DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004 (Paramount Home Video)
color/10 hours, 35 minutes
Number of discs: 4
Number of episodes: 24 (with the pilot episode being 1 hour)
Languages and subtitles: English - Mono, Closed Captioned
Special features: None
Wild, wacky and operating at warp speed, meet Mork from the planet Ork - the maniacal
alien of Mork & Mindy, the riotous television sitcom presented in this complete
"Season One" DVD collection. Actor-comedian Robin Williams zoomed to stardom with
co-star Pam Dawber in this laugh-filled comedy series spawned from a 1978 episode
of Happy Days.
Dispatched from Ork in his egg-shaped spacecraft, the lovable Orkan hurtles to Earth
near the town of Boulder, Colorado, where he is befriended by pretty collge student
Mindy McConnell (Dawber). Mork's mission is to observe the bizarre customs of the
earthlings and then report back to his great Orkan leader, Orson. He tries his best to adapt
to his new environment - not an easy task when you innocently wear your clothes
backwards, sit in a chair upside down, or blurt out "Shazbot!" when things go awry.
It's an out-of-this-world series of laughs and escapades when human being meets humanoid
hurricane in Mork & Mindy.
The idea of Mork & Mindy began at the home of the shows producer Garry Marshall. His son asked him to put a man from outer space
on Happy Days. Garry thought this was a good idea and created the character of Mork, an alien from the planet Ork. Mork appeared in
two episodes of Happy Days. Mork first appeared in the episode My Favorite Orkan on February 28, 1978 where he landed on
Earth from the planet Ork and attempted to kidnap Richie Cunningham to be part of an experiment. The character created by Robin
Williams was so popular that he was given his own series in the fall of 1978, and it became an immediate hit finishing tied for 3rd with
Happy Days with a 28.6 rating, ranking behind only Laverne & Shirley (#1) and Three's Company (#2 - it had the most total viewers).
Unfortunately, after the first season the network and producers made many changes to the show and it lost many
viewers. The storylines were changed to be more meaningful from the simple slapstick of the successful
first season. Mindy's father Frederick McConnell played by Conrad Janis,
Mindy's grandmother Cora Hudson, and the character of Eugene played by Jeffrey Jacquet were all dropped from the show.
The show was moved from Thursday nights to Sundays to help boost ABC's schedule for that night, but it lost
many viewers and nearly half its audience. ABC attempted to correct their mistakes for the third season and some of the viewers
came back, but the magic of the first season was lost. 1981-1982 would be the show's fourth and final season which saw
Robin Williams with his idol Jonathan Winters.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Memorable episodes from the first season included The Mork & Mindy Special (pilot episode)
where Mork lands on Earth and meets Mindy who lets him stay in her apartment. The Fonz (Henry
Winkler) and Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall) appeared in the episode in a flashback
sequence with scenes set at the Cunningham home. Exidor, a crazed prophet
and leader of an invisible cult called The Friends of Venus, makes his first appearance
in the episode Mork Runs Away. Mork is baffled and frightened by the mad holiday rush
in Mork's First Christmas. In Mork's Mixed Emotions, Mork is unprepared for the rush
of feelings that sweep over him after receiving a kiss from Mindy. This
episode was named by TV Guide as one of the greatest episodes in television history.
There were several notable guest stars that appeared in the first season.
Henry Winkler and Penny Marshall appeared in the pilot episode - The Mork and Mindy Special.
Morgan Fairchild appeared in 3 episodes as Susan Taylor - Mork's Seduction, Mork's First Christmas,
and Mork Goes Erk. Also appearing in Mork Goes Erk was David Letterman as charismatic
Ellsworth who hosts an Ellsworth Revitalization Konditioning (ERK) seminar. Tammy Lauren
appeared in Young Love and Bill Kirchenbauer was seen in Mork's Mixed Emotions. Linda Henning
guest starred in It's a Wonderful Mork.
The DVD cover art (pictured above) features a photo of Mork and Mindy doing the Orkan hand gesture. There
is also the Mork & Mindy logo and a smaller photo of Mork as well as a drawing of
Mork's suspenders. The back of the box features 3 different photos and a short summary
of the set and also lists some notable guest stars to look for. DVD specs are listed
on the bottom of the box. There are 4 individual snapcases (I believe they are called Nexpak)
that slide out from the dvd box. All 4 cases have different photos of Mork & Mindy on the
front. The back of the cases list what episodes are on the disc along with a photo
and a different quote such as "Shazbot!" or "Na Nu! Na Nu!" on each case.
Inside the cases are nice 2-3 sentence summaries of the episodes with their titles
and original airdates. The rainbow colored theme of the inside case carries over to the discs
which have the Mork & Mindy logo on them. When you take the discs out of the cases,
there are progressive photos of an egg cracking and Mork finally breaking out of it on the
4th disc. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-6, Disc 2 has episodes 7-12, Disc 3 offers
episodes 13-18, and Disc 4 completes the season with episodes 19-24.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Each DVD has a very simple menu that is easy to navigate. There are no sub-menus, only a
main menu that lists all the episode titles. Each disc has a different color scheme with a white
background and a photo of Mork & Mindy on it along with the logo and a smaller photo of Mork in a circle.
A red egg can also be seen on all the discs. You just highlight the episode
you want to play and a red star or moon appears by it which turns green upon
selection. There is also a 'Play All' button for those who want to watch all the episodes
on each disc without interruption.
Video and Audio Quality:
I was pleasantly pleased with the video and audio quality of Paramount's Happy
Days and Laverne & Shirley DVD sets, and they have continued that excellence
with this set. These episodes are definite upgrades over the syndication prints
that you have seen on Nick at Nite and Fox Family over the years.
The episodes are presented in full screen (1.33:1) and they look crisp and clear
with just some occasional grain and dirt. The outdoor Boulder, Colorado scenes that are
sprinkled throughout the episodes look beautiful. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono and sounds fine - typical for a 70's sitcom. Closed captioning is available on all of
All episodes appear to be complete and unedited, running a little over 25 minutes.
The Mork and Mindy Special pilot episode which is shown as 2 parts in syndication with
an opening for each part is restored to the hour format (about 49 minutes, 30 seconds
without commercials) and just one opening and closing credit sequence. With syndication
prints running about 22 minutes in length, there is approximately 3 minutes
of "new" footage in each episode! It is exciting to see scenes that have been
trimmed in syndication to make room for even more commercials.
Update: I didn't originally see this, but on the back of the disc 3 slimcase it reads "Some music has been
changed for this home entertainment version."
The only real downside to this set is the lack of any extras. There were none
on the Happy Days or Laverne & Shirley sets either, so I wasn't expecting any. Perhaps,
as they continue to release seasons they will throw in some bonus features.
Mork's 2 appearances on Happy Days likely wouldn't be included on any Mork & Mindy set, but they will
be on Happy Days season 5 and 6 sets when they are released hopefully down the road. There is a Mork & Mindy
blooper reel which I have seen that would make a nice extra. Audio commentaries
are always popular and it would be nice to hear the cast's and writer/director's
opinions on the episodes. There was even a Mork & Mindy animated series and it would
be nice to see a few of these episodes much like the Punky Brewster set. There were
hundreds of memorabilia items produced for the show, so they could possibly include
a still gallery in a future release.
Overall, this is an excellent start for the Mork & Mindy franchise on DVD.
Many fans consider the first season to be the best as there were many changes
made for the 2nd season and it lost some of it's magic which it was never
able to recapture. The old saying
if it ain't broke, don't fix it surely can be applied to this show.
This was the start of a wonderful career for Robin Williams and he was very
funny on the show and often improvised his lines. This is Todd signing off...
Na no, na no!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):
Video quality: 4.6/5
Audio quality: 4.4/5
Special Features: NA
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 08/30/04
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