Release Date: September 9, 2013 (StarVista Entertainment)
Packaging: Viva Cases in Special Box
Number of Discs: 24
Number of Episodes: 130
Running Time: approx. 3660 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 780 minutes
Audio: English Mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: Cast Interviews; Bloopers; Classic Sketches from The Carol Burnett Show; Eunice TV film
Well, good Lord! Thelma Harper, along with Vint, Naomi, Aunt Fran, Buzz, Sonya, Buzz, Iola, Bubba, and the more than just slightly crazy rest are back on DVD with the "whole hog" in Mama's Family - The Complete Collection! The first season, of course, was released by Warner Home Video in 2006, and was heavily criticized for being heavily edited. Now, StarVista Entertainment brings us the entire series, with only a few minor issues, but with plenty of special features for fans to enjoy.
For those unfamiliar with the series, it debuted in January 1983 on NBC. The series took a series of sketches that previously aired on The Carol Burnett Show featuring Vicki Lawrence as Mama and turned it into a weekly TV series. Mama had changed a bit from those sketches, though, and became a somewhat more dynamic woman dealing with the challenges of living at home with her sister Fran (Rue McClanahan), son Vint (Ken Berry), daughter-in-law Naomi (Dorothy Lyman), and grandchildren Buzz (Eric Brown) and Sonya (Karin Argoud). Also appearing every now and then were Thelma's daughters Eunice (Carol Burnett) and Ellen (Betty White). The series had a lot of challenges on a network that was transitioning from being on the verge of collapse into the top network of the '80s, and after only two seasons, it was canceled.
Mama was nowhere to be seen beginning in the 1984-1985 TV season, and could have easily faded into the memories of American TV audiences when it was nowhere to be seen in the 1985-1986 TV season. But in fall 1986, Joe Hamilton came together with Lorimar to bring Mama back to TV in a format that was really just starting for new series at the time: first-run syndication. Of course, in the intervening time, some of the cast members (most notably Rue McClanahan and Betty White, both of whom moved on to The Golden Girls, but also Carol Burnett who had just gotten out of a bitter divorce with producer Joe Hamilton) were unable to return. The characters were all written out of the show, although Betty White did make one returning guest appearance. Additionally, the grandchildren Buzz and Sonya were deemed to be too "typical" for a dysfunctional family sitcom, and were sent away to somewhere else in the normal sitcom world. This necessitated new cast members. Beverly Archer was brought in as Iola Boylan, the nutty neighbor and busy homemaker who lived with her incredibly obese and unseen mother, and Allan Kayser as Bubba, Eunice's son who'd just been released from reform school.
This revamped series ended up lasting four seasons, and took the series from obscurity to one that fans really came to love and enjoy, and in fact it was where the series gained prominence and actually gained popularity. Now, for the first time ever, all six seasons are available on a 24 disc set from StarVista Entertainment.
There are 130 episodes on this amazingly huge set, so we can't really go into all of them in great detail... but we'll point out a few highlights from each season.
The first season begins with "Vint and the Kids Move In," where Mama gets an unexpected visit from her son who has just been evicted... and plans to stay with her. In the meantime, Vint begins a relationship with Mama's neighbor Naomi. It doesn't take long for them to get married, as they do in the two-part episode "The Wedding," one that turns out to be a nightmare for everybody involved (and even ends up having the household becoming even larger). The family goes on Family Feud in the episode "Family Feud," where Richard Dawson guest stars. In "Cellmates," Eunice's birthday lands Mama and Eunice together in the slammer. Vint is about to get married to a Portuguese woman so that she can get her green card in "Alien Marriage" (the Alistair Quince opening for this episode explains why this episode is technically not out of order, although it often appears as such in syndication).
In the second season, Ellen is about to receive an award in "Country Club," but you can count on Mama and the rest of the family to embarrass her. The series spoofs the film Rashomon in "Rashomama," with many different stories about how Mama was accidentally knocked out in a family squabble. The house becomes a victim of some deep breathing on the phone in "Obscene Call." Imogene Coca guest stars in "Gert Rides Again," where the series takes on the inadequacies of eldercare in a hilarious manner. In "Mama Learns to Drive," everybody tries to teach Mama to drive... with disastrous consequences. Vint and Naomi celebrate their anniversary in "No Room at the Inn" at a seedy motel, but a squabble with Aunt Effie ends with Mama spending the night with them as well. Mama discovers that her husband has been with another woman... well at least in the graveyard... in "A Great Mistake."
The series moves to syndication in the third season, which kicks off with "Farewell, Frannie," where Mama's beloved sister dies of, well, "natural causes." Aunt Fran's will has everybody going out of their way to make Mama happy in "Where There's a Will." Betty White makes her final appearance in the series in "Best Medicine," where Mama is worried after discovering Ellen is in the hospital. Dr. Joyce Brothers guest stars in "Mama and Dr. Brothers," where Naomi calls into Dr. Brothers about a problem that she and Vint are having in bed. Iola has her cat freeze dried in "Cat's Meow." In "The Love Letter," an innocent love letter written by Bubba for Vint to give to Naomi creates chaos in the house. Yeradley Smith guest stars as an escapee from Bubba's reform school in "Where There's Smoke." Vint suspects Mama isn't really his own mama in "Birthright." In "Mama's Cousin," Vicki Lawrence plays a double role as Mama's worldly cousin.
In season four, Bubba has to go to night school in order to graduate in "Educating Mama," but one of his classmates is his own grandmother. Vint and Naomi are on the rocks in "Breaking Up is Hard to Do." In "Child's Play," Mama looks after Reverend Meechum's unruly grandson, which turns into a major disaster. Mama decides to have a yard sale to sell off some of Iola's gifts in "Gift Horse," but all doesn't go well when Iola shows up at the sale. Alex Trebek appears in "Mama on Jeopardy!," where Mama competes on the iconic game show. The episode follows up with the two-parter "Mama Goes Hawaiian," where the whole family (including Iola, for some reason) take a trip to Hawaii. Mama knocks out Naomi in "Naomi's Identity Crisis," and quickly takes advantage of this "new and improved" amnesia inflicted version of Naomi.
Season five begins with "Ladies Choice," where Mama and Iola are up against each other to be elected as President of the Church Ladies League. Naomi is a victim of sexual harassment at Food Circus in "Naomi's New Position." Mama is haunted by Grandma Crowley in "My Mama, Myself." Mama has to save her street from becoming the site of a new city dump in "What a Dump." In "Mama Bell," a new answering machine in the house convinces Mama that the family is trying to put her "out to pasture." Mama decides to play a prank on the family in "April Fools." Iola stands up to her mother once and for all in "Dependence Day," but it backfires when she gets kicked out and is forced to live with the Harpers. In the season finale, "Mama Makes Three," Vint and Naomi are desperate to have a child... and their wish may come true.
In season six, Vint and Naomi have to face up to the costs of raising a child in "Mama's Medicine Show." Mama becomes the next David Horowitz in "Mama Fights Back." Mama sets out to save Vint's job in "Mama Takes Stock." Mama slips on a roll of pennies in the bank and, at the advice of her family she sues the bank in "Mama Takes a Dive." In "Mama Gets Goosed," Mama is sent a live goose for Christmas, and everybody but Mama is eager to kill and cook the bird. Mama's head ends up on the body of a young bikini-clad woman as a joke by Bubba in "Pinup Mama," but the joke goes a little too far. Vint and Naomi finally have a home of their own in "There is Nothing Like the Dames," except that home happens to be a tin can in Mama's driveway (which magically seems to appear in time for this episode). The series ends with "Bye-Bye -- Baby!," where we get to meet Tiffany Thelma Harper, the newest member of the Harper family.
Most episodes are unedited, with the Alistair Quince openings restored to most of the episodes of the first two seasons that contained them. However, there are a few edits that have been acknowledged by the studio. The episodes "Cellmates" and "Mama's Boyfriend" from season one are syndicated versions of the episodes. Additionally, there are other episodes that have minor music edits, including "Gert Rides Again," "Obscene Call," "Ellen's Boyfriend, "Mama for Mayor (Part 1)," "Mama for Mayor (Part 2)," "Grandma USA," "Zirconias Are a Girl's Best Friend," "Found Money," "Mama in One," and "Mama Makes Three." Runtimes for the episodes are as follows:
Season 1/Disc 1:
1. "Vint and the Kids Move In" (25:01)
2. "For Better or for Worse" (25:01)
3. "The Wedding (Part 1)" (25:00)
4. "The Wedding (Part 2)" (25:00)
5. "Family Feud" (25:04)
Season 2/Disc 1:
1. "The Flaming Forties" (23:56)
2. "The Return of Leonard Oates" (24:06)
3. "Country Club" (24:04)
4. "Naomi and the Stork" (24:01)
5. "Rashomama" (24:04)
6. "Obscene Call" (23:58)
7. "Ellen's Boyfriend" (24:06)
Season 2/Disc 2:
8. "Gert Rides Again" (22:46)
9. "Amateur Night" (24:07)
10. "The Mama Who Came to Dinner" (24:02)
11. "Mama Learns to Drive" (24:06)
12. "Black Belt Mama" (24:06)
13. "Mama Buys a Car" (24:02)
14. "Supermarket" (24:08)
Season 2/Disc 3:
15. "No Room at the Inn" (24:09)
16. "Mama for Mayor (Part 1)" (21:34)
17. "Mama for Mayor (Part 2)" (23:49)
18. "Harper versus Harper" (23:58)
19. "Mama's Birthday" (24:03)
20. "Mama Cries Uncle" (24:07)
21. "Dear Aunt Fran" (23:59)
Season 2/Disc 4:
22. "A Great Mistake" (24:07)
Season 3/Disc 1:
1. "Farewell, Frannie" (21:25)
2. "Where There's a Will" (21:22)
3. "Best Medicine" (21:26)
4. "National Mama" (21:25)
5. "Soup to Nuts" (21:23)
6. "Mama and Dr. Brothers" (21:26)
7. "Cat's Meow" (21:25)
Season 3/Disc 2:
8. "The Love Letter" (21:23)
9. "An Ill Wind" (21:28)
10. "Steal One, Pearl Two" (21:23)
11. "Where There's Smoke" (21:27)
12. "Fly Naomi" (21:26)
13. "Santa Mama" (21:28)
14. "Desperately Seeking Anyone" (21:28)
Season 3/Disc 3:
15. "Porn Again" (21:27)
16. "Have it Mama's Way" (21:27)
17. "Birthright" (21:27)
18. "Grandma USA" (21:26)
19. "Buck Private Bubba" (21:25)
20. "Mama's Cousin" (21:27)
21. "Mama with the Golden Arm" (21:24)
Season 3/Disc 4:
22. "It Takes Two to Watusi" (21:22)
23. "Fangs a Lot, Mama" (21:27)
24. "The Best Policy" (21:23)
25. "After the Fall" (21:23)
Season 4/Disc 1:
1. "Educating Mama" (21:23)
2. "Zirconias Are a Girl's Best Friend" (21:08)
3. "The Key to the Crime" (21:23)
4. "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" (21:22)
5. "A Big Hand for Mama" (21:22)
6. "Flounder's Day" (21:22)
7. "Teacher's Pet" (21:24)
Season 4/Disc 2:
8. "Child's Play" (21:22)
9. "Mama Mania" (21:24)
10. "Gift Horse" (21:22)
11. "Workman's Holiday" (21:23)
12. "Mama Sees Red" (21:28)
13. "A Room with No View" (21:25)
14. "The Sins of the Mother" (21:27)
Season 4/Disc 3:
15. "A Friend Indeed" (21:23)
16. "I Do, I Don't" (21:23)
17. "Mama Gets the Bird" (21:25)
18. "Mama's Girls" (21:24)
19. "Mama on Jeopardy!" (21:27)
20. "Mama Goes Hawaiian (Part 1)" (21:28)
21. "Mama Goes Hawaiian (Part 2)" (21:29)
Season 4/Disc 4:
22. "Bubba's Double Date" (21:29)
23. "Bed and Breakdown" (21:24)
24. "Naomi's Identity Crisis" (21:29)
25. "Pomp and Circumstance" (21:28)
Season 5/Disc 1:
1. "Ladies Choice" (21:23)
2. "Baby Talk" (21:24)
3. "Naomi's New Position" (21:22)
4. "The Really Loud Family" (21:26)
5. "Many Unhappy Returns" (21:26)
6. "Found Money" (21:08)
7. "My Mama, Myself" (21:22)
Season 5/Disc 2:
8. "Full House" (21:22)
9. "Bedtime for Bubba" (21:24)
10. "What a Dump" (21:23)
11. "Mama Bell" (21:28)
12. "Very Dirty Dancing" (21:26)
13. "Mama's Layaway Plan" (21:25)
14. "My Phony Valentine" (21:23)
Season 5/Disc 3:
15. "The Big Wheel" (21:23)
16. "More Power to You" (21:27)
17. "Mama in One" (20:23)
18. "There's No Place Like... No Place" (21:23)
19. "April Fools" (21:26)
20. "Reading the Riot Act" (21:22)
21. "A Taxing Situation" (21:22)
Season 5/Disc 4:
22. "The Mama of Invention" (21:23)
23. "Hate Thy Neighbor" (21:26)
24. "Dependence Day" (21:25)
25. "Mama Makes Three" (21:10)
Season 6/Disc 1:
1. "Mama's Medicine Show" (21:27)
2. "An Affair to Forget" (21:26)
3. "Mr. Wrong" (21:27)
4. "Now Hear This" (21:25)
5. "Tri-State's Most Wanted" (21:26)
6. "Mama Fights Back" (21:28)
7. "A Blast from the Past" (21:25)
Season 6/Disc 2:
8. "Psychic Pheno-Mama" (21:26)
9. "Take My Mama, Please!" (21:24)
10. "Bubba's House Band" (21:25)
11. "Mama Takes Stock" (21:28)
12. "War of the Roses" (21:26)
13. "Mama Takes a Dive" (21:26)
14. "Mama Gets Goosed" (21:26)
Season 6/Disc 3:
15. "The Big Nap" (21:26)
16. "Pinup Mama" (21:23)
17. "Guess Who's Going to Dinner" (21:26)
18. "Look Who's Breathing" (21:23)
19. "There is Nothing Like the Dames" (21:23)
20. "Bye-Bye--Baby!" (21:23)
This set comes in a rather large box that contains seven individual cases inside of it. The packaging looks somewhat like a photo album, with a few family photos on the sides. The front of the package is actually open with no artwork, although inside the opening, you'll find the booklet (family photo album) that is included with the set. The box opens almost like a photo album, and is kept closed using a magnet. The first thing that you'll find when you open the box is the photo album, which is a 24 page booklet that features biographies of all of the characters, a family tree, and introductions to the series from Vicki Lawrence and Rick Hawkins.
Underneath the photo album, you'll find seven DVD cases, with one for each season and a seventh one for additional special features. Each includes a family photo (featuring the cast members of that season) on the cover, although for some strange reason, the odd numbered seasons show Mama holding the photo while the even numbered seasons have the photo hanging on the wall. The back of each case has a few episode snapshots, along with a description of the series in general as well as the season. Inside each case, you'll find the discs (they have no artwork aside from the series logo and a listing of episodes) and a season booklet. The booklets are not really consistent in the information that they provide for each season. While all of them include a listing of episodes and air dates, the first two seasons contain descriptions of each episode in the season written by Rick Hawkins. In the third season, the information is more focused on the move to syndication and descriptions of the new characters on the series, also written by Rick Hawkins. But in the final three seasons, Andrew Whitenack (who wrote a book entitled Mama's Family: The Unofficial Episode Viewing Guide) write about some of the highlights from the season (although not every episode in the season). Personally, I think it would have been nice for them to have included all of these features for all of the seasons.
As mentioned, there is an additional Bonus Features case, which includes two discs on special features not included on the individual season sets.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are pretty simple. The main menu on each disc feature a large photo of Mama on the right side of the screen, with a picture frame showing clips from episodes on the left side of the screen. Main menu options include Play All and Episodes, as well as Bonus Features on the discs that include them. The theme song plays in the background.
When you select Episodes or Bonus Features, you get a list of the episodes or bonus features, nothing else. Once you select one, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality of this set is a little interesting. The first two seasons really do not look all that great, and in fact, I think that the Warner Home Video release of the first season was of slightly better video and audio quality. However, it is important to note that these are the original versions of the episodes as aired on NBC (well, for most of them), and just about every fan would much rather have these than the syndicated versions. The syndicated episodes (seasons 3-6) look just as good as they do in syndication for the most part, but there are a few video defects in the episodes that do not really affect the quality too much. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles or closed-captions on the episodes.
There are a ton of special features on this set, and we'll go through each one by season.
In the first season, we begin with "Mama's Family Tree: The Branches (All About Eunice and Ellen)" (16:45), where we get to see clips from some of their classic moments on the series along with some interviews with the cast (including Carol Burnett and Betty White). There is also a sketch from the December 11, 1976 episode of The Carol Burnett Show featuring The Family with Betty White (15:50), where we are introduced to those dynamics between the characters of Eunice and Ellen.
One of the greatest special features is found on the second season discs, being the made-for-TV movie "Eunice" (1:13:55). This movie aired in 1982, about a year before Mama's Family debuted, and in some ways served as a pilot for the series, following the character of Eunice through the years. We say "in some way" because the movie does not end well for Mama... at all... and although I won't spoil it, what happens in the movie essentially ruins the continuity of the entire series. I'm very glad to see it nonetheless. "Mama's Family Tree: The Roots (Mama and Fran)" (19:53) is all about Mama and Fran, and again features clips from their greatest moments on the series and gives interviews from the cast, again including Betty White. It is too bad that Rue McClanahan couldn't be around to be part of these interviews, though. Next up is a series of interviews, the first of which is Vicki Lawrence Interviews Mama" (4:26), where we get to see through the magic of cameras and green screens, an interview of Mama by Vicki. This was fun to watch, as it is fun to see Mama in character giving her opinions on the series three decades later. It would have been even more fun to have had commentaries on the episodes featuring Mama. There is also a Vicki Lawrence and Carol Burnett interview (20:01), where both of them sit down together to talk about Mama's Family. They talk a lot about how Vicki became Mama, and how the series came together. Finally, there is a Betty White interview (12:33), where the iconic actress talks about her experiences on the series, and even a bit about working with Rue McClanahan again on The Golden Girls.
In season three, we have another sketch of The Family from the November 16, 1976 episode of The Carol Burnett Show (14:46). In this sketch, we get to see Mama, Eunice, and Ed in a conference with Bubba's teacher (well before we were introduced to anybody actually playing Bubba), only to find that Bubba is doing just plain awful at school. "Mama's Family Tree: The Sprouts (All About Bubba)" (11:04) is another character centered featurette with episode clips and interviews, focusing on Bubba this time. "Mama Knows Best: A Mama's Family Cast Reunion" (24:43) is the first of many roundtable segments inside of Mama's kitchen where all of the main cast from the syndicated years get together to discuss the series. Finally, there is an Allan Kayser interview (13:15), where he talks about his acting career, being cast on Mama's Family, and more.
Season four begins with "Mama's Family Tree: The Neighbors (All About Iola)" (16:00), where once again, we see some of Iola's best moments from the series, interspersed with interviews with Beverly Archer, Vicki Lawrence, and others. Beverly Archer also sits down for an interview of her own (10:28) in another segment, where she talks about her history in TV leading up to Mama's Family (two short-lived series), auditioning for the series, and her experiences on the series. "Under One Roof: A Mama's Family Cast Reunion" (27:45) features Vicki Lawrence, Ken Berry, Dorothy Lyman, Allan Kayser, and Beverly Archer having a detailed roundtable discussion about the series and their lives today... including Beverly Archer's experience of having her death (erroneously) announced online (we were that site she mentions she did a video for!).
By season five, we just have standard one-on-one interviews. First up is Vicki Lawrence (20:40), where she talks about creating the series and character, moving to syndication, and more. Dorothy Lyman (10:23) talks about moving from the world of soap operas to sitcom and the character of Naomi. Ken Berry (9:07) also talks a lot about his experiences of being cast, working with Rue McClanahan and Betty White, the Family Feud episode, and about the series moving to syndication. Finally, executive producer Rick Hawkins (27:26) gives a very lengthy interview where he goes back to talking about his experience of working on The Carol Burnett Show and a lot about his role as producer on the series, and some of his own experiences with the series.
Season six special features focus on those who worked behind-the-scenes on the series, and they're all in the form of interviews. Each person talks about their roles in the production of the series, including producer and writer Jim Evering (20:26), writer Manny Basanese (21:38), Vicki Lawrence with executive producer Rick Hawkins (19:26), and costume designers Bob Mackie and Ret Turner (31:55).
Finally, there are two entire discs that include nothing but special features, available only with the release of the complete series. These are broken into two discs. Disc 1 begins with the first ever sketch of The Family from The Carol Burnett Show from March 16, 1974 (12:35), where Roddy McDowall played one of Mama's sons. Next up is another family tree featurette, in "Mama's Family Tree: The Lovebirds (All About Vint and Naomi)" (13:53). Again, this is more interviews and clips of Vint and Naomi. "Family Business: A Mama's Family Cast Reunion" (33:43) gives us a bit more of the interview with the cast from the syndicated years reminiscing about the series while sitting around the kitchen table. "Family Scrapbook: Classic Mama's Family Bloopers" (13:54) is exactly what it sounds like, a series of bloopers from every season of the series. The first disc ends with more standard interviews, from Beverly Archer (10:53), Allan Kayser (10:25), Vicki Lawrence (19:23), Dorothy Lyman (10:36), and Ken Berry (12:34).
Disc 2 of bonus features begins with "Mama's Family Tree: The Seeds (from The Family to Mama's Family)" (17:37), where the cast, including Carol Burnett, talk about the series transitioning from The Carol Burnett Show to a show of its own. "Family Style: Creating the World of Mama's Family" (25:21) is a series of interviews and clips talking about the wardrobe and set design on the series. "Family Fun: Game Shows and Showdowns on Mama's Family" (11:49) is a fun featurette where they talk about all of the game shows (real and ones that only exist in the Mama's Family universe) that members of the family went on. "Family Secrets: The True Stories Behind Some Classic Mama's Family Bloopers" (13:55) is a featurette that talks about some of the bloopers not only on Mama's Family, but also on sketches of The Family on The Carol Burnett Show, including an famous one from Tim Conway (who also appears in this interview). We get to see more about Vint and Naomi in "Mama's Family Tree: A Little More About Vint and Naomi" (20:14). We learn a bit about Raytown in "Mama's Family Tree: The Hometown (All About Raytown)" (8:35). In "Family Folklore: The Gang Remembers Some Special Episodes" (14:24), the cast and crew talks about some of their favorite episodes from throughout the series. Finally, there is a series of interviews on Disc 2, with Tim Conway (12:57), Ret Turner (27:15), Rick Hawkins (27:04), Jim Evering (17:20), and Manny Basanese (19:45).
While I enjoyed the special features, I'm a bit disappointed that we saw nothing from Karin Argoud or Eric Brown here, although they both seem to have moved on from their acting past.
It was 2006 when Warner Home Video released the first season of the series on DVD, and for me, it was one of the most anticipated releases of the year... and turned out to be the most disappointing release of the year. Now, in 2013, StarVista has tried it again, and again, this was one of the most anticipated releases of the year for me. This time, I feel comfortable saying that this is probably the best release of the year, and I am truly satisfied.
Make no mistake: there are still some imperfections with this set with the edits (mostly music) made in the episodes, but these small imperfections are just a minor problem in a set that is pretty much perfect in all other aspects. We now have every episode of what I truly consider to be one of the funniest series of the '80s on DVD in mostly unedited form, along with plenty of special features featuring most of the cast and crew. Had this series stand in the hands of Warner Home Video, we would still be stalled at the end of season one, with more edited episodes (and more complaints from fans) for a potential season two release.
The cost of this set is certainly not cheap by some of today's DVD standards, but the value that fans will get from seeing this much-beloved (but unappreciated by the critics) series is priceless. I'll echo what many other fans have said and say that I would love to see StarVista follow up this release with a "complete" release of just the sketches from The Family from The Carol Burnett Show (and in fact, I think that would have been a nice addition with just a few more discs to this set), so hopefully we will see something like that in the future. Until then, though, there are 130 great episodes to enjoy in this set (or if you want to go "smaller," you can always pick up individual seasons at retailers).
If you're a fan of this series, don't hesitate to pick up the complete series (you can even purchase it on installments from StarVista if money is an issue). If you've never seen this series, but you are a fan of dysfunctional family sitcoms where something always seems to go wrong with a lot of humor (oddly enough, the show I would compare this to more than any other show of the era is Married... with Children; they are similar in many respects, although this series is more family friendly for sure), I would suggest picking up perhaps one of the first two seasons or even one of the "best of" releases being sold to get a taste for the series before making such a commitment. Honestly, it is hard to be disappointed with this series, and StarVista has made it hard to be disappointed with this set.