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The Flying Nun - The Complete First Season



DVD Release Date: March 21, 2006 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 30
Running Time: approx. 617 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: 18 Minutes 11 Seconds
Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese
Subtitles: Spanish, Portuguese
Closed Captioned
Special Features: Featurette including exclusive interview with Sally Field


Two-time Academy Award winner Sally Field flies in and out of trouble as Sister Bertrille in this classic and timeless series. Always with benevolent aims, Sister Bertrille gets into all kinds of hysterical situations and manages to get into trouble with the Reverend Mother Superior (Madeleine Sherwood), with Sister Jaqueline (Marge Redmond) and with a local club owner, Carlos Ramirez (Alejandro Rey). From being mistaken for enemy aircraft to having a pelican fall in love with her to disrupting a meeting of mobsters, Sister Bertrille finds herself in precarious - and hilarious ­ situations in THE FLYING NUN - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

First of all, you’ve got to watch the pilot. It explains a lot, introduces the characters, and is just a downright entertaining 49 minutes. Some other interesting episodes include: “Old Cars for New,” where Sister Bertrille and Carlos manage to turn the tables on a used-car dealer, and provide the convent a serious benefit. “The Fatal Hibiscus” uses a classic comedy device, having a person overhearing certain phrases that would be associated with death and misinterpreting them to thinking someone is dying, to great effect. As mentioned in the introduction, in episode 11 (It’s an Ill Wind), while flying important papers to Mother Superior, Sister Bertrille interrupts a “meeting” between mobsters. In the episode “The Patron of Santa Thomasina” Sister Bertrille is mistaken for a saint while caught between rival villages. Episode 16, “Wailing in a Winter Wonderland” is just your average Christmas episode, but I’ve already noted why it’s memorable: It’s a relic of days gone by when the Christmas episode was 16 shows through the season. Today, in your usual production order, the 16th show usually airs around February or March ­ if a season even makes it that far (see: Moonlighting). In episode 21, My Sister, The Sister, Carlos falls for Sister Bertrille’s, uh, sister. In the season finale, the ­ wait for it ­ THIRTIETH episode of the season (I’d love to see THAT nowadays), Sister Bertrille is beached on an island with Carlos and the girl who threw him off his yacht.

List of Guest Stars is below. I thought I’d try something a little different, and rather than try to list 1 or 2 credits *I think* you *might* recognize, I’m instead just linking to their IMDb profiles. Hopefully this will also allow this section to expand into guest stars that might not be picked upon otherwise. For example, Herb Edelman appears in two episodes. Who is Herb Edelman, and how would Sitcoms Online visitors know him? For starters, he was Dorothy’s ex-husband Stan on The Golden Girls.

Dabney Coleman: Pilot
Susan Howard: Old Cars for New; Hot Spell
John Astin: Flight of the Dodo Bird; Young Man with a Cornette
Herb Edelman: Ah Love, Could You and I Conspire?; You Can’t Get There From Here
Foster Brooks: Young Man with a Cornette
Rich Little: With a Friend Like Him…
Jamie Farr: Sister Lucky
Ron Masak: Where There’s a Will


This is one of the more simple review sections I’ve had to write in a while, not that that’s a *bad* thing. The artwork for the set is done in 60’s-esque overly saturated colors. Sister Bertrille appears in the center, holding a book called “How to Fly”. The other nuns, Carlos, and Mother Superior are below her. Behind them is a nice sky blue with faded-out palm-trees around her. Up in the top right corner, above the show logo, is a mini-Bertrille mid-flight. Back cover has the same sky blue look, but with real clouds and palm trees, above the convent. Sister Bertrille’s still flying ­ almost resting atop the text-box. Inside are two slim cases. Each holds two discs each. The art for box 1 has a smiling Sally Field in full nun getup, with Mother Superior and another nun to her left. Slim case #2 has Sister Bertrille flying midair in front of a drawn airplane; with photos of Carlos and other nuns in the “windows” Inside art on both cases is a generic, although with a pretty­ photo of Puerto Rican coastline.

Disc by Disc Breakdown (Disc # - Episodes Contained ­ Disc Art)
Disc 1 ­ Episodes 1-7 ­ Sister Bertrille
Disc 2 ­ Episodes 8-15 ­ Sister Jacqueline
Disc 3 ­ Episodes 16-23 ­ Mother Superior
Disc 4 ­ Episodes 24-30 + Special Feature ­ Carlos

Or maybe NOT so simple…

Menu Design and Navigation:

This is yet again, a basic simplicity hiding an underlying complexity…or not. The main menu is your standard generic Sony-style menu. It’s got a stripped-down version of the main box art to the right, with menu options to the left, in front of a blue background. The thing which denotes a selected item is a pair of wings,­ which at first glance makes sense…until you think about how Sister Bertrille “flies,” at which point it just gets confusing. Language selection is essentially the same, except the background shifts to a deeper blue, and the picture shits to a couple of the nuns, including Sister Bertrille, reading the daily racing form. Reread that sentence for emphasis. Episode Selection goes in a completely different direction with the menus. You have the same shot of the convent used on the back cover, with episodes and accompanying screenshot inside a circle. Episode title is below. The radical change in design from one menu over to another (in this case main to episode selection) is just a bit strange, causing me to wonder if the episode selection menu is the original design. Play All included. And that was disc 1. Disc 2 changes the main menu color, while keeping the others the same. On disc 2, the main menu color is green. The remainder of menu style stays the same. Discs 3 and 4 do the same thing. 3 is pink, while 4 is purple. Disc 4 also has the Sally Field interview, which has no menu of its own.

Video and Audio Quality:

For those of you familiar with my reviews -­ all three of you ­- this is normally the point where I say something along the lines of “the video looks good for it’s age, and the audio is about as good as can be expected for the type of audio mix”. See, here’s where the usual formula gets thrown out the window. On the back of the box, it states “Remastered in High Definition.” Seeing this, I honestly expected pretty good video quality--yeah, sure. If this video IS remastered, I *have* to wonder just how bad the original prints looked BEFORE remastering. There is a constant omnipresent grain. The brightness flickers fairly constantly. The colors shift from strangely bright to strangely dull. It’s just not pretty. Its watchable, but it more than looks its age. Yet, suddenly, in an occasionally scene, the video looks good. Then it’s back to normal. Audio…well, that’s where the formula comes in. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0, and it sounds like it. Chapter stops at fade-to-black.


The Flying Nun (Pilot): 49:13
The Convert: 25:22
Old Cars for New: 25:56
A Bell for San Tanco: 25:22
The Fatal Hibiscus: 25:56
Flight of the Dodo Bird: 25:53
Polly Wants a Crack in the Head: 25:55
Ah Love, Could You and I Conspire?: 25:52
Days of Nuns and Roses: 25:54
With Love from Irving: 25:55
It’s an Ill Wind: 25:56
Young Man with a Cornette: 25:52
The Patron of Santa Thomasina: 25:57
If You Want to Fly, Keep Your Cornette Dry: 25:55
The Dig-In: 25:55
Wailing in Winter Wonderland: 25:54
With a Friend Like Him, Who Needs? 25:54
Tonio’s Mother: 25:53
A Fish Story: 25:54
Hot Spell: 25:53
My Sister, the Sister: 25:57
Sister Lucky: 25:51
The Sister and the Old Salt: 25:51
Cyrano de Bertrille: 25:44
The Reconversion of Sister Shapiro: 25:21
Where There’s a Will: 25:54
The Puce Alert: 25:54
May the Wind Always Be at Your Back: 25:55
Love Me, Love My Dog: 25:56
You Can’t Get There From Here: 25:39

All seem to be untouched by Sony and in full original network form, with each episode clocking in just under 26 minutes and the one-hour pilot just under 50 minutes!

Special Features:

There is one special feature…an interview with Sally Field. It was 1967, 1968, and 1969...everyone was eating granola and running around naked, and I was…the flying nun. Essentially, The Flying Nun got put on the air because ABC didn’t want to admit their mistake in Gidget’s cancellation, and so they needed a new vehicle for Sally Field. Sally did NOT want to do the show and she didn’t like the character. Her stepfather came to her and said that Harry Ackerman had called him, and he felt she should do it. She still didn’t want to do it, and she’d rather “act.” He then told her “...but you may never work again.” At that point, she got scared of not getting any future jobs, and agreed to it. They fired the girl they had lined up for the role after Sally had turned them down, and started up production again, and it went from there. At night, Madeleine Sherwood dragged Sally Field to the Actor’s Studio after a production day. More interesting things like this are contained in the 18:11, but I don’t want to spoil it. And of course, there ARE previews of other Sony Home Entertainment products.

Final Comments:

This is a good, if absurd, show. It’s interesting to see again, after having not gotten to see it in several years. It’s pretty good for the most part, and fairly well holds the test of time. It’s not completely dated, yet it shows its age. Overall, it’s a decent set. For the next set, I’d REALLY like to see some commentary, but I won’t hold my breath. Video has problems. Audio sounds good though, and the one special feature is NICE. If you’re a fan of the show, definitely pick this up. Otherwise…if you’ve got a show you’re trying to decide between and this, you might want to think a bit harder. Rental might be a good idea if you’ve never seen it.

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

Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 03/13/06

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