TITLE: THE MUPPET SHOW - SEASON THREE
Release Date: May 20, 2008 (Walt Disney Video)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: approx. 612 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 72 minutes
*Feature: Muppets on Puppets
*Feature: A Company of Players
And now, a show that needs no introduction, but hereís one anyway...
Wocka! Wocka! Wocka! Grab a seat and spend some time with characters that have kept the world laughing for decades.
Join the hardest working muppets in showbiz -- Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and the rest in The Muppet Showís
fall-down funny third season. Itís jam-packed with some of television prime-timeís most memorable moments.
Experience all 24 episodes from Season Three -- digitally remastered and restored in this special 4-disc DVD set.
With bonus features and laughs aplenty, this DVD is unbeatable entertainment.
Episode List / Guest Stars:
Due to the nature of The Muppet Show (a variety show), this section is, like previous seasons, structured differently. This will serve as more of an episode list, which will in turn encompass the list of guest stars. Each and every episode is VERY entertaining -- but for different reasons. If youíll notice, when there are comedians on the show, the show takes on a more sketch-based tone. What also surprised me were some of the folks they brought in as guests: One week itís Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton), the next itís Alice Cooper. This show had an EXTREMELY diverse range of guests over the years. When thereís a musician guesting, the show is more musical. There WILL be names that *you* donít recognize. This is perfectly alright -- just look them up on Wikipedia. Thatís what I do!
1) Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge
2) Leo Sayer
3) Roy Clark
4) Gilda Radner
5) Pearl Bailey
6) Jean Stapleton
7) Alice Cooper
8) Loretta Lynn
10) Marisa Berenson
11) Raquel Welch
12) James Coco
13) Helen Reddy
14) Harry Belafonte
15) Lesley Ann Warren
16) Danny Kaye
17) Spike Milligan
18) Leslie Uggams
19) Elke Sommer
20) Sylvester Stallone
21) Roger Miller
22) Roy Rogers & Dale Evans
23) Lynn Redgrave
24) Cheryl Ladd
Hopefully youíre used to this by now: Two versions of the packaging exist -- one with a fuzzy cover that approximates the feel of the muppet depicted on the cover, and one thatís just straightforward art on a box. My copy is the fuzzy one...or should I say the Fozzie one? Everyoneís favorite horrible-joke-telling bear is on the cover this time. Iíll be perfectly honest here -- it may be something relating to how the package was delivered to me, but the furry texture on the front cover of my copy had a rather unpleasant smell when I first opened it, and the smell only subsided after a couple of days. This is a minor concern, but I feel I should note it nonetheless.
Front cover of the digipak features the various muppets sitting in theater-style seats rather happy. The rear cover of the Digipak features a yellowish-brown curtain with a microphone in front of it, along with a stool thatís empty save for Fozzie Bearís hat sitting on it. If you paid close attention to the front of the Digipak: Fozzie, who can be seen front and center, is missing...his hat. This is a nice little touch.
Each disc features a muppet on the right, with curtains on the left and a green strip in the lower third of the disc. Animal is on disc 1, Fozzie is on disc 2, Kermit is on disc 3, and Miss Piggy is on disc 4. Episode breakdown per disc can be found in the runtimes section.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Iíll be perfectly honest, the menus here seem a bit less...involved...than they were on past sets. There is still the usual good two minutes worth of dialogue from the characters on the main menu, but on the whole the menus feel a bit more generic this time around. Theyíre still nice, just not AS nice as at first. Menu opens with Fozzie telling a joke, which then transitions into the main menu. Dialogue from the character(s) lasts a minute or two running on a loop.
Episode selection features a shot of the stage, with three of the archways from the opening present. The music playing during this menu is dependent on the disc -- each disc has a bit of a song corresponding to an episode on the disc. For example, disc 1 has an instrumental of ďRocky TopĒ -- Roy Clark performs this song, and all the instruments in it, in the third episode. The main menu lacks a little bit, but the episode selection menu is great -- I donít recall hearing any music on it on any sets in the past.
Video and Audio Quality:
While having fuzzy packaging and quality menus is fine, itís nothing if the episodes themselves donít shine. Luckily, the video quality and audio quality here is EXCELLENT, especially for the showís age. Iíd love to say itís fine and leave it at that -- but as Iíve been led to believe you guys want me to pick it over with a fine-toothed comb: There ARE some compression artifacts around some edges that occur during periods with lots of motion (read: opening credits). Itís a tiny flaw, but itís there. Chapter stops occur at the end of each act. The audio is particularly good for its age -- youíre not getting 5.1 surround sound here, but you could have figured THAT out. In regards to possible edits, I donít have that information available by press time. Iíll continue to search for them in the meantime. Here, at the very least, are episode runtimes (and they seem consistent, so a good sign):
1) Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge: 25:44
2) Leo Sayer: 25:44
3) Roy Clark: 25:41
4) Gilda Radner: 25:42
5) Pearl Bailey: 25:43
6) Jean Stapleton: 25:43
7) Alice Cooper: 25:41
8) Loretta Lynn: 25:41
9) Liberace: 25:42
10) Marisa Berenson: 25:40
11) Raquel Welch: 25:40
12) James Coco: 25:41
13) Helen Reddy: 25:41
14) Harry Belafonte: 25:44
15) Lesley Ann Warren: 25:42
16) Danny Kaye: 25:39
17) Spike Milligan: 25:43
18) Leslie Uggams: 25:39
19) Elke Sommer: 25:42
20) Sylvester Stallone: 25:41
21) Roger Miller: 25:43
22) Roy Rogers & Dale Evans: 25:42
23) Lynn Redgrave: 25:42
24) Cheryl Ladd: 25:43
A couple more unique features for this set:
Muppets on Puppets (58:43): A 1 hour program (this aired on NET, the predecessor to PBS) filmed by Jim Henson in 1968-69 is hosted by Jim Henson and features one of the earlier looks at his creations. This program is actually in black & white. Iím honestly surprised this even still exists.
A Company of Players (10:20): A feature that takes look at the puppeteers that control the Muppets.
Purina Ads (2:34): These ads were some of the earliest appearances of the Muppets on television. Theyíre from the early 1960s and feature Rowlf. While most now consider Kermit easily the ďstarĒ of the Muppets, there was a time when Rowlf was in fact the...uh...top dog. Also it is in black and white.
Total Runtime of Special Features: approximately 72 minutes.
I love the Muppet Show sets -- theyíre some of the finer sets of classic TV Iíve seen. Also remember, readers, that this set is intended for a general family audience. Even given that, these sets put out a fine product in both the content and the features departments. While Iíd certainly like to see commentary tracks, I can understand why theyíre not here. Ultimately, this is a set I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone, young and old. Youíre sure to find something you like in this DVD set.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Final Score: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/17/08
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