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What's Happening - The Complete Series



DVD Release Date: June 10, 2008 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $59.95
Number of Discs: 9
Number of Episodes: 65
Running Time: 1612 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Who would have thought What’s Happening!! would be back on DVD again, but it is! Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is re-releasing all three seasons in one complete series set with new packaging that they are calling “compact packaging.” It is a space-saver set. If you have never bought this series on DVD, then you should get this set because it is very light surprisingly. I have the season sets, and I compared them side by side, and the complete series set is much smaller and does save space on your DVD shelf.

What’s Happening!! stars Ernest Thomas as Roger “Raj” Thomas, Haywood Nelson as Dwyane Nelson, Fred Berry as Freddy “Rerun” Stubbs, Mabel King as Mama Thomas, Danielle Spencer as Dee Thomas and Shirley Hemphill as Shirley Wilson.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Now we have done DVD reviews for all three seasons. So there is really no point telling you which episodes are the most memorable since I already did it. But when we did the season one review, our DVD reviews back then were very short, and we have gotten much detailed since. So, I will say which episodes are the most memorable from all three seasons.

For Season 1, the most memorable episodes are the very first episode, “The Runaway,” in which Raj can't go to the "party of the year" because Mama needs him to watch Dee. In “Saturday's Hero,” when Rerun is recruited for the football team, he develops a big head and snubs his friends, until he needs their help writing a speech for class. One of the funniest and best episodes of the series is “The Burger Queen,” where Rerun auditions for a TV commercial for a hamburger joint, but Dee tags along and gets the job instead, even though she dislikes their food. In “Christmas,” since Mama usually works on Christmas, Raj and Dee agree to have dinner at their father's apartment. In “The Maid Did It,” Mama loses her job when her employer, Mrs. Turner, accuses her of stealing a valuable diamond ring. In “The Tickets,” when Mama gives Raj two tickets to a Stevie Wonder concert, he's torn over which friend to bring. The season finale is “Puppy Love,” in which Raj is tutoring a girl whose dog is about to have puppies, but his family thinks that he's becoming a dad! Guest stars for season one include Helen Martin as Mille, Teddy Wilson as Mr. Wilson, Thalmus Rasulala as Bill Thomas, Dick Van Patten as Mr. Claxton, David White as Mr. Reynolds, Robbie Rist as John Stevens, Rosalind Cash as Loretta, Alice Ghostely as Mrs. Turner, Fritzi Burr as Miss Collins, and Earl Billings as Rob.

For Season 2, the most memorable episodes are: “Rerun Gets Married,” “Rerun Sees the Light,” “Going, Going, Gong,” “Dee’s First Date” and the 2-parter “Doobie or Not Doobie.” The season finale is “The Apartment” where Raj and Rerun move out after graduation into an apartment, which will be the main setting for season three. Some famous guest stars for season two include Irena Cara (“Rerun Gets Married”), Tim Reid (“It’s All In Your Head”), Ellen Travolta (“Nothing Personal”), The Gong Show cast (“Going, Going, Gong”) and The Doobie Brothers (“Doobie or Not Doobie”).

For Seasons 3, the most memorable episodes are: Can Rerun win the disco contest in “Disco Dollar Disaster,” can Shirley make big “dough” with her cookies in “Shirley’s Cookies,” Raj is up to his crazy ideas of moving out in “Raj Moves Out” and taking a nude artist model job in “No Clothes Make the Man,” is Dee good enough to be a cheerleader in “Dee The Cheerleader,” will Rerun sue Rob’s Place for food poisoning in (ironically) “Food Poisoning,” see Rerun as The Fonz, Jack Tripper, and Mork from Ork as he gets a job at ABC as a page in “The Last Page,” and in the series finale the gang do something nice in “The Benefit Show.” Guest stars for season three include John Ritter’s then wife Nancy Morgan in “No Clothes Make the Man,” Kim Fields’ mother Chip Fields in “Food Poisoning,” the great Hal Williams in “The Eviction,” Todd Bridges’ mother Betty Bridges in “The Debate,” Leave it to Beaver’s Richard Deacon in “A Present for Dee” and the durable Helen Martin in “The Benefit Show.” Fritzi Burr returns in “The Debate” as Miss Collins and Earl Billings returns in various episodes as Rob. Joining the cast in recurring roles this season are Leland Smith as Snake, David Hollander as Little Earl and John Welsh as Big Earl.


Now here is the new part! The packaging as I said earlier is compact and is a space-saver. The cover art has a red/black color scheme with a photo of the cast in a square box. The cast photo is of Roger, Dwayne, Rerun and Shirley, and is the same photo as the season two DVD cover art, but not as big. The show logo is on top of that in blue lettering. Also, the show logo is transparent in the red background on the cover art. Beneath the cast photo it says “The Complete Series, All 65 Episodes.” The back of the box it has the show logo again on top followed by “The Complete Series, Seasons 1-3.” Then we have the cover art for all three seasons, which is nice, so I guess is this is geared for fans that already have these three seasons? Because why would first time buyers care what the cover art looked for the season DVDs? Anyway, below that, an overview of the series and specifications follow. When we open the box, we get a nice yellow/orange color scheme with the show logo on the left side followed by nice promotional photos and screen shots. Season by season breakdowns are available as well wit episode by disc. Now, on the right side there is a little hole where we can pull out something. We have to remove the plastic wrap and then we see the discs. The discs are in a black spindle type of thing. The covering of the spindle is like black cardboard style. The discs are protected by a brown cardboard cover so the discs don’t get damaged by the spindle. The artwork for each disc as the artwork for the season sets, so nothing is different there. All 9 discs are stacked together...they should have made it more creative and have labels or something for each season. Very bland, come on a spindle?

Menu Design and Navigation:

There is nothing new here. All the menu screens are exactly the same obviously and nothing is changed content wise. I suggest you read our reviews for each individual season:

Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3

We apologize for the lack of detail on the season one review, as that was our very first review ever and we were not detailed back then.

Video and Audio Quality:

What more can I say? The content of this complete series set is exactly the same as the individual season sets, so we get the same material. Again, I urge you to read our past reviews for the individual sets to get more insight:

Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3

Special Features:

This series never had any extras on the individual DVDs, and Sony doesn’t give us a thing here either. This set would have been really worth it if a bonus disc of some sort was included. How about something creative? Sure the packaging is new, but that’s it? Are fans paying $59.95 just for the packaging? Some bloopers, or even bonus episodes of What’s Happening Now!! would have been nice.

Final Comments:

Well the complete series set is here, but there is nothing new except the box. The boxes/cases used for the individual seasons are not here obviously as they stacked every disc in some spindle type thing. I don’t know who Sony is trying to sell here. Is it the fans who already bought the sets...or fans/newbies who have not bought the sets? As I stated before, it has to be for fans that have it already because they show us the individual cover arts on the back of the box on this complete series set. I really wish Sony gave us a bonus disc with some extras. That way, even fans who bought all three seasons would at least buy this set for a reason. CBS DVD gave us a bonus disc on their Brady Bunch complete series set, so Sony should have done the same here. It is disappointing. Since they are so slow on What’s Happening Now!!, they could have gave us the complete series of that on this set as well, since seasons 2 and 3 of that series hasn’t come out yet. That would have gotten even more buyers for this set. I just don’t get what Sony is trying to do here. I hope they release seasons two and three of What’s Happening Now!! soon. Anyway, if you haven’t bought this series, get this complete series set because it’ll save you money at least.

See my What’s Happening!! and What’s Happening Now!! page:

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

Video Quality: 4/5 (generally for seasons 1-3)
Audio Quality: 4/5 (generally for seasons 1-3)
Special Features: 0/5 (generally for seasons 1-3)
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5 (generally for seasons 1-3)
Overall: 3.5/5 (for the complete series package)

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 06/07/08

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