HTF REVIEW: Leave it to Beaver - The Complete First Season

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Steve Tannehill, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    [​IMG]
    Leave it to Beaver - The Complete First Season
    Studio: Universal Studios Home Video
    Year: 1957-58 (2005 Release)
    Rated: Not Rated
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33x1
    Audio: English DD 2.0 (mono)
    Captions/Subtitles: English SDH; Spanish Subtitles
    Time: 1040 minutes
    Disc Format: DS/DL (DVD-18x3)
    Case Style: Thinpaks in a slip case

    The Feature:
    I never watched Leave it to Beaver, not even during its countless repeats in syndication and cable TV. But like most people here, I could tell a couple of related jokes that would make Beaver's mom blush, at least until she became the woman who spoke jive in the movie Airplane. Going into this review, it helps that one of the most original movies I've seen in the past few years was Pleasantville, which puts two modern children right in the middle of a black-and-white sitcom world just like Leave it to Beaver. Finally, I can put that movie in the proper perspective.

    Leave it to Beaver tells the episodic story of the Cleaver family: parents Ward and June, kids Wally and Theodore (a.k.a. The Beaver--who is always getting in to some sort of trouble); their friends, and the various characters in the community. How much explanation do you really need? This is one of those shows that was in our collective conscience even without watching it! The comic exploits of the children and the sometimes bewildered and bemused reaction of the parents are amusing. It's all very harmless, and it's all very charming. You might just catch yourself laughing along with the laugh track. I did.

    You can see the episode guide listing here.

    Universal has delivered all 39 first season episodes plus the original pilot across three double-sided, dual-layered discs. Even though the discs were made in Mexico, and even though the first disc came off the hub and was scuffed, it played flawlessly end-to-end in my older Sony player. Is this a sign that the DVD-18 problems of recent months are a thing of the past? We can only hope.

    I watched the entire first side of disc 1. Each side has seven episodes, at roughly 26 minutes each, except the second side of disc 3 which has four episodes and the pilot.

    I wanted to watch more, but decided that the time would be better spent writing this review! If you are a fan of the series, I think you will be pleased by this set. If you are new to the series, it is worth checking out.

    The Feature: 3.5 / 5
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    Video:
    Video quality is great for a show almost 50 years old. There was the occasional trace of grain, and the infrequent instance of some white speckling, but the contrast and grayscale were just lovely. You could make out the detail and textures quite well. Nicely done.

    Video: 4 / 5
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    Sound:
    The DD 2.0 mono sound is good, with a few film-like sound artifacts to mar the listening experience. Only an English soundtrack has been provided. English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired, along with Spanish captions have been provided. Once again, no subtitles have been provided for the other predominant language in Region 1, French.

    Sound: 3.5 / 5
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    Extras:
    The lone extra is the original pilot episode, titled "It's a Small World." This episode is a bit of a novelty because it features different actors playing Wally and Ward (Casey Adams a.k.a. Max Showalter you may remember as one of the salesmen in The Music Man and one of the grandparents in Sixteen Candles). But that's it. I am sure there are plenty of "where are they now" documentaries out there that could have filled an additional disc. After seeing the wealth of material on Season Two of The Munsters, the supplements here are a bit of a let down.

    Extras: 1.5 / 5
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    In Conclusion:
    I wouldn't want to be too hard on the Beaver [​IMG], so I will just say that I liked Leave it to Beaver - The Complete First Season and hope that future releases will include more supplements. It is great that we are getting even more classic family TV just in time for the holidays.

    Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5
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    In Current Release



    Display calibrated by Steve Martin at http://www.lionav.com/
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Steve:

    I'm glad you re-posted your review. Any chance you saw my post before the HTF Crash of '05?

    I was wondering if you liked what you saw on disc one enough to decide if you'll finish the set. I also went on at length about how wonderful I think LITB is and how I think it's humor still holds up after all these years. I was also stunned that you had gotten this far in your life (although I don't know how old you are) without ever seeing a SINGLE episode of the Beave!
     
  3. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Sorry, Mike, I missed your post.

    I liked the first disc, but the review stack--not to mention my personal stack--is so high that I rarely have a chance to revisit something I've put down.

    I was born the year the Beatles came to America, so I came of age watching 70's television and 60's reruns in syndication. I don't recall LITB ever showing after school--although I did watch many an ABC After School Special. And by the time it was on cable, I was "too old" to watch it.

    Of course, that was before I discovered that even Disney movies are timeless and know no age boundaries.

    - Steve
     

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