Release Date: May 17, 2011 (Shout! Factory)
Color / 1978 - 1979
Packaging: Viva pack
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 675 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-captioned
Special Features: None
It's one last chance (well, that is in the original series) to spend some time in the Bunker household in All in the Family - The Complete Ninth Season. Far from the first season, the series has evolved significantly by now, with Mike and Gloria now gone and living in California, Archie become much more soft-hearted and lovable than the loud-mouthed bigot from the first season (though he still has his moments), and a new addition to the household, Edith's nine-year-old niece Stephanie (played by Danielle Brisebois, now a well-known lyricist in the music industry), who was literally left on the doorstep for Archie and Edith to care for. But it is still "all in the family" for the Bunkers in this ninth and final season of the classic series.
Archie and Edith become parents again when Edith's nine-year-old niece is abandoned on the doorstep in "Little Miss Bunker." A physical exam reveals a spot on Archie's liver in "End in Sight." Can Barney Hefner be reunited with his wife? Archie and Edith try to help in "Reunion on Hauser Street." Stephanie's father fails to return to reclaim her in "What'll We Do With Stephanie?" Edith is the only mourner at her aunt's funeral in "Edith's Final Respects." In "Weekend in the Country," Archie and Edith are invited to a fishing weekend with Barney and Blanche. Archie wakes up in bed with a black woman in "Archie's Other Wife." In "Edith Versus the Bank," Edith's planned anniversary present for Archie turns into trouble when she can't get the money from the bank. Edith confronts the waitress who tempted Archie's fidelity in "Return of the Waitress."
In "Bogus Bills," Edith ends up in jail after passing phony $10 bills (unintentionally, of course). The Bunkers decide to travel to California to see Mike and Gloria in "The Bunkers Go West." In the one-hour special "California, Here We Are," the Bunkers finally arrive in California, only to find a lack of marital bliss between Mike and Gloria. Edith develops laryngitis just in time for her singing debut at Stephanie's PTA recital in "A Night at the PTA" The butcher that had the hots for Edith is back in "A Girl Like Edith." In "The Appendectomy," Stephanie gets sick just in time for her tenth birthday party. There's a thief in the family in "Stephanie and the Crime Wave." In "Barney, the Gold Digger," Blanche finally leaves Barney, leaving him in despair.
Archie's brother comes to visit again (with his 18-year-old wife!) in "Return of Archie's Brother." Edith learns that Stephanie is Jewish in "Stephanie's Conversion," so how will Archie react? When Edith lets a woman die in dignity, she is fired at the Sunshine Home in "Edith Gets Fired." Norman Lear hosts a 90 minute retrospective of the series in "200th Episode Celebration." Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford) makes a return in "The Family Next Door," where she wants Edith to help sell their old house. In "The Return of Stephanie's Father," Stephanie's father returns, and attempts to extort cash from the Bunkers for their right to keep Stephanie. The series ends with "Too Good Edith," where Edith becomes very sick while trying to cook a lot of food for a St. Patrick's Day party at the tavern.
The episodes all appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "Little Miss Bunker" (24:44)
2. "End in Sight" (24:51)
3. "Reunion on Hauser Street" (24:51)
4. "What'll We Do With Stephanie?" (24:49)
5. "Edith's Final Respects" (24:29)
6. "Weekend in the Country" (24:53)
7. "Archie's Other Wife" (24:49)
8. "Edith Versus the Bank" (24:49)
9. "Return of the Waitress" (24:48)
10. "Bogus Bills" (24:50)
11. "The Bunkers Go West" (24:48)
12. "California, Here We Are" (48:27)
13. "A Night at the PTA" (24:37)
14. "A Girl Like Edith" (24:51)
15. "The Appendectomy" (24:49)
16. "Stephanie and the Crime Wave" (24:47)
17. "Barney, the Gold Digger" (23:57)
18. "Return of Archie's Brother" (24:07)
19. "Stephanie's Conversion" (23:50)
20. "Edith Gets Fired" (24:44)
21. "200th Episode Celebration" (1:13:07)
22. "The Family Next Door" (24:48)
23. "The Return of Stephanie's Father" (24:20)
24. "Too Good Edith" (24:46)
The set comes packaged in a standard Viva-pack, which means (if you bought the newer versions of the Sony releases), all nine seasons will actually look fairly consistent on your bookshelf. The cover art has a photo of Archie and Edith. Hopefully, you like this photo, because it appears many places throughout the set. The back has information about the season and a few episode snapshots. Inside the case, we have another photo of Archie and Edith on the inside of the case, and the three discs... each with the same artwork as the cover art. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-9, Disc 2 contains episodes 10-17, and Disc 3 contains episodes 18-24. There is also an episode insert (care to guess what picture is on the cover of that?) with descriptions and original airdates for all of the episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very plain... and I put emphasis on VERY. All we have is one main menu, which has the same artwork as the cover photo that has a Play All option and lists all of the episodes underneath it. That is it. There isn't even any music in the background as there was last time. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality this time, as was the case for the eighth season, is excellent. Everything looks and sounds great on the set, looking better than I've seen the series even in syndication. The series was shot on tape, so it does show some artifacts from that, but it isn't really bad. The audio is pretty good quality as well, presented in Dolby Digital mono. The episodes are all closed-captioned.
Well, this set is strike nine on special features. There really aren't any on this set aside from the 200th episode which hasn't aired since the original run of the series, but I don't really consider it to be a special feature. It is a shame how this series, being as big as it is, has been totally neglected on special features. Commentaries would be nice, as would interviews, original promos and original publicity regarding the series, original pilots... there is so much out there. But none of it has been included on any of these sets.
It's nice to see the series finally come to completion on DVD nearly a decade after the first season was released. Even though it took two studios to get them all out, I'm glad they all made it to DVD, and especially glad that we managed to get all unedited episodes. It really is a shame regarding the total lack of special features throughout each season set. Still, the focus of all DVD sets is the show itself, and now fans can finally watch every single episode on DVD in order, which is great. The only question now is whether or not we'll see the rest of the continuation series/spinoff, Archie Bunker's Place. Sony released season 1 a few years ago, but we haven't seen any further seasons since then. It would be nice if Shout! Factory could pick up this series as well, particularly as it is rarely seen in syndication. Still, we have every episode of the original series on DVD finally, and fans can rejoice in that. Boy the way Glenn Miller played!