Release Date: May 14, 2013 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Packaging: Keepcase with paper sleeves
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 552 minutes
Running Time of Features: 12 minutes
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-captioned
Special Features: "Roseanne: A Legacy of Class" featurette; "Season 9: Breaking the Sitcom Mold" featurette
All great things come to an end, and after watching the Conner family grow up over the years, the end of their run comes in Roseanne - The Complete Ninth Season. Throughout the first eight years of the series, the status quo was usually maintained, aside from a few typical family problems that came up along the way. But at the end of the eighth season, after daughter Darlene headed down the aisle, something big happened: Dan had a heart attack. And what happened after that brought us what many consider to be the "most discussed and most audacious" season of the series. As has been the case before, this is not the first time that this season has appeared on DVD, but this is the first time that Mill Creek has released it as one of their value-priced collections.
The season begins with "Call Waiting," where Roseanne takes a walk through "TV Land," but it all ends with a big surprise. Ed Asner guest stars. Robin Leach guest stars in "Millions From Heaven," where the Conners have to deal with their newly found wealth. The family ends up on Jerry Springer (sort of) in "What a Day for a Daydream." Dan tries to figure out what to do with his mother in "Honor Thy Mother." Jim Varney guest stars in "Someday My Prince Will Come," where Jackie meets her Prince Charming. A spa weekend goes all wrong in "Pampered to a Pulp." Tammy Faye Bakker guest stars. The series has one last Halloween episode in "Satan, Darling." Marlo Thomas and Jm J. Bullock guest star. The Conners have a weekend trip to Martha's Vineyard in "Hoi Polloi Meets Hoiti Toiti." Roseanne takes on terrorists in "Roseambo."
A Conner family Thanksgiving has arrived again in "Home is Where the Afghan Is." Roseanne tries to prepare the home for Dan's return in "Mothers and Other Strangers." In "Home for the Holidays," Dan finally returns home, but things aren't so well with him and Roseanne. Jackie interferes in Roseanne and Dan's relationship in "Say It Ain't So," which leads to him packing his bags and leaving in "Hit the Road, Jack." The family has to stage an intervention for Roseanne in "The War Room." Roseanne may have to save her hometown in "Lanford's Elite," and the aftermath comes in episode "Some Enchanted Merger."
There may be some hope for Dan and Roseanne in "A Second Chance." Darlene gives birth in "The Miracle." In "Roseanne-feld," everybody seems to be having some unexpected new relationships... particularly Bev. The time may have come to sell the family story in "The Truth Be Told." In "Arsenic and Old Mom," somebody may be out to kill Dan. The series ends with a lot of big surprises in the two-part episode "Into That Good Night."
So, are these episodes edited or unedited? I wish that I could say for certain. The runtimes are the same as the Anchor Bay release, but supposedly those had some music replacement issues. Unfortunately, I'm not even sure where to find some of these replacements in the episodes. Many times, it was music that just played for a few seconds, and although there is a list out there that says which episodes had music replaced and what music was replaced, I don't know exactly where to find them. The eighth season, though, was a bit of a grab bag. Some of the replaced music was restored, but not everything. In any event, runtimes are as follows:
1. "Call Waiting" (22:15)
2. "Millions from Heaven" (22:20)
3. "What a Day for a Daydream" (21:32)
4. "Honor Thy Mother" (22:17)
5. "Someday My Prince Will Come" (20:41)
6. "Pampered to a Pulp" (22:07)
7. "Satan, Darlings" (22:20)
8. "Hoi Polloi Meets Hoity Toity" (22:19)
9. "Roseambo" (22:17)
10. "Home is Where the Afghan Is" (22:19)
11. "Mothers and Other Strangers" (22:17)
12. "Home for the Holidays" (22:18)
13. "Say it Ain't So" (22:08)
14. "Hit the Road, Jack" (22:27)
15. "The War Room" (22:18)
16. "Lanford's Elite" (22:18)
17. "Some Enchanted Merger" (22:14)
18. "A Second Chance" (21:49)
19. "The Miracle" (22:16)
20. "Roseanne-Feld" (22:17)
21. "The Truth Be Told" (22:18)
22. "Arsenic and Old Mom" (22:19)
23. "Into That Good Night (Part 1)" (22:23)
24. "Into That Good Night (Part 2)" (22:17)
After eight seasons of the plastic cases with black paper sleeves, it is unreasonable to expect that we'll get anything different for this season. And we certainly don't. We have the black paper sleeves again. It is a shame that Mill Creek uses this packaging style when their packaging artwork design is otherwise top notch! The cover art has a photo of Roseanne with a cigarette in hand (in a cigarette holder, no less), wearing plenty of gold and holding a lot of cash... very suggestive of one of the themes in this season. On the back, there are a few episode snapshots, along with a brief description of the season (and the long list of guest stars from the season). Inside, the three discs all have the same artwork as seen on the cover.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus for this set are similar to previous releases. On the main menu, there is a photo of Roseanne (same one as on the cover art), along with a few video clips from the episodes in the season. The theme song (the version used in previous seasons) also plays in the background. Main menu options include Play All and Episode Select. Episode Select brings up a menu where all of the episodes are listed on one screen. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
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:
Once again, the video quality is a bit lackluster. I'm not sure if it is compression issues or something else, but for a season that aired not even five years before the TV-on-DVD era began, I tend to expect a little better. The audio is a decent sounding stereo track, and all episodes are closed-captioned.
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.
Most of the special features from the previous Anchor Bay release have been carried over to this set. First, we have "Roseanne: A Legacy of Class" (6:20), where Roseanne (and only Roseanne) talks about the series in general. Meanwhile, "Season 9: Breaking the Sitcom Mold" (6:24) talks about all of the changes and unusual way that the series ended. Again, it is only Roseanne talking here, and while I'm glad that the star of the series was speaking, it would have been nice to have had some more special features.
What did NOT carry over from the Anchor Bay release was a video commentary that appeared on "The Truth Be Told."
This season of the series is so much different from the first eight. With all of the changes that happened in this season, along with the big surprises unleashed on fans in the final episode, it wasn't quite the same series to me. Still, I don't think that anybody can say that the series is complete without owning and watching this season. I still maintain that it wasn't as good as the previous seasons (a common thing for a lot of series out there), but it is very much watchable.
All in all, I'm glad that Mill Creek decided to give us this series on DVD... again. The previous releases from Anchor Bay had some issues in the first season with edited episodes (issues that were never fixed) and the price for those releases never quite came into the price I was willing to pay for the series. These Mill Creek releases are very inexpensive, and you can even get the complete series even cheaper. On top of that, the quality is really not much worse than those previous releases. So, while this isn't one of the best releases we've seen on DVD this year or anything, I think that it is well worth it for what we're getting, and once again, we've seen Mill Creek remain committed to finishing up a series, something that we should all appreciate.