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The Muppet Show - Season Two



Release Date: August 7, 2007 (Walt Disney Video)
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: approx. 612 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 43 minutes.
Special Features:
* The Muppets Valentines Special
* The Muppets on The Muppets
* Weezer & The Muppets


And now, a show that needs no introduction, but hereís one anyway...

Go bonkers with Beaker, goofy with Gonzo, and join the brave cast of Pigs in Space for one of the most revolutionary and acclaimed shows in the history of television. Garnering an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Program in its hilarious second season, The Muppet Show redefined prime time and showcased a host of outrageous guest stars, including Steve Martin, Peter Sellers, Elton John, Julie Andrews, and more.

Experience all 24 episodes from Season Two -- digitally remastered and restored -- in this special 4-disc DVD set. With hours of bonus features, including The Muppets Valentine Special and rare archival footage, The Muppet Show is even better than you remember.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Due to the nature of The Muppet Show (a variety show), this section is, like season 1, structured differently. This will serve as more of an episode list, which will in turn encompass the list of guest stars. All episodes are thoroughly entertaining; you really canít go wrong with any of them.

1) Don Knotts
2) Zero Mostel
3) Milton Berle
4) Rich Little
5) Judy Collins
6) Nancy Walker
7) Edgar Bergen
8) Steve Martin
9) Madeline Kahn
10) George Burns
11) Dom DeLuise
12) Bernadette Peters
13) Rudolf Nurayev
14) Elton John
15) Lou Rawls
16) Cleo Lain
17) Julie Andrews
18)Jaye P. Morgan
19) Peter Sellers
20) Petula Clark
21) Bob Hope
22) Teresa Brewer
23) John Cleese
24) Cloris Leachman


As with season 1, there are two different versions of the front cover -- itís only a minor difference, but one that exists nonetheless. One version, such as the one I received, has an overlay of pink felt in the design of Miss Piggy, while the other version just has Miss Piggyís face printed on the box (similar to how Kermitís face was done on the Season 1 set). The Muppet Show logo is, however, printed on the box (giving it a slightly depressed elevation relative to the felt). The spine is purple with The Muppet Show: The Complete Second Season text running up the side. On the box is a purple curtain with two still images and descriptive text.

Inside the box is a two-panel digipak. Each panel has a disc holder, with each holder holding two overlapping discs. Front and rear covers feature a wood-panel door on the right, with various cast members peeking from behind it. Front cover has Kermit & Miss Piggy; rear cover has Statler & Waldorf, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and Animal. On the rear cover the door lists which episodes are on which discs. Episodes 1-6 are on the first disc, the seventh through thirteenth episodes are on the second, and 13 through 19 are on the third, while 20-24 are on the fourth and final disc. Each of the 4 discs has a Muppet standing in front of a purple color, while the discs themselves are somewhat reflective. Miss Piggy is on disc 1, Kermit is on the second disc, Beaker is on the third disc, while Animal is on the 4th disc. I was pleasantly surprised to see Beaker -- I always was a fan of the character. I figured that Gonzo and Fozzie would be on the third and fourth discs. This was a fun surprise.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are absolutely wonderful. The menus open with a quick animation similar to the beginning of the show opening, with the curtain rising about 10 seconds inward. At that point, the menu options appear near the bottom, while different characters talk until you select an option. (The menu is of course on a loop) The main theme plays in the background. I wonít lie, Buena Vista/Disneyís DVD sets have always had some of the finest menus in TV DVD sets, and this main menu may be one of their best even among their other products. Episode selection menu features characters in their usual habitats (Swedish Chef in the kitchen, etc.), with each episode appearing in a list -- with still image -- to the right. Set-Up menu is the same way.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio are extremely good...for their age. These arenít super-high-definition film masters -- these are television shows from the late 70s. Remember that. That said, aside from the video seemingly slightly over-sharpened, the video is as good as youíre going to get for the era. Audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track with no defects I can notice. Thereís no hiss, the sound is well-balanced...itís fine. The only subtitles are English for the deaf and hard of hearing (essentially captioning accessible from the subtitles menu), plus standard closed captioning accessible through that normal route. Perhaps alternate audio or at least subtitles from another language might have been nice, but itís really secondary to the English language requirement for a region 1 release. Chapter stops are placed at the end of each act -- where each commercial break would be.

But the primary concern here is edits. Hopefully in the days and weeks to come Iíll be able to provide a more thorough check of the episodes and see for now. Here, at least, are the runtimes. Letís see if anything is grossly amiss there:

Disc 1:
Don Knotts: 25:45
Zero Mostel: 25:46
Milton Berle: 25:43
Rich Little: 25:44
Judy Collins: 25:46
Nancy Walker: 25:43

Disc 2:
Edgar Bergen: 25:38
Steve Martin: 25:42
Madeline Kahn: 25:41
George Burns: 25:42
Dom Deluise: 25:39
Bernadette Peters: 25:42
Rudolf Nurayev: 25:34

Disc 3:
Elton John: 27:38
Lou Rawls: 25:42
Cleo Laine: 25:39
Julie Andrews: 25:39
Jaye P. Morgan: 25:41
Peter Sellers: 25:43

Disc 4:
Petula Clark: 25:38
Bob Hope: 25:43
Theresa Brewer: 25:42
John Cleese: 25:42
Cloris Leachman: 25:38

Special Features:

The Muppets Valentine Special (25:37): This is a program that served as an on-air pilot for the Muppets in general, that aired on ABC in early 1974. This is a rather interesting program, which hasnít been seen in years. Iím amazed they thought to include this as a feature, and am quite impressed.

The Muppets on The Muppets (12:46): Interviews with the various clips, including several guests from Muppets Tonight (wow). Interview clips include the following:
Kermit & Fozzie: Why are you friends?
Gonzo & Rizzo: What is Friendship?
Ruzzi & Pepe: Does Size Really Matter? [Wait a minute; this is a Disney product...]
As well as varied interviews with multiple cast on matters such as:
Are you dating? What about Piggy? A Place in Maine? And where is your favorite place to visit?
But wait, thereís more. Pepe the Prawn (Muppets Tonight) is asked what the secret to success is. Animal is asked what truly makes him happy. Also asked to various Muppets are the truly hard-hitting questionsÖwhere do you find happiness? Who inspires you? What was Jim Henson like? How does it feel to be a role model?

Weezer & the Muppets: Keep Fishin (4:27): A music video featuring the band Weezer and The Muppets.

Total Runtime of Special Features: 42 Minutes 50 Seconds.

Final Comments:

This was a great set, but it just felt the set was just a step missing from becoming one of the best TV DVD sets ever. This omission is probably in the features department. While the Muppets Valentine special is a GREAT addition, after that the features drop off fast. There were a million other things they could have included but held off on. They could have done commentaries, Production featurettes, Promotions materials (interviews, talk show appearances, what have you) much material available. The features are the only thing I think needs improvement for season 3 -- and Iím just picky.

This is a great DVD set, and a wonderful show, and there is no reason, aside from budgetary ones, thatís valid enough to not own this show. The Muppet Show should be required television for all DVD collections. Buy this set -- thereís a handy link at the end of this review that allows you to purchase the DVD set, AND support Sitcoms Online -- itís a purchase you wonít regret.

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

Audio: 4/5
Video: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Final Score: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 07/23/07

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