TITLE: PERFECT STRANGERS - THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS
DVD Release Date: February 5, 2008 (Warner Home Video)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 28
Running Time: 700 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: approx. 7 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English, Francais subtitles
Special Features: “Dance of Joy” Featurette
For the first time ever, Perfect Strangers is now on DVD! (Get out of the city!) Warner Home Video has finally released the Complete First and Second Seasons of the hilarious ‘80s ABC comedy. Find out how sheepherder Balki Bartokomaus (Bronson Pinchot) from the island of Mypos moved in with his “cousin” Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker) in Chicago and how all the funniness and slapstick started from the beginning. We get all 6 episodes from the series’ short first season and all 22 episodes from the series’ second season all on this four-disc DVD set! In for the fun are Larry and Balki’s boss Mr. Twinkacetti (Ernie Sabella), their friend Susan (Lisa Cutter) and Larry & Balki’s lover interests emerge in the second season with Jennifer (Melanie Wilson) & Mary Anne (Rebecca Arthur)! Also, see Belita Moreno as Mrs. Twinkacetti from time-to-time. Moreno later will join the series in season three as a different character, but more on that whenever that DVD comes out!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Some say Perfect Strangers really didn’t kick off the greatness of episodes until season three, while that could be true, there are certainly some goodies in the first two seasons. Of course, the first episode, “Knock Knock, Who’s There?” is memorable because it starts off the series and introduces us to Larry and Balki. See Balki say, “America. Land of the free. Home of the Whopper!” Now the first season only had six episodes, as it was a mid-season replacement on ABC, but all six are really decent. For season two, I personally think it got even better than season one! The episode “Hunks Like Us” is a memorable episode because not only does it feature hilarious slapstick by Larry & Balki at the gym, but they meet Jennifer & Mary Anne! Another memorable episode is the episode “Two Men and a Cradle,” where Larry & Balki baby-sit an infant...and you can guess what probably happened. The holiday episode “A Christmas Story” is among the most memorable of the series for some. A blizzard forces Larry not to go home to his family for Christmas in Wisconsin for the first time ever. Many fans also love the first two-part episode of the series, “Snow Way to Treat a Lady.” This is the episode where Larry pretends to know he knows how to ski well, but of course, he does not, and they all ultimately are snowed in a cabin! Finally, “Up on a Roof” is also very memorable. This is the episode where Larry tries to get a perfect snapshot of the sunset, but the best place for this shot it seems is on Mr. Twincaetti’s roof!
Memorable guest stars this season include Sam Anderson (before he played Mr. Gorpley) as Harrison Harper in “Check This,” Candi Milo as Gina, John Del Regno as mobster Vince Lucas in “Can I Get a Witness,” James Greene as Roger Morgan & Carol Bruce Margaret in “Tux for Two,” and Sue Ball as Elaine Appleton in “Hello Elaine.”
The packaging is an outer box with two slim cases inside. The outer box is purple, green and white in color. The show logo (Perfect in green and Strangers in purple...they should have made it yellow, like the real logo) and complete 1st and 2nd seasons mention are on the top. A cool photo of Larry in a tux and Balki in a Myposian tux is in the middle of the front cover. The back of the box has more great photos along with info on the show & set, with special features details. The photos are Larry & Balki in their tuxedos again, but this time they look to be flying...nice reel types of photos are below that, with four screen shots. The slim cases are inside the box and each slim case holds two discs. The cover and back of the slim cases have episode info for each disc and three great photos each. The episode info has episode number and title, writer, director, original airdate and of course synopsis of the episode. Inside the slim cases we get another shot of Larry & Balki in a different pose with those tuxedos and cast names on the left. Disc art are all in the same style as the color scheme (purple, green and white). Disc one is in purple and has an image of Larry with episodes 1-7. Disc two is green and has an image of Balki with episodes 8-14. Disc three is purple and has an image of Jennifer with episodes 15-21. Finally, disc four is green and has an image of Mary Anne with episodes 22-28 and the Dance of Joy reel.
Check out images of the packaging on our good friend Linday Kay’s PerfectStrangers.TV website: http://www.perfectstrangers.tv/dvdinfo.htm . An old Warner Home Video DVD catalog comes inside the box, touting other Warner TV DVDs. It seems it is Sony style, as it is out dated.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu screen has the same color scheme as the packaging, as you can see on the top. Disc one the main coloring is in purple, while discs two through four the main coloring is in green. The image for each menu is the same on the main menu, Larry & Balki in tuxedos. The first and second season theme song is playing in the background, which is nice to hear as always. The options are Play, Episodes, and Languages. Disc four has a Dance of Joy option, more on that later. The languages menu lets you choose subtitles English, Francais, or none, and the spoken language you can’t change, but it tells you anyway it is in English. The episodes menu has the list of episodes on each disc and you just choose the one you want to view, we also have three bubble screen shots on here. It is easy to navigate and simple.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio are somewhat disappointing to me. It is not terrible by all means, but to me, some episodes didn’t look so good. It of course is better than the episodes we see on TV, so it still is the best source out there, so no need to worry. I just wish they had remastered these. I’m sure seasons 3-8 will look much better, as first they are newer, and second they always look better on TV than the first two seasons. More importantly, all the episodes are all unedited. Many fans have been asking us for some weeks now about this, and it is safe to say this set is indeed unedited! The runtimes range approx. 24-25 minutes (see exact runtimes below for each episode). There are four chapter stops per episode, which is correct. One gripe I have is that, I did some research on the actual airdates of episodes, and it seems Warner Home Video got some episodes wrong. There were a few preemptions originally that caused this, and as always Linda Kay of PerfectStrangers.TV would know more. I did some searching for old listings and such, and found that Linda’s episode list is indeed the actual original airdate order. We did tell Warner Home Video about this, but it was too late for them to fix it. We have already informed them of other possible problems with airdates for season 3 and beyond, so let’s hope they listen. You can see the actual airdate order on Linda’s wonderful and informative website: http://www.perfectstrangers.tv/episodelist.htm .
We also inquired Warner Home Video about the unaired pilot. They indeed have the episode but couldn’t clear it for this set. Let’s hope they can for a future set, but that won’t be possible unless you all buy this set and make this set a big time success! So, I know I’m early in saying this, but buy the set! For more on the unaired pilot, we turn to who else but Linda? See her synopsis and details on the unaired pilot: http://www.perfectstrangers.tv/episodeguide00.htm .
The runtimes are as follows:
1. Knock Knock, Who's There? (24:52)
2. Picture This (24:01)
3. First Date (23:59)
4. Baby, You Can Drive My Car (24:03)
5. Check This (23:56)
6. Happy Birthday (23:55)
7. Hello Baby - first episode of Season 2 (25:15)
8. Hunks Like Us (25:15)
9. The Unnatural (25:14)
10. Ladies and Germs (25:16)
11. Lifesavers (25:15)
12. Babes in Babylon (25:14)
13. Falling in Love is... (25:16)
14. Two Men and a Cradle (25:14)
15. Can I Get a Witness? (25:17)
16. The Rent Strike (25:15)
17. A Christmas Story (25:15)
18. Dog Gone Blues (25:18)
19. Since I Lost My Baby (25:14)
20. Trouble in Paradise (25:16)
21. Beautiful Dreamer (25:14)
22. Tux for Two (25:18)
23. Ten Speed and a Soft Touch (25:16)
24. Snow Way to Treat a Lady (1) (25:17)
25. Snow Way to Treat a Lady (2) (25:16)
26. Up on a Roof (25:13)
27. Get a Job (25:15)
28. Hello Elaine (25:17)
Some other things I would like to note: The original Lorimar Telepictures closing logo is indeed intact after the closing credits. I’m not sure if you know this, but there was a Perfect Strangers bumper right after the last scene, then commercials would come, then the closing credits...unfortunately we don’t have those bumpers here, but not a big deal. Finally, the two-part episode, “Snow Way to Treat a Lady,” the “To Be Continued...” tag is intact at the end of part one and the “Last Time on Perfect Strangers” recap is intact before the start of part two.
Oh po po! The special features portion of this set is disappointing. Don’t you ever, EVER, do that again Warner! We have a 7:13 “Dance of Joy” featurette featuring clips of the Dance of Joy from seasons one and two. While this is nice to have I guess, it would have been better if we also got some interviews, bloopers, audio commentaries, promos, or some other goodies. Warner needs to set it up for the next set. The unaired pilot would be a nice start!
Watch...and learn! When you watch this set, you will certainly learn something! You will learn that Balki is amazing and whatever he says is hilarious. Where do I come up with them? The set is certainly worth to buy. If you have never watched the show, buy it for sure, as you will fall in love with it. If you are a fan of the show, you had better buy it. The extras are not too good, the video and audio is average (but certainly better than any other episode source), but the main thing is we have the episodes all unedited for the first time since the original ABC broadcasts.
You all will be saying “Don’t be ridiculous!” after you buy this set! So DON’T ‘get out of the city’ to get this set, because there is an easier way, just click on the link below if you haven’t ordered the set already! You MUST buy this set...all fans want this series to continue on DVD! Don’t make Balki sad!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
-- Reviewed by pavanbadal
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