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BOB-THE COMPLETE SERIES: NEWHART'S LAST FORAY INTO SERIES TV
on May 14, 2012
Bob Newhart has been a staple of American TV for years. It began when he was a stand up comedian making albums that are still considered classic comedy to this day. When he took to the airwaves with his first hit TV series, THE BOB NEWHART SHOW, fans went nuts. The antics of psychiatrist Bob Hartley, his wife, friends and patients was a hit on CBS from 1972 through 1978. He followed that with NEWHART that ran from 1982-1990 (tell me you don't recall the phrase "Hi. I'm Larry and this is my other brother Daryl and my other brother Daryl.") Newhart joked on Johnny Carson's show that his series always featured his name and the next would have to be called Bob. While a joke at the time, it became reality.
BOB stars Newhart as a comic book artist who lost hold of his dream. The creator of Mad Dog, a comic book hero with the abilities of a dog, folded after several issues. Bob then went on to become a greeting card writer/artist. As the series opens he's still doing that but is contacted by a major comic publishing company owned by a reclusive millionaire to bring Mad Dog back to life.
The only problem is that the nostalgic idea of Mad Dog brought back were founded by comic book whiz kid Harlan Stone (John Cygan), a comic book genius who is more about blood, guts and explosions than the simple stories Bob had in mind. Trying to get these two different types of personalities to work together forms the basis for the series with all other items surrounding it brought in.
At home Bob has his loving wife, Kaye (Carlene Watkins) and his college aged daughter Trisha (Cynthia Stevenson). And family life becomes the fodder for his stories, including one episode when his daughter's break up becomes the theme of the first story that Bob and Harlan come up with. How that affects the family and how Bob circumvents the sell out of caring vs. creativity makes for some great laughs.
The craziness of the comic book world was little known when this series came out. It was just the beginning of what would eventually blossom into a world where comic book heroes were turned into the biggest blockbusters Hollywood has delivered in some time. So perhaps it was just ahead of it's time, the show only lasted two seasons. But for fans of Newhart and his work the release of this boxed set is a treasure. While some of the other series have been released sporadically this is the only complete one released at one time. It may not compare with the other two series, but for fans this is a must have set.
In watching the series I found that I enjoyed the shows, especially the craftsmanship displayed by Newhart himself. He is a tremendous comedian who never turns in a bad performance. Also in watching I realized that he was never one to hog the camera to himself and very often aided in developing the rest of the cast into characters that he could either work off of or present at their own personal best. That's a rare thing with most actors. It always helped the shows he was involved with, including this one.
It may not rank up there with the likes of the two previous series Newhart put together, but this one does offer some laughs. It's a must have for fans of Newhart and worth watching for everyone else. You'll most likely walk away wondering why this series didn't last as long as the other two.