DVD Release Date: March 30, 2010 (Shout! Factory)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: approx. 600 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-Captioned.
Special Features: None
La la la laa la, la la la laa! Rhoda is back for a second season of her life in New York City in Season Two of Rhoda, a four disc set containing all twenty four unedited episodes of the 1975-1976 season of the series.
Rhoda was, of course, a spinoff of the very popular series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Rhoda (Valerie Harper) lived in the same apartment building as Mary in Minneapolis, but for this series, she moved back to her home of New York City and married a construction worker named Joe (David Groh). For now, they are happily married, all the while dealing with Rhoda’s sister Brenda (Julie Kavner), her overbearing mother Ida (Nancy Walker), and her more sensible father Martin (Harold Gould). The series was nominated for several Emmy Awards when it aired, and even won two of them for its cast and crew.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Rhoda is robbed thanks to Carlton’s incompetence in “Kiss Your Epaulets Goodbye.” Rhoda meets Joe’s first wife (Joan Van Ark) in “Rhoda Meets the Ex-Wife.” Ida falls in love with her doctor (Norman Fell) in “Ida’s Doctor.” In “Mucho, Macho,” Rhoda and Joe have their first anniversary, and all doesn’t go as well as planned. Rhoda and Brenda have to deal with being taken advantage of by their closest friends in “With Friends Like These.” Ida wants to become a grandmother, and when she doesn’t see it coming from Rhoda, she attempts to get Brenda hooked up in “Call Me Grandma.” Rhoda becomes friends with a new neighbor (special guest star Vivian Vance) in “Friends and Mothers,” but Ida is insanely jealous that Rhoda has found fun with a woman Ida’s age. David White also guest stars.
Joe is out of town and Rhoda is worried about a burglar on the loose in “Bump in the Night.” Brenda has a new roommate who brings in a houseguest who won’t leave in “If You Don’t Tell her, I Will.” John Ritter guest stars in the episode “Attack on Mr. Right.” Rhoda tries to play a relationship counselor in “If You Want to Shoot the Rapids, You Have to Get Wet.” An FBI agent (Tim Matheson) moves in with Brenda in “A Federal Case,” but Brenda is more interested in him than his case that he is investigating from her apartment. Ida thinks Martin could be cheating on her in “The Marty Morgan Affair.” Rhoda is facing the possibility of going out of business in the season finale, “Don’t Give Up the Office.”
The packaging is mostly similar to the Season One packaging, with the usual Shout! Factory slim case design. The outer slipcase has a picture of Rhoda on the cover with a black silhouette of the New York City skyline below her. The set uses a blue color scheme this time. The back of the outer sleeve has all of the information about the season, along with another snapshot of Rhoda and a cast snapshot. Inside, the two slim cases (which have the same artwork as the cover art) contain two discs each. There is a listing of episodes and the original airdates on the back of each slim case. Each disc contains six episodes, with a picture of Rhoda on Disc 1, Brenda on Disc 2, Joe on Disc 3, and Ida on Disc 4.
Once again, a very nice episode booklet is included, which has brief episode descriptions, original airdates, writing credits, directing credits, and guest star listings. There are no episode quotes in there this time but it is still very nicely done.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu on each disc is pretty simple, with options of Play All and Episodes. The theme song (the second season version) plays on the menu, and there is a snapshot of Rhoda on the main menu. When you select Episodes, some transitional music from the series plays, and you get a basic list of all of the episodes on the disc. Once you select an episode, it plays right away. There are chapters placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
For anybody that saw the season one DVD set, they’ll remember that it was a disaster as far as video and audio is concerned. On top of that, many syndicated versions of episodes were included. The set was easily a contender for one of the worst DVD sets of 2009 - so bad that Shout! Factory decided to see what could be done for future releases.
That isn’t even the case this time, at all. There is really good news about this set. The video and audio quality on the set is practically flawless, and the episodes have in fact been remastered. The series has never looked this great to my knowledge. There are still a few minor flaws from the original masters such as debris on the prints here and there, but it is nothing compared to the previous release. The audio is very loud and clear this time. The episodes are all closed-captioned.
So that leaves one more question, perhaps the biggest one of all. Are these episodes unedited? The good news is that YES, they ARE unedited this time! They included all of the original length episodes this time, and there are none of those syndicated print issues this time. Shout! Factory has taken a terrible situation from the first season and turned it in to a positive for this season. Runtimes are as follows:
Kiss Your Epaulets Goodbye (24:54)
Rhoda Meets the Ex-Wife (24:53)
Ida’s Doctor (24:57)
Mucho, Macho (24:56)
The Party (24:52)
Brenda’s Unemployment (24:48)
With Friends Like These (24:55)
Somebody Down There Likes Him (24:47)
Call Me Grandma (24:53)
Myrna’s Story (24:48)
Love Songs of J. Nicholas Lobo (24:51)
Friends and Mothers (24:47)
A Night With the Girls (24:49)
Bump in the Night (24:51)
If You Don’t Tell Her, I Will (24:50)
Rhoda’s Sellout (24:48)
Attack on Mr. Right (24:50)
If You Want to Shoot the Rapids, You Have to Get Wet (24:49)
The Return of Billy Glass (24:48)
A Federal Case (25:11)
The Marty Morgan Story (24:48)
Let’s Call it Love (25:14)
It’s Not My Fault, Is It? (24:52)
Don’t Give Up the Office (24:47)
All of that work that was done to improve the video and audio quality means that we are left in the dark on special features this time. It is too bad, really. It would be nice to see Valerie Harper and/or Julie Kavner participate on some future sets, perhaps in a commentary or two.
In the very first episode of this season, Rhoda wrote a complaint that caused Carlton to lose his job as doorman, but by the end of the episode, the situation had been worked out and Carlton was overjoyed to have his job back. In a way, the releases of this series on DVD reflect a similar situation. Everybody was upset about the disaster of Season One and complained, and now we have a nearly flawless release of Season Two. I am really happy with this set, and the lack of special features doesn’t even bother me in light of the improvement in the overall quality of the set.
This is a great set, and it is unfortunate that we will probably never see a release of the first season that looks like this any time soon. But for now, this is very much an above-average release for the second season, and it gives fans something much more positive to look forward to for the remaining three seasons!