Sitcoms Online
Home
News Blog
Message Boards
Photo Galleries
DVD and Blu-ray Reviews
Follow Us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram
Our Sitcom Sites
• Sitcom Links, DVDs and Theme Songs
A / B / C / D / E / F / G /
H / I / J / K / L / M / N /
O / P / Q / R / S / T / U /
V / W / Y / Z / #
Other TV Links
• Merchandise
Purchase TV Series on DVD, Blu-ray or VHS
Purchase TV Theme Songs on CD and Other Series Soundtracks
Purchase TV Posters
• Games
Guess the Sitcom Character Game
Games Message Board
• Watch Sitcoms Online
Amazon Instant Video
Amazon Prime - Free Trial
Hulu Plus
Xfinity TV
YouTube
Veoh
TV.com
Netflix
TV Land
ABC
CBS
FOX
NBC
The CW
TBS
ABC Family
Crackle
Archive.org Classic TV Collection
• Questions or Comments?
About Us
Contact Form

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


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


Info:

Release Date: November 7, 2006 (20th Century Fox)
Color/1982-93
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 16
Running Time: Approx 490 Minutes
Audio: English/Spanish/French: Mono
Subtitles: English, Spanish; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

That’s all folks! The 11th and final season of M*A*S*H is upon us. I’m going to be a bit forward with you, the readers, in that I’m going to spend an unusually high amount of time on the final episode in terms of the context of this review. It’s not to say the other 15 episodes (what a short season) weren’t important --­ far from it. But the final episode is so important, that, well…yeah.

The show lasted 11 years --­ almost four times the length of the war in which it’s set. The show, at one point, was seen as a commentary on Vietnam. By the end of the show’s run, we were halfway between Vietnam and Desert Storm. What started as a pure-breed comedy in 1972 was one of TV’s first, and possibly finest, drama-comedy hybrids (a “dramedy”) by the end, and had taken a somewhat more serious tone, while still retaining a lot of the same humor as before. Of the 1972, not many original cast members remained - only two whom appeared in the first episode that first year were still around at the end: Alan Alda and Loretta Swit. William Christopher, of course, debuted as Father Mulcahy in the third episode, while Jamie Farr as the unforgettable Max Klinger debuted later that year.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.

On February 28, 1983; 1 day short of exactly 3.5 years before my birth, M*A*S*H ended its run with the show that is to this very date (November 13, 2006) the most watched single program in television history. (And, with cable having fractured the broadcast audience permanently, it’s quite possible the show’s record will never be defeated). On that night, 77% of all television viewership watched the two-and-a-half-hour TV movie “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” ­ the final chapter in the 11 year show about the 3 year Korean War. Interestingly enough, this is the only episode in the entire series run to display the show’s title IN the episode. The show starts with Hawkeye in a mental institution, writing a letter to his father. As Hawkeye’s repressed memories come to light, we discover that the event that drove him to the breaking point was the mother of a small infant choking her infant to death to stop its crying, to prevent discovery by the North Koreans. Honestly, seeing something that tragic would make just about anyone in a normal state of mind nearly break ­ let alone someone who’s been in Korea for all this time. Meanwhile, at the 4077, a tank crushes the latrine, while Charles befriends a group of ragtag Chinese musicians and teaches them to play Mozart's "Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581." He’s also attempting to best a competitor back in Boston for an administrative position at Mercy General. Margaret pulls some strings, which works to Charles’ benefit, but naturally he’s not that happy. B.J. gets his discharge papers. North Korea sees the tank at the 4077 and starts bombing the camp. Father Mulcahy goes out to try to save a group of POWs, but it knocked cold by a bomb. When he comes to, he learns his hearing is beginning to deteriorate. At this point, real life interjected itself into the episode. A wildfire in the show’s shooting location destroyed the outdoor set, meaning a new location had to be used in the episode until it was safe to return to what was left--hence, the fire in the episode forcing a bug out. In a POW trade with the Koreans, Charles loses his musicians. A short time later however, one returns, this time needing urgent medical care and barely alive; the rest are dead due to an attack. This causes classical music to become unbearable-to-listen-to for Charles --­ despite it being his one solace during the war. This seems like a minor plot point, but it’s a big character development issue for Charles. Finally, a truce/cease-fire is signed, and the war….is over. Bit by bit, the 4077 disbands, and everyone goes home ­ some with a temporary detour to another MASH unit.

The last scene is one of my favorite moments in television. It’s down to just BJ and Hawkeye. Hawkeye’s chopper is about to leave, while BJ is about to ride off on his motorcycle. BJ can’t bring himself to say goodbye…they try their best, and then Hawkeye gets in the helicopter. As the helicopter pulls up, Hawkeye ­ and the camera ­ sees that BJ has spelled out “Goodbye” in stones. (This served as a dual-message from the show creators as well). And that is….that.

Among other things, this episode was also an ancestor to the very reason we’re here at the moment. In 1983, this episode was released on VHS, and sold well. This paved the way for other TV show releases on VHS and later, DVD. Also, despite 77% of the country having watched the episode, large areas of California, particularly the San Francisco Bay Area, didn’t get to see the show originally, as they were experiencing power outages due to unusually strong winter weather in the area. The famous 77% figure would most likely be even higher were it not for this.

So, now that I’ve spent almost two pages talking about one episode, what else happened? Well, the final season was interesting. For starters, including the finale and counting it as one episode, this season features a mere sixteen shows --­ though if you count the finale in terms of half-hours (five), that does increase the number to 20, consistent with the previous couple of seasons. Still, the official number is merely sixteen --­ this is roughly equivalent to the “seasons” cable give shows *now*; and M*A*S*H did it in 1982/1983. Admittedly, I think the final season --­ excepting the last episode --­ was somewhat weak. While the season certainly wasn’t a slouch, it wasn’t a home-run hitter. The first episode I really liked was “The Joker is Wild.” BJ finally gets fed up of hearing of Trapper’s reputation as a prankster, and bets Hawkeye he can pull one over on everyone present. “Run for the Money” is probably one of the final classic “regular episodes”. An Olympic runner is assigned to the 4077th for a race; however, he fails to show. This leaves Father Mulcahy as the camp’s best bet to win a high-stakes footrace against the 8063rd. This is a very fine episode of the show indeed. “As Time Goes By,” the penultimate episode (IE: The next-to-last episode), is certainly quite good itself, if albeit a flag-bearer for the “We’re going off the air soon!” ship. Margaret and Hawkeye work on a time capsule to commemorate their time in Korea. BJ and Rizzo play with a grenade (a fake one), and Klinger becomes smitten with a certain pretty little young Korean (Setting up the final episode’s master irony, in which Klinger stays in Korea with Soon-Li).

In terms of guest stars this season: Just the Ten of Us fans should be on the lookout in episode 1 for Deborah Harmon. In “Trick or Treatment,” the show’s only Halloween-themed episode, George Wendt (Norm!) guests, as well as “comedian” (For lack of a better term and want of a more neutral term) Andrew Dice Clay. Keeping my fingers busy at the keyboard is one Jeffrey Tambor (…so…many….credits) in the third episode, “Foreign Affairs.” Acclaimed filmed director Robert Townsend appears as a patient in “Bombshells.” Since I talk about SNL cast a lot in this section, I thought I’d continue the trend: Robert Townsend was supposed to become a cast member for the show in 1980; however, his position in the cast was instead given to one….Eddie Murphy.


Packaging:

So, you should know exactly what to expect here. It’s not like the wonderful packaging for the complete series version of the set put out at the same time. On the one hand, I applaud FOX for sticking with the style for four years and eleven seasons, on the other hand, in this instance, the packaging used (the big black box) has seen a sharp decline in use since the first sets were being put out, and the bigger and bulkier boxes are a bit of a packaging relic. Anyway, the entire cast is gathered in front of the multi-direction sign (Boston/Seoul/etc), with the show logo in green at the top, and the mountains behind them. Back cover features two stills from the finale (BJ on the motorcycle, Goodbye) on the right side, with a faded-out shot of the camp at the bottom, and some descriptive text on the left. The goal, I believe, in this season’s packaging, was to make it perfectly clear this is the final season and features the legendary final episode ­ something they make quite evident. Inside the Big Black Box is a little booklet complete with episode details (the booklet front cover is the same as the box front cover).

Disc 1 is your standard-issue olive green, and features a two-toned (black/green) shot of Hawkeye. Disc 2 is…well…very brown. This disc features Potter in the bottom-left. The final disc of the final DVD set is a drab military-yellow, and features…..*drumroll*…..Klinger. Everyone who had Klinger as being on the last disc in your respective organization’s pool, step forward. *crickets*. That’s what I thought. Honestly, I don’t really get why they didn’t put Hawkeye on the final disc. It just makes too much sense. Maybe even flip the order, and have Klinger on 1, Potter on 2, and Hawkeye on 3.

For what it’s worth, episodes 1-8 are on the first disc. Episodes 9-15 are on the second disc. The finale is all by itself on disc 3.


Menu Design and Navigation:

You know what…I’ve wanted to say this for a couple years now. This is NOT a dig at the FOX art department at all, as the menus incorporate the episode selection options, and the episode options, etc., into the stills in a very creative way ­ and I have to give major points for that. But while that might have been nice in 2002, this is 2006 (almost 2007). DVD technology, especially in regards to menus, has changed *so* much, yet the menus are still based on the way things were done four-plus years ago. I would have really hoped for something a little…nicer, something a little…flashier. But, oh well…had to get that out. Anyway: The show logo with broadcast order reminder is in the top left. The episode titles are in the Stencil font along the wagon portion of a truck. Play all is on the passenger’s side door of the truck. The text is even shaped to match the wrinkles and folds of the wagon cover. I may complain about the static nature of the menu, but I LOVE little touches like that. Each episode features a still shot FROM that episode, with the Play Episode, Chapter Selection, Language Selection, and Home options integrated into the still in various ways depending on the episode. As a memo to FOX, and to other DVD producers: Fans love chapter/scene selection, and love it when you put it in a release. Please include this VERY valuable feature more often. Language selection’s menu is a set of clothes and helmet (the helmet bearing the Language Selection text), with the options at the side. Chapter selection features a still image from that chapter in “Polaroid” form, with the scene name scribbled below it.


Video and Audio Quality:

The first thing that hit me when I played the first episode of the season is, right off the bat, the video just looks better. Noticeably better. The second thing is that, for a mono track, the audio sounds surprisingly good. I have a hard time believing FOX couldn’t have tried to get a stereo track out of this, but there’s a good job done with what they have. There are no defects, it’s just plain. As before, you can choose to watch the episode with or without laugh track (personally, I prefer to watch WITH in the early years, WITHOUT later on). And I can’t get over the fact that the video just looks BETTER. I’m trying to find something wrong with the video to talk about ­ anything….and I just don’t have anything. Chapter stops exist in-episode with the chapter selection menus.

Disc 1:
Hey, Look Me Over: 24:52
Trick or Treatment: 24:47
Foreign Affairs: 24:53
The Joker is Wild: 24:52
Who Knew: 24:51
Bombshells: 24:53
Settling Debts: 24:31
The Moon is Not Blue: 24:10

Disc 2:
Run for the Money: 24:37
U.N., The Night and the Music: 24:52
Strange Bedfellows: 24:51
Say No More: 24:15
Friends and Enemies: 24:51
Give and Take: 24:41
As Time Goes By: 24:15

Disc 3:
Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen: 2:00:18.


Special Features:

Nada --­ this is why you should consider buying the complete series version. They took all the features they’ve been withholding for four years, and put them all in that one set. It’s a nice touch for *it*, but it leaves those of us who’ve bought all 11 season DVD sets holding a rather heavy burden -- ­ have all the DVD sets, or re-sell those and buy the complete series.


Final Comments:

And that’s it. It’s been great to get to re-watch these seasons, though I wish they would have included features in the actual DVD sets, instead of waiting to force people to buy a completely different set anyway. The complete series release, done simultaneous with this one, also negates purchasing this set for anyone other than those who have already purchased 1-10 but don’t want to sell them off and buy the mega-release. It’s been fun doing this set.

Goodbye.


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

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

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 11/13/06

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000HT3P5G/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=187467


News Blog
Message Boards
Photo Galleries
DVD Reviews
Our Sitcom Sites
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
Y
Z / #
Other TV Links
Purchase TV Series on DVD
Purchase TV Series on VHS
Purchase TV Theme Songs on CD and other series soundtracks
Purchase TV show t-shirts, caps, mugs, and other unique items
Purchase TV Posters
Britcoms
Guess the Sitcom Character Game
Games Message Board
back to the main page


Please e-mail me with your sitcom related questions, sitcoms to add, and suggestions for additional links.

© 1999-2014, Todd Fuller Contact Form