DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008 (Shout! Factory)
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 4
Running Time: 90 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: 1 minute
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: “Baby I’m Sorry” Performance by Ricky
It’s time to be merry and enjoy Christmas with the Nelsons! This release from Shout! Factory brings four episodes from the classic TV series that involve the well-known holiday to DVD, for the first time ever. America’s favorite family (as they were known at that time, anyway, before the family began to face the realities that a real family can face in the harshest ways possible) has to figure out ways to share the presents and love on the episodes on this DVD.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The first episode on the set is the first season episode, “The Boys’ Christmas Money.” In This episode, Ricky and David have the perfect plan to be able to afford Christmas presents: get jobs. But is that what Ozzie wants the boys to do? It is a guessing game of who gets what when Grandma Nelson sends her Christmas gifts late (and without names) in “Late Christmas Gift.” In “The Fruitcake,” Ozzie has to write a thank you note for one of his Christmas gifts that he received, which wasn’t exactly one that excited him. The boys are at that whole job thing again in the sixth season episode “The Christmas Tree Lot,” where they get jobs on a Christmas tree lot to make money to buy presents.
With just one disc, there really isn’t much to the packaging, just the basic style case that you’d find a run of the mill movie on DVD in. The front artwork has the family sitting in front of a Christmas tree, and the back lists all of the episodes along with original airdates and descriptions. Inside, you’ll find a disc with the show title and a yellow background.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu is very basic, with just the show title and options of “Play All” and “Episodes.” If you select “Episodes,” you get another menu with a listing of all of the episodes and the lone special feature on the set. The menus aren’t exactly as elaborate as the other releases for the series. While there aren’t any scene selection menus, chapters are placed at the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
If you are used to the previous releases of the series by Shout! Factory, then you won’t be surprised to find that the video quality widely varies, from being just a notch above awful to just barely acceptable. Grain is EVERYWHERE, the picture is fuzzy EVERYWHERE, and there are many other flaws to be found. But then again, it IS an older series. The audio quality has background noise that shouldn’t be there and is pretty low at times. Clearly, this is no prize winning DVD as far as quality is concerned. At least the episodes are closed-captioned.
The episodes are syndicated versions, well at least three of them are. Somehow, the fourth one turned out to be an original unedited version, complete with original sponsorship pieces. Runtimes are as follows:
“The Boys’ Christmas Money” (22:27)
“Late Christmas Gift” (21:37)
“The Fruitcake” (22:01)
“The Christmas Tree Lot” (26:22)
There is only one special feature: Ricky singing “Baby I’m Sorry.” Of course, you could just watch the episode that performance is contained within and get the same thing, so I don’t think it is fair to call it a special feature. Certainly they could have put together something like home video footage of Christmas with the REAL Nelsons. That would have been a great feature.
Christmas episodes of any series can be hit or miss, but generally, if it isn’t a well-known Christmas episode, it is usually more of a miss. These episodes don’t exactly stand out as great Christmas episodes, but for a fan of the series, they should stand out as more episodes of the series being released on DVD (the more, the better). Honestly, it is a stretch to even call some of these Christmas episodes, as they don’t focus on every little detail of Christmas in the way that many famous Christmas episodes do. But all that aside, fans are going to appreciate this DVD.