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on June 11, 2008
SOAP is truly one of the best comedies of all time! Great actors (well acted as well), Great comedic timing, and great plot twists. So before I go any further, the show itself is a 5++ star rating. This review is not about the show, but how the DVD set that is NOT COMPLETE and how the Studio who produce this (Sony/Columbia Tristar) have shown an injustice to a great T.V. Show.
As mentioned by a reviewer before me....the packaging is the worst of it's kind. I already have the seasons sets (which the packaging is 100 times better), but I wanted to check the new complete series (online reviews and at Best Buy) to see if there is anything new/extra and or different than the season sets. The packaging is VERY FLIMSY. And it is as described by the prior reviewer in a spiral format (like you buy blank DVD's or CDs). Even gave it the worst packaging ever (see the following link for details on how bad the packaging is: [...] )
In addition to the bad packaging, both, the complete series and the individual season sets, the episodes have been cut. Each episode should run approximately 25 minutes.....some episodes have been cut down to 22-23 minutes. Why is this? Frankly, I don't know why? The reason I do know they have been cut is I originally bought the VHS tapes from Columbia House years ago, and they were in the original ABC broadcast form. In particular to the first season, there used to be a "parental discretion" by the announcer in the beginning of the show. Also, there is a scene in the first season with Jody (Billy Crystal) who is trying on Mary's clothes. That scene has been cut short. The only thing I can think of why it was cut, is Jody is singing something while looking in the mirror (possible music rights? How petty can this be?). But these episodes, in both the complete series and the individual season sets are NOT COMPLETE!!! For casual buyer of t.v. series, this may not bother you. But if you are a die hard fan of the show, like me, you may be very disappointed. I suggest if you want the UNCUT VERSION of the series, look for the Columbia House Videos (there were a total of 23 videos) on Ebay and transfer them on DVD yourself.
Another problem, and the most annoying of all, is there are three 90 minute summer specials that are missing. These specials were between season shows that featured Jessica (Katherine Helmond) and another character conversing about the season before (a clip show). ABC use to air these in the summer before the new season started to get the audience up to date. Because these specials were not included in the individual season sets, I thought, this Complete Series set would have them. NOT A CHANCE. They are the same exact discs as the individual season sets. Nothing is changed but the packaging. And even the season sets have only two extras (2nd Season Set Only). A very lame interview with the writers of the show and the pilot episode reprise (Hello, the pilot episode was on the First season set....why do we need it again on the 2nd season set???) In any case, the 90 minute specials would have been great addition for extras to this wonderful show. Only 2 of the 90 minute sp ecials can be found on VHS. The 1st 90 minute special (the summer special between the 1st and 2nd season), was released on VHS only and it's called "The Best Of Soap: Who Killed Peter?". This is where Burt visits Jessica in her jail cell after being found guilty of Peter's murder and they go over each character (thru clips) of who could have killed Burt's son, Peter. Another 90 minute special can be found on VHS only as well, (the summer special between the 3rd and 4th season). The VHS was released with the title name: "The Best Of Soap: Jessica's Wonderful Life". This is where Jessica, after being in a coma, goes to heaven and visits an Angel (played by "Golden Girl" Bea Arthur). Jessica explains to the angel (once again thru clips) why she can't die and her family needs her. The only 90 minute special that is not on VHS or DVD is the summer show between the 2nd and 3rd season. This is where Jessica says goodbye to Benson (the butler, played by Robert Guillaume) who leaves the show to star in own series "Benson". Jessica, once again, thru clips, converses with Benson about the events of the season before, and why he needs to stay. Ironically enough, Mr. Guillaume went to star in his own show after this, however, he did come back in the first 3-4 episodes of the 3rd season. His return to Soap was to resolve a situation which involved saving the Tate's son Billy from a cult group called the Sunnies (Side note: this is a classic scene which featured Benson, Chester, the Major and Detective Donahue as the step brothers...hilarious!) There is a scene in the beginning of the third season when Benson returns and Jessica shouts out "Benson, your back!". This may have confused some people who watch the DVD's wondering "Back from where?". Later, Benson says goodbye for the second time during the 3rd season. These specials should have been on this release, but once again, the studios have disappointed the fans of this great sh ow!!
All and All, the show is still terrific (A Golden Classic) and it deserves 5 stars in itself. But there is two many wrongs with releasing the DVD's under false pretenses by the Studio. The episodes are not complete, the packaging (for the Complete Series only) stinks, and they are missing out on 3 of the 90 minute specials that would COMPLETE the entire run of the series. For the release of this DVD and the Studio who released it, only 1 star! As for the buyers out there, if your only a casual fan of the series, it's fine, but buy the individual season sets. the packaging is so much better. Do not buy this will eventually have to repackage the DVD's yourself because they will easily get scratched. If you are a completest die hard fan of the show, either buy the complete unedited episodes on VHS tapes from Ebay or some other website and transfer them on DVD yourself OR wait for the Studio to wise up and get the REAL COMPLETE SET (Unedited episodes and the 90 minute specials) when they offer the series in another release. I will get off my SOAP box now!! I hope this helps the buyers out there. Thanks for reading.
3636 comments656 of 686 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 11, 2008
This is a great price for one of the best comedic shows of the seventies. It includes all four seasons and ends with the unresolved cliffhanger at the end of season four. For this alone I would give the set four or five stars but the packaging is so infantile and atrocious that I actually recommend NOT buying this set and waiting for the individual seasons to drop in price or go on sale. The packaging is a cardboard slipcase that contains what basically amounts to a molded plastic spindle (like you would buy a pack of 50 blanks) that fits in the cardboard box. The discs are all stacked on top of each other! There's no episode guide. Nothing. This is as about as far as you can take "No Frills" without just putting the discs in paper sleeves. I'm actually going to purchase blank DVD cases and scan the cover to make my own cases. Get the series for this great price but only if you dare.
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on June 18, 2008
Agreeing with the other reviews, I contacted Sony Home Entertainment regarding the terrible packaging and here's their reply:

Thank you for your email. We appreciate your questions, comments, and feedback of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) products.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Company Policy does not include replacement of the items you requested.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your continued patronage and taking the time to contact us.


SPHE Consumer Affairs Team

Obviously, Sony doesn't care (as of yet) and wants my DVD collection to get as scratched as possible (so I eventually replace it).

Buy the individual seasons. I'm sorry I sold mine...
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on April 8, 2010
I read several professional and customer reviews on this product before buying, and for the price I think it is a mistake to pass on it if you really like the show. I got the complete collection for just under $25, so about $6 a season. First to respond to some of the complaints.

From everything I read there are only a few syndicated episodes in the first season and none in the later seasons. One reason for shorter running times is that the quick update from the last episode that originally aired for each episode has been removed. From a puriest perspective that means they have been cut but it does not mean they are syndicated episode or missing any real content since from what I recall those were in the shortened syndicated releases. So for me that is a minor issue since I don't tend to wait a week between epsiodes when watching on DVD, so I don't need the update from something I just saw (in fact I prefer it to be removed).

While I can see that the 90 minute special catch up shows between seasons could be a nice extra. Again, not a big deal for me since I'm not typcially waiting a summer between watching seasons, so why do I need a refresher.

As for the last season, these were apparently originally aired as 1 hour double episodes. But on the DVD's, except for the season premier, they are presented in there 1/2 hour installments. Nothing missing, just not joined together. This is another small issue for me.

The packaging does leave alot to be desired but the price makes up for this, in my case.

So if you are on the fence and can get it during a sale, you might as well go for it because:
- it is unlikely to be redone any differently
- it is unlikely to be put out on bluray since it would provide little advantage
- and if you are anything like me you may find it really isn't as bad as some have made it out to be when you consider this is probably all it will ever be.
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on September 30, 2009
The packaging is rather strange, and as other reviews stated, the DVD's come stacked on a single spindle (sort of crappy), much like purchasing blanks at Staples, etc.

I must say though, I really don't have a problem with the package as I wanted and purchased the content of the disc, not the package itself. I own a DVD jukebox, therefore the packaging is irrelevant as all discs are stored in the jukebox and the packaging is stored in the garage until I discard the discs.

As for the content of the DVD's, love it!
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on October 16, 2011
I must say I was a little apprehensive about ordering Soap: The Complete Series (Slim Packaging) 12-Disc set after reading all of the negative reviews.
However, I was pleasantly surprised when I received it in the mail.
The 12 discs were stacked on top of one another (as stated in other reviews) inside a disc shaped recessed plastic holder. Then a piece of disc shaped corrugated cardboard was pressed firmly into place on top of the 12 discs to prevent them from moving around in transit.
And the entire recessed plastic holder w/discs was wrapped inside shrinkwrap. This was slid inside the cardboard outer cover which was also wrapped in shrinkwrap. I found the packaging to be very adequate.

I inspected the surface of each of the 12 discs and found no defects or surface scratches. As of this review I've viewed only Disc #1 from the First Season of Soap, and I find the picture and sound quality to be very acceptable, taking into account these are transfers from video tape and long before HDTV came along. I feel $30 for all four seasons of Soap is a steal. If I ever lost my 12-Disc Set of Soap: The Complete Series (Slim Packaging)... I'd turn around and reorder it again.
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on March 5, 2010
Although it's not listed in the specs at this time, I received "Soap: The Complete Series (Slim Packaging)" and the set has closed captions. Being hearing impaired I thought this was a good thing. I was hoping it did, but the current Amazon specs doesn't mention this.
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on May 27, 2010
I LOVE Soap! I remember watching it in my younger years with my Mom. We never missed an episode! I was so thrilled to find the complete series on DVD! One thing I will say, I read reviews where people say "the Packaging is bad!", "The packaging is the worse!". Well let me tell you something, I didn't buy it for the packaging! I bought it for the DVDs! I took the DVDs out of the box and placed them individually in Thin Jewel cases! I am so happy that I finally have the complete series! Thanks,!
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on November 1, 2009
At first, the video quality of the 70s classic sitcom is a bit off-putting, compared to the HD quality that we've come to know and love, but hey, it was shot in video back then and not much can be remastered to make it much better. Nonetheless, the show is so well-written, cutting edge, even for today, and so funny that you'll soon get so engrossed in the story lines that you'll forget it's shot in crappy video. Get ready to see a very young Billy Crystal shine as Jody, the gay character, along with a wacky cast that will have you laughing, crying, and watching episode after episode, even if you have other things to do, such as sleep! Bravo to Susan Harris, the creator, producer, and writer of SOAP, for giving us this gem of a series to enjoy decades later. Also, this slim package is a great value. Yes, it is an inexpensive spindle style of packaging, but the discs are great quality and if given the choice, I'd still pick this economy packaging for all 4 discs combined than pay twice as much, collectively, to have each disc individually packaged.
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on June 30, 2008
I was about to purchase the individual seasons of Soap, one of my favorite television series, when I saw this release scheduled. I mistakenly assumed that it was like the individual seasons, just grouped together. Boy oh boy was I wrong. Talk about a no frills, no bells and whistles set. I imagine that after one complete go round with the disks, they will probably be scratched and in need of replacement (undoubtedly the plan of the manufacturer). As bad as the package is, I would have given a higher rating if I did not feel as if I was missing something while watching the disks. I felt that they were too short in length (22 minutes is the standard for 30 minute shows when in reruns, meaning that each show should be approximately 25 minutes in length). Seeing the reviews of another poster have confirmed my suspicions. I am truly disappointed at being cheated out of my money and memories.
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