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Cheers - The Complete Fourth Season



DVD Release Date: February 1, 2005 (Paramount Home Video)
MSRP: $38.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 10 hours and 44 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; No Subtitles; Closed captioned
Special Features: None


It's the cozy little Boston bar where everybody knows your name...welcome to Cheers - the Emmy Award-winning, smash-hit television series that kept the laughs uncorked for 11 years. For Season 4, a new face joins the Cheers regulars as Woodrow Tiberius "Woody" Boyd (played by Woody Harrelson) joins the cast as the watering hole's new bartender. Another highlight of Season 4 is the first appearance of Dr. Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth) - a character that eventually became a recurring, Emmy-winning role. Along with Sam's bluster, Diane's neuroses, Carla's ire and Cliff and Norm's various schemes, it's another classic, hilarious season of Cheers - with all 26 episodes of the unforgettable TV sitcom presented in this 4-disc set.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Memorable episodes included the season premiere "Birth, Death, Love and Rice," in which after the sad passing away of Coach, Sam hires a new bartender in Woody Boyd, Coach's pen pal who has moved to Boston. Diane spends a dark and stormy night worrying that Andy Schroeder has escaped and is out to kill her in "Diane's Nightmare." Sam has a weak moment and lends Diane $500 to buy a book reputedly signed by Ernest Hemingway in "I Wll Gladly Pay You Tuesday." In "Suspicion," Diane arranges for a stranger to come into Cheers as part of an experiment in paranoid behavior, but then she provides an even better example as she waits for the gang to get back at her. Woody fears for his job when Sam hires a second bartender in "Relief Bartender."

There were several notable season 4 (1985-86) guest stars. Sherilyn Fenn appeared as Gabrielle in "The Groom Wore Clearsil." Nancy Cartwright guest starred as Cynthia in "Diane's Nightmare." Dick O'Neill played Mr. Clavin in "The Barstoolie." Bebe Neuwirth made her first appearance as Dr. Lilith Sternin in "Second Time Around." Kate Mulgrew appeared as Janet Eldridge and Max Wright played Jim Fleener in the 3-part episode "Strange Bedfellows."


The DVD cover art features a photo of Woody, Diane, and Sam. I was a bit disappointed with the choice of the photo. I think they could have used a photo that included everybody, including Frasier. The background of the set is wood, like you would see on a bar top. Episodes are broken down by disc and a few more photos are shown on the back of the box. There is the standard digipak as they've used on the 3 previous Cheers releases. The back of the digipak features a nice photo of Sam and Diane kissing. When you open up the digipak, there are photos of the main cast members on each panel. The foldout where the discs are held has a bar theme with a dartboard, darts, pretzels, pool balls, and a baseball. There are additional photos when you lift up the discs from the holder. Each disc has the same wood background, with a different cast member pictures with the episode titles on each disc. Disc 1 has a photo of Sam and includes episodes 1-7, Disc 2 pictures Diane and has episodes 8-14, Disc 3 shows Woody and offers episodes 15-20, and Disc 4 has a shot of Carla and contains episodes 21-26.

Menu Design and Navigation:

There is a single, simple menu on each disc. The menus have a different photo, along with the Cheers logo on each disc with the episode titles in white. There is a small yellow glass as you select the episodes that changes to orange when you play one. Disc 1 has the same photo of Woody, Diane, and Sam that is used on the cover art. Disc 2 pictures Frasier, Disc 3 has a shot of Sam and Woody, and Disc 4 has a photo of Carla. The first disc also has a previews option for some other Paramount releases. There is a Play All button and chapter stops within the episodes, but there is no sub-menu for scene selections.

Video and Audio Quality:

If you have viewed the previous 3 Cheers season sets, the video and audio quality is about the same on this 4th season release. There is some occasional grain and dust in the episodes, but they've held up pretty well. The color is still pretty good, and the picture is sharp. Cheers was filmed on a large set, so the mono audio can be a little low at times. The opening theme song, transitions, and closing credits have never sounded better. I really miss the days when sitcoms had memorable theme songs that lasted more than 15 seconds. The episodes are well spread out with no more than 7 per disc, so there is little or no compression problems. Closed captioning is available. The episodes all appear to be unedited, with the majority running over 24 1/2 minutes, and are in their original broadcast order.

Special Features:

The major disappointment with this set is the lack of extras. After seeing the first three releases with special features, I think fans will be disappointed with this fact. The suggested retail price on this set is lower than the other seasons, so that is probably a factor. It would have been nice for them to include some interviews, gag reels, bloopers, and other features. There are previews on the first disc for other Paramount DVD releases of the first seasons of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy.

Other Information:

This set includes a rebate offer request form. One offer is if you buy Cheers Season 4 plus any other complete season DVD box set of Frasier, Cheers, or Taxi - you can get $15 by mail. You just send the original cash register receipts or original packing slips and a proof of purchase coupon. U.S. residents will receive $15 while Canadian residents will receive $20 (CAN) back by mail. Requests must be received by May 30, 2005. You must make the purchases between February 1, 2005 and April 30, 2005 - the offer is not valid on prior purchases.

Final Comments:

Season 4 saw the arrival of Woody Boyd. The loss of Nicholas Colasanto, who played Coach, in season 3 was sad, but I think there was a lot of Coach in the Woody character. This season also saw the first appearance of Bebe Neuwirth as Dr. Lilith Sternin. Originally intended to be only a one time appearance, it would later become a recurring part and an Emmy-winning role for Neuwirth. Despite the lack of any special features, Cheers fans will definitely want to pick up this set to continue to build their collection. It was awhile between the season 3 and season 4 releases of Cheers, but Paramount is making up for that by releasing them at an accelerated pace this year. Season 5 is expected to be released in the spring, Season 6 in the summer, and Season 7 in the fall.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.3/5
Special Features: N/A
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.6/5
Overall: 4.0/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 01/27/05

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