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Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 3, 2012.
gosh, i thought it was good right from the get-go.
i would view it right in order.
I thought it was great from the start too. The pilot looks a little strange with the kitchen set looking different and no living room in sight. And the makeup on both Rob and Laura is way overdone. But the writing was strong from the very beginning and the characters were pretty much in place even in the pilot. Rob calls his wife "Laurie" quite a bit at first and that term of affection disappears after the first season, but there are so many other shows that took much, much longer to find their footing.
One thing I enjoyed about watching this show in syndication for years on end throughout the late sixties and into the seventies was that as the show ran through the seasons and then cycled back around to the beginning, there was less of a sense of "starting over", as the sets, both at home and at work don't change at all and the whole look of the show and the characters pretty much stays the same throughout its five years. Nobody ages much apart from Richie. Rob, Buddy, Sally and Mel look exactly the same from the first non-pilot episode until the last. Season One looks like the early sixties and season five doesn't look too much later than that.
Contrast that with I LOVE LUCY, where season one, a season with its long learning curve by the writers as they find their rhythm, has a late-forties, almost noir-ish look and season six, with the characters living in suburbia, is quintessentially late fifties in its style and outlook. Everyone's noticeably older and it almost seems set in a different era.
To me, The Dick Van Dyke Show was good from the start and just continued to get better. Rob Ray is correct, in that the show had a lot of consistency throughout its run. I remember watching this in the daytime during summer break, and then again at night. I remember learning that the show was not returning for a new season, and wondering, "How could that be?"
Back in the day, I always knew when I tuned in to the Dick Van Dyke Show, I was going to enjoy it. And that is still true today.
I bought the set a few weeks ago, and my girlfriend and I are in the middle of season one, and we're loving it. It's a little, maybe "rough" is too strong a word, but it doesn't have the title sequence yet that I know best, etc., so it's fun watching and waiting to see the little things I remember from later seasons beginning to evolve.
We're also cycling through I Love Lucy, in the middle of season two on that one. Some nights we watch Dick, some nights we watch Lucy, but it's always a great way to end the day no matter which we choose.
I plan to watch every episode. I must say the picture is stunning. Wish more shows like this could get the HD treatment and then eventually get priced at under $50. The first season of Andy Griffith, which I'll wager isn't as sharp as this, is still selling for $70, for one season alone. So I am appreciating what I have here with Dick Van Dyke.
I wonder what season 6 would be like if they had continued.
From the commentary on the original DVD's for the last episode that they produced (The Old West dream episode), sounds like the cast and crew decided there was more there that they could do after all thanks to outside the box episodes like that one. But the decision was already set in stone that they were ending and it was too late to reverse.
Part of me would love to see some episodes in color and have more of this fine program, but another part of me is kind of happy it's all in B&W and that they wrapped it up on top before the quality of the show potentially nose-dived.
I zipped through this set in less than a month! Great quality throughout.
Have watched about half of season one. I'm starting to appreciate the characters more. Loved the flashback episode when Rob and Laura met, then today I watched the episode where Sol visited in the middle of the dinner party and was touched when Rob and Laura were playing their song together in the tag. I like that we have recurring minor characters with story lines still intact from previous episodes. The more episodes I watch, the more I am liking this Blu-ray set. But every time I watch it, I can't help but wish some of my favorite classic TV shows could get this kind of HD treatment too.
There is an overall consistency to the Van Dyke Show that does indeed hold up and makes the few continuity gaffes forgivable. Sometimes when doing flashbacks, they're not consistent where Rob and Laura were living or which office was being used, and Mel Cooley's brother-in-law relationship to Alan was early on identified as Mel married to Alan's sister but in the last season it was suddenly Alan married to Mel's sister. Overall though it holds together well.
Edit: Nevermind, replied by mistake.
I can't imagine The Dick Van Dyke Show in color. To me, it is and always should be black and white... Timeless. Color would have killed that feeling. I mean, I've seen color pictures of the kitchen...
And IMO, That fridge and stove alone just scream early 1960s and kills the timeless quality of the show you get with black and white.
Anyway, this thread got me to resume watching the show with S3. I'm still surprised by the clarity of the image on blu. You can easily read things like the room number on the envelope the nurse hands Laura in "That's My Boy". And on the flipside, you can see boom mic shadows dance across the back wall of the living room every now and then.
A couple other things... don't know if it's ever been mentioned here, but some people don't like Ritchie. A common complaint I've heard elsewhere was about his acting. Personally, That's why I like him. He doesn't come off as a child actor playing a part, he comes off as a normal kid. He was perfect in the role.
As for the season 3 episodes... the addition of so many new writers helped keep things fresh. Persky and Denoff came in, Jerry Belson and Garry Marshall wrote more, and Carl Reiner got time to write deeper episodes since he had some help for a change.
I could go on, but October Eve is up next on the disc.
I like Larry Matthews too. He had a nice quality and he could nail his scenes from time to time. Especially "Never Name a Duck."
And I certainly wished the show had continued at least one more year in color. But they didn't ask my opinion. LOL I actually like the color pics of the set that I've seen. But you're right, they are VERY 60's.
The cast would have liked another year also. But Carl Reiner was serious about ending it and no one would do it without him. But Van Dyke has been careful over the years to make it clear that he was not the one who decided to end the show.
IMO, they were right to not want to do the show without him.
The stretch where Persky and Denoff were producing while Reiner was off filming The Russians Are Coming were good episodes, for the most part. But something was missing. And as soon as Reiner returned with either Curse of the Petrie People or The Bottom of Mel Cooley's Heart, the show produced a string of great episodes through the end of the series,.
It was actually Carl Reiner that spoke in the commentary about the revelation that last episode they produced in particular was where their plans they had from the start of wrapping it up after five seasons (if the show was successful and lasted that long) were concerned.
But sadly or perhaps fortuitously, the wheels were already in motion and it was much too late to back out.
I agree completely. I have little doubt that if there was a season 6 of this show (Which undoubtedly would've been in color), I'd soon be turning the color off on my tv once my curiosity was satisfied.
There's a clip included as an extra from a few years after the show wrapped up that's set in their living room (I think it was from a segment of an episode of Dick Van Dyke's variety show). If accurate, the living room would look equally dated where as in B&W, I think it's still rather stylish looking.
I would like to have gotten one more season of The Dick Van Dyke Show and kept it in black and white. I just really hated to see that show end its run.
I have always been satisfied with Larry Mathews' acting. He did seem more like a real kid to me. Watching the show today - he still fits in well for me. A snotty, know-it-all kid would not have worked, imho.
Those color shots of the kitchen are interesting to look at, and thanks for posting them, Robert, but I'm glad they left the show in black and white that last season. BTW, that's a wonderful still of Mary Tyler Moore, an absolutely beautiful woman.
Or, just as bad, they could have gotten someone who would have played a bratty kid.
The way Richie was played in the Head of the Family pilot, for example... that was brattiness taken over the top, and makes you really appreciate how Larry Mathews played the role in the series.
I'm also glad that they resisted the temptation to go with someone like Rusty or Linda from Make Room for Daddy. While perfect for that show, their humor isn't exactly believable a lot of the time.
I think a kid acting like a kid was exactly what the Dick Van Dyke Show needed.
Santa Claus spotted the low price on Amazon and couldn't resist the upgrade of this series from DVD to Blu-ray, so pretty soon, I'll be basking in the Blu-ray glory of probably my favorite sixties comedy series.
I watched the series regularly from the start when it premiered on CBS and never missed an episode. The whole family just loved this series and it was surely the first "must-see" television in our household.
Even viewing the color pictures above just feels "wrong". The series shines in black & white and needs no color distractions to take away from its perfectness. I'm thankful that there has, to my knowledge, never been a movement or even mention of colorizing this series - and thank the Lord for that!
Looking forward to viewing this one, for sure.
Harry, you won't be disappointed in this set. Would that all our favorite classic shows got this treatment--at this price.