Release Date: November 13, 2012 (Warner Archive Collection)
Packaging: Viva Case
Number of Discs: 4 (Part 1); 3 (Part 2)
Number of Episodes: 14 (Part 1); 12 (Part 2)
Running Time: 691 minutes (Part 1); 600 minutes (Part 2)
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
In 1977, the series Eight is Enough debuted on ABC. It was a simple family comedy-drama of the '70s about the good things and bad things that happen in a very large family, and was an immediate hit. Unfortunately, shortly after the debut, drama hit the cast as Diana Hyland, who played mother Joan Bradford, died of cancer only twelve days following the premiere episode. So after the few episodes that Hyland had filmed aired, her character disappeared for the remainder of the first season, but she was still said to be around.
That all changed in the second season. The time had come to make it official: Joan Bradford had died, and Tom Bradford was now a widower with eight children. It probably could have made an interesting series to see how a person could handle that, but instead, the producers decided to put him back on the dating market... and on top of that, they had him married before the season was done. The new stepmother? Abby, played by Betty Buckley. In the second season, we watch the Bradford family as they deal with the trials and tribulations of the changing family dynamics, a stolen Christmas, second mortgages, UFOs, academic dishonesty, and Abby facing a horrible head injury. It all comes together in the two parts of Eight is Enough - The Complete Second Season!
This season is split into two parts by Warner Archive, but we are reviewing them together since they were released together. To avoid confusion, we'll distinguish between the episodes included on Part 1 and Part 2.
Part 1 begins with "Is There a Doctor in the House?," where Dr. Maxwell temporarily moves in with the Bradfords, but he is driving everybody crazy. We meet Abby in the episode "Trial Marriage." In "Triangles," Tom wants to spend time with his children, and will do anything to achieve that goal. Tom and Abby break up (but not for long, of course) in "Double Trouble." In "Mortgage Burnin' Blues," Tom finally pays off the mortgage, but it won't be long before he has a second one. Tom wants to propose to Abby (if the kids will let him that is) in "Dark Horse." Tom finds himself trying to prove himself to his future father-in-law in "The Bard and the Bod."
It's time for the big wedding in the two-part episode "Children of the Groom." In "I Quit," Tom and Abby decide to do a Mike and Carol Brady style honeymoon by bringing along the kids (but it doesn't work as well for them). Abby begins doing some mothering in "All's Fair in Love and War," but it creates quite a bit of chaos. In "The Return of Auntie V," Tom's sister returns with a big surprise... she has bought Tom and Abby a new house as a wedding present! In the two-part episode "Yes, Nicholas, There is a Santa Claus," Christmas is rough enough when the family has to deal with the loss of Joan, but it gets worse when their Christmas is stolen from them.
Part 2 begins with "A Hair of the Dog," where the kids plan a surprise party for Tom's birthday. In "Author! Author!," Abby encourages Tom to follow his dreams. Tom's latest writing assignment about trash lands him in the slammer after he refuses to reveal his source in "Much Ado About Garbage." The kids are left in the hands of Sandra when Tom and Abby are busy with work in "Dear Ms. Dinah." In "Hard Hats and Hard Heads," David catches up with some old friends, but the end result is that it makes him feel like a failure in life. Everybody is miserable after Joannie, Nancy, and Susan meet new guys over winter break in "Seven Days in February."
In "The Boyfriend," Susan has a new boyfriend... but he is more interested in somebody else. Tommy decides to buy a term paper to please Tom in "Great Expectations." In "Long Night's Journey Into Day," Abby suffers a concussion, and the family is doing everything they can to help her regain her memory. Abby and Tom leave the kids alone for the weekend, unsupervised, in "The Lost Weekend." David meets a young woman who is the daughter of a wealthy construction worker in "Poor Little Rich Girl." The season ends with "Who's on First?," where Joanie drags the entire family into a talent show.
The episodes seem to be unedited... for the most part. However, I do have some concerns with the two double-length episodes. These are split into two hour-long episodes for each of them, but they are still about three minutes shorter than they would be otherwise. Also, they have syndicated opening credits attached to them. But we suggest that you judge for yourself. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Is There a Doctor in the House?" (50:12)
2. "Trial Marriage" (50:08)
3. "Triangles" (50:10)
4. "Double Trouble" (50:12)
5. "Mortgage Burnin' Blues" (50:11)
6. "Dark Horse" (50:15)
7. "The Bard and the Bod" (50:12)
8. "Children of the Groom (Part 1)" (47:25)
9. "Children of the Groom (Part 2)" (47:28)
10. "I Quit" (50:14)
11. "All's Fair in Love and War" (50:07)
12. "The Return of Auntie V" (50:15)
13. "Yes, Nicholas, There is a Santa Claus (Part 1)" (47:17)
14. "Yes, Nicholas, There is a Santa Claus (Part 2)" (47:37)
15. "Hair of the Dog" (50:11)
16. "Author, Author!" (50:12)
17. "Much Ado About Garbage" (49:11)
18. "Dear Miss Dinah" (50:12)
19. "Hard Hats and Hard Heads" (50:11)
20. "Seven Days in February" (50:10)
21. "The Boyfriend" (50:13)
22. "Great Expectations" (50:07)
23. "Long Night's Journey Into Day" (50:12)
24. "The Lost Weekend" (50:13)
25. "Poor Little Rich Girl" (50:13)
26. "Who's On First?" (49:13)
As we mentioned, this set is presented as two parts, but as you'll discover with the packaging, they are certainly intended to be purchased together. The cover of each part has a cast photo, with three episode snapshots and a description of each respective half-season on the back of each case. Inside each case, you'll find the discs, which have the series logo and a listing of episodes printed on them. Things get a little weird with the disc numbering. Part 1 has four discs, numbered Disc 1 through Disc 4, but Part 2 has three discs, numbered Disc 5 through Disc 7. It seems a little unusual to continue the disc numbering across the two parts, but clearly, I think that Warner Archive is pretty confident that nobody will just get one part, and will purchase both of them together. Also, like many other recent multi disc Warner Archive releases, it appears that the initial copies of this set are being sold as pressed DVDs as opposed to MOD DVDs (but this will likely change in the near future).
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are very basic, but they're much nicer than the menus that were on the first season. For anybody who did not see the first season, Warner Home Video decided to use some of the most generic menus humanly possible for the first season. In fact, they almost looked like menus off of a bootleg set. Now that Warner Archive has taken over, they've gone with standard Warner Archive menus, with all of the episodes and a Play All option listed on the main menu. There is also a cast photo on the main menu (the same one on the cover art for each part). There are eight chapters placed within each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality has a tendency to vary from episode to episode on this set. While this isn't uncommon for '70s series, the quality did seem to be a little rougher on the episodes that were split into two hour long episodes. The quality probably would've been better if they'd gone back to the original source elements for the "TV movies" that they made for them. The audio on the set is very loud and clear, in a somewhat dull mono track. Like most Warner Archive releases, there are no subtitles or closed-captions.
There are no special features at all on this set. Unfortunately, since this has transitioned to Warner Archive, it seems unlikely that we'll see any special features on any future releases.
Honestly, I'm a little surprised that this series ended up with Warner Archive. It wasn't too long ago that Warner Home Video released the first season, and they were said to have plans to continue the series. Obviously, that was not the case. Oddly enough, though, I feel like this series is better off in the hands of Warner Archive. We'll likely get quicker releases, and I was honestly surprised at how much more professional these sets looked compared to the Warner Home Video release of the first season. There are a few complaints, of course, the biggest being that the two double-length episodes were split into one hour episodes (and possibly syndicated versions on top of that), and I don't like the splitting of the season into half seasons. At least, though, they released both of them on the same day. Fans of this series will definitely want to pick up these sets, but I think that in general, fans of family sitcoms of the '70s are sure to enjoy this. Although this series was more of a comedy-drama than a pure sitcom, it really fits in more closely with the sitcom genre in my opinion. It always reminded me of a slightly dramatic version of The Brady Bunch, but unlike The Brady Bunch, it hasn't had such extensive airplay over the decades.