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All in the Family - The Complete Series



Release Date: October 30, 2012 (Shout! Factory) 
Color / 1970 - 1979
MSRP: $199.99 
Packaging: Boxed set with five cases
Number of Discs: 28 
Number of Episodes: 208 
Running Time: approx. 6300 minutes 
Running Time of Features: approx. 229 min
Audio: English mono 
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-captioned 
Special Features: New Interview with Norman Lear, Those Were The Days: The Birth of All in the Family (2009), The Television Revolution Begins: All in the Family Is On the Air (2009), Justice for All (Original All in the Family pilot), Those Were the Days (Second All in the Family pilot), Archie Bunker’s Place one-hour Pilot, Gloria Pilot, 704 Hauser Pilot, and a 40-page Collectible Book with Essays By Television Critic Tom Shales and Media Professor Marty Kaplan 


Few television shows have left as substantial and enduring a footprint on American popular culture as Norman Lear’s masterpiece All in the Family. This groundbreaking comedy series looked at the state of the world through the eyes of an argumentative but loving family and gave us some of the most fully dimensional characters in television history. The jokes had a million targets, aiming at race, politics, sex and human foibles, but the humor was firmly rooted in the characters of Archie, Edith, Mike and Gloria.

This complete series set from Shout! Factory is a long-overdue celebration of the enormously influential program and offers fans a collection to treasure for years to come. We have all 208 episodes on a 27 discs, plus a bonus disc loaded with bonus features! The bonus features include a new interview with Norman Lear, documentaries, original pilots, a 40 page collectible book with essays by television critic Tom Shales and media professor Marty Kaplan and more! Those were the days!

This landmark and hysterical comedy features one of the most beloved families in TV history, the Bunkers. Headed by the opinionated Archie (Carroll O'Connor), his long-suffering wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), his daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) and his liberal son-in-law "Meathead" Mike (Rob Reiner), All in the Family broke incredible ground by addressing controversial subjects never tackled on sitcoms before.


We’re getting every single episode from all nine seasons on one boxed set! It is hard to pick a few memorable episodes each from 208 episodes, especially since we reviewed the series when the individual seasons came out on DVD. We reviewed each season on DVD except for seasons 1 and 2, since they came out before we started reviewing DVDs in 2004. We will give you some memorable episodes from seasons one and two. In the series premiere, “Meet the Bunkers,” it is Archie and Edith’s 22nd anniversary, and Gloria and Mike have planned a surprise brunch to celebrate, but a heated argument on whether Archie is prejudiced alters the party atmosphere. In “Writing the President,” when Archie learns that his meathead son-in-law has written a letter to President Nixon about what's wrong with America, Archie decides he will write one too, explaining all that is right. In “Archie Gives Blood,” Archie tries to chicken out going to the blood bank with Mike, saying he doesn't want to give his blood without knowing who it's going to, what if his blood ends up in a radical who's been shot? In “Lionel Moves into the Neighborhood,” there goes the neighborhood, as Archie is glad to see his neighbor move but he's not prepared for the first black family in his neighborhood, so he attempts to enlist Lionel's help in persuading the new neighbors to sell the house, but there's one problem, it is Lionel’s family who bought the house!

Moving on to season two, the classic episode “Gloria Poses in the Nude” has Mike's artist friend, Szabo visiting the Bunkers and decides he would like Gloria to pose for him ... in the nude. In “Flashback: Mike Meets Archie,” it is Mike and Gloria's first wedding anniversary but the celebration turns into an argument when each tells their version of when Mike and Archie first met. In “Edith’s Accident,” Edith has an accident at a grocery store when her shopping cart damages a parked with a can of cling peaches..."in heavy syrup." Bea Arthur guest stars in “Cousin Maude Visits,” where Edith's liberal Cousin Maude to comes to help out after Archie, Mike and Gloria come down with the flu. In “Christmas Day at the Bunkers,” Archie has no Christmas spirit after finding out he didn't get a bonus this year as punishment for an error he made at work. In “Edith’s Problem,” Edith's mood swings leads the doctors to believe she is beginning menopause and Edith worries that Archie won't love her anymore. On the classic episode “Sammy Visits,” Sammy Davis, Jr., encounters Archie Bunker in all his glory when the star ventures out to Queens to retrieve a briefcase he left in Munson's taxicab. In the back-door pilot “Maude,” Maude's daughter Carol is getting married to a Jewish man and fear Archie's presence will ruin the wedding.

Read memorable episodes from seasons 3-9 on our individual releases reviews:
Season 3 / Season 4 / Season 5 / Season 6 / Season 7 / Season 8 / Season 9

As for runtimes, we began doing runtimes in season 5. We never did runtimes before that for this series. The episodes all appear to be unedited, for all nine seasons.
See the runtimes from seasons 5-9 on our individual releases reviews:
Season 5 / Season 6 / Season 7 / Season 8 / Season 9


The packaging is all-new and very well done. We get a nice boxed set that holds five cases and a 40-page Collectible Book. The front of the box has Archie sitting in his chair while Mike, Gloria and Edith surround him in a nice white color scheme. The series logo and complete series mention is above that. We also get the four stars’ credits at the top. The back of the box is in orange and yellow with details on the series and set. We have four episodic images, followed by a list of bonus features. “Archie!” is printed on the top in the All in the Family font.

Inside the box are five cases. Shout! Factory has totally redone the packaging on the cases and these are NOT similar to the individual season releases. Each case has the show logo in different color on the front, along with a nice cast photo. The back of each case has an episode list by disc and season. The first case has seasons one and two. The second case has seasons three and four. The third case has seasons five and six. The fourth case has seasons seven and eight. And the final case has season nine plus the bonus disc. Inside the cases, we have the discs of course. For the first four cases, we have six discs each (that’s 3 discs per season). Disc one is on the left panel itself, while discs two and three are on a little plastic holder that you can flip like a page in a book. Disc two is on the front, while disc three is on the back. Discs four and five are on a second little plastic holder formatted the same way. And disc six is on the right panel itself. As for the fifth case, we have four discs only on that so the four discs are on two little plastic holders. Disc artwork has also changed from the individual season releases. We have the show logo in different colors in white background then the second half of the disc has a different color. The first case has discs in green for those different colors. The second case has discs in red. The third case has discs in orange. The fourth case has discs in blue. And the fifth case has discs in green again. The panels on the cases match these colors as well for each case.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are the same as the individual releases. The Sony produced sets (seasons 1-6) all had a Play All along with an Episode Selection option. The Shout! Factory produced sets (seasons 7-9) have a Play All but the episodes are listed right on the main menu. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

Read the menu design and navigation for seasons 3-9 on our individual releases reviews:
Season 3 / Season 4 / Season 5 / Season 6 / Season 7 / Season 8 / Season 9

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio quality of course differs for each season. The content is the same as the individual season releases, so we know what was good and bad. The seasons that look the best is the eighth and ninth seasons. Everything looks and sounds great on those sets, looking better than I've seen the series even in syndication. The series was shot on tape, so it does show some artifacts from that, but it isn't really bad. The audio is pretty good quality as well, presented in Dolby Digital mono. The episodes are all closed-captioned.
Read the video and audio quality for seasons 3-9 on our individual releases reviews:
Season 3 / Season 4 / Season 5 / Season 6 / Season 7 / Season 8 / Season 9

Special Features:

Nine seasons were released individually but we never once got a bonus feature. Now for this complete series set, we do! Most of this stuff is archival material, but we do have one new item. We have a “New Interview with Norman Lear” (11:27). This is a brand new interview done especially for this DVD collection! He always has some interesting things to say, so it is a must listen! Next up we have “Those Were The Days: The Birth of All in the Family” (26:59). This was produced for the Norman Lear Collection that was released in 2009, which we reviewed back then. It has interviews with Norman Lear, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers. We learn here how two pilots were needed before CBS finally put it on air. We also get stories on casting, character development, network reaction to the pilots, and much more! Then we have “The TV Revolution Begins: All in the Family Is On the Air” (30:38) that was also a part of the Norman Lear Collection DVD release in 2009. It has interviews again with Norman Lear, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers, but we also get an archival interview with Carroll O’Connor! This is about making it on the air and lasting 13 episodes and getting a surprise pick-up for season two. We also get a talk on the characters and the great chemistry between the four key players.

Moving on, we have two unaired pilots for the series! “Justice for All” (35:00, 2 chapter stops) 1968 Pilot and “Those Were the Days” (27:38, 3 chapter stops) 1969 Pilot. These two pilots were first released on DVD on the 2009 Norman Lear Collection DVD as well. You can see how different everything looks and each of these pilots had everyone being different but Carroll and Jean. This is cool to watch and thank god we got Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers instead of the two pairs we saw on these two pilots. Then we have the pilot episodes for three series that followed All in the Family. First up we have Archie Bunker’s Place one-hour pilot episode (47:34, 6 chapter stops). This was released on DVD in the complete first season set for that series, but we found out the pilot was edited unfortunately, and it is presented this way on here, too. Then we have two pilots that have NEVER been released on DVD, so it is more of a treat for us! We have the Archie Bunker’s Place spin-off series Gloria pilot episode (24:52, 3 chapter stops) and the 1994 series 704 Hauser pilot episode (24:34 with intro by Norman Lear).

And finally we have a nice 40-page Collectible Book with Essays By Television Critic Tom Shales and Media Professor Marty Kaplan. In this book, we also have an episode guide with descriptions of every episode!

Final Comments:

It's nice to see the series with every single episode in one boxed set. The bonus disc is very nice and we get a few items never before seen on DVD (new Norman Lear interview, the Gloria pilot and the 704 Hauser pilot), along with some great archival special features. The packaging is well-done and is all-new with even the cases, discs and box changing from the individual releases. It took two studios to get each season out on DVD, but now you can just stick with this set! We have all unedited episodes for All in the Family, so that is very good news, like on the individual sets. It was a shame regarding the total lack of special features throughout each season set, but now we have special features even. Now that we have All in the Family all complete and out of the way, the only question now is whether or not we'll see the rest of the continuation series/spinoff, Archie Bunker's Place along with a Gloria complete series release and 704 Hauser complete series release. Sony released season 1 of Archie Bunker’s Place quite a few years ago, but we haven't seen any further seasons since then. It would be nice if Shout! Factory could pick up this series as well, particularly as it is rarely seen in syndication. It’s just a dream come true that we have the All in the Family Complete Series Box Set! Get it because it is very good! Boy the way Glenn Miller played!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5 
Audio Quality: 4/5 
Special Features: 2.5/5
  Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
  Overall: 4/5 

-- Reviewed by Pavan on 12/08/12

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