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The Flintstones The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

Highly recommended even with its flaws. 4 Stars

The Flintstones Complete Series Blu-ray set includes every episode that aired from 1960 to 1966, in addition to an edited theatrical version of The Man Called Flintstone(1966).  This release from Warner Home Video is recommended even with its flaws, as it falls short of the high standard already set by Warner Archive in its releases of Hanna-Barbera series.

The Flintstones (1960–1966)
Released: 01 May 1960
Rated: TV-G
Runtime: 26 min
Director: N/A
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family
Cast: Jean Vander Pyl, Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet
Writer(s): Joseph Barbera, William Hanna
Plot: The misadventures of two modern-day Stone Age families, the Flintstones and the Rubbles.
IMDB rating: 7.5
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD, Spanish 2.0 DD, French 2.0 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 70 Hrs. 17 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Double amaray cases in cardboard sleeve
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 10/27/2020
MSRP: $60.99

The Production: 5/5

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

The episodes are presented in their original 1:33.1 screen aspect ratio as originally broadcast.  The video presentation is excellent, with minimal grain present.  Proponents of grain in animation are understandably concerned when fine detail is scrubbed electronically from the animation along with the grain.  This is not an issue here, perhaps because of the limited animation style, as images are largely grain free, with only a few exceptions.  The grainiest presentation is evident at the beginning of “The House Guest” as pictured below.

On a large screen, the cave wall background in this scene has excessive graininess in motion, but is probably imperceptible in this still.  Overall, video presentation is excellent with vibrant tones and such exquisite detail that you can sometimes observe where paint was applied more heavily on objects in animated motion.  Even gradations in black outlines of the animation are visible at times to appreciate the artistry of the design elements.

 

Audio: 4/5

The Flintstones is presented with Dolby Digital 2.o audio in English, French, and Spanish.  The English audio is fine for what it is, with dialogue mixed consistently to appropriate levels in relation to music and sound effects.  You cannot expect Dolby Atmos audio for an early 1960s TV series, but the audio is flawless, with the exception noted of “The Big Bank Robbery” on Disc 1, which omits the sound effects and music score for the length of the episode.  The review score for audio is based on the assumption that the studio will make replacement discs available to consumers to correct this defect.

Special Features: 2.5/5

Special features are spread out among the discs in standard definition, and include all of the following:
The Flagstones: The Lost Pilot(1:35)(Disc 1): This long lost pilot produced in 1959 was rediscovered in the 1990s with faded colors (presumably Eastman film stock) and grease pencil marks on some of the frames.
How to Draw Fred Flintstone(6:47)(Disc 1): William Hanna and Joe Barbera appeared in this featurette videotaped in the 1990s.
Carved in Stone: The Flintstones Phenomenon(20:42)(Disc 2): Animation experts Jerry Beck and Earl Kress appear with artists Harvey Eisenberg, Iwao Takamoto, and Scott Shaw! in this featurette discussing the influence of The Flintstones.
Songs of The Flintstone Album(27:57)(Disc 3): Accompanies the audio from the LP record from the 1960s with video imagery.
All About The Flintstones(5:21)(Disc 4): Brief featurette about the creation of The Flintstones at Hanna-Barbera.
Wacky Inventions(5:44)(Disc 4): Featurette about the stone age inventions featured on The Flintstones.
Bedrock Collectibles: Collecting All Things Flintstone(6:42)(Disc 5): Artist and Flintstones collector Scott Shaw! shows off his impressive collection of Flintstone collectibles.
The Flintstones: One Million Years Ahead Of Its Time(8:33)(Disc 5): Artists Iwao Takamoto and Scott Shaw! appear with Jerry Beck to discuss the cultural influences of The Flintstones.
First Families of the Stone Age(7:06)(Disc 6): Featurette with producers and executives discussing the characters.
Hanna-Barbera’s Legendary Music Director Hoyt Curtin(7:05)(Disc 6): Tribute to the composer of The Flintstones theme song and numerous other Hanna-Barbera series themes with Earl Kress and others.
The Flintstones Meet Pop Culture(11:29)(Disc 10): Stephen Baldwin, the actor playing Barney Rubble in the theatrical feature The Flintstones(1994), hosts this featurette discussing aspects of pop culture borrowed by The Flintstones and influenced by the series.
The Great Gazoo: From A To Zetox(3:49): Earl Kress hosts this featurette about the recurring 6th season character.
The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown!(51:39): Presents the recent direct to video Flintstones movie in standard definition.
The Man Called Flintstone(1:29:00): Presents the 1966 theatrical feature in 1.85:1 aspect ratio and standard definition.  The humorous gag of Wilma holding the Columbia Pictures torch is missing here, so hold on to your VHS and laserdisc copies if you want to have the complete unedited film in open matte screen aspect ratio.
You will NOT see this on The Man Called Flintstone in this release.
The film presentation flows well in the widescreen aspect ratio, although at the loss of animation and backgrounds visible in the open matte version.  This widescreen presentation crops the top and bottom off the open matted image presented in the DVD version, as pictured below.
First is a scene from the widescreen version of The Man Called Flintstone included with this release.
Next is the same scene in open matte presentation on the earlier DVD.
The new cropped widescreen version appears softer than the DVD version.
Many of these special features have been ported over to this release from the previous DVD season releases of The Flintstones.  These special features are in standard definition, as previously noted, as many of them appear to have been produced originally on videotape, the notable exceptions being the 2 animated feature films included on disc 10.
All of the special features from the DVD season releases have not been ported over to this blu-ray release.  One notable omission is The Flintstones commercials and bumpers featuring One-A-Day vitamins and other sponsors.  The sublime laserdisc release of the first half of season one also included animated commercials and bumpers for Winston cigarettes, a sponsor of The Flintstones during its first 2 seasons.  None of these sponsor segments featuring The Flintstones are included in this new release.  In this respect, the laserdisc release of the early episodes in a collector’s set remains the gold standard.  The laserdisc release included bumpers and commercials featuring the original sponsor, Winston cigarettes.  (The laserdisc also included the closing credits with the ABC Network logo carved appropriately on a cave wall, which has never been seen since on DVD.  The laserdisc also included an audio option to view the episodes with or without laugh track, according to individual preference.)

Overall: 4/5

The Flintstones The Complete Series Blu-ray is highly recommended with the caveat that this reviewer does not know when the studio will issue replacement discs for the bungled audio on “The Big Bank Robbery” on Disc 1.  The video and audio presentation are excellent, but the special features could have been so much more, given the special features already produced for earlier DVD releases.  Whether you are a fan or not, The Flintstones is unquestionably one of the greatest television series of all time, and repeat viewings are a pleasure when repetition might be a chore with other series.

 

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Timothy E

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Nelson Au

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Thanks for the review! The Flintstones was a childhood favorite and I was looking forward to this release. Too bad to hear that episode 17 still has the audio issue. Hopefully the replacement disc issue will be resolved soon.

I have only one hesitation, as a kid I loved the show, as an adult, I think it might be nostalgic. But I fear I might not be able to watch all the episodes. I saw several recently on MeTV and the ones I saw were fun. As a fan, I’ll probably order this tonight or tomorrow!
 

LeoA

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I believe you'll find you still enjoy it. The show, especially the earlier seasons, was produced for all ages thanks to its primetime spot.

I love it as much as a 37 year adult as I did when I was 5.
 

BobO'Link

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Same here. The seasons I liked when a kid I like now. The ones I disliked as a kid I still dislike. I generally watch up until Pebbles is born. After that it becomes somewhat iffy for the most part and after Bam-Bam arrives it becomes practically unwatchable.
 

Ken_Martinez

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A little disturbed by the lack of grain. That's the kind of heavy-duty digital revision that we'd expect from Disney.
 

Ejanss

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Same here. The seasons I liked when a kid I like now. The ones I disliked as a kid I still dislike. I generally watch up until Pebbles is born. After that it becomes somewhat iffy for the most part and after Bam-Bam arrives it becomes practically unwatchable.

Most Hanna-Barbera fans say the whole classic-toon studio jumped the shark after Pebbles was born at the end of Season 3--
H-B was starting to become more conscious of its marketing (Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Hoppy only appeared in the show because they needed more toy sales), and the tone of all H-B's cartoons was moving from their subversively sarcastic/surreal Michael Maltese style, to a more commercial Saturday-morning style.
And the Yogi, Huckleberry and Snagglepuss cartoons started becoming Wally Gator, Magilla Gorilla, and all those other less-funny mid-60's cartoons that Cartoon Network always whined about in the 00's.

In one of the "Lost Episodes" of the Honeymooners, Ralph & Alice think they're going to adopt a baby, only to find they've been turned down, and we see a long scene of Ralph, who hasn't heard the news yet, turning into a big teddy-bear around the baby he thinks they're going to take home.
That's basically what DID happen to Fred once he got his Pebbly-poo, and how times did we need Barney to remind that it sure is nice having the strongest baby in the world for a son?
 

BobO'Link

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Yep, the HB marketing arm really took off then. My sister got a Pebbles doll that Christmas - still has it (and it's in very good shape with the hair bone still properly in place).

I didn't care for most of the "new style" Saturday cartoons in those years and tended to watch the old favorites instead. Even though I was a Beatles fan (and loved them from the day dad brought home a tape of their singles from the radio station he engineered) I absolutely detested the cartoon foisted upon Saturday mornings. Like most of those other things, it just wasn't funny and felt forced. Give me Bugs & Company (aka Looney Tunes - but *not* "The Bugs Bunny Show" as it contained half-baked filler material) any day of the week but keep Wally Gator, Magilla Gorilla, and their ilk.
 

Mark-P

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Betty must have had an affair, because we know that couldn't be Barney's DNA.
He was adopted. They literally found him on the doorstep.
526C92D1-25B7-471E-8678-92E352A2D8CF.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Ejanss

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Yep, the HB marketing arm really took off then. My sister got a Pebbles doll that Christmas - still has it (and it's in very good shape with the hair bone still properly in place).
I didn't care for most of the "new style" Saturday cartoons in those years and tended to watch the old favorites instead. Even though I was a Beatles fan (and loved them from the day dad brought home a tape of their singles from the radio station he engineered) I absolutely detested the cartoon foisted upon Saturday mornings.

If you mean the BeatlesToons, that was King Features. (And one of the big reasons the Beatles didn't want to work on Yellow Submarine.)

As for the marketing, I can't recall what was the deal between Columbia/Screen Gems and Ann-Margret's management--
Not only did we get the Flintstones' "Ann-Margrock" episode later on, but if you look in Columbia's "Bye Bye Birdie", AM's teen bedroom is littered with Hanna-Barbera plugs.
 

mark27b

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ScottRE

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I remember vaguely the episode where Barney and Betty found Bam Bam on their porch. If I recall, it was a very sweet and heartfelt episode about the Rubbles realllly sad over not having a child of their own. Whatever the issues with t his set, I'm looking forward to getting it and revisiting this series.

If you mean the BeatlesToons, that was King Features. (And one of the big reasons the Beatles didn't want to work on Yellow Submarine.)

I haven't seen this film since I was a kid. It's been so long, there's kind of a mystique about it for me. Should I revisit? I've grown to truly love the Beatles music as I've gotten older.
 

Rob W

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Is it safe to assume the digital files will also be corrected ? I'm thinking of buying the digital version. I really like the way AppleTV automatically takes you to the next unwatched episode whenever you want to watch a series.
 

Greg Chenoweth

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As for the marketing, I can't recall what was the deal between Columbia/Screen Gems and Ann-Margret's management--
Not only did we get the Flintstones' "Ann-Margrock" episode later on, but if you look in Columbia's "Bye Bye Birdie", AM's teen bedroom is littered with Hanna-Barbera plugs.
Hanna-Barbera and Screen Gems had a distribution deal in place from 1957 to about 1974. Screen Gems helped sell and distribute H-B product. Both of the films HEY THERE IT'S YOGI BEAR and THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE were originally distributed by Columbia Pictures. When the distribution deal expired, H-B could look to other avenues to distribute material (i.e., World Vision).
 

Nelson Au

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Leo, Howie, I pulled the trigger. Should get the set tomorrow.

Interesting discussion, I haven’t watched The Flintstones that closely in recent years. I had a feeling that the early couple of seasons the series was purer. And that the later seasons when Pebbles and Bam Bam arrived, the series became more mainstream. That’s probably what was causing me to think what I thought earlier in that the series may not be as watchable as an adult in the later seasons of the series. The subversive surreal is what I recall were the better shows. If that’s what I remember. But as a kid, I also have a memory of episodes where an alien from another planet appears before Fred. I recall I looked forward to those in syndication. The Great Gazoo.

I look forward to the set. Would be interesting if the vitamin and cigarette commercials had been included.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I just bought the DVD set a year ago so I’m not likely to upgrade. I’ve only watched a couple episodes. I really thought I was going to be racing through the show and I was surprised that the earliest episodes didn’t really hold my interest anymore. But I’m not giving up on it. One day I’ll be ready to watch TV and won’t know what to pick and that’ll be the day I give it another try. I still love the live action movie though.
 

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