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All in the Family - The Complete Fifth Season


TITLE: ALL IN THE FAMILY - THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: January 3, 2006 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: Approx. 621 Minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Closed Captioned
Special Features: None.


Introduction:

The fifth season of All in the Family continued its trailblazing forumula, tackling controversial issues with shockingly irreverent humor. Number one in the ratings for the fifth straight year, audiences now felt as comfortable in the Bunkers' living room as they did in their own. But this would be a year of change for Archie (Carroll O'Connor) and Edith (Jean Stapleton), with friends moving on up and family moving out.

Like the rest of the country, the Bunkers cope with rising inflation (in a multi-episode storyline), causing Edith to join the workforce. Meanwhile, next-door neighbors the Jeffersons leave their modest Queens house for a "deluxe apartment in the sky;" the pilot for the spin-off series "The Jeffersons" appears here as an episode of All in the Family. By the end of the season, Mike (Rob Reiner) and Gloria (Sally Struthers) decide it's high time to move out of Archie's house to find their own place to live.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

All in the Family finished #1 in the ratings for the fourth consecutive year with a 30.2 rating for the fifth season (1974-75). During its eight-year run, the show received an amazing 48 Emmy Award nominations and took home 20 trophies with multiple wins for all the lead characters and three wins for Outstanding Comedy Series. For the 1974-1975 season, All in the Family won a Golden Globe for Best TV Show - Musical/Comedy and Jean Stapleton won for Best TV Actress - Musical/Comedy. Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, and Sally Struthers all received Emmy Award nominations for this season. The show was also nominated for Best Comedy Series, but it lost to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Carroll O'Connor would miss some episodes due to a contract holdout. There were a number of memorable fifth season episodes. The rising tide of feminism confronts Archie on all sides when Edith joins a women's group and Irene lands a job alongside him on the loading dock in "Archie's Helping Hand." After an accident on the loading dock brings Archie within inches of his life, he suddenly becomes a devout-if somewhat hypocritical- churchgoer in "Archie and the Miracle." Irene and the Jeffersons bail the Bunkers out after Archie buys two thousand dollars worth of aluminum siding from a fast-talking saleman in "Archie's Contract." A plumber's assistant causes Archie agony when he finds out the worker is a convient on a work-release program from Sing Sing in "Prisoner in the House." Archie steals a box of nails from work and finds himself at the center of a household debate on morality in "Everybody Does It." Archie feels the weight of his own mortality after a magazine quiz on life expectancy gives him another seven years in "Archie and the Quiz."

Guest stars from the series fifth season included James Cromwell as Stretch Cunningham in "The Bunkers and Inflation (Part IV)," "Archie Is Missing (Part II)," and "Archie and the Miracle." Mike Evans and Isabel Sanford appeared as Lionel and Louise Jefferson in "Lionel the Live-In." Charlotte Rae played Miss Lillian Henderson in "Where's Archie (Part I)." Ed Peck (Officer Kirk on Happy Days) appeared in "George and Archie Make a Deal" and "Archie's Contract." Henry Fonda hosted the one-hour "The Best of All in the Family" special. The pilot episode for The Jeffersons, "The Jeffersons Move Up," featured Isabel Sanford, Mike Evans, Sherman Hemsley, Berlinda Tolbert, Franklin Cover, Roxie Roker, Paul Bendict, Zara Cully, and Ned Wertimer. Legendary character actor Burt Mustin appeared as Justin Quigley in "No Smoking" and "Mike Makes His Move."


Packaging:

This 3-disc set features all 24 episodes from All in the Family's fifth season (1974-1975). The packaging for this season is similar to what has been used for the previous four releases. I like that they have remained consistent with the look from release to release. The cover art features a photo of Edith, Archie, Gloria, and Mike. There is a forest green and white color scheme for the set. The main DVD case slips out from the left of the outer box. There is a three-fold digipak that holds the three discs, and there is a pocket that holds a 4-page episode guide booklet and a flyer that promotes some other Sony TV DVD releases. There is a photo of Mike and Archie drinking a beer on the pocket holder and a nice color cast photo that includes Mike Evans on the back of the digipak. There is a summary of the set and three small photos on the back of the outer box. The episode guide booklet features short summaries of the episodes with writing and directing credits. It would have been nice of them to include the original broadcast dates for the episodes as well as the guest stars. The discs each have a photo of them with the All in the Family logo in forest green. Disc 1 features Carroll O'Connor (Episodes 1-8), Disc 2 has Jean Stapleton (Episodes 9-16), and Disc 3 has a photo of Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner (Episodes 17-24).


Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menus feature the same photo as the cover art, but the photo is a bit cropped. The forest green and white color theme is also found on the menus. The All in the Family logo is in forest green in a white bar. There are options to 'Play All Episodes' or 'Episode Selection.' There is a gold arrow next to your selection on the menu that turns green upon selection. When you go to Episode Selection, it takes you to a separate sub-menu that has a photo from each episode. The episode title and number is also listed. When you highlight an episode, the photo is tinted in gold/yellow. It is tinted green upon your selection. A 'Previews' option for some other Sony TV on DVD releases is found on the third disc.


Video and Audio Quality:

I've read that some fans have been a bit disappointed with the video and audio quality on the previous All in the Family seasons. These episodes have digitally remastered video and audio, but there is only so much they can do given the original source material that is now over 30 years old. There are some minor video imperfections and occasional tape glitches once again, but these episodes look better than what you've see on TV Land or in syndication. Unfortunately, tape degrades over the years. I'm glad they are now preserved on DVD and won't further deteriorate. I feel like they could have spread these episodes out over four discs instead of three. The audio is in mono, which is typical of sitcoms from the 70's. It's at a good volume, and there weren't any major audio problems in the episodes I've watched so far. All episodes appear to be unedited with running times around 24-25 minutes. "The Best of All in the Family" originally aired as an one-hour episode, and it is presented on the set this way. The episodes are in their original airdate order.

Here is a list of the episodes by disc, including their running times:

Disc 1
----------
1. The Bunkers and Inflation (Part I) (24:52)
2. The Bunkers and Inflation (Part II) (24:55)
3. The Bunkers and Inflation (Part III) (24:49)
4. The Bunkers and Inflation (Part IV) (24:21)
5. Lionel the Live-In (24:54)
6. Archie's Helping Hand (24:53)
7. Gloria's Shock (24:47)
8. Where's Archie (Part I) (24:51)

Disc 2
----------
9. Archie Is Missing (Part II) (24:51)
10. The Longest Kiss (Part III) (24:51)
11. Archie and the Miracle (24:51)
12. George and Archie Make a Deal (24:43)
13. Archie's Contract (24:54)
14. Mike's Friend (24:49)
15. The Best of All in the Family (50:42)
16. Prisoner in the House (24:49)

Disc 3
----------
17. The Jeffersons Move Up (24:52)
18. All's Fair (24:54)
19. Amelia's Divorce (24:38)
20. Everybody Does It (24:51)
21. Archie and the Quiz (24:51)
22. Edith's Friend (24:51)
23. No Smoking (24:53)
24. Mike Makes His Move (24:50)


Special Features:

No special features are included once again. It would be nice to see some cast interviews or bloopers on some of these sets. There are 5 previews for some other Sony TV DVD releases: Bewitched (TV) (:56), Classic Comedy (1:31), Classic Urban TV Series (1:24), I Dream of Jeannie (:52), and The Partridge Family (1:03). Some of these previews look to be about 2 years old now. They are promoting only the first and second seasons of All in the Family. Time for some new previews Sony! We have recently learned that I Dream of Jeannie, which is promoted as coming soon on the preview, will be released on March 14th.


Final Comments:

If you've purchased the previous four All in the Family seasons, you know what to expect from these releases. The only things that really change from set to set are the photos, colors themes, episodes, and slight variations in the packaging. This was another strong season of All in the Family, but I think it suffered a bit with Carroll O'Connor missing about four episodes due to a contract holdout. This season featured the pilot episode for the successful spin-off series The Jeffersons. We still have four more seasons to go for All in the Family. It would be nice to see them release atleast two per year. Don't forget Archie Bunker's Place - The Complete First Season will be released on January 31st. I'm a bit surprised they are releasing that series before All in the Family is finished, but maybe both series will be completed around the same time.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.0/5
Audio Quality: 4.0/5
Special Features: N/A
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 01/03/06

To order the DVD click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BTGY78/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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