TITLE: HAZEL - THE COMPLETE FIFTH AND FINAL SEASON
Release Date: January 14, 2014 (Shout! Factory)
Packaging: Viva Case
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 29
Running Time: 720 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Mono
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
Hazel returns to DVD one last time in Hazel - The Complete Fifth Season! But this time, she is coming alone (although Harold is still with her), as George and Dorothy Baxter move to Baghdad for a new job for George, and Hazel becomes the new housekeeper for George's brother and his wife. The reason for this change? The series was canceled by NBC, but CBS decided to pick it up… except they wanted a few changes to reach a younger demographic. Now, all 29 episodes of this "new" Hazel are available on DVD from Shout! Factory.
The season begins with Hazel getting a new boss (but still a Mr. Baxter) in "Who's in Charge Here?" Hazel clashes with the wife of her new boss in "Hazel's Second Week." In "How to Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Minutes," Hazel signs up for a weight loss problem, but it isn't going to be cheap. Steve comes to the stunning conclusion that he has sold his own house to one of his clients in "Do Not Disturb." In "The Holdout," Minnie Anderson may be standing in the way of a 12-story building. Steve faces a lawsuit for selling a haunted house in "A-Haunting We Will Go." In "Hazel Needs a Car," Hazel decides to make money to get a car by breeding rare fish.
Hazel gets to be a real estate agent while the Baxters are on a picnic in "Hazel Sits it Out." Hazel finally gets the chance to own land of her own in "A Lot to Remember," but there may not be too much to remember about it. Steve plans a fishing trip in "A Bull's Eye for Cupid," but it is too bad that he forgot that it is wedding anniversary. It seems that Steve's teenage secretary has a crush on him in "The Crush." Susie runs away from home thanks to Barbara's sister-in-law in "Kindly Advice." In "Noblesse Oblige," Hazel may be standing in the way of yet another great opportunity for Steve. Steve begins to feel inferior to his brother in "Hazel's Endearing Young Charms."
Hazel buys a rundown car in "A Car Named Chrysanthemum," but Steve is the one who has to suffer as she fixes it up in his driveway. In "Once an Actor," Barbara's uncle, a now penniless actor, shows up, and Hazel and Barbara convince Steve to give him a job in real estate. Hazel puts together a fundraiser in "$285 by Saturday," but it causes a rift between the Baxters and neighbors. Hazel talks Steve into putting the household on a budget in "Boom or Bust." Harold gets pretty luck in "Harold's Gift Horses." When Hazel whens a contest in "How to Find Work Without Really Trying," she manages to pick up a complete stranger in the park as her dinner companion. Harold starts his own rock band (and Hazel becomes a beatnik in the meantime) in "My Son, the Sheepdog."
In "Please Don't Shout," Hazel helps Steve find a perfect couple to buy a home that seems to be impossible to sell. Hazel hires a famous artist to paint her room in "But is it Art?" Mona convinces her husband to buy an expensive house in "Who Can Afford a Bargain?," but a fight results when Hazel decides to get in the middle of it. Hazel becomes a chili entrepreneur in "Hazel's Free Enterprise." In "The Perfect Boss," Hazel writes an essay about Steve for a newspaper contest. Harold's friend Jeff is put in an advanced class in "A Little Bit of Genius," but Harold feels a bit left behind. Hazel accidentally steals a client for Steve in "A Question of Ethics," which could land Steve in trouble.
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "Who's in Charge Here?" (25:31)
2. "Hazel's Second Week" (25:27)
3. "How to Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Minutes" (25:28)
4. "Do Not Disturb Occupants" (25:28)
5. "The Holdout" (25:24)
6. "A-Haunting We Will Go" (25:24)
7. "Hazel Needs a Car" (25:22)
8. "Hazel Sits it Out" (25:24)
9. "A Lot to Remember" (25:26)
10. "A Bull's Eye for Cupid" (25:25)
11. "The Crush" (25:25)
12. "Kindly Advice" (25:21)
13. "Noblesse Oblige" (25:24)
14. "Hazel's Endearing Young Charms" (25:20)
15. "A Car Named Chrysanthemum" (25:19)
16. "Once an Actor" (25:26)
17. "$285 By Saturday" (25:22)
18. "Boom or Bust!" (25:25)
19. "Harold's Gift Horses" (25:17)
20. "How to Find Work Without Really Trying" (25:24)
21. "My Son, the Sheepdog" (25:09)
22. "Please Don't Shout" (25:23)
23. "But Is It Art?" (25:26)
24. "Who Can Afford a Bargain?" (25:23)
25. "Hazel's Free Enterprise" (25:20)
26. "Bee in Her Bonnet" (25:25)
27. "The Perfect Boss" (25:20)
28. "A Little Bit of Genius" (25:24)
29. "A Question of Ethics" (25:24)
The packaging for this season is similar to the previous seasons of the series released by Shout! Factory. On the cover, there is a large color photo of Hazel. On the back, there is a description of the changes that took place in the season, along with a few snapshots from some of the episodes in the set. They've also added a complete listing of all of the episodes on the back of the case, which seems to be a new practice that Shout! Factory is using, and is particularly nice for quick reference. On the inside of the case, you'll also find episode listings, but this time they include original air dates and descriptions, which is even better. There are four discs in the set, all of which have the same artwork as seen on the cover.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very basic, but functional and clean. The main menu has the same artwork as seen on the cover of the DVD set, with options of Play All and Episodes. The theme song plays in the background. Upon selecting Episodes, you get a list of the episodes on the disc, all on one menu. When you select an episode, it plays right away. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
Shout! Factory has taken a lot of unwarranted criticism about the video and audio quality of these Hazel releases in the past, and honestly, I've never really seen the huge problem. With that being said, the video quality on this particular season isn't as great as the previous seasons… but still, I don't think the fault lies with Shout! Factory. The main problem is that the episodes just have this somewhat dark look to them, and there is grain and debris all over the place. The audio isn't perfect either, as a lot of episodes have a lot of hiss and crackle in them. I don't think there has been any restoration of these episodes, at all. Regardless, it isn't a complete disaster, and the episodes are perfectly watchable… in fact, the quality would probably look just fine if we weren't trying to compare it to the latest and greatest high definition quality. While the series does look a little better in syndication on Antenna TV, we have to keep in mind that those are syndicated prints of the series. At least we have the original full length episodes here. It should also be noted that the episodes are not closed-captioned or subtitled.
Once again, there are no special features. This season would have been perfect for special features, though. In the past, it could be said that all of the cast members had died. Specifically, Hazel and every member of the Baxter family featured in the first four seasons have already died. But this season, we were introduced to a new Mr. and Mrs. Baxter, and their daughter, and all three of them are still alive. While none of them are very active on TV these days, it seems that they still could have gotten involved with some sort of interview to talk about how the series somewhat evolved into something different this season. But unfortunately, they didn't.
It is great to see another series wrapped up on DVD! It is worth noting that this is certainly the weakest season of the series, and that should come as no surprise considering that the series was completely recast with the exception of Shirley Booth and Bobby Buntrock (which still doesn't make sense that she would essentially keep custody of the original Mr. and Mrs. Baxter's son while they were in Baghdad). Steve and Barbara Baxter, despite being great actors, simply weren't the same as George and Dorothy, and the chemistry seen between the cast in the earlier seasons just wasn't there for this season.
Regardless of all of that, I don't have any major issues with this set. Shout! Factory has done a great job finishing up the series (despite the video and audio quality issues, which really aren't THAT terrible). The episodes are all unedited (or so it seems), and this isn't even close to anything I'd call a complete disaster. Despite any problems (which, I'll add, are actually problems that could have easily been used to justify not doing releases at all, a much less desirable situation), it is great that Shout! Factory picked this series up, and saw it all the way to completion, even to this season.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 3/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 01/13/14
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