TITLE: PUNKY BREWSTER - SEASON FOUR
DVD Release Date: February 26, 2008 (Shout! Factory)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: Approx. 9 hours
Runtime of Special Features: 77 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English
Special Features: Seven episodes of “It’s Punky Brewster;” Trivia
Punky Brewster is back for one last season in Season Four of Punky Brewster! Join Punky, Cherie, Henry, Betty, and even that snob Margaux as Punky grows up even more... and causes even more trouble... for the last 22 times! In this final season, we see Punky having crushes (and getting crushed by them), Margaux’s family losing everything, Betty getting her first car (and quickly wrecking it), Punky getting her appendix removed, and more!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Punky gives away an old urn that may contain Henry’s dead aunt in “The Nun’s Story.” Margaux may be going from rich to poor in “Poor Margaux.” Could Brandon be the next big TV star? Find out in “Brandon’s Commercial.” Punky’s Place has a secret sauce that is just “to die for” in “Passed Away at Punky’s Place.” Richard Kline (Three’s Company) guest stars in “Christmas Hero.” In “Beauty Lesson,” Punky and Cherie sell cosmetics door-to-door and everything just goes wrong. Sandra Gould (Bewitched) guest stars. Roxie Roker (The Jeffersons) plays a judge when Henry causes Betty to wreck her car in “See You in Court.” Jason Hervey (The Wonder Years) guest stars in “Radio Daze.”
Cherie may be leaving Chicago for Paris in “Aunt Larnese is Coming to Town.” Bernard Fox (Bewitched) guest stars. In “Dear Diary,” Cherie teaches Punky a lesson about nosiness. Cherie’s cousin is a great artist, but she can’t read in “The Reading Game.” Can Punky convince her to learn? Sandra Kerns (Charles in Charge) plays a woman that wants Brandon put to sleep after he bites her in “Bad Dog,” but would Brandon really bite somebody if they didn’t deserve it?
What series would be complete without the “stuck somewhere while somebody goes into labor” episode? We get that in “Wimped Out.” Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell) guest stars in “One Plus Tutor is Three.” Chad Allen plays ONE of Punky’s dates (when she has to juggle two) in “The Dilemma.” Punky helps a deaf girl make friends in “What’s Your Sign?” Finally, the series ends with the episode that I’ve always believed is one of the lamest endings to a sitcom, EVER, and really belonged on a show like Full House... “Wedding Bells for Brandon.” Because lets face it, if little doggies are going to have babies, they have to get married first, right? David Ruprecht (Supermarket Sweep) plays the minister... somehow this seems to be the role he was meant to play his entire life.
Wow, nothing has changed throughout the seasons on the packaging except the color scheme! This time the color scheme is yellow. The front cover has the same picture of Punky that has been on every other season. On the back, we just have a general overview of the season. Inside, we have the same four-panel digipak that we’ve always had with the four discs. And once again there is a listing of which episodes each disc contains. And of course, the disc artwork is the same too, with nothing but the show title on different color backgrounds. Disc 1 and Disc 2 contain five episodes each, while Disc 3 and Disc 4 contain six episodes each.
Menu Design and Navigation:
We have the exact same menus that we’ve had all along... the main menu on each disc having options of Play All, a listing of all of the episodes, and a Special Features option. In the background, the theme song (the version from season one with Brandon barking at the end) plays. When you select an episode, it plays right away. There are no scene selection menus or anything like that. When you select Special Features, you get a listing of the special features (mostly all of which are episodes of “It’s Punky Brewster”), which also play as soon as you select your episode. Chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality aren’t going to jump off of the screen and make you scream for joy... but it does look pretty darn good for a show that is 20 years old (is this show that old already???). The main issue here is the usual muffled audio, but at the worst, this is just a minor annoyance that you don’t even notice if you are into the episode itself. The set, unfortunately, is not closed-captioned, nor are there any subtitles. There is one flaw that I noticed on the set, and that can be found on the end of the episode “What’s Your Sign?” The episode is fine, but for some reason, after the closing credits finish up, the closing credits from the next episode, “Wedding Bells for Brandon” play. It isn’t a huge deal, as the next episode has the closing credits in place as it should as well, but this was a very weird screw up.
Like most syndicated shows from the ‘80s, runtimes are very consistent from episode to episode, with all of them hovering within a second or two of 21:50. That would sound bad for a network show from the ‘80s, but this “just under 22 minutes” runtime was the standard for 80s syndicated fare. Actually, that seems long in these days of NBC sitcoms that run at 18 minutes and end up having to be lengthened for syndication. With such consistent runtimes, I can’t imagine anything being missing from the episodes. These episodes actually have one surprising thing that many people may not care one bit about, but some will. Every episode has a Columbia Pictures Television logo at the end, though there isn’t total consistency. Most have the ‘80s “torch lady” logos, but a few have the late ‘90s Columbia Tri-Star Television Distribution logo on them. It is somewhat surprising that these were left on there considering that NBC Universal apparently owns the DVD rights. In fact, right after the Columbia logo, there is the standard NBC Universal distribution logo. Oh well.
Once again, we have episodes of the animated Punky Brewster as our special feature. I like the fact that they have included these on each season set, despite the fact that I think the show itself was, well, pretty awful. Diehard fans of the sitcom might like the cartoon, but I don’t even know about that. With this set, we get all but one of the unreleased “half episodes” of the series... unfortunately there is one half episode that didn’t make it onto any of the DVD sets from what I can tell. The one entitled “The Shoe Must Go On” remains unreleased, which is apparently due to licensing problems according to the Shout! Factory website. This does cause an issue with completeness of the animated series, but the important thing is that every episode of the real series HAS been released. Each one runs at 11 minutes without the opening and closing credits. Here is what we DO have:
“The Perils of Punky”
“Return to Chaundoon”
“A Small Mistake”
“Glomer Punks Out”
Additionally, there is another bonus feature on Disc 4 that somehow got overlooked on the packaging, but is there anyway. It is a short Punky Brewster trivia quiz that contains 10 questions. If you are familiar with the episodes, it’ll be pretty easy. The best thing about this is the sound effects that you get whenever you are right or wrong... they take sound clips from the episode and use them totally out of context. For example, the first time you get an answer wrong, you’ll hear some sad and depressing music, then Punky saying “no” in a very sad voice, and Henry saying “I feel terrible.” So for Punky’s sake, don’t get any wrong!
It is nice that Shout! Factory finally finished this series. We probably would have never even gotten to season two had this been released by any other company! This is a show that would be difficult to actually mess up on DVD, and fortunately, it wasn’t messed up. The biggest disappointment is that they couldn’t complete the animated series, but I have a feeling that 95% of the people that buy this set don’t even care about that. It would have been nice to have had some interviews on these later seasons, but I guess there is only so much that you can say about this show, especially in the last two years (which were aired only in syndication rather than on NBC). Of course, personally, I liked the last two seasons the most myself, but they are all pretty good. So if you haven’t already, get your Punky Power together to get this season, as well as the other three, on DVD!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 02/03/08
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