DVD Review: The Dick Van Dyke Show - Complete Series
Longtime readers of this blog know how much I love this show. I pretty much became a writer because Rob Petrie was one. I also hoped I could get a woman like Mary Tyler Moore. It's my favorite show. Here's more proof: even though I had already bought three seasons of this show on DVD in individual sets, I still bought this complete set.
A quick background on the show, as if you don't already know: Dick Van Dyke plays Rob Petrie, head writer of the hit variety show The Alan Brady Show, husband to Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), father to Ritchie (Larry Mathews), best friend to his neighbors the Helpers (Jerry Paris and Ann Morgan Guilbert). He lives in New Rochelle, NY and commutes to New York City to write the show with fellow staff writers Sally Rogers and Buddy Sorrell (Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam) and deal with exasperated producer Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon) and egotistical star Alan Brady (Carl Reiner).
Got all that? Good. Let's get to the nitty gritty details of the set.
Picture/Sound Quality: Both are fantastic. In fact, the picture is so clear I'm noticing things about the set that I never noticed before. How the back window of Rob, Sally, and Buddy's office has a windowsill where there are magazines stacked up. You can read the front of cereal boxes and other items in the show. And what the heck is that thing in back of the Petrie's kitchen sink in some of the episodes? It looks like a radio, but they wouldn't have a radio there, would they (besides, they already have a radio in the kitchen)? Is it some old-fashioned controller for a dishwasher? The video is very crisp and nice. There's something so alive and vibrant about clear, clean black & white video.
Packaging: All of the DVDs for the five seasons are housed in one box that sorta looks like an old television. It's neat (the back of the box looks like the back of an old TV), but that hologram card that is inserted on the front is a little cumbersome. It's cool (my set shows Rob and Laura Petrie dancing, but there might be other pics), but it sticks out a bit. You can take it out if you want though and maybe put it on your desk or shelf, so that's a minor quibble. As for the DVD cases, they are the usual plastic cases that snap closed and house one DVD each. I wish each season had info for all the extras contained in that season set, like the individual sets do, but again that's a minor quibble with a set this great.
Extras: One word to describe the extras, and it's "wow." You'll find commentaries from Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, Rose Marie, Larry Matthews (real name: Mazzeo), Ann Morgan Guilbert, and Bill Idelson, tons of pictures taken by Roddy McDowell, interviews with every single cast member, original commercials for Joy dishwashing liquid and Kent cigarettes (shot on the set and in character!), behind the scenes and rehearsal footage, rememberences of cast members that have passed away, a trivia game, an episode of a game show the cast appeared on in the early 60s, an episode of The Danny Thomas Show that featured Morey Amsterdam, and...so much more. Fans will be in heaven with all these extras. (There are also several Easter Eggs hidden on the set - many of them can be found if you go to the "opening" option on the episode scene selection and hit your left arrow button the remote. Rob's head with light up.)
All and all, one of the greatest DVD sets ever released. They really did justice to a classic show, and it's a real treat.