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The Munsters - The Complete First Season


TITLE: THE MUNSTERS - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: August 24, 2004 (Universal Home Video)
B&W/16 hours 6 minutes
MSRP: $59.98
Number of discs: 3 (double sided)
Number of episodes: 39 (including unaired pilot)
Languages: English; Closed Captioned; Subtitles in English, Spanish, French
Special Features: Original Un-Aired Pilot: “My Fair Munster”

Review (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.7/5

The Munsters Season 1 DVD Menu

Thoughts:

The most frightening TV family ever (no, I'm not talking about the Osbournes) is finally on DVD! Yes, CBS's 1964-1966 series The Munsters is now on 3 double-sided DVDs. Join Herman (Fred Gwynne), Lily (Yvonne DeCarlo), Grandpa (Al Lewis), Marilyn (Beverly Owen and Pat Priest), and Eddie (Butch Patrick) for the first 38 episodes of this hilarious series and a bonus unaired episode!

Herman Munster, more easily recognized as Frankenstein's monster, has the perfect life... a pasty bride, a vampire father-in-law, a wolf boy son, and an ugly niece (who is actually more beautiful than all the rest of the family combined.) Episodes concern the various mishaps that occur when you are a family of monsters and the world is scared to death of you.

Some memorable episodes from season one includes "Munster Masquerade" which is the premiere episode where the Munsters attend a costume party, "Low-Cal Munster" where Herman goes on a diet, "Knock Wood Here Comes Charlie" which features a dual role for Fred Gwynne in which Herman's twin brother comes to town, "Movie Star Munster" where Herman is conned into thinking he is to star in a movie and "Yes Galen, There Is a Herman" where Herman helps a child in distress, but neither Herman's nor the child's family believe them.

Memorable guest stars from season one include John Fielder, Richard Deacon, Paul Lynde, Harvey Korman, Gavin MacLeod, Don Rickles and Billy Mumy. It is my opinion that guest stars do not make or break a show. I feel that a show should solely depend on its main cast and not need big-name guest stars.

This set comes in a most unusual packaging. The digipak in which the discs are is inside a cardboard box that opens up like a coffin. Very unique and quite appropriate for this series. The box itself is somewhat shiny and tinted green with a photo of the cast on the front cover and a photo of Herman on the back of the box. The same photos from the box cover can be found on the digipak case. The inside of the case features a list of the episodes included and which disc they can be found on.

The set is made of three double-sided discs. Disc one contains the unaired pilot and episodes 1-13, disc two contains episodes 14-27 and disc three contains episodes 28-38. There is no photo on the discs as they are double sided.

The menu screen starts with the characters running around the screen and ends with a family portrait, and then we are at the menu screen. The menu screen consists of: Play All, Episode Index, and Languages. The show's theme song is playing in the background. The “Play All” option will play all of the episodes on the disc in order. Episode index takes you to a list of the episodes on the disc. Clicking on an episode brings up a brief description and the following choices: Play, Scenes, Episode Index, Menu, and Languages. The menu is easy to navigate. I found it very useful and easy to understand.

The video quality is unbelievable. The episodes are flawless; there is not a scratch or a compression artifact in sight. The bonus feature, the unaired pilot which is actually in color, is the best looking copy I have ever seen. Since the episode is available on public domain releases and bootleg VHS, and to be frank, the quality on that is terrible. As for the audio, it is pretty good as well. It is in mono of course since there was no stereo TV in 1964. It sounds much clearer than any cable rerun I have ever seen.

The special feature that is included on this set is on disc one. It is the original pilot shot for CBS to sell the show and runs just under 14 minutes in duration. Most of the cast is the same, except that Lily (called Phoebe here) and Eddie are played by different actors. It is a rare chance to see the Munsters in color and their makeup jobs seem somewhat odd. I don't know if it's my TV or what, but they seem to be more blue than green; oh well. The pilot itself is very amusing. The opening sequence, although similar to what we saw on season one, is completely different with really creepy monster-movie type music. Although some retailer listings listed the 1966 motion picture "Munster Go Home" as being an extra, it is nowhere to be found on this set.

All in all, Universal has done a fine job with this release. I would heartily recommend it to any fan or even a non-fan, since this show is a classic and plays on TV Land and is well-known. In future releases, it would be nice to see the original motion picture actually included, or even the 1981 reunion movie, "The Munsters' Revenge.” Even so, I'm sure if the season two set (whenever it comes out) is anything like season one, it will be fabulous.

-- Reviewed by Greg Brobeck (snowpeck) on 08/12/04

* This will be Greg Brobeck's final review for Sitcoms Online. We wish him good luck with his future projects. *

To order the DVD click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002CX1LG/ref=nosim/happydaysonline


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