TITLE: THE BEST OF I LOVE LUCY
DVD Release Date: June 21, 2011 (CBS Home Entertainment)
B&W / 1952-1956
Packaging: Dual DVD Case
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 14
Running Time: 361 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: N/A
Audio: English mono; Spanish mono (most episodes)
Subtitles and Captions: Closed-captioned; Spanish subtitles
Special Features: None
Get ready to love Lucy one more time with The Best of I Love Lucy! The two-disc set, available exclusively at Target for now, contains fourteen of the best episodes of the queen of comedy in her original series. Lucille Ball would celebrate her 100th birthday on August 6th, and the series I Love Lucy celebrates its own 60th anniversary later this year; this set is a testament to how this series and Lucille Ball's legacy has stood the test of time! From Vitameatavegimen to grape stomping to working at a chocolate factory, this set contains episodes that most fans will agree were "the best."
The set contains 14 episodes that, by and large, I think most fans would agree were the best of the series. It begins with "The Ballet," one of many episodes where Lucy will go to any extreme to be in Ricky's show. Lucy buys a walk-in meat locker in "The Freezer," and anything that could possibly go wrong, well, goes wrong. In "Lucy Does a TV Commercial," Lucy gets a job promoting a supplement, and many, many takes later, one of the ingredients in the supplement begins to hit her like a ton of bricks. Lucy and Ethel trade places with Ricky and Fred in "Job Switching," where the girls take a job in a chocolate factory and the boys become homemakers. A little one is on the way in "Lucy is Enceinte," but will Ricky ever give Lucy a chance to tell him? The big day for Little Ricky's birth arrives in "Lucy Goes to the Hospital." In "L.A. at Last," Lucy gets star struck at the Brown Derby... and it all turns right around on her later!
In "Lucy Gets in Pictures," Lucy might just be the star she has always wanted to be... but the headdress that she has to wear causes some major problems. Lucy tries to impress Caroline Appleby when she visits in "Harpo Marx" by impersonating Harpo Marx, but what'll happen when the real Harpo Marx shows up? The Ricardos leave Los Angeles to go back to New York in "The Great Train Robbery," that is if they can make it back without Lucy pulling the emergency brake cord every few minutes. The Ricardos are headed to Europe in "Bon Voyage," but when Lucy rushes down to kiss Little Ricky goodbye, it could just be Ricky and the Mertzes going to Europe! Lucy gets carted off to jail after passing counterfeit money in "Paris at Last." In "Lucy Gets a Paris Gown," Lucy goes on a hunger strike to get the dress that she wants, and it seems to work, that is until Ricky discovers she was cheating on her hunger strike. In "Lucy's Italian Movie," Lucy goes grape stomping, but really, the grapes end up stomping her!
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
"The Ballet" (26:50)
"The Freezer" (24:31)
"Lucy Does a TV Commercial" (25:09)
"Job Switching" (25:16)
"Lucy is Enceinte" (25:46)
"Lucy Goes to the Hospital" (26:15)
"L.A. at Last" (25:47)
"Lucy Gets in Pictures" (26:00)
"Harpo Marx" (26:21)
"The Great Train Robbery" (26:06)
"Bon Voyage" (25:53)
"Paris at Last" (26:14)
"Lucy Gets a Paris Gown" (26:25)
"Lucy's Italian Movie" (25:45)
As a side note, I should add that each episode begins with an opening title screen that has the episode title and original airdate of the episode, though these also appeared on the previous releases.
The packaging here is nothing fancy. We just have a standard DVD case with trays on both sides inside. The cover art has photos (some color, others black-and-white) from various episodes on the set, and there are even more of those photos on the back of the case, along with a listing of all of the episodes on the set. Inside, there is a large photo from the episode "Bon Voyage" along with a listing of all episodes, with descriptions and original airdates. Each disc has nothing but the cover art logo on a gray background, with seven episodes on each disc.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very basic, almost too basic. The main menu just has the series logo, along with a color photo of Lucy and Desi on Disc 1 and a photo of Lucy from the episode "Lucy Gets in Pictures" on Disc 2, and a list of all of the episodes on the disc. There is no Play All option for some reason. The main menu does have a Set Up option, which allows you to turn on Spanish subtitles and Spanish audio. Chapters are placed throughout each of the episodes.
Video and Audio Quality:
If you've seen any of the previous I Love Lucy sets, it should be no surprise that the audio and video quality of this set is superb. What we have here in a nice, crisp, and clean black and white picture, with really no problems at all. The audio is the typical mono audio track that we've all become accustomed to with this series, but who would expect anything more? Each episode is closed-captioned, and there are Spanish subtitles as well.
The set lacks any special features, which is too bad. I think that they should have included some original footage or maybe some special trivia facts about the episodes in this set. These were memorable episodes, so fans would definitely want to know more about them.
So, should you get this set or not? Well, if you already own all of the seasons or the complete series set, probably not. This set offers nothing new for those people, and is just a rehashing of the best of all of those. But if you don't own the other DVDs, then this set is a great set to own, as it contains what I think most people would agree truly are the best episodes of the series. They probably could have thrown in a few more episodes, but with a series like this, there are so many memorable episodes that it is hard to find a stopping point. What they should have done, however, is combined this with the release of The I Love Lucy Movie that was released last year, like they did for recent 50th anniversary release of The Andy Griffith Show. But, if you can find this for a decent price at Target (or at other stores, assuming it eventually gets a wide retail release), I think this is perfect for the casual fan or as an inexpensive gift.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 06/17/11
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