TITLE: THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY - THE COMPLETE FOURTH AND FINAL SEASON
DVD Release Date: February 3, 2009 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 559 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Closed-Captioned.
Special Features: None
It’s time to take one last bus ride with the “c’mon get happy” gang in The Fourth and Final Season of The Partridge Family! The three disc set contains the final 22 episodes of the 1970s series about the family that goes traveling together to spread the joy of their music. Join Shirley, Keith, Danny, Laurie, Chris, Tracy, and of course manager Reuben Kincaid as he takes this family along in their musical journey!
For those that have never seen the series, think of The Brady Bunch, then add some music to that. They are the “typical” TV family from the early days of TV that faces all of the “serious” problems that “typical” families faced at the time, but their angle is that they make their living by being a family band that travels on a very unique school bus. So c’mon get happy with these final 22 episodes of The Partridge Family!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The season begins with “Hate Thy Neighbor,” where the Partridges have a new neighbor that is a four-year old that loves singing, but his mother hates show business. How will the Partridges “get involved?” In “None But the Onely,” Keith uses Laurie’s advice column to get a girl. Does it work? It’s Reuben’s birthday in “Reuben Kincaid Lives,” but he thinks he is about to die when the Partridges throw a surprise party for him! Keith has the classic sitcom problem of two dates in one night in “Double Trouble.”
In “Heartbreak Keith,” Keith has found a girl that he likes, except she is married! Danny sneaks in to a movie theater (and begins a life of crime?) in “A Day of Honesty.” In “Maid in San Pueblo,” the Partridges get a maid, and it just so happens to be Grandma! Danny drops out of school in “Danny Drops Out.”
It’s a tale of sexual discrimination in “Queen for a Minute.” In “Danny Converts,” Danny falls for a rabbi’s daughter, and all of a sudden he is Jewish! Will the original cast someday come together for a special Hannukah reunion or is Danny just a liar? In “Morning Becomes Electric,” the family is chosen to be a “model family” for conserving energy, except when Danny reads the meter wrong, the family is forced to go without electricity for two days! The series ends with “...---... (S.O.S.),” where Shirley begins dating her high school sweetheart... and Danny and Keith are going to spy on mom!
There are many guest stars in this season, although many were just in minor roles, including Gordon Jump, Herb Edelman, Cheryl Ladd, Richard Mulligan, Jackie Coogan, and more.
Much like the previous sets, the set consists of a standard box containing two slimcases. The packaging is presented in a red and orange color scheme and has a family picture with lots of balloons surrounding the family. Get used to the balloons, because they are everywhere on the packaging and the menus. Inside, we have the first slimcase, which contains Discs 1 and 2, and a second slimcase which contains Disc 3. Again, we have cast photos as artwork on the slimcases. Episode titles and descriptions are listed on the back of each slimcase. Inside, you’ll find the discs with artwork of (what else?) a partridge. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8, Disc 2 contains episodes 9-15, and Disc 3 contains episodes 16-22.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are identical to the previous seasons, with the main menu beginning with the partridges walking across the screen and the theme music playing. Then, all of a sudden, you get options of Play All and Episodes, as well as an option for Previews on Disc 3. When you select Episodes, you go to a menu screen that has a text listing of the episodes. While no scene selection option exists, chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode. Again, just like with the packaging, there are pictures of cast members surrounded by balloons everywhere... again!
Video and Audio Quality:
Generally speaking, I was pleased with the video and audio quality. The video is a little aged and not quite that sharp, but the video is clean and very little grain and debris can be found. That isn’t to say that you won’t find any issues at all, because there certainly are minor issues, but there is nothing to be overly concerned with. The audio is presented in mono, and as expected, the audio levels are low on many episodes. I’m assuming that the episodes are all unedited, with most running around 25:30. Exact runtimes are as follows:
Hate Thy Neighbor (25:31)
None but the Onely (25:31)
Beethhoven, Brahms, and Partridge (25:31)
The Strike-Out King (25:35)
Reuben Kincaid Lives (25:32)
Double Trouble (25:31)
The Last of Howard (25:31)
The Diplomat (25:31)
Heartbreak Keith (25:31)
A Day of Honesty (25:28)
Al in the Family (25:11)
Maid in San Pueblo (25:31)
Art for Mom’s Sake (25:31)
Two for the Show (24:56)
Danny Drops Out (25:31)
Queen for a Minute (25:22)
Danny Converts (25:38)
Miss Partridge, Teacher (25:31)
Keith and Lauriebelle (25:35)
Morning Becomes Electric (25:11)
Pin It On Danny (25:35)
...---... (S.O.S.) (25:18)
There are no special features, not even Minisodes this time. I would have certainly loved to have seen some interviews, or perhaps one of the many documentaries that have aired on various outlets about the series. Original promos would have been nice too. Really, there are a lot of things that could have been included, yet special features were neglected.
So we have another series finished on DVD! It is always nice to get to the end of a series on DVD, particularly when some series get stalled at season one. I really enjoyed this series, and the episodes in this season (in my opinion) are just as good as the episodes from the first season. The series didn’t really last long enough to “jump the shark,” as the concept (innocent family sitcoms) died in the early 70s, making a series like this difficult to proceed any further. Plus, the musical style of the Partridge Family (or the voices that dubbed the music) was quickly fading in popular.
Still, the series is fun to watch, even if it is four decades later, and there are many great storylines in here. So many of the plots center around some seemingly innocent family problem that becomes much larger than life, just like The Brady Bunch. Fans of that series are certain to enjoy this series. Well, there is only one thing to do--get on the bus, get happy, and enjoy this (as well as the previous three, if you haven’t already) season of The Partridge Family!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 01/27/09
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