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Earlier this year, Time Life and Star Vista finally released the "China Beach" set that fans had been awaiting for over 25 years! Of course, it came with a rather hefty price tag. If you are interested in the Complete Series, go straight to the source and do a quick Internet search of Time Life with China Beach to get the best price available. Suggested selling price for the Complete Series is 199.95 with a Collector's Edition available at 274.95. Do NOT pay second hand seller prices on this site! I am pleased, however, that they have also portioned off Season One for a regular and priced-right DVD release. This does make me nervous, though. Whether or not future seasons will get individual releases is still up in the air and will undoubtedly be dependent on sales of this set. The good news for those looking to make a Season One purchase, this is exactly what you would get in the Complete Series package.

The three disc set has the seven episodes of Season One:
1) China Beach Pilot
2) Home
3) Hot Spell
4) Somewhere Over The Radio
5) Waiting For Beckett
6) Brothers
7) Chad Ong

The third disc has two extended featurettes:
1) China Beach: How It All Began: The show's creators wax nostalgic about the program, its influence and importance, and the cast. They are especially proud of this achievement.
2) Highlights From The 25th Anniversary Cast Reunion: This is a great peek at many of the major cast members now. They contrast how they appear in present day with the series finale (which had aged them). My only comment is that I watched this with someone who had not seen the series in its original run. Seeing who attended, who was in the series finale and who was not, was a little bit of a plot spoiler for newbies.

Debuting in 1988 and running for four seasons, the show constantly challenged its viewers and thwarted conventional expectations. In my opinion, it was one of the three defining shows of its era in terms of sheer ambition, gritty realism, and emotional impact. I remember episodes from the initial run as if I had seen them yesterday, and that says a lot for a program celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary! "China Beach" became one of the most requested unreleased programs on the popular website TVShowsOnDVD and so it's fair to say that expectations were high for this DVD debut. Part of the delay, I'm sure, was negotiating the rights to the many songs that were featured during its broadcast run. And unlike some other popular shows of the era (Northern Exposure, for example), they didn't want to make arbitrary substitutions for the DVD release. If you remember the show, the music was absolutely integral to its storytelling.

Season One is largely seen through the eyes of two outsiders (Laurette and Cherry) to China Beach. Perhaps the fullest character arc goes to Chloe Webb as Laurette, an entertainer that finds more than she bargained for in her experiences in Viet Nam. Her powerful work in the last epsiode scored her a guest actress EMMY nomination. The Pilot episode (nominated for Writing and Directing EMMYs) is still a tremendous introduction to the characters and situations. While the show would continue to get richer in the following seasons, Season One really played up the core of female characters vital to the shows success including Dana Delaney and Marg Helgenberger, both would win EMMYs for later seasons. No doubt about it, "China Beach" is landmark TV. The whole series is essential viewing, let's just hope that those that purchase Season One will be able to get the other ones individually as well. KGHarris, 9/13.
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on December 26, 2013
Was very disappointed to realize that no closed captioning was available on the Season 1 set. Really, how difficult is it to include captions? (Yes, I tried to get captions through the television...) Loved this series when it originally aired and was looking forward to seeing it again. But would have preferred captions!!
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on January 20, 2014
I have to recommend this superb series for its wonderful, affecting storylines, its respectful look back at the Vietnam War and
its particular look at the women who participated in that war and the attitudes and values of that time, and the great acting by all
of the cast members. This was a show that has long deserved to be issued on DVD. Was it worth the wait? Yes, for all the reasons
mentioned. Then why only three stars?. Well, after so many years of waiting for the DVD release, fans of the
show deserved better. The picture quality is so-so, with some scenes so dark they're hard to watch. And the lack of captions is
a real drawback for a show that depends on literate, somber, soft-spoken dialogue. For all the years this show's followers have
anticipated the DVD release, a better job could have been done. Don't miss this show by any means, but be prepared for the
drawbacks of the DVD set.
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on November 6, 2013
China Beach was a Critically acclaimed series that ran from April 1988 to July 1991. Finally after a 25 years wait and hundreds of requests from fans, it's available on DVD in 2013!

China Beach was one of my most favorite shows back in the day. It has been so long that I didn't realize that Marg Helgenberger, who plays Catherine Willows in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, was the same actress as the very Hot Redhead, Karen Charlene "K.C." Koloski, a heroin-addicted prostitute and later black-marketeer that I had a crush on as a teen. Also didn't realize that Dana Delany who played Katherine Mayfair on the Desperate Housewives and played Megan Hunt on the ABC drama series Body of Proof was the same actress as China Beach's Nurse Colleen McMurphy. They both looked different with red hair in China Beach (Nowadays Blond). Also surprised to see Robert Picardo, the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH), "The Doctor", on Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and some Star Trek movies and played Richard Woolsey in the Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe was the same actor as Dr. Dick Richards on China Beach (who had hair back than).

Only complaint, as someone mentioned earlier, with No Sub-Titles nor Closed-Captions which my wife needs (she's not deaf) just unable to comprehend actors talking in an accent whether it's a Texas, Southern, Mid-Western, Bronx, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Boston, Scottish, Cockney, Irish, Aussie, Hispanic, Hip-Hop/Ghetto Talk, Cajun nor French-Canadian. She really needs English Subs (so do I sometimes) which especially should be available since we're paying up the yin-yang on these DVD sets. Seems like the more expensive the DVD and BD Sets are missing Subs and CC whereas the cheap TV DVD sets have Subs or CC..
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on September 8, 2013
I didn't start watching "China Beach" regularly until Season Two (the 1988-89 season) so over the years, I've never seen all the episodes of Season One. The pilot is stunning. The photography, the story, the clothes and that tear jerking climax - it sets up the show perfectly and introduces each characters. The first three episodes of Season One, while enjoyable, are at times a little weak. Yes, the show is set during the VietNam War but instead of the war being the backdrop, at times it feels like an afterthought. Instead, we get a lot of intrigue with Cherry's mission to find her brother, KC's black market ventures and McMurphy being wooed by a "zoomie," complete with a really unconvincing jet ride through the clouds. We also get stories about air conditioners, laryngitis and a rather painful scene where the woman are all in a bunker together during an air raid and discuss their first times. (I didn't know they had segregated bunkers when everybody was scrambling for their lives.) Watching these early episodes, (save the pilot) I can see why some of the real-life nurses who served in VietNam were wary of the show.

But luckily, the show gels with the episode "Waiting for Beckett." From then on, Season One closes out with some good episodes and the actors really get to know their characters (if you watch closely, you'll see that Lila never refers to herself as military in Season One; she was retrofitted as brass in Season Two and suddenly her character makes a lot more sense.) It's a great setup for Season Two when John Wells joined the producing team and the show grew much darker- and better.
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on March 6, 2014
I was a kid during Vietnam, but my Dad fought in Vietnam. I'm also a nurse, and for a long time, I wouldn't watch medical shows because they never get us right. I have friends who were Vietnam nurses. I decided to watch this series on DVD, and I am pretty impressed by this series. It brought back a lot of memories for me. I loved the characters, and the stories are very well written. I can also relate to it as a nurse working trauma in a big city. This isn't a one dimensional portrayal of war or what it is like to be a nurse or work in extreme and terrible situations. It's got a lot of layers to it. It's the best medical show I've seen so far. I plowed through each episode one after another, and I found it to be very engaging and very entertaining.
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on November 15, 2013
It's hard to know how to rate this wonderful show. I just knew that they would have added closed captioning when it was finally released to the public. I can't tell you how disappointed I was to discover they hadn't added CC. My favorite TV show of all time and I can't really enjoy it because I can't tell what's being said half the time.
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on October 19, 2013
this was one of the best shows of all time. should have lasted as long as mash, had same caliber of talent. the story was that powerful.
dana Delaney, today she is drop dead gorgeous, then she was unbelievable. incredible actress

This show made you cry, laugh, think, remember. thank you to all the men and women who served and protected us through the years, we forgot for so long. so many unsung heroes.
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on September 17, 2013
LOVE LOVE LOVE , this set! Dana is smoking hot and I forgot the awesome tunes on the show! Buy this!
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on February 25, 2014
Wow, It's been over twenty five years since the pilot of this intelligent, beautiful moving series was shot. It's been a long wait for a DVD release of this superb series. I give the series four stars and this release two and a half stars, which Amazon does not allow so i went up to three stars as two stars would have been overly harsh.

Unfortunately, while this DVD release is packed with very welcome extras included cast and crew interviews and commentaries. The audio and video presentation leaves a lot to be desired, especially when comparing this release to Shout Factory's recent release of another great late eighties series, Thirtysomething.
The picture quality in the Thirtysomething release is revelatory. Which is to be expected when the release producers went back and scanned the original 35mm film elements at 2K (2048x1080) HD. If it is not obvious in viewing the pilot that the masters used for this release of China beach are in fact the old NTSC broadcast masters, the video overlay stating that the programme is presented in stereo (Ironically, this DVD is a dual mono release) that appears on subsequent episodes gives the game away. Muddy images with shifting contrast between shots and a surprising amount of scratching is an unusual thing to see with a U.S, series. Particularly when the show is not that old. Check out the excellent DVD and Blu-ray release of The Twilight Zone, a programme thirty years older then China Beach. U.S. commercial film and television is usually technically brilliant. Regardless of a programme's other qualities the audio and video presentation is rarely anything less then superb.

China Beach was produced at Warner Brothers and I assume they still retain the show's original elements. I realise that a video release has a budget that it must work within. I would like to have my cake and eat it to, but I would gladly do without the extras if it meant we got new 2K scans of every episode and touch wood all the original songs intact. I can see that a lot of work has gone into this release, over 250 songs cleared, only 17 tracks over four seasons had to be replaced Considering That I paid less then twenty dollars each for this and the second season I do not mean to be a grouch and I am grateful that the series has gotten a home video release. Given the diappointing quality, I cannot recommend the overpriced box set. I hope seasons three and four get a separate release.
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