Release Date: March 19, 2013 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Packaging: Keepcase with paper sleeves
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 566 minutes
Running Time of Features: 8 minutes
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-captioned
Special Features: Video Commentaries; "Roseanne: Working Class Actress" featurette
Roseanne returns yet again for another season of hilarity in Roseanne - The Complete Eighth Season! Of course, it is actually the second time that the season has been released on DVD, and this time, the release comes from Mill Creek, a studio known for bringing re-releases of products from other studios at a great value. The eighth season of the classic series continues most of the stories from the first seven seasons, but this is the season that started to bring in some major changes toward the end...changes that turn the series into something that fans never quite expected. But until then, the Conners get back together for 25 more episodes of the Roseanne we all knew and loved in this three disc collection.
Roseanne is desperate to buy a special crib for the new baby in "Shower the People You Love with Stuff." In "Let Them Eat Junk," Roseanne and Jackie get into an argument over parenting skills. Pat Harrington guest stars in "Roseanne in the Hood," where a new diner opens across the street from The Lunch Box. Roseanne and Dan crash a Bar Mitzvah in "The Last Date." Another Conner family Halloween is upon us in "Halloween: The Final Chapter." We get a glimpse of the "original pilot" for the series from the 50s (well, not really) in "The Fifties Show." Jenna Elfman guest stars in "The Getaway, Almost," where Roseanne and Jackie's shopping trip turns into a road trip. DJ's idea of a Thanksgiving pageant project turns into a Pulp Fiction spoof in "The Last Thursday in November." The band Blues Traveler guest stars in "Of Mice and Dan," where Dan begins to have regrets about passing up the opportunity to be part of the band several years ago.
In "Direct to Video," Roseanne decides to narrate a video for the baby. June Lockhart guest stars as Leon's mother in "December Bride," where Leon is planning a wedding with Scott. Roseanne and Jackie get new jobs at the supermarket in "The Thrilla Near the Vanilla Extract," but it turns into a food fight...literally. Something is not quite right with Darlene in "White Sheep of the Family." Becky is down in the dumps about regrets from her life in "Becky Howser, M.D." Nana Mary (Shelley Winters) comes to visit with a blast from the past in "Out of the Past." In "Construction Junction," Dan has some major career decisions to ponder. The family takes a trip to Walt Disney World (like seemingly every ABC sitcom from the 90s did) in "We're Going to Disney World" and "Disney World War II."
David gets a job at a different theme park in "Springtime for David," but he just isn't quite the same once he gets the job. Darlene is about to shock the family with a huge surprise (one Dan certainly isn't eager to hear) in "Another Mouth to Shut Up." Roseanne's big mouth may just pay off in "Morning Becomes Obnoxious." Tony Curtis guest stars in "Ballroom Blitz," where Jackie and Bev are falling for the same guy. The season concludes with a three episode arc, where Darlene marries David in "The Wedding," but the fallout in the episodes "Heart and Soul" and "Fights and Stuff" begin to set the stage for the end of the series as we know it...fans already know what comes next as the final season progresses, but we'll just leave it at that.
The big question about this set is whether or not the episodes are edited. There is some good news and bad news on this. First, the good news is that the episodes are MOSTLY intact, and furthermore, all of the music (basically just repeated occurrences the song "When You Wish Upon a Star") has been restored to the two Disney World episodes. But the bad news is that outside of that episode, all of the musical edits from the Anchor Bay release seem to have been continued on this release. One of the most critical ones was from the first episode of the season, where there was a spoof of The Patty Duke Show opening credits that made note of the two different actresses playing Becky. It is important to say that none of these things really mess with the "continuity" of the series or even the episodes for that matter, but it is still frustrating nonetheless. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Shower the People You Love with Stuff" (22:41)
2. "Let the Eat Junk" (23:01)
3. "Roseanne in the Hood" (23:00)
4. "The Last Date" (23:00)
5. "Halloween: The Final Chapter" (22:59)
6. "The Fifties Show" (22:37)
7. "The Getaway, Almost" (22:59)
8. "The Last Thursday in November" (22:50)
9. "Of Mice and Dan" (22:16)
10. "Direct to Video" (23:01)
11. "December Bride" (22:17)
12. "The Thrilla Near the Vanilla Extract" (22:45)
13. "The White Sheep of the Family" (22:47)
14. "Becky Howser, M.D." (22:46)
15. "Out of the Past" (22:19)
16. "Construction Junction" (22:13)
17. "We're Going to Disney World (Part 1)" (21:30)
18. "Disney World War II (part 2)" (22:39)
19. "Springtime for David" (21:31)
20. "Another Mouth to Shut Up" (23:07)
21. "Morning Becomes Obnoxious" (22:46)
22. "Ballroom Blitz" (22:46)
23. "The Wedding" (22:40)
24. "Heart and Soul" (22:46)
25. "Fights and Stuff" (22:45)
As expected, the set (again) uses the black paper sleeves inside of the plastic case. My suggestion is for everybody to do as I have done, and to buy some cheap three-disc cases in bulk online. I've done that with all of these recent Carsey-Werner releases, and the sets look much more professional inside these cases. As for the artwork for the packaging, it is actually very nicely done, with a photo of Roseanne and Dan on the cover (along with several episode snapshots), and a description of the season on the back. Inside, you'll find the three paper sleeves containing the discs. Each disc has the same photo of Roseanne and Dan seen on the cover as the disc artwork, and episode titles are printed on each disc.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu on each disc contains a photo of Roseanne and Dan (same photo as seen on the cover), along with some video clips from the episodes of the season playing on the right side of the screen. The theme song music also plays in the background. Main menu options include Play All, Episode Select, and Special Features. Episode Select brings up a list of episodes on the set. Once an episode is selected, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
For the most part, the video and audio quality is fine, but I wouldn't say that it is perfect. I'm not sure exactly what the issue is, but there always seem to be some minor compression issues with these episodes (and it isn't just on DVD either). The audio on the set is fine (not perfect), presented in a standard stereo track. The episodes on the set are all closed-captioned.
The set has a few special features, mostly in the form of video commentaries. The video commentaries are done by Roseanne and Michael Fishman, and are included on the episodes "The Fifties Show," "Disney World War II (Part 2)," and "Springtime for David." These are pretty standard commentaries, and tend to only occasionally pop up on the episode, so there is nothing really "big" in them. There is another special feature on Disc 3 as well, "Roseanne Working Class Actress" (8:16), where Roseanne essentially just talks about the "working class" theme of the series. This is really just a bunch of clips for the most part, but it is nice to see Roseanne give her opinions every now and then on this.
It is kind of funny how I've been finding myself enjoying this series more than I ever have before through these DVDs. I watched it when it originally aired and in syndication, and I always thought that this was a decent show, but my appreciation for the series has grown significantly while watching it on DVD. This is one reason that I really like Mill Creek. Even though their sets aren't perfect (and this is among those imperfect DVDs, with the music edits), they bring us everything at an incredible value, which allows us to purchase DVDs that we wouldn't normally buy. And in the end, it turns out that what we buy is more enjoyable than we imagined.
Of course, I should also say that even though I am appreciating this show more, I feel that this season was truly the end of the series. The last few episodes of this season set the series up for that final season, and the changes that come (including the surprising ending to the series) turn the show into something completely different from what we saw in the first eight years. The series doesn't even feel like Roseanne (as we knew it, at least) after the end of this season, and it is almost surreal to watch that final season. Regardless, it'll be nice to see it again on DVD to see if my opinion still holds true on that...and it'll be coming in just a few short months.