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PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE BUYING THE DVD
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 tvshowsondvd.com 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 one...you 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.