TITLE: FAN FAVORITES: THE BEST OF CHEERS
Release Date: March 6, 2012 (CBS Home Entertainment)
Color/1982-1983, 1986-1987, 1992
Packaging: Amaray Case
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 8 (1 is a 2-parter)
Running Time: 216 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles and Captioning: English subtitles
Special Features: None
The fans have spoken! Here come eight great Cheers episodes, selected by fans in a Facebook poll. Visit the bar where "everybody knows your name" and join the regulars for some of their best-loved laughs. Remember how it all began in the unforgettable pilot episode when bar-owner Sam (Ted Danson) hires the overeducated Diane (Shelley Long) as a waitress, sparking an epic on-again, off-again romance. Grab a front row seat at the wildly offbeat wedding of clueless bartender Woody (Woody Harrelson). And enjoy a comic feast when grouchy waitress Carla (Rhea Perlman) throws a Thanksgiving dinner for the bar's strays. All these plus five more laugh-out-loud episodes are featured in this collection.
The release includes three episodes from season one, four episodes from season five and a two-part episode from season ten. In "Give Me a Ring Sometime" (Pilot Episode), bride-to-be Diane Chambers becomes the center of attention at a cozy bar car called Cheers. When Sam and Diane agree to try to find each other a perfect date, he's sure she'll offer herself and shows up alone in "Diane's Perfect Date." When Sam learns the unwitting coach is being hustled by his "pal," he plots to con the con-artist by taking Harry the flimflam man in a "Friendly Little Poker Game" - and everyone wants in on the action in "Pick a Con, Any Con." Frasier is excited about appearing on a local TV show that features spirited debates between noted psychiatrists, but his enthusiasm plummets when he finds out that his opponent will be a former date, Dr. Lilith Sternin in "Abnormal Psychology." Carla decides to host Thansgiving dinner at her home - a holiday event that includes chaotic preparations, famished guests, a "birdzilla" in the over and a surprise visit by Norm's heretofore unseen wife, Vera in "Thanksgiving Orphans." When Frasier asks Lilith to move in with him, a surprised Sam and Diane decide to have a quiet ddinner with the couple to celebrate, but tensions flare as the evening progresses in "Dinner at Eight-ish." When one of Frasier's colleagues - a famed marriage couselor - drops by Cheers, Diane convinces Sam that they should schedule a session with the highly regarded expert, but they are totally unprepared for the good doctor's diagnosis of their relationship in "Simon Says." Woody and Kelly's wedding faces some funny obstacles before and during the ceremony, which force Lilith to sing to the guests in order to prvent them, and Woody and Kelly, from discovering the numerous disasters going on behind the scenes in "An Old Fashioned Wedding (Parts 1 & 2)."
The episodes on the DVD are presented as they were in their original season set releases, which includes a disclaimer that some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. The first five seasons appeared to be mostly unedited. It was only the later seasons (seasons 8-11) that contained some edits or music substitutions. "An Old Fashioned Wedding (Parts 1&2)" originally aired as a one-hour episode and is presented that way on the DVD. In part 2 of the episode, Lilith singing a few words from "Make 'em Laugh" is muted. Runtimes are as follows:
"Give Me a Ring Sometime (Pilot)" (09/30/82) (24:56)
"Diane's Perfect Date" (02/10/83) (24:07)
"Pick a Con, Any Con" (02/24/83) (24:10)
"Abnormal Psychology" (10/16/86) (24:27)
"Thanksgiving Orphans" (11/27/86) (24:38)
"Dinner at Eight-ish" (02/26/87) (24:43)
"Simon Says" (03/05/87) (24:36)
"An Old Fashioned Wedding (Parts 1&2)" (05/14/92) (45:21)
The packaging is a standard clear plastic DVD case. It features the same cast photo that was used on the fifth season DVD release, except that Kirstie Alley and Kelsey Grammer have been photoshopped into it. The Cheers logo is above the photo. On the back, there is a brief synopsis of the set, along with three episode snapshots and a listing of the episodes and DVD specs. The episode titles, along with brief descriptions and original airdates, are printed inside the case. A beige and red background is used. The disc has just the standard and generic CBS style artwork, the series logo on a gray background. The titles of all of the episodes are printed on the disc.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu is very simple and easy to navigate. It features the same cast photo that is used on the front cover of the case, although it is less cropped. The photo has a circular border around it. The Cheers logo is in the top left and the episode titles are below it. There is a yellow square next to the episode you highlight that turns gold upon your selection. You can turn on the English for the deaf and hard of hearing subtitles from that menu, which uses the same cast photo as the main menu. There is no Play All option on the menu. When you first insert the disc, there is a series of previews (2:43) that you can play or skip. There are promos for Cheers - The Final Season, Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley/Mork & Mindy - The Third Seasons and The Odd Couple - The Final Season. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
All of the episodes were remastered for the individual season DVD releases. The episodes on this set appear to be exactly the same as they were on the original releases. The episodes look very clean, with only a minimal amount of grain and debris. Cheers was filmed in front of a live studio audience. The episodes feature the Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions and newer Paramount logo. The audio is in English stereo and has no problems. Cheers was broadcast in stereo beginning with the fourth season. Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available on all of the episodes.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included on any of these Fan Favorites DVD releases. This is a no-frills edition with just the episodes. Some of the early Cheers seasons had special features, but they were eventually faded out beginning with the fourth season.
All 11 seasons and 271 episodes have been previously released on DVD from 2003-09. The episodes on this release represent only 3 of the 11 seasons. Most of these episodes are Diane-centric, with only a 2-part episode from the tenth season featuring Rebecca. Fans selected these episodes, so I guess these are their favorites. The "Thanksgiving Orphans" episode is one of the funniest of the series. There were many memorable episodes from the Rebecca years, so maybe they will release a second volume at some point. This set is geared more towards the newer or casual fan or as impulse item that you see at the store.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 03/03/12
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