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Cheers - The Ninth Season


TITLE: CHEERS - THE NINTH SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008 (CBS DVD/Paramount)
Color / 1990-1991
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 26 (27 if you count the 200th Celebration as 2)
Running Time: Aprrox. 10 hours, 29 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; No Subtitles; Closed captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

It's the cozy little bar where everybody knows your name... raise a glass to Cheers - the Emmy Award-winning smash-hit television series that kept the laughs uncorked for 11 seasons. Will wedding bells chime for Rebecca (Kirstie Alley) in Cheers: The Ninth Season? She believes they will when Robin decides to pop the question - much to Sam's (Ted Danson) dismay! Woody (Woody Harrelson) gets hooked on a home shopping show, while Norm (George Wendt) and Cliff (John Ratzenberger) investigate a fight between Sam and Frasier (Kelsey Grammer). And an appalled Carla (Rhea Perlman) must be civil to Cliff when she discovers that he's a judge for the "Miss Boston Barmaid" contest! Join the gang for another round of free-flowing laughs in this 26-episode volume of the classic TV sitcom.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Cheers' ninth season premiered on September 20, 1990. It continued to air on the usual day and time - Thursdays at 9:00-9:30 PM on NBC. Cheers became the #1 ranked show on television with a 21.3 rating, although that was down from the 22.7 the season before. Cheers won an Emmy for "Outstanding Comedy Series" for the fourth time this season. James Burrows won for "Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series." Kirstie Alley won for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series." Bebe Neuwirth picked up her second consecutive Emmy for "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series." The show received 9 other Emmy nominations for this season.

Memorable episodes included the season premiere, "Love Is A Really, Really Perfectly Okay Thing," in which in the afterglow of their intimate encounter, Rebecca becomes determined to deny that it ever happened, to the gang at the bar, to Robin and to herself. Norm nearly has a cow when he hears that the Hungry Heifer is closing down, and mounts an all-out campaign to keep it going, while Rebecca frets over seeing Robin as he works in the street nearby as part of a road gang in "Grease." Moderator John McLaughlin leads the whole cast, including former member Shelley Long, in a discussion of the show, featuring many clips from previous shows in the "200th Celebration." Rebecca parties hearty to hide her second thoughts after Robin finally pops the question and Frasier develops a passion for the new sing-along machine in "Days of Wine and Roses." Rebecca awakens on her wedding morning raring to go, and seems determined to ignore Sam's attempts to remind her of her doubts, and Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield upstages Frasier in "Wedding Bell Blues." Rebecca has trouble accepting the fact that she cancelled her wedding with Robin and Frasier translates Dickens' classic prose into Boston vernacular in "I'm Getting My Act Together and Sticking It In Your Face." Sam enters a whole new world when he babysits for Frasier and Lilith, and Woody worries about Kelly when she goes to work at Cheers as part of a school project in "Home Malone." When Sam finds it difficult to back away from Frasier's son, he decides to have one of his own-if only he can find the right mommy in "Uncle Sam Wants You."

Joining the cast in the ninth season as a recurring cast member was Keene Curtis as John Allen Hill. He made his first appearance in "Bad Neighbor Sam." He would also appear in the tenth and eleventh seasons. Notable guest stars included Boston Celtics' star Kevin McHale as himself in "Cheers Fouls Out." Arsenio Hall appeared as himself in "Where Nobody Knows Your Name." John McLaughlin hosted and moderated the 200th Celebration and Shelley Long and Director James Burrows appeared in the special as well. Sada Thompson guest starred as Mama Lozupone in "Honor Thy Mother." Valerie Mahaffey played Valerie Hill and Diedrich Bader was the Waiter in "Achilles Hill." Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield appeared as himself in "Wedding Bell Blues." Barbara Feldon guest starred as Lauren Hudson and Michael Dukakis appeared as himself in "Sam Time Next Year."


Packaging:

The packaging has undergone some drastic changes. Seasons 1-8 came in digipaks that were inside outer cardboard boxes. Since it has been nearly 2 years since season 8 was released, CBS DVD is now releasing the DVDs. This set comes in an Amaray movie-style snapcase with clear outer plastic edges. The set is roughly half the size in thickness than the previous releases. It would been nice to have them all in the same format because it just doesn't look the same in the thinner case. The cover art is similar to the other seasons. It features a photo of 7 cast members. The Cheers logo and Season 9 is in light blue text and centered at the top. On the back of the case, there is a photo of Rebecca in her wedding gown along with Carla, Frasier, Cliff and Sam. A summary of the set, listing of the episodes and the DVD specs are listed. Opening the case, there is just blank white space. I know that none of the other seasons have included episode guides, but there was plenty of space for them to include one here. Not everybody is able to identify the episodes by the title alone, and it would be nice to have summaries for reference. Discs 1-4 are held in two overlapping white, plastic holders. Disc 5 is held in an embedded holder on the back of the case. All of the previous seasons have included photos on the discs. This time they are just silver and have the Cheers logo which has a hologram-type effect when you turn it in light. The episode titles are listed on the disc. Each disc holds 5-6 episodes.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The static menus are pretty simple and easy to navigate. I think this is one of the better set-ups that they've used as far as the layout. Each menu features a different cast photo or scene from the episodes. These photos are on the right side of the screen and background is the wall of the Cheers bar. Disc 1 has the same cast photo as the cover art, although Rebecca is in red and Sam's shirt appears lighter. I guess they photoshopped one of these photos to give it a somewhat different appearance. Rebecca and Woody are on Disc 2. A photo of Cliff and Norm singing is used on Disc 3. Disc 4 has Sam and Rebecca. Disc 5 features a photo of Sam in a dugout with Norm and Carla. On the left side of the screen, there is the Cheers logo and Season 9. Below that, the episode titles are listed in yellow text (in the same font as the credits on the show). There is a tiny orange beer mug next to the episode that you highlight. Upon your selection, it turns light blue. A "Play All" button is available for those who wish to watch the episodes without any interruptions. When you first insert disc 1, there is an option to view Previews or you can go directly to the main menu. The previews are for some other CBS DVD/Paramount TV DVD releases. There is also a new one for I Love Lucy - The Complete Series, which I haven't seen on any other sets. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but there are no separate scene selection menus.


Video and Audio Quality:

These episodes are from 1990-91, so they seem to look a bit better than the earlier seasons. In 2001, these episodes were remastered for syndication and a set was donated to the Museum of Televion and Radio by creator James Burrows on the behalf of Paramount Pictures. They are likely using the same prints on the DVD, although with some edits because of music. Since the show was shot on film, there is some dirt, debris and other digital artifacts in these episodes. They certainly look better than the episodes I remember seeing in syndication before 2001. The release is in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. The episodes are spread out well with no more than 6 episosdes per disc, so there are no compression issues. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is one for Charles Burrows Charles Productions. This is followed by a new one for CBS Television Distribution.

The audio is a Dolby Digital - English Surround track. It's generally clear and crisp with no major problems. The original opening and closing credits appear to be intact. Closed captioning is available for all of the episodes.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of disclaimers on the back of the case. In small text on the bottom of the case, it says "Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version." Seasons 4, 6 and 7 had similar disclaimers about music being changed, but this is the first time there has been a note that the episodes may be edited. Most of the episodes appear to be unedited with running times between 23-24 minutes. There are a few that are a bit shorter: "Cheers Fouls Out" (23:07), "Ma Always Liked You Best" (22:43), "Grease" (22:55) "Veggie Boyd" (22:12), "Wedding Bell Blues" (22:39). In "Ma Always Liked You Best," Carla singing the Winnie the Pooh theme is cut. Norm and Cliff singing "Lollipop" and Frasier singing "Isn't It Romantic?" is included in "Days of Wine and Roses." "Wedding Bell Blues" is missing the recap from the previous episode, although Bobby Hatfield singing "Unchained Melody" is included. The "200th Celebration" originally aired a one-hour episode, and it is presented this way. It runs 43:25, although information indicates that it ran 46 1/2 minutes originally and some of the music-related clips are missing. If you notice and music changed or edited episodes on this set, please post about them in this thread.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
Love Is A Really, Really Perfectly Okay Thing (23:56)
Cheers Fouls Out (23:53)
Rebecca Redux (23:07)
Where Nobody Knows Your Name (23:58)
Ma Always Liked You Best (22:43)
Grease (22:55)

Disc 2
---------
Breaking In Is Hard To Do (23:56)
200th Celbration: One Hour Special (43:25)
Bad Neighbor Sam (23:27)
Veggie Boyd (22:12)
Norm and Cliff's Excellent Adventure (23:41)

Disc 3
---------
Woody Interruptus (23:56)
Honor Thy Mother (23:46)
Achilles Hill (23:56)
Days of Wine and Roses (23:58)
Wedding Bell Blues (22:39)

Disc 4
---------
I'm Getting My Act Together and Sticking It In Your Face (23:57)
Sam Time Next Year (23:16)
Crash of the Titans (23:12)
It's A Wonderful Life (23:02)
Cheers Has Chili (23:32)

Disc 5
---------
Carla Loves Clavin (23:53)
Pitch It Again, Sam (23:47)
Rat Girl (23:12)
Home Malone (23:11)
Uncle Sam Wants You (23:25)


Special Features:

There have been no special features included on any Cheers releases since Season 3. Unfortunately, that trend is continued here. I've just been happy to build my Cheers library of episodes. Maybe we will see some new special features on a complete series boxed set... whenever we get there.


Final Comments:

In the opening credits, they show the Cheers sign with the established 1895 date. It seems like it has been that long since we've had a season of Cheers on DVD. It has actually been less than 2 years, but I'm sure a lot of fans were hoping that we would have the complete series available by now. They just weren't released at the same rate as Frasier. It is interesting to note that this was the only time Cheers finished first in the ratings, although it had much higher overall actual rating in other seasons.

Since it has been nearly 2 years since the last release, there have been some changes on the set. The packaging is much thinner than before. I'm going to miss the large Digipaks that they used on the previous 8 seasons. It just won't look the same with the smaller cases when they are all lined up on my shelf. The discs are also very plain looking and lack the photos that they've used in the past. It is also disappointing that there has some music been changed and scenes edited on the DVD. Maybe that was one of the reasons for the long delay between seasons. It just seems like corners were cut in a few different areas for this set. Hopefully we will see the remaining two seasons released soon, although with fewer edited scenes and all of the original music included when possible. It might be asking a lot to have the last two seasons by the end of the year and a complete boxed set for the holidays, but I guess you can never tell.


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
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 04/27/08

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0012EM5EC/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=224159


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