the main selling point but these guys have taken cheap to a whole new level. How much more would 1 extra disc have cost, I am sure most fans of this series would have no problem paying an extra few bucks (based on other Mill Creek releases I assume this would have been priced $3-5 more if it was a 3-disc set, not that much more expensive IMO) in order to see an improvement in the video quality. This release is a step down from Mill Creek's other Carsey Werner releases and I don't really understand why- are Roseanne & That '70s Show more popular and better sellers than The Cosby show?? It appears to me that these releases were afforded a lower budget than the other Carsey Werner shows, the menus are very basic, they are using one less disc and even the DVD case is lower quality then other releases. I think most casual fans will be happy with this set especially considering the price it is selling at but for me its a bit of a let down as I was expecting the quality to be at least on par with the quality of other Mill Creek releases that I own specifically 3rd Rock from the Sun which is a fairly recent release and is from the same production company. I hope that they put more effort into future releases, notably make future seasons 3-disc sets (highly doubtful) which will improve the video quality considerably since the episodes will be a bit more spread out instead of crammed together like they are on these releases.
Special Features: None
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5
Edited by TVonDVDJunkie05, February 04 2014 - 12:10 PM.