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That '70s Show - Seasons One



DVD Release Date: October 26, 2004 (20th Century FOX)
MSRP: $49.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 25
Running time: Approx. 575 Minutes
Total Duration of Special Features: 25 Minutes
Audio Tracks: English
Subtitles: English
Closed Captioned
Special Features Include:
• Trivia Game
• ”Hello Wisconsin!" Season One Featurette
• Promo-Reel Montage
Review (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Style & Navigation: 4/5
Overall: 4/5


We're all alright! We're all alright! Point Place, WI...The year is 1976. Farrah Fawcett is IT, Tab cola is the drink of choice, and discos were all the rage. And in the basement of the Forman family...six friends are gathered around, trying to figure out how to lift some beer from Eric's dad's party upstairs. And so begins the run of one of the longest-running shows still on television.

Memorable Episodes - Season 1 had quite a few good episodes. Quite obviously, there's the Pilot episode of the series "That 70s Pilot", in which after being ordered not to take the newly-his Vista Cruiser out of town, Eric does exactly that, only to wind up dead on the side of the road. Another memorable one is Episode Three, “Streaking,” in which President Ford visits town and, well, the title should tell you all you need to know about the episode. Also is episode 16, “The First Date,” which, quite obviously would be Eric & Donna's first date (And if that's not enough for yah, Kelso and Jackie do it), as well as Episode 23, “Water Tower,” in which the gang after Kelso falls during a prank (Painting a weed leaf on the water tower) plan to take Kelso to Eric's mom (she's a nurse)...the problem? When Eric goes to ask her for help, he walks in on her and Red doing it. Show 24 is also a good one. Titled “Hyde Moves In,” and in the episode...well, Hyde moves in.

Although not as celebrity-laden as some of the later seasons have become, season 1 has its share of guest stars. Danny Bonaduce guests in Episode 5, “Eric's Burger Job.” The next show finds Eve Plumb (Brady Bunch’s Jan Brady) as a guest. Episode 10, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” sees Mrs. Cunningham from Happy Days (Marion Ross) as grandma Forman. She also appears in episode twelve, “The Best Christmas Ever.” Episode 15, as well as episode 23, “Grandma's Dead.” You can figure out what happens in THAT one. “That Wrestling Show,” features a number of cameos from the pro wrestling world. Ken Shamrock, The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), and both Matt and Jeff Hardy all appear. Finally, Show 19, “Prom Night,” has Katey Sagal (“Married with Children;” “Futurama;” “8 Simple Rules”) in an un-credited voice appearance (She'll again show up in Episode 22, “Punk Chick”); while 70s recording star Gloria Gaynor plays Mrs. Clark.

Packaging is a four-disc slim case setup. Each of the four case covers contains two different cast members jumping around in front of an orange/purple-striped background, with an episode menu on the reverse side. Inside covers feature various shots of the main six standing around in front of the same purple & orange background. The discs themselves are still-shots of the same cast members on the cover art, this time standing. Disc 1 has Eric & Donna (Topher Grace & Laura Prepon), Disc 2 is Jackie & Kelso (Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher), Disc 3's Hyde & Fez (Danny Masterson, Wilmer Valderrama), while disc 4 features Red & Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp & Kurtwood Smith).

The menus are rather nicely done...they feature the cast members jumping & moving around in front of various 70s colored backgrounds (depending on the disc). Each of the submenus features a different upshot of a cast member, depending on disc/menu, with the menu options inside their own little weirdly-shaped menu bubble. The color scheme is the same as the main menu's (Disc 1 Red/Yellow/Blue, 2 is green/yellow/purple, 3 is Blue/Yellow/Purple, and 4 is a multi-color setup).

Episodes are 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio, Dolby Digital sound. Video Compression artifacts are somewhat noticeable throughout, but they won't hinder your viewing experience. FOX had the sense to spread the episodes out over the four discs, rather than cram episodes as many onto a disc as possible, onto as few discs as possible.

Disc breakdown is fairly spread out. Disc 1 has episodes 1-7, Disc 2 has Episodes 8-13, Disc 3 has shows 14-19, and Disc Four has Episodes 20 to 25 and the Special Features. Episodes average just around 22 minutes a piece. The episodes are aired in order of Original Air-Date (OAD). Unlike a few sets, where airing order can disrupt the flow of the entire thing, this is one instance where it makes little to no difference.

As for the special features, the first is a promo reel containing edited/spliced promos used for the first season, all set to music and runs for about three minutes. I'd honestly prefer they just left in the promos in their original form, but, ah well. Feature two is That 70s Show Trivia running 2:23. Rather than use a still multiple choice menu format, as I've seen several other series sets do, this set has the various cast members ask the questions, and then leads into the clip with the answer immediately. On the plus side, it's so much better than the still choice graphics used in other sets, but, on the other hand, you don't even have time to think of the answer. Also included is a Season 1 featurette (read: Clip Package interlaced with interviews). It runs eighteen minutes, just a couple minutes short of a full-length episode...It does provide some decent behind-the-scenes interviews, plus a decent enough clip selection, so if you've got the extra time, it's a good watch.

Overall, it's a good set for a funny show. The episodes are generally in very good quality, though occasionally you'll run into some artifact, especially on larger sets. There's one major qualm I have with the set, and it's in the special features department. Why even both including the promos, if you're just going to splice and dice them, and set them to music. That's nothing but a poor clip show with the occasional promotional graphics. Secondly, they really should have included some kind of pause in the trivia thing. One barely can think of the answer before it's revealed via clip. At least the Hello Wisconsin! featurette is good, and stops just short of being too long.

For the season two set, there's one thing that comes to mind immediately: Commentary. Get anyone. Come on, just in the CORE group you have eight people (counting Eric's Parents) of them would be willing to do it. Get writers, producers...SOMEONE. Commentary tracks add a degree of behind-the-scenes fun that just isn't possible with just the episodes themselves and one interview-filled featurette.

Otherwise, though, it's a good set, and I hope season two comes out soon. I'd forgotten that, at least at times, this is a good show. I'd recommend the series for any fan of the show, anyone looking for a decent series buy, or any 70s people.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 10/17/04

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