TITLE: THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES - THE OFFICIAL SECOND SEASON
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 36
Running Time: 918 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: Original sponsor openings/closings; Irene Ryan screen test; Clip from 1963 CBS Fall Preview Show; CBS Network Promo; Paul Henning interview
It’s time to start getting’ the fryin’ pan for the ‘possum, because The Beverly Hillbillies is finally available on DVD from CBS DVD! The series has a long history of really bad DVD releases, from many studios that release public domain material, but not too long ago, MPI Home Video released an authorized collection containing the episodes that were in public domain, and now, CBS DVD continues with the series by releasing their first release, The Official Second Season. For the first time ever, every episode from the second season is available on DVD!
Now, the second season, you may ask? Apparently, CBS DVD decided to skip the first season (a season in which every episode has already been released on public domain DVD several times) and start with the second season (a season in which only some of the episodes have been released on public domain DVD sets). However, don’t be fooled--this set stands out from all previous releases, including the MPI releases, in terms of quality.
The Beverly Hillbillies, of course, is that hilarious sitcom from the 60s about a family of hillbillies that strike it rich when they discover oil, and pack up the family and move to a mansion in Beverly Hills. But how will they ever fit in? Or will they ever fit in? Join Jed, Jethro, Elly May, Granny, and the rest for this five-disc set containing all 36 season two episodes of the classic sitcom!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Jed may be sick, but Granny has the cure (or at least she wants to believe she does) in “Jed Gets the Misery.” It’s plantin’ season, and Granny is ready to plow the front yard in “Granny’s Garden.” It’s Hillbilly Eye for the City Guy when the style of the Clampett family style takes over in “The Clampett Look.” Jethro finds love in an exotic dancer named Chickadee in “Jethro’s First Love,” and wants to marry her in “Chickadee Returns.”
Have the Clampetts lost it all? Find out in “The Clampetts are Overdrawn.” Mr. Drysdale gives the family a turkey (that Elly wants to keep as a pet and Granny wants to cook) for Thanksgiving in “Turkey Day. Mr. Drysdale has a daunting task ahead of him--to find Jed a wife--in “Elly Needs a Maw.”
Granny sees a giant jackrabbit, or so she believes, in “Giant Jackrabbit.” Elly enters The Queen of Beverly Hills contest in “The Race for Queen,” and so does Granny. The family has to deal with a freeloader in “Lafe Lingers,” “Lafe Returns,” and Sone of Lafe Returns.”
The Clampetts are going fishing at Marineland in “The Clampetts Go Fishing,” that is, of course, if they can get past the Marines. The Clampett’s friends, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, visit in “A Bride for Jed.” Granny is pretty sure she can predict the weather better than the weather girl on TV in “Granny Versus the Weather Bureau.”
Granny becomes an entrepreneur in “House of Granny.” In “Jed Incorporated,” Jed gives out cash--by throwing it out the window. You are never too old to learn to drive (or maybe you are), as we learn in “Granny Learns to Drive.” Mr. Drysdale puts a cabin in the Clampett backyard, and causes a public relations nightmare, in “Cabin in Beverly Hills.”It’s time for Jethro to move on past the sixth grade in “Jethro’s Graduation.”
This is a CBS DVD product so of course, we have pretty standard CBS DVD packaging. Essentially, it is just an Amaray style case with five discs inside. It is surprising that they didn’t split this into two sets. The cover art looks surprisingly unofficial, with a cast photo and the show title (but not in the official show logo). Inside, we have the discs (no artwork) and a listing of the episodes with a description and original airdates. Discs 1-4 contain seven episodes each, while Disc 5 contains 8 episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very basic, with the opening theme playing on the main menu and options of Play All, Episodes, and Special Features (Disc 1 only). If you select episodes, you get a listing of all of the episodes on the disc--nothing too fancy. Once you select an episode, though, it does not play immediately: you get a choice. You can watch the episode either with the original sponsor openings and closings, or without. If you select without, the episode plays immediately, but if you want it with the original sponsor opening, it plays after a disclaimer (see more in the Special Features section). Chapters are placed within each episode at all of the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
Maybe I’m just so used to seeing bad public domain releases of this series on DVD, but in any event, I was over-the-top impressed with the video and audio quality of the episodes. Everything looks so clean, crisp, and clear. There is the occasional grain here and there, but it isn’t anything too annoying. The episodes sound great too, being presented in their glorious original monaural sound (hey, it is the 60s, what do you expect?). Every episode is closed-captioned.
“Some episodes may be edited from their network versions. Music has been changed for this home entertainment release.” Yes, once again, CBS DVD has given us this ever-so-obnoxious disclaimer. Sometimes, this means that an entire set will be butchered. Other times, it means 3 seconds of background music has been removed. In any case, we are all tired of it, and whatever this music edits were (I couldn’t find it), it is probably something that CBS DVD was just too lazy to see whether or not they can get the rights to it. I hate to get up on a pedestal on this issue, but CBS DVD needs to know that we are tired of this and many of their other practices (like splitting certain shows into half seasons, it is surprising this series made it as a full season).
So with that being said, I couldn’t detect any problems, but you know there has to be something. In any event, runtimes (without the original opening and closing credits) are pretty consistent, running around 25:30 per episode. When you add in the original sponsorship elements, each episode runs around 27:00.
Much like the MPI sets, the episodes on this set are presented with the original sponsor opening and closing credits. However, there are a few slight changes. The episodes on this set have the closing promo tags preserved within each episode, which is much better. The MPI sets had these tags, but they were not kept within the episode. The MPI sets had PSAs for various causes left intact on some episodes between the closing credits and the Filmways logo (usually on the episodes sponsored by Winston); these DVDs do not. It isn’t a huge deal, though. You don’t have to watch the episodes with the original opening and closing credits, though. You have a choice of watching each episode with or without these sponsorship openings and closings. Note that when you watch an episode with the sponsorship openings and closings, you will get a disclaimer about the episodes being presented in historical context... and on the ones sponsored by Winston, there is a disclaimer about smoking being hazardous to your health. You can’t skip past these either (it is a restricted function), they come up and last for about five seconds before each episode. You’ll notice a HUGE difference in terms of video and audio quality when the episode switches from the sponsorship elements to the actual episode, which is understandable, as these sponsorship elements were not intended to be preserved.
The set has a screen test of Irene Ryan (1:16) where she tests for the role of Granny. This is very interesting to see, and it shows her testing for a scene in the pilot episode. Immediately after we see the screen test, we see the scene from the actual first episode, and get to see how much Irene Ryan has improved just before the pilot, particularly in regards to getting the accent down. She sounds completely different in the screen test.
Next, we have a clip from “The Stars’ Address is CBS” (2:33), a promotional piece from CBS that has the Clampett family watching TV and discovering the CBS Wednesday night lineup. They even discover that they, too, are part of that lineup. It is nice to see.
Next, we have a CBS promo advertising both The Beverly Hillbillies and The Dick Van Dyke Show (0:46). It is a pretty standard promo, with nothing really special in it... but still a nice touch.
There is an interview with Paul Henning (2:39), but there is one important thing to note about this: it has been on DVD before, in one of the MPI sets. In fact, it was a much longer featurette on the MPI set, running at over eight minutes. But that isn’t really a complaint or anything, there is only so much material to work with on a series this old, and besides that, it is better to have it included than not at all.
It is great to finally see a season release of one of the greatest TV shows of all time! And it is a pretty good set too, although I would have liked (and honestly expected) more bonus features considering Paul Brownstein’s involvement as executive producer. What is interesting to note is that Stephen Cox and Jim Pierson are both listed as co-producers of this set--both of them were also involved in the two MPI releases (in fact, Jim Pierson was the executive producer of the MPI sets, as well as many other series released by MPI). But the most important thing about this set is that the episodes look great, and are the best-looking versions of the series ever released on DVD. If you are only going to go with one version of this show on DVD (as I’d imagine most would), then you should go with the CBS DVD version. The only thing that concerns me is the disclaimer about music being changed. I didn’t personally notice anything, but CBS DVD is known to make subtle changes to music within the episodes that only the most serious fans would notice. Hopefully the rest of the series (including season one) will follow this release! You can truly “sit a spell” and enjoy these DVDs!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 10/05/08
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