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The Golden Girls - The Complete First Season



DVD Release Date: November 23, 2004 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
color, approx. 617 minutes
MSRP: $49.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 25
Language and Subtitles: English, English subtitles, Closed Captioned
Special Features: Fashion Commentary by Joan and Melissa Rivers

Review (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5


After all of these years of waiting, you can finally thank Buena Vista Home Entertainment for being a friend for releasing one of the most anticipated TV-on-DVD products of the year: The Golden Girls! The Complete First Season is a three-disc set that includes all 25 UNEDITED episodes from the first season. For those that have been watching the (heavily) edited episodes of The Golden Girls on Lifetime for the past several years, this set is exactly what you have been waiting for!

It is very difficult to make just a short list of great episodes of The Golden Girls from any season, as almost every one of them is a great episode in its own unique way. However, some of my favorites from the first season include "Transplant," "The Competition," "Break-In," "Heart Attack," "Adult Education," and "Blind Ambitions." But besides those episodes, one of the best episodes of perhaps the entire series is included on this set--"A Little Romance." That was the Emmy Award winning episode where Rose dates a psychologist that is... well... "height challenged." If you haven't seen the episode, it is one that you must see.

The packaging for this set wasn't the greatest, but it was acceptable. Inside the box, there is a digipak that holds the discs. Disc One has its own panel and is easy to remove from the package. However, in order to get Disc Two out of the case, you have to first remove Disc Three. On the left-hand panel of the digipak, there is a list that explains which episodes are on which disc. It also includes writing and directing credits for each episode. I was kind of hoping for a booklet with descriptions of the episodes, but unfortunately, there wasn't one.

The episodes are presented on each disc in the order in which they originally aired on NBC. Episodes 1-8 are on Disc One, episodes 9-17 are on Disc Two, and episodes 18-25 and the special featurette are on Disc Three. With 25 episodes, it would have made more sense to do a four disc set. Unfortunately, Buena Vista chose to do just three. Disc One also has trailers on it (for the first season of Home Improvement, Princess Diaries II, and the 40th Anniversary Edition of Mary Poppins). Unfortunately, they are forced trailers, so once you put the DVD in, the trailers begin playing. You can, however, skip past the trailers by using the Menu button on the remote.

The options on the main menu on each disc include Play All, Episode Selection, and Setup. The first two are pretty much self-explanatory, but the third one is a menu that allows you to turn subtitles on or off, and gives you information about registering the DVD on the internet. I honestly do not know anything about the registration process, but it says that if you register, then you are eligible for the Disc Replacement Program, DVD technical support, and notification of special offers. Maybe it is a good idea to register if you think that it would be a useful thing to do. There is no scene selection option in this set; however, there are several chapter stops on each episode. Disc One also has an option to view the trailers (the ones that you are already forced to watch when you insert the disc) and Disc Three has an option for the special featurette. Also, on all three discs, the closing credits music from the show plays.

The video quality of the episodes is fairly good. The series is, of course, almost 20 years old, but the video quality doesn't look that old. The quality isn't perfect, but there aren't any major issues with the video quality either. The audio quality is also fairly good. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Surround Sound. The audio did seem a bit muffled from time to time (particularly on the opening credits), but it was not a very serious problem.

The only REAL complaint I have about the set is the special features that are included. An attempt at special features was made, but the only real special feature is a 10 minute featurette on Disc Three with Joan and Melissa Rivers critiquing the fashion of the ladies on The Golden Girls. It really isn't all that entertaining though in my opinion. Basically it is just Joan and Melissa talking about how "tacky" they think the clothing worn on The Golden Girls is. This was obviously just included for the sake of comedy, since Joan and Melissa keep making fun of how weird and how "1980ish" the ladies clothes are, but it really wasn't too funny or entertaining. At least an effort was made in regards to special features... it is just too bad they couldn't have commentaries on the episodes or some special features that involve the cast members of The Golden Girls. The fashion commentary is very odd and out of place for this set.

By the way, for those who are wondering about the opening credits situation, the opening credits that are included is similar the longer one that is sometimes aired on Lifetime (not the VERY long one, but the moderately long one). I can not positively confirm whether or not these are the original opening credits since I do not have access to original airings from 1985, but there are a few differences from the Lifetime version of the opening credits. For instance, the background on the Golden Girls logo at the beginning of the credits is different, and when Rue McClanahan is credited, a different clip of her is shown from the one on Lifetime. Everything else in the opening credits is the same, however.

This set (like almost every set) isn't perfect, but if you are only going to collect a few TV-on-DVD products in your lifetime, this is the one that you want to collect! This is one of the greatest sitcoms ever, and one of the very few shows where every season is equally as good as another. Hopefully, Buena Vista will release every season as soon as possible. In fact, according to promotional material that is included inside of the set, Season 2 of The Golden Girls is already scheduled to be released in spring 2005 (along with Home Improvement Season 2 and Boy Meets World Season 3)! So make sure that you go out and buy this set, even if you don't want it personally. Everybody knows some Golden Girls fan, and this set is being released just in time for the holiday season. It makes a perfect holiday gift!

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 11/10/04

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