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Kate & Allie - The Complete Third Season (Canadian Release)


TITLE: KATE & ALLIE - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON (CANADIAN RELEASE)


Info:

DVD Release Date: February 6, 2007 (Visual Entertainment Inc.)
Color / 1985-1986
MSRP: $34.95 CDN (~$30 USD)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 23
Running time: Approx. 552 minutes
Running time of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: None
Special Features: None


Introduction:

Early last year, around the time when Universal released a few shows, fans of Kate & Allie were pleased to see a preview for Kate & Allie: Seasons 1 and 2 on the DVD set. But a few months later, we learned that we would only be getting the first season (6 episodes) at about the same price as what the first two seasons would have been. The news only got worse when I reviewed the first season to discover that 6 episodes were edited. But fans were pleased when they learned that the Canadian company VEI would also be releasing a set containing the first two seasons of Kate & Allie, but only to be let down once again when seven episodes were, again, syndicated versions.

Now, a little over half a year later, VEI is back with more Kate & Allie, with the third season. And this time, they have gotten it correct! Kate & Allie: The Complete Third Season contains all 23 episodes from the 1985-1986 of the sitcom that, while not exactly remembered as a hit sitcom these days, really should be. Normally I'd wait until later on to talk about edits, but since this show has had such a troubled history on DVD, I'll mention it now. First and foremost, this set does NOT contain any syndicated versions of any of the episodes, and 22 of the 23 episodes appear to be totally unedited. However, there is one episode on the set that runs noticeably shorter than all of the rest, and is also missing the closing tag (which every episode of the show, to my knowledge, originally had).


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Disc 1 begins with the “The Reunion,” where Kate and Allie go to their high school reunion and learn that some people never change. Patricia Richardson guest stars. Kate buys a mink coat—for a dollar—from a woman at a restaurant in “Make Mine Mink,” but when Kate discovers that people that wear minks get treated differently, will she ever be able to live without a mink again? In “Whatever Happened to Romance?,” Allie wants part-time work and places an ad for that—except it ends up in the personals column (they did this on The Golden Girls too!). Allie and Jennie get a free trip to Paris in “Evening in Paris,” but how much fun is it going to be when Allie comes down with the flu on the airplane? Geoff Pierson guest stars in “The Maltese Chotchke.” Kate and Allie are having a Thanksgiving dinner where everything goes wrong for Allie, from accidentally cooking the turkey in cleanser to having to be alone with her ex-husband's new woman in “Thanksgiving.”

In “Dress to Kill,” Allie comes up with the perfect dress for Kate to wear, except it costs more than they can afford, so they decide that Kate will just wear the dress once and then they'll return it—is that really such a good idea? In “Dark Victory,” Kate gets a date during a blackout in the dentist office, but the blackout isn't the only thing that is black—so is her date. A very young Ben Stiller guest stars in “Too Late the Rebel.” Jennie experiences sexual harassment in “The Croissant Jungle.”

Kate has been spending time at a married man's apartment, but why? Allie is determined to find out in “Privacy.” Dick Cavett guest stars as himself in “High Anxiety,” where Kate and Allie are guests on his show, but Allie is scared to death so she decides to see a hypnotist to get over her fear—which would be fine if Allie didn't accidentally overhear a telephone conversation where the hypnotist was telling his daughter how to be the best possible school mascot—a chicken. Kate and Allie are attracted to the same man in “Thank You, Shirley,” but which one does he want? Chip has a new friend living in the basement in “Chip's New Friend,” but he has special needs that Kate and Allie can't handle themselves. Lindsay Wagner guest stars in “Late Bloomer.”


Packaging:

The packaging has different artwork than the previous set released by VEI, but the packaging design and style are basically the same. The cover art has a shot of the entire family on it, and the back of the outer box talks about the show in general and some of the guest stars in the third season.

The set uses two slim cases to hold the discs (artwork is still the same as the outer box, and the back of each slim case contains a listing of the episodes and original air dates), but there are only three discs this time instead of four. The first slim case holds the first disc, while the second slim case holds the other two discs. The disc artwork is exactly the same as it was for the first and second seasons, with a New York City skyline on each disc, except it is yellow this time. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8, Disc 2 contains episodes 9-16, and Disc 3 contains episodes 17-23.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are exactly the same as they were in seasons one and two, with the main menu having the same picture as shown on the cover art and options of Play All and Episodes. Both of these are pretty much self-explanatory. On the episodes menu, you have pictures from the episodes, hanging on a wall, where you can select the episode that you want to watch. The set does not contain any scene selection menus or chapters. I do feel it is important to make one comment about the menus here, though, and that is that the menus on this set are much better than the menus on VEI's Gimme a Break DVD set. I hate to put down VEI (I'm glad they exist, because they are doing a better job with handling Gimme a Break and Kate & Allie than the US company, Universal, and they also really seemed to be concerned when it was brought to their attention that the previous Kate & Allie set had edited episodes), but navigating the menus on the Gimme a Break set was like a maze to me, and plus, I didn't like how the next episode would start playing once the current one you were watching finished, even if you didn't use Play All. No need to worry with Kate & Allie, neither of those issues exist here.


Video and Audio Quality:

This is an older show, so I didn't go into this DVD set expecting perfection, and honestly, I got what I was expecting. The episodes look fine, and even better than they did on the previous release that VEI put out. The video suffers from a few little glitches here and there, and audio levels (though somewhat low) seem to be consistent throughout the set this time. I've seen shows from this era look better (like first seasons of Growing Pains, 227, and The Golden Girls, all three of which were aired during the same year as this season), but I still think the quality is more than just acceptable on this set.

As far as editing is concerned, I'm pretty confident that 22 of the episodes are totally unedited, but I'm almost sure that the final episode of the season is missing a small part of the episode. As fans of the show are aware, each episode ends with a closing tag where Kate and Allie (sometimes it is somebody else, but usually Kate and Allie) discuss what they just did in the episode, like where they are just sitting on the couch in the evening just discussing their day. The episode “Late Bloomer” does not have such a scene. In fact, not only that, the episode runs about 30-40 seconds shorter than any other episode on the set. While I suppose it is POSSIBLE that the episode just didn't have such a closing tag originally, I seriously doubt that is the case. Regardless of this, the episode still runs at 23:40, so clearly, this is NOT a syndicated print.

I can say, however, that this one missing scene (in my opinion) is not a big deal at all compared to the previous release, and unless you are fanatical about perfection on DVD sets (see the Home Theater Forum website if you want to know what I'm talking about, this reviewer can honestly say that when I write a review and declare one edit, no matter how minor, as being acceptable, I wouldn't want to run in to some of the members from that website in a dark alley simply because I'd be afraid they might break my legs), this shouldn't bother you TOO much. VEI deserves a lot of credit for the way they've handled this situation. For those that remember, Universal released season one, didn't care that they released edited episodes, and basically cut and ran. VEI released seasons one and two with edited episodes, but promised to look in to the situation once it was brought to their attention that the episodes were edited, and I honestly believe that they did a lot of work to make sure most of the episodes were indeed unedited this time. One thing that indicates to me that they did some work is the fact that many of the episodes on this set should have originally contained the ALP logo on the end of the episodes (though it should be noted that ALP became REG about midway through this season), though when the show went into syndication, the original ALP logo was replaced with the REG logo one every episode. In the previous set, there were episodes that contained the REG logo, all of which were syndicated versions, but this time, even though some episodes in the earlier part of the season contain the REG logo, all appear to be unedited. I have no clue what VEI did (I'm thinking, perhaps, although I could be entirely incorrect and it would have been a lot of work to do so, maybe they were able to access some unedited versions of the episodes that weren't in such good shape, and replace the missing footage in the syndicated versions with the parts from unedited episodes—just a theory, it could be way off).

The disc breakdown and episode runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. The Reunion (24:28)
2. Make Mine Mink (24:22)
3. Whatever Happened to Romance? (24:24)
4. Evening in Paris (24:23)
5. Picture of an Affair (24:24)
6. The Maltese Chotchke (24:28)
7. Allie's Affair (24:22)
8. Thanksgiving (24:28)

Disc 2:
9. Max's New Girlfriend (24:22)
10. Kate's Friend (24:24)
11. Dress to Kill (24:23)
12. Dark Victory (24:19)
13. Grand Central Station (24:22)
14. Chip's Divorce (24:25)
15. Too Late the Rebel (24:25)
16. The Croissant Jungle (24:24)

Disc 3:
17. Privacy (24:26)
18. High Anxiety (24:17)
19. Thank You, Shirley (24:26)
20. Ted's Back (24:26)
21. Chip's New Friend (24:26)
22. Winning (24:17)
23. Late Bloomer (23:51)


Special Features:

There are no special features this time, and honestly I wouldn't expect any either (since any kind of special features that would be available for the show would be US oriented while this set is really being marketed to Canadians). It isn't too big of a deal, but maybe they could have found some kind of archive footage to put on the set, or hey, even an episode from Gimme a Break season 3 would be nice since they put an episode from this set on the Gimme a Break season 2 set.


Final Comments:

I didn't think we'd see season 3 of this show from Universal OR VEI after the disaster from the past, but yet here it is, and they did a great job this time. That missing closing tag is a minor annoyance (assuming it is missing, but I'm about 99% sure that there should be one there), but that pales in comparison to the previous releases of this show. I can honestly see no reason to hesitate in buying this season if you are a fan of the show. Fans of the show from the United States shouldn't hesitate to purchase this set either, because I don't feel like Universal will be releasing any more seasons of this series anytime soon. Hopefully the remaining seasons will be released in a timely manner and will include all unedited episodes!


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: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 02/04/07

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000M2E2AU/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=193478


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