TITLE: MY THREE SONS - THE FIRST SEASON, VOLUME TWO
DVD Release Date: January 20, 2009 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 18
Running Time: 481 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: None
The Douglas family is back for Volume 2 of The First Season of My Three Sons! The three disc set contains the final 18 episodes of the first season of the 60s sitcom. Steve Douglas is a widower that is raising his three sons (Mike, Rob, and Chip) with the help of Grandpa Bub (William Frawley). The series began in 1960 on ABC and ended up lasting for over a decade, eventually having several cast changes and moving over to rival network CBS. These episodes are where it all started.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Steve’s sister has entered the Douglas household and wants to show the men how to run the home in “Organization Women.” In “Other People’s Houses,” Robbie is jealous of everything that his new friend has, but he finds that sometimes those that live where the grass is greener would love to go to where the grass is a little more brown. Beau Bridges guest stars in “Deadline,” where Mike gets a chance to be part of the school newspaper sports page. In “The Lostling,” a leg of lamb gets mixed up with a baby.
The family dog brings home something that not many family dogs would bring home in “Small Adventure,” a stick of dynamite! Robbie has to find the way to win the heart of a classmate in “The Wiley Method.” Steve gets to umpire the next baseball game in “The National Pastime,” which gives Chip some ideas.
A frog is on the loose in the Douglas household in “The Croaker.” Robbie proves once again that he’ll do anything in the name of love in “The Musician.” In “The Horseless Saddle,” a saddle mysteriously shows up at the Douglas household, and Bub is determined to find out who sent it. The entire family accompanies Mike’s girlfriend’s family on a ride to the country (why?) in “The Sunday Drive.” The season ends with “Fire Watch,” where Mike is working at the forestry service and a storm is in the air.
The packaging isn’t too exciting, and is in fact a little boring. We just have a standard DVD case that holds three discs (two in a tray in the middle and one on the back panel) with a family snapshot on the cover. Inside, we have the discs (no artwork aside from the show logo on the gray background) and a listing of all of the episodes with original airdates and descriptions. There are six episodes on each disc.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Well, there isn’t much to say about the menus. You get a main menu, you get a cast photo, and you get a list of all of the episodes along with a Play All option. That is it. No other menus to mention, at all. There are chapters within all of the episodes.
Video and Audio Quality:
Just as with the previous volume, the picture quality is pretty clear, but does have a little bit of grain and debris here and there. It isn’t too bad, but the opening credits seem to suffer the most from video quality problems. Of course, the opening credits are animated, so that is almost to be expected. The audio is presented in mono and has no real problems aside from the levels being a little low. Every episode is closed-captioned.
Since this is a CBS DVD product, you should know this statement is coming: the set contains a disclaimer regarding edited episodes and music changes. And frankly, I dropped the ball when I reviewed Volume 1 and said that I didn’t notice any music changes. Apparently there were some major music changes in the musical score, such as transitional and background music. Having never seen these episodes, I was unaware of that. With that being said, people like me that haven’t seen the episodes probably won’t notice the difference, but it is a definite nuisance for those that HAVE seen the episodes before. Other than that, the runtimes generally look fine, with most episodes running near 26 minutes. Exact runtimes are as follows:
“Organization Women” (25:44)
“Other People’s Houses” (25:39)
“The Delinquint” (25:41)
“Man In A Trench Coat” (25:42)
“The Lostling” (25:13)
“Off Key” (25:42)
“Small Adventure” (25:43)
“Soap-Box Derby” (25:41)
“Unite or Sink” (25:47)
“The Wiley Method” (25:41)
“The National Pastime” (25:42)
“The Croaker” (25:12)
“The Musician” (25:41)
“The Horseless Saddle” (25:42)
“Trial By Separation” (25:43)
“The Sunday Drive” (25:41)
“Fire Watch” (25:32)
CBS DVD struck out again on special features with this set. Granted, William Frawley and Fred MacMurray could not possibly produce any new special features footage as they are no longer alive, but Tim Consadine, Don Grady, and Stanley Livingston are all still around and not doing much else. Why couldn’t they be part of some interviews or commentaries? Furthermore, promotional footage would have been nice to see, like original commercials containing the cast members or promos for upcoming episodes. But instead, we get nothing.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it is ridiculous that this series is being done in half seasons! There is no reason to ever split any sitcom up into half seasons, and makes even less sense for a series that had twelve seasons. It will take forever to release the DVDs at this pace. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, several fans noticed that the music within the episodes had been significantly “redone” for the DVD set, and as far as I can tell, it seems that the same thing was done again. Why would they even do that? To change a copyrighted song is one thing, but to change background and transitional music? On top of that, CBS DVD finds it appropriate to insult fans with a $39.95 MSRP on the set. So here is what we have: half a season worth of episodes, edited music, and not a single special feature, at $39.95? Are they serious? The entire first season should have been released as one set with an MSRP of around $29.95. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Do not let my pessimism get to you, though, because the episodes contained on the set generally look fine and are very much enjoyable. The episodes were all new to me, as I have only ever watched the later seasons in syndication, and in watching them, I wonder why we don’t see this series on TV at all these days. It has some really good episode storylines, many of which are similar to episodes of The Brady Bunch, and I think fans of that show and other family sitcoms are sure to enjoy this set. Personally, to me, I don’t feel like the altered music score (assuming it is altered again, I didn’t even notice it in the first volume) affects the show that much, but purists are certainly likely to be (and rightfully so) upset about this change.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 01/18/09
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