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M*A*S*H - Season Ten Collector's Edition


TITLE: M*A*S*H - SEASON TEN COLLECTOR'S EDITION


Info:

DVD Release Date: May 23, 2006 (20th Century Fox)
Color/1981-82
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 21
Running Time: 541 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: n/a
Audio: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Closed Captioned


Introduction:

Relive your favorite M*A*S*H moments with the tenth season of M*A*S*H, on DVD May 23rd! They were the 4077 MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit stationed three miles from the front during the Korean War. As the war drags on, it begins to take a toll on the docs and nurses who, day after day, fight to save the incoming wounded brought in directly from the front lines. But as much as the gang of the 4077 care for the wounded soldiers, they also care about each other. And that camaraderie, coupled with a liberal dose of hijinks and hilarity, serve to make their tour of duty in Korea an experience none of them will ever forget.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Those familiar with the show M*A*S*H, and by that, I mean the vast majority of the world’s population, are then quite possibly with the often-occurring assertion that, near the end, MASH was closer to a 30-minute drama than a sitcom. To some extent, I can see where some might make that claim – the episodes were a bit more serious late in the run, admittedly. However, MASH was still easily one of the funniest shows on TV right up until the end, which is where we’re getting closer to. The next-to-last season (1981-1982) features some quality episodes. The box, as always, promotes a couple of episodes as “Includes [Episode X] and [Episode Y]. For this set, those are Where There’s a Will, There’s a War, and Heroes. I can’t help but believe they made the right call on this one – I’d easily assert that Where There’s a Will… is one of the best episodes of the later seasons. Hawkeye goes to help at an aid station at the front, and while under attack from heavy shelling, draws up a will, leaving various things to the people at the 4077. Heroes was a good episode itself – a prizefighter, “Gentleman” Joe Cavanaugh, has a stroke while at the 4077, and Hawkeye becomes a golden boy of the world press after he treats him. Cavanaugh was always a hero to Father Mulcahy, and finds the news a bit hard to take. Again, good episode – but I myself actually prefer another episode in the season, Pressure Points. Potter loses confidence in his surgical abilities, and winds up sending for Sidney Freedman. Winchester finally begins to lose patience with Hawkeye and BJ’s general, uh, tornado-like approach to neatness. Always love episodes where main characters go a bit crazy.

Going over the guest stars for season ten: Laurence Fishburne (credited as Larry Fishburne) appears in “The Tooth Shall Set You Free”. Deborah Harmon, who most people reading this would probably know from Just the Ten of Us, appears in the episode Promotion Commotion Speaking of Just the Ten of Us – THAT’S a show I’d love to see on DVD…I digress, however. That, really, is it. There’s not much in the way of guest stars this season.


Packaging:

If you’ve read a description of ONE MASH season packaging, you’ve read them all. It’s the same surprisingly thick black plastic case….that opens in two places, with one side having the info holder and disc one while the other has the other two discs. Yeah, same as before. Front cover has a shot of Margaret, BJ, and Hawkeye posing on a Jeep in front of the 4077. The M*A*S*H logo is above the mountains, in front of the sky. Back cover is again white, with a faded out image of the “mileage/direction” sign in front of the 4077. Two images appear in a rounded rectangular frame – Klinger standing over Hawkeye and BJ, who are playing cards, and Margaret and Charles smiling and talking to someone. The little cast member picture at the bottom of the spine for season ten is Margaret. Disc art is straightforward. Disc 1 is olive green, and features Hawkeye on the left faded out with the green. Mash logo at the top, disc number to the right. Has the first seven episodes. Disc 2 is a kind of rust orange, and has Margaret. Episodes 8-14 are on this disc. The third disc is yellow, and has Father Mulcahy. This disc contains episodes 15-21.


Menu Design and Navigation:

First, a note: Each episode has its own submenu, as with previous sets. If I attempt to go over them episode by episode, I’m going to be writing this thing until season eleven comes out. Long story short, each episode’s menu is a still shot from that episode, with the menu options input in a way that’s consistent with the still. One example is on Give ‘Em Hell, Hawkeye, where Hawkeye can be seen writing on a notepad. The menu options? On a “notepad” in the bottom right corner. It took me awhile, but I finally appreciate the inherent creativity in that. The main menu is describable, heh, and is used as the main for all 3 discs – it has three folks from the 4077 standing to the left of a truck in the distance, with a wide area of dirt in front of them. On this dirt is written, in a stencil font, the episode titles. The title is highlighted green when selected. There is a chapter selection menu for each episode, and it IS consistent…appears to be a clothesline, however, there’s enough content on the menus I can’t completely tell. Language Selection is the options written in the Stencil font alongside the side of a green medical tent.


Video and Audio Quality:

I’ve got to admit, I’ve always thought there was something just a bit wrong in the MASH video – spanning multiple seasons – and I just NOW hit upon it. For whatever reason, when looking at scenery, compression artifacts immediately become apparent, either in the form of noticeable artifacts around things, or by little red/green/blue dots in places. It’s really only noticeable in places – particularly on displays at higher resolutions or against dark colors. I’m surprised to reread the video quality summary on my previous review and see what I gave it, because it’s the same VQ, and it’s not 4.5-worthy, probably about a half-point less. It’s not BAD, but it’s at least noticeable in places. There’s also occasional grain now and then, but it’s generally good – the video looks roughly its age, albeit cleaned up. Audio is as good as you’re going to hear on a 1982 show. Audio’s clear and at the right volume levels…a bit quiet for my tastes, but I generally like my volumes louder. Chapter stops are placed practically everywhere – which can be selected from the chapter menu.

Runtimes:
That’s Show Biz: 49:14
Identity Crisis: 24:48
Rumor at the Top: 24:20
Give ‘Em Hell Hawkeye: 24:50
Wheelers and Dealers: 23:52
Communication Breakdown: 24:53
Snap Judgment: 24:55
Snappier Judgment: 24:53
’Twas the Day After Christmas: 24:52
Follies of the Living – Concerns of the Dead: 24:20
The Birthday Girls: 24:43
Blood and Guts: 24:52
A Holy Mess: 24:34
The Tooth Shall Set You Free: 24:53
Pressure Points: 24:50
Where There’s a Will, There’s a War: 24:49
Promotion Commotion: 24:49
Heroes: 24:50
Sons & Bowlers: 25:08
Picture This: 24:52
That Darn Kid: 24:06


Special Features:

Nada. Nothing yet again, so I had no expectations.


Final Comments:

It’s almost over – I can see the light at the end of the tunnel: We are only ONE season away from the end of MASH DVD releases. Please FOX, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, include SOME sort of special feature on the last set – the series finale of MASH is the most watched television episode in the history of TELEVISION….MILK IT. I could come up with an entire DISC worth of features based entirely on that episode for an 11th season set. PLEASE.

Otherwise, this is a good set. M*A*S*H is a show you can really jump into just about anywhere, so if you see it in-store, and you haven’t started buying MASH yet, go ahead, I think you’ll enjoy it. RECOMMENDED.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
Final Score: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/15/06

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000EHSVE6/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=172530


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