TITLE: THE DONNA REED SHOW - FAMILY FAVORITES
Release Date: April 13, 2010 (Virgil Films)
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 4
Running Time: 100 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: Subtitles on three episodes (none on fourth)
Special Features: None
Just in time for Mother’s Day, The Donna Reed Show is back on DVD for The Donna Reed Show – Family Favorites, a compilation of four of the best episodes of the first three seasons of the classic sitcom, as chosen by her real-life children. Donna Stone (Reed) is a lot like the series Father Knows Best, except in this case, she is the one who keeps the family together. Husband Alex (Carl Betz) is a great husband and father to their kids, but he is busy with his practice as a pediatrician. They had two perfect children, Mary (Shelley Fabares) and Jeff (Paul Petersen), who still managed to give their parents challenges each and every day.
There are four episodes on the DVD, as chosen by Donna Reed and Tony Owen’s children. Two of the episodes come from the first season, and there is one episode from each of the second and third seasons. From the first season, we have “Pardon My Gloves,” where Jeff learns boxing from his own mother when he is being bullied at school. We also have the episode “The Baby Contest,” where Alex is put in a position of judging a beautiful baby contest. From the second season, we have “All Mothers Worry,” where one of Jeff’s friends wants to play football, but his overprotective mother won’t allow it, and it is up to Donna to convince her to not worry. Finally, from the third season, is the episode “How the Other Side Lives,” where Mary is jealous of a friend that seems to have everything made for her in life, yet as Mary finds out, the girl is in fact jealous of her for having chaos in her life.
The episodes all appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
“Pardon My Gloves” (25:50)
“The Baby Contest” (25:51)
“All Mothers Worry” (25:45)
“How the Other Side Lives” (25:43)
The DVD comes in a pretty standard package, with a regular keepcase that has a picture of Donna behind the camera and a film reel in front of her. On the back, there is a picture of one of her Academy Awards and color snapshots of each of the main cast members. Inside, there is the one (and only) disc, which has the same artwork as the cover art.
Menu Design and Navigation:
There isn’t much to the menu, at all. There is just one menu (the main menu) that has a picture of Donna behind the camera, and a film reel that lists all of the episode titles. Sound familiar? That is because it is exactly the same as the cover art. There is also an option to turn on subtitles, as well as a Play All option. There are no chapters placed within the episodes. It is worth noting that of the four episodes on the disc, there are two titles that are slightly wrong on the menu. The episode “All Mothers Worry” is spelled incorrectly as “All Mother’s Worry” and the episode “How the Other Side Lives” is listed as “How the Other Half Lives.” Not a huge deal, but they had these titles correct on the season sets, so I don’t understand why they got them wrong this time.
Video and Audio Quality:
As has been the case with the previous releases, these episodes were definitely not remastered from the original film elements, but they ARE unedited and generally look decent. There were some problems with video quality in some previous releases, but none of those episodes were included on this set. Still, there are some issues, such as grain, vertical lines, and contrast issues, but all in all, it isn’t a disaster. There isn’t a major problem with the audio this time either, but it isn’t perfect by any means. The first three episodes on the set are subtitled in English for those who require subtitles, but unfortunately, the fourth episode is not.
The DVD contains no special features, at all. I was hoping there would be some, considering that there are only four episodes on this release, but unfortunately there weren’t. It would have been nice if her children could have done some commentary or a featurette about her, considering that they were involved in the selection of the episodes.
This release is a fine release if you are just interested in owning a few episodes, but I think that most fans would be more satisfied with purchasing the season sets. The first three seasons are already out on DVD, and all four episodes that are contained on this set can be found on that set. Unfortunately, there is some very disappointing news about the future of this series on DVD. Virgil Films has indicated, by e-mail, that their relationship with those who hold the rights to the series has ended, and the remaining seasons of the series will not be released, at least not by them. I sincerely hope that some arrangement is worked out with Virgil Films or some other company to continue this great series on DVD. I didn’t discover it until DVD, and I really do want to see more. This is a great family series and I would really hate it if there were no further releases.
This is a great selection of episodes, but the season sets are better. This DVD might be good for somebody who is completely unfamiliar with the series to become acquainted with the series, but more serious fans will need more than what is provided here.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall Score: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 04/09/10
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