TITLE: KATE & ALLIE - THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON (CANADIAN RELEASE)
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009 (VEI Home Entertainment)
Color / 1988-1989
MSRP: CDN$26.95 (~USD$25.28 at time of review)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 540 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English
Special Features: None
Kate McArdle and Allie Lowell come together one last time for the sixth season of the series Kate & Allie! The Complete Sixth Season is a three disc set containing the final 22 episodes of the 1980s TV series that told the story of two divorced women (played by Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin) living under one roof with the children from their respective marriages.
The sixth season brings upon many new changes, especially as Allie goes from being a divorced woman to being a married woman, marrying sports anchor Bob Barsky (played by Sam Freed) and leaving Kate's apartment for good (maybe). Kate's luck in the relationship department has taken a sudden turn for the worse. Chip has gotten older--much older--and puberty has hit him like a ton of bricks. The sixth season ultimately brought upon so many changes that the series really did, in the eyes of many, "jump the shark," and dropped like a rock in the ratings. But there are still many great moments to be found in these final 22 episodes.
Here comes the bride, as Allie prepares to marry Bob in the season premiere, "Wedding Belle Blues." Allie is off for her honeymoon and is full of bliss, but the same can't be said for Kate in "Kate Gets Dumped." In "Allie Doesn't Live Here Anymore," it is time for the moment that Kate and Allie have been dreading--Allie has to leave the apartment. But will Kate and Allie be apart forever? Find out the answer to that in "The Odd Couples." Allie becomes jealous when she sees another woman flirting with her husband in "Anchor Away."
Allie finds out that Jennie is sharing a dorm room with her boyfriend in "The Nearlyweds," but the shock isn't nearly as bad as when she finds out that they are engaged. Can Kate and Allie find another Bob for a neighbor? Find out in "Wanted: One Husband." In "What's Love Got to Do With It?," everybody seems to love Kate's new boyfriend except for one person: Kate. Allie finds a little something in Chip's wallet that she doesn't expect to find in "Trojan War," but does having it necessarily mean that her little baby is sexually active?
Allie gives some bad sushi to a food critic in "The Review," so what can Kate do to alleviate the problem? Kate accompanies Lou to a wedding against her better judgement in "The Wedding." Does a stepdad have the authority to go above the mother of Chip? Apparently Bob thinks so when he allows Chip to join the hockey team without consulting Allie in "Hockey Team." One of Allie's ex-boyfriends is back in "My Boyfriend's Back," but he seems to be interested in Kate. The series ends with "Kate and Allie Go to Hell," where the duo ends up having nightmares about their own lives when they lose a $2000 check.
There is nothing fancy or exciting about the packaging on this set. In fact, it is really kind of cheap, just as the previous VEI Kate & Allie sets have been, but it certainly does what it needs to do. Basically we have a standard plastic DVD snapcase with a snapshot of Kate and Allie on the cover and some very generic show information on the back of the package. Inside, we have a listing of all of the episodes with original airdates, but no episode descriptions are to be found. The disc artwork is the same as it has been for all of the previous sets, with a shadow of the New York City skyline (this time in yellow) in the background on a white disc. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7, Disc 2 contains episodes 8-15, and Disc 3 contains episodes 16-22.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu on each disc is pretty simple, with a picture of Kate and Allie (the same one as the one on the cover art) and a listing of all of the episodes, as well as a Play All option. The closing theme song plays in the background on the menu. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. There are no scene selection menus, nor are there any chapters within the episodes.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality on the set does suffer somewhat from age and bad source material, though it isn't exactly a disaster. These episodes are about 20 years old, but at times, look much older than that. The colors are a little bit off and the image quality isn't always perfectly clear. There are even some source material glitches within the episodes. Honestly, the episodes, at times, look like they were preserved on high quality VHS, but it isn't quite as bad as it sounds. The audio is somewhat dull and low, but doesn't really suffer any problems worth noting. The episodes are NOT closed-captioned, despite the fact that every episode has a CC logo at the beginning of the episode from the original broadcast. There are no English subtitles either.
The good news, though, is that each and every episode appears to be unedited. Runtimes are as follows:
Wedding Belle Blues (24:10)
Kate Gets Dumped (24:10)
Allie Doesn't Live Here Anymore (24:11)
The Odd Couples (24:13)
Anchor Away (24:11)
Better Late Than Never (24:09)
Moving On (24:10)
A Tree Grows on West 56th Street (24:12)
The Nearlyweds (24:09)
Wanted: One Husband (24:10)
What's Love Got to Do With It? (24:11)
I've Got a Secret (24:10)
Chip's Notes (24:10)
Love Thy Neighbor (24:10)
Trojan War (24:09)
Loan-Some Bob (24:09)
The Review (24:10)
The Wedding (24:09)
The Last Temptation of Allie (23:54)
The Hockey Team (24:10)
My Boyfriend's Back (24:10)
It's a Wonderful Episode/Kate and Allie Go to Hell (24:09)
Unfortunately, there are no special features at all, which isn't totally unexpected from a series being released by a third-party distributor in a country outside of where the series was produced. It still would have been nice to see some special features, though, such as some trivia or maybe some original network promos or something. I guess that it wasn't meant to be.
I would have never in a million years thought that this series would be released in its entirety on DVD, but my expectations have been exceeded, for sure. That isn't to say that VEI has released a perfect product. These DVDs do leave a bit to be desired (no special features, subpar video and audio quality, etc.), but these are certainly better than nothing at all, and are certain to satisfy fans needing their fix of Kate & Allie. Plus, it is nice that all of the episodes are completely unedited, which was a problem on the first and second seasons when those were released on DVD. I think it is fair to say that this season of the series was a huge departure from the previous seasons and that the series really DID "jump the shark" in this season, but it is still very much enjoyable and there are many great episodes in the season. Hopefully, a complete series release will follow from VEI and it would be nice if it had corrected episodes from the first two seasons (i.e. unedited versions) and maybe a few bonus features. It doesn't look like Universal will ever move ahead with the series in the United States, and even if they did, I doubt that they would do much better with the series, as they did indeed use the same prints as VEI did for their Season One release. This is a great series and definitely worth having, even if the series IS a little dated.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 11/04/09
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