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Welcome Back, Kotter - Television Favorites



DVD Release Date: February 28, 2006 (Warner Bros. Home Video)
MSRP: $9.97
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 6
Running Time: Approx. 151 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English, Spanish, and French Subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Welcome back to Buchanan High! You can join the Sweathogs--Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington, Arnold Horshack, Juan Epstein, Vinnie Barbarino, and of course their fearless leader, Mr. Kotter, in the "TV Favorites" DVD collection of this great 70s sitcom.

For those that have never seen the show, "Welcome Back, Kotter," was a 70s sitcom that aired on ABC about the Sweathogs--a group of "academically deficient" high school students. And their teacher, Gabe Kotter, is himself a former Sweathog... that is teaching in the very same class that he was a student in just a few years ago! The series explores what happens when a Sweathog has a teacher that is one of their own, and how they learn from each other.

Episodes Included:

There are six episodes on the DVD. It begins with "One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest," where a flu epidemic has hit Buchanan High and Mr. Woodman is forced to combine the Judy and Todd from the advanced class with the few healthy Sweathogs in Kotter's class... how will they all manage to be in the same class together for a whole week?

Next we have "Father Vinnie," where Barbarino's dying grandmother makes it clear to him that her dying wish is for Barbarino to become a priest (since she was unable to become a nun). Is this Barbarino's true calling?

Next is "Sweatside Story," where the Sweathogs decide to form a gang--but can Kotter and Mr. Woodman help protect them during their first gang fight before it is too late?

Kotter is at a convention and must leave a pregnant Julie in the careful hands of the Sweathogs in "I'm Having Their Baby," but is this REALLY what is best for Julie and the baby? Ned Wertimer has a role a substitute teacher.

In "The Deprogramming of Arnold Horshack," Horshack decides that he has found his true religious identity--a cult! Can the Sweathogs convince Horshack to leave the cult? Ellen Travolta guest stars as Horshack's mother.

Finally, the last episode on the disc is "Goodbye Mr. Kripps," where the much disliked shop teacher dies while he is yelling about Barbarino... and Barbarino feels like he caused the death. Can the Sweathogs convince him that he is wrong, or was it really Barbarino's fault?


There isn't much to the packaging on these individual disc releases. Basically, all we have here is a typical Amaray case (a clear one) that has a cast photo on the front of it. When you open up the case, there is another cast photo, with (obviously) the disc on the right side and a listing of the episodes on the left side. There are no episode descriptions or anything, just titles and the writers and directors of each episode. The disc itself has yet another cast photo on it... are you getting the idea now that there are cast photos everywhere? Well they aren't exactly, because the disc itself does not have a cast photo on it... just a picture of Kotter himself.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are pretty basic, with the theme music playing in the background and a cast photo on the main menu (cast photos are everywhere). The options to choose from on the main menu are Play, Episodes, and Languages... all of which are self explanatory. Basically Episodes just gives a list of the episodes on the disc to choose from and Languages allows you to turn on the subtitles. There is no scene-selection menu, and unfortunately, there are no chapters within the episodes either.

Video and Audio Quality:

There are no major issues with the video and audio quality on the disc. For the most part, the video quality seemed good, although "Sweatside Story" seemed to have a picture quality that wasn't so sharp, and almost seemed to be of VHS quality for the video on that one. Still, it isn't something to be overly concerned with. The audio is generally pretty good, presented in Dolby Digital Mono. Closed-captioning, as well as English, Spanish, and French subtitles are available. The episodes are all unedited, running at roughly 25:00 for each one.

Special Features:

No special features on this disc... these "best of" releases really ought to have something to provide consumers with an incentive for buying the discs. It doesn't have to be anything big, but something that makes the disc worth buying. It isn't as if the stars of the show (except for Travolta) are doing anything really big now, why not have them come back to participate on here?

Final Comments:

I'm not a big fan of these best of releases, primarily because what they define as the "best of" may not be the favorite episodes of everybody... and personally, I don't think any of these could be described as the "best" episodes of the show (though I think almost every fan can agree that "Sweatside Story" was one of the best). However, the episodes on the disc are very good ones at the least, and I think it may be worth picking up this disc to indicate to Warner that fans REALLY want season sets of the show. And the discs probably won't be all that expensive either--the list price is under $10, and I wouldn't be incredibly surprised to find it under $5. So welcome back all of your friends from Buchanan High, and buy this DVD today!

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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 02/17/06

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