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Quark - The Complete Series


TITLE: QUARK - THE COMPLETE SERIES


Info:

DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color/1977-78
MSRP: $19.94
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 8 (9 if you count the one-hour episode as 2)
Running Time: Approx. 222 minutes
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English Dolby Digital Mono; English; Closed Captioned
Special Features:

  • Minisodes - I Dream of Jeannie: "Anybody Here Seen Jeannie?"; Fantasy Island: "Island of Horrors"


    Introduction:

    Set on a Sanitation Patrol Cruiser in the year 2222, Richard Benjamin ("Westworld") stars as Commander Adam Quark, who longs for a more adventurous assignment than picking up space junk! His spacey crew includes the Vegeton science officer Ficus (Richard Kelton), identically-cloned twin engineers Betty I (Tricia Barnstable) and Betty II (Cyb Barnstable), the cowardly robot Andy (Bobby Porter), and first mate Gene/Jean (Timothy Thomerson), a half-man/half-woman "transmute." Orders come from Otto Palindrome (Conrad Janis, TV's "Mork & Mindy") keeper of top-secret weapon "The Source," and his boss "The Head" (Alan Caillou), whose floating noggin appears on a video screen. As smart and funny today as when it first aired, Quark: The Complete Series includes all eight episodes of this hilarious comedy, including the series pilot!


    Series History / Episodes Included / Guest Stars:

    Buck Henry -- Oscar nominated screenwriter ("The Graduate", "Heaven Can Wait") and Emmy winner for his work on the hit TV series "Get Smart" -- created a wonderfully wacky sci-fi spoof Quark starring Richard Benjamin which since its debut and short run in 1977-78 and has become a cult hit. Quark's pilot premiered on May 7, 1977 on NBC. An one-hour episode, "May the Source Be With You," aired on February 24, 1978. It aired on Friday nights at 8:00-8:30PM and replaced the short-lived "Sanford Arms." The series won one Emmy Award nomination, for costume designer Grady Hunt's work in the episode "All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms, Part 2". After a mere 8 episodes, the show was canceled after failing to attract a substantial audience.

    Here is a listing of the episodes:

    1. Quark (Pilot) (05/07/77) - Tired of garbage duty, Commander Adam Quark finally gets a real assignment when he is ordered to destroy an enzyme cloud that threatens the galaxy.
    Guest Stars: Douglas Fowley (Dr. O.B. Mudd), Misty Rowe (Interface)
    Note: Richard Kelton (Ficus) doesn't appear in the pilot.

    2. May the Source Be With You (02/24/78) - Quark battles a menacing Gorgon with the help of an ancient power known as "The Source," which he quickly discovers is a little rusty.
    Guest Stars: Henry Silva (High Gorgon), Joe Burke (Gorgon Guard II), Cris Capen (Gorgon Guard I), Hans Conried (Voice of The Source), Rick Goldman (Worker One), Vernon E. Rowe (Worker Two), Paul Schumacher (Gorgon Man), Melissa Prophet (Gorgon Woman), Larry French (Gorgon Assistant)
    Note: Originally aired as an one-hour episode.

    3. The Old and the Beautiful (03/03/78) - Just before his amorous rendezvous with a beautiful princess, Quark contracts a mysterious virus and begins to age, becoming the old and feeble within hours.
    Guest Stars: Barbara Rhoades (Princess Carna), Dana House (The Handmaiden)

    4. The Good, the Bad and the Ficus (03/10/78) - While on a routine mission, quark's ship gets pulled into a black hole, which splits the crew into "good" and "evil" counterparts, except for science officer Ficus.
    Guest Stars: Geoffrey Lewis (Admiral Flint), Sean Fallon Walsh (Commander Kroll), Lee Travis (Commander Stark)

    5. Goodbye, Polumbus (03/17/78) - The ship is sent on a mission to the planet Polumbus. But once there, Quark and his crew fall prey to their fantasies, and no one wants to leave.
    Guest Stars: Denny Miller (Zoltar the Magnificent), Mindi Miller (Diane/Queen Lestra), Richard Devon (The Captain), Maggie Sullivan (The Teacher)

    6. All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms (Part 1) (03/24/78) - Quark is captured by the evil Emperor Zorgon and ordered to find "it." And while Gene/Jean lectures the enemy, the Emperor's daughter falls for Ficus.
    Guest Stars: Joan Van Ark (Princess Libido), Ned York (Bar-Tel), Jerrold Ziman (Professor Dinsmore), Susan Backline (Guard I), Keigh Atkinson (Guard II), Ross Martin (Emperor Zorgon)

    7. All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms (Part 2) (03/31/78) - After he and his crew are rescued by the Forest People, Quark actually does find "it," a crystal that he thinks will make him invincible.
    Guest Stars: Bruce M. Fisher (The Baron), Joan Van Ark (Princess Libido), Ned York (Bar-Tel), Jerrold Ziman (Professor Dinsmore), Gary Cashdollar (Guard #3), Barry Hostetler (Guard #4), Ross Martin (Emperor Zorgon), Ron Burke (Guard #5)

    8. Vanessa 38-24-36 (04/07/78) - As everyone on Perma One celebrates the holiday Number 11, Quark is given an experimental computer named "Vanessa," which tries to take over his ship.
    Guest Stars: Marianne Bunch (Dr. Cheryl Evans/Vanessa)

    The top two fan favorites seem to be "May the Source Be With You" and "Vanessa 38-24-36." I would agree with those selections.


    Packaging:

    This one-disc set includes all 8 episodes from the short run in 1977-78. It comes in Amaray movie-style case. The cover art has the Quark logo in silver at the top with the note that the series is from the co-creator of Get Smart. There are photos (some drawings?) of Richard Benjamin, Timothy Thomerson, Tricia & Cyb Barnstable (in hot pants!), Alan Caillou, Conrad Janis, Richard Kelton and Andy the Robot (Bobby Porter). There is a space/stars background. On the back of the case, there is a promotional photo of Benjamin, the Barnstable twins and Andy the Robot. There is a synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are noted. Benjamin and the Barnstable twins are on the spine of the case. Inside the case, there is a sheet that lists the episode titles and short summaries on one side and some other Sony TV DVD releases (including the short-lived The Tick and the 1995 Get Smart) on the other side. An 8-page booklet is also included that promotes some of Sony's TV DVD releases. The disc has the Quark logo and the same photos of Benjamin and the Barnstable twins as the cover art.


    Menu Design and Navigation:

    The menus have a nice space theme and are easy to navigate. They open with an animated, silver Quark logo appearing on the screen. This leads to the main, static menu where there is the same photo of Benjamin and the Barnstable twins as the cover art. There is a 10 second snippet of the theme that plays in the background. Then a longer 36 second theme, which sounds like the ending theme, is played. The Quark logo is at the top of the screen and there are stars in the background. There are options for "Play All Episodes," "Episode Selections," "Minisodes," and "Previews." The option you highlight is underlined in white that turns blue upon your selection. When you choose Episode Selections, it takes you to a sub-menu where there is a photo of Timothy Thomerson holding a gun. There is a still image from each episode and 4 episodes per screen. The episode titles are in white and there is a white border around the episode you highlight that turns blue upon your selection. The menu has a stars/space background. The Minisodes menu has a photo of the cowardly Andy the Robot. A stars/planets background is used on the Previews menu.


    Video and Audio Quality:

    I didn't really know what to expect with the video quality, since I had never seen any episodes before. Ha! (a comedy network) aired it in the early 1990's. These episodes are over 30-years-old, and I don't think they could look any better. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that they were remastered, but the quality is very good. Since the show was shot on film, I was expecting to see a lot of dirt, debris, grain and other digital artifacts. These prints look pretty clean without any major problems. The colors look a little faded in some scenes, but generally these probably look as good or better as when they originally aired. The episodes are presented in their original full screen 1.33:1 ratio and in the NBC broadcast order. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with most running 24-25 minutes in length. "May the Source Be With You" originally aired as an one-hour episode and is presented that way on the DVD. Vanessa singing "Born Free" is included in the final episode, "Vanessa 38-24-36." That's the only song that I see listed on various episode guides. Closing logo enthusiasts will be disappointed that there is no Columbia Pictures Television logo. It has been replaced with the current Sony Pictures Television logo.

    The audio is your standard Dolby Digital English mono track that was typical of the 1970's. The volume is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to understand. I don't think the show was ever shot in front of a studio audience, so the laugh track you hear was added after the episodes were completed. Unfortunately, if you find it annoying, there's no way to turn it off. Quark had a nice sci-fi/disco theme by Perry Botkin, Jr., who also scored the series. He would go on to do Mork & Mindy. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. The special features are not rated and may not be subtitled or closed captioned.

    Here is the episode list, including the running times:

    Disc 1
    ---------
    1. Quark (Pilot) (25:41)
    2. May the Source Be With You (46:36)
    3. The Old and the Beautiful (25:19)
    4. The Good, the Bad and the Ficus (25:19)
    5. Goodbye, Polumbus (24:49)
    6. All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms (Part 1) (24:50)
    7. All the Emperor's Quasi-Norms (Part 2) (25:19)
    8. Vanessa 38-24-36 (23:58)


    Special Features:

    Unfortunately, there are no real special features. This probably was a once-in-a-lifetime release, so I'm sure the cult fans of the shows will be disappointed that they only get the episodes. It would have been great to have some audio commentaries/interviews with the cast and crew (or what about fans?), original network promos and other publicity material such as a photo gallery or background notes.

    All we get are two minisodes for I Dream of Jeannie: "Anybody Here Seen Jeannie?" (4:5) and Fantasy Island: "Island of Horrors" (5:07)


    Final Comments:

    May the Source Be With You! More than 30 years after debuting on NBC, Quark has finally landed on DVD. After reading other comments about the show, I thought I would enjoy it more, but I guess I'm just not a big sci-fi fan and I didn't get a lot of the parodies/spoofs besides Star Wars. They also parodied Star Trek, Flash Gordon and 2001. There were several pros and cons to the series that I saw after watching all 8 episodes. The cast was excellent and brought a lot of uniqueness to the characters. The Barnstables (Doublemint Twins) were gorgeous and wore many skimpy outfits. There was a never a shortage of beautiful, voluptuous women on the show. Although some of the special effects like the gun fire were a bit cheesy by today's standards, I thought the models and miniatures looked cool. Costuming was excellent. They even won an Emmy for one of the episodes. As far as the cons, the sets didn't look very high tech and the show was obviously shot on a limited budget. Although there weren't many topical references, some of the jokes felt dated. The humor could be very dry, and unless you were a sci-fi fan you probably would miss a lot of the gags. I guess I thought the show would be a little more like Police Squad!, but it didn't have as much slapstick comedy as I was expecting. Maybe Quark would have translated better on the big screen, just like Police Squad! did as The Naked Gun movies.

    Sony has done a decent job with the release and has provided complete and unedited episodes, although the cult fans will be disappointed that there are no special features included. Some audio commentaries/interviews by the cast and crew or other publicity material would have been welcomed. I was surprised how popular this series still is today, since it ran for only 8 episodes. It really has a cult following and spawned a number of fan sites and even some fan fiction. The DVD format is really perfect for the short-lived but popular series like Quark and Police Squad. I hope we see more of them available in the future.


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

    Video Quality: 4/5
    Audio Quality: 4/5
    Special Features: 0.5/5
    Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
    Overall: 4/5

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/13/08

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

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001DHE9GA/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

    http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=229535


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