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on April 19, 2014
Looks like I'm the first reviewer to have actually received and viewed (at least in part) this set, having pre-ordered it from Shout who delivered it five weeks before the official release date.

BACKGROUND: The Bob Newhart Show is my favorite show in the history of television. I've bought every VHS and DVD release available over the years, and have been making recordings off the air for 20 years in an effort to collect (and then "upgrade" the quality of) all the episodes in this series. My expectations for this set are high since the show deserves the best DVD release possible. Fox released the first four seasons in 2005 and 2006, only to leave fans hanging for 8 years for the last two seasons. Luckily, Shout Factory took the opportunity to release the Bob Newhart Show the way it should have been from the beginning - as a complete series set. Yes, this means hardcore fans like me have DVDs, VHS tapes, and old DVD-R recordings that we don't need anymore. So sell the old ones or give them away. To me it's a small price to pay to get this set.

THE SHOW ITSELF: Not much to say other than what you likely already know - The Bob Newhart Show is generally regarded as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Its rare combination of amazing writing, a top-notch cast, and a style of humor that is at once accessible and sophisticated, is a high water mark in the history of television.

PACKAGING: The set comes in a standard height box with 3 Amaray-style cases that holds 6 discs apiece. Gone are the two-sided Fox discs with cheesy cartoon-themed menus. Here, discs for Seasons 1 and 2 are in one case, seasons 3 and 4 in a second case and seasons 5 and 6 are in the third case. These are NOT stacked on a spindle and thus are easily accessible. The disc faces feature nice 1970s-inspired artwork across all discs with color variations for each case. The fourth (bonus disc) case is a standard height but slim. The menus for each disc are based on the look of Bob's office door. Everything is classy and everything matches.

AUDIO AND VIDEO QUALITY: The Bob Newhart Show has always had quality issues on broadcast and video release as far back as I remember, and sadly this release is no exception. Over the years I've assumed that the transfers we've seen are taken from either second-generation prints, 16mm dupes, or analog-sharpened film-to-tape transfers. Other sitcoms shot on film in this era look better. If anybody has inside information on the condition of the original or edited film elements I'd love to know the story. So generally the contrast on most episodes it too high and harsh looking, there is a lot of grain, and most episodes are pretty de-saturated and the color temperature is too magenta in my opinion. Sound is also a bit harsh and thin in most episodes. My guess is that Shout has used the best original material available, and I have certainly never seen this series look or sound better than it does in this DVD set. So it's just decent, and probably limited to being so just by the nature of the source material.

EXTRAS: Every episode I've watched so far is uncut and runs about 25 minutes. Shout appears to have carried over the commentary tracks from the Fox discs. The 40-page booklet is very nicely designed, well written by sitcom expert Vince Waldron, and organized so you can find the episode titles, plot summaries, and airdates easily. The 19th Anniversary reunion show from 1991 is a 1-hour "clip show" that is just okay. It's nice to see the actors again, but not much actually happens other than setting up the clips which are (by themselves) great. The "Group Therapy" extra is a sit-down studio conversation with cast and crew that is very entertaining and insightful and lasts most of an hour. The unaired pilot is a real treat, and is quite different from the show as we would know it later.

CONCLUSION: It great to finally see this show get the treatment it deserves with this Complete Series DVD release. The packaging, tasteful and consistent menus and disc artwork, full-length episodes, and extras are a fitting presentation. Other than some picture and sound quality issues that are probably inherent in the source material, there's little room for improvement in this set. Unless somebody finds some "lost" negatives or higher-quality masters in a vault or basement somewhere and makes a high-def blu-ray transfer of them, this is probably the best presentation of the Bob Newhart Show we will ever get. Overall well worth the money and a set to be re-watched for many years to come. The concept and execution of "the sitcom" just doesn't get any better than the Bob Newhart Show, specifically as it is delivered in this DVD set. Enjoy!
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on May 26, 2014
I see A LOT of reviewers condemning Shout Factory, for releasing this set. They seem to believe that this new offering, is an attempt by Shout Factory to "double dip", and make extra money from those who already purchased seasons 1-4.

This is NOT the case.

The company that released seasons 1-4, abandoned the prospect of putting out the final two seasons.

Shout Factory is simply giving fans of the show, exactly what they've been waiting for. They should be receiving PRAISE for this...not condemnation, and a slew of 1 star reviews.

My set arrived today. I've watched 4 episodes, so far, and the video quality of seasons 1-4 is at least identical to the transfers of the original set. However, with the Shout! release you get an upgrade from those awful two-sided discs. In my opinion, the single-sided Shout! discs are worth making the purchase.

Also, these are the complete episodes...they are NOT the shortened syndicated versions.

I say, chuck out those sets (seasons 1-4), and buy this COMPLETE SERIES box set. It's easily worth the price, and the image quality is so much sharper.

It's a no brainer. This new set is better.
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on March 19, 2014
Got the four Fox seasons for Christmas. I knew the series was incomplete, and I figured the DVDs would be carelessly thrown-together, and I was right. They are total, murky, chopped-up, mumble-mouthed, double-sided crap. Then a month or two later I discovered the whole series is to be released. Having experienced Shout Factory's reverent approach to other classic sitcoms, I am more than happy to shell out for the complete series so I can re-watch the shows properly and have the last two seasons. I'll just give away the badly-produced Fox ones. The box set is a convenient way to purchase these, and I'm sure Shout Factory has reasons for its pricing (still less than $20.00 per season): the correct theme songs for the correct episodes, uncut episodes, re-mastered picture and sound quality, plenty of extras, maybe permissions for music heard by the characters. Very exciting.
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on January 9, 2014
I completely trust in ShoutFactory! to provide a professional and complete release of each of the six seasons as they have done in the past with other shows.

I know that some people are disappointed in the complete set, but think about the seasons that FOX provided of this great series.

Each season disc from FOX is double-sided, providing awful audio, and sometimes poor video images. Imagine what these first four season sets will look like on single sided discs, restored, and professionally produced by ShoutFactory!

Thank you ShoutFactory! for answering the call of the consumer. I'll proudly spend my money with you!

**UPDATE 4/25/2014:
I received an advanced copy from Shout!Factory and I can tell you that each disc is single-sided and there is a significant improvement with the audio from the FOX seasons, as well as, a marked improvement with the video. Shout!Factory took extra care for this release.

For instance, several episodes from the FOX releases clipped the main title from the opening credits. Comparing the same episodes with the Shout!Factory release, the main titles are intact and all of the words are included. There are no episodes with muddled audio, either.

The Bonus Disc was out of this world. You get 50 minutes of the surviving cast talking about the show. It was recorded in December 2013, so Shout!Factory pulled out all of the stops to do this release justice. In addition, there are two more extras, including the unaired pilot episode with different characters.

In addition, there is an amazing book included that has an easy to read explanation as to how they show came about, stayed on the network, and left while it was still on top in the ratings.

Seasons 1 & 2 are in one DVD case. Seasons 3 & 4 are in a separate DVD case. Seasons 5 & 6 are in a separate DVD case. The bonus disc is also separate. All are contained, along with the book, in the big box.

Now, here is the not-so-good news regarding Season 5 Disc 1 - "A Crime Most Foul". It has a very noticeable sync problem. I contacted Shout!Factory to see if I was sent a defective disc and they replied that the master they had access to and used also had the sync problem. I'm not sure if Shout!Factory had access to the original broadcast master because the show was shot on film and I also don't believe CBS would have allowed it to air that way. Regardless, the master that Shout!Factory has access to is the problem, not your individual disc.

Other than that, sit back and enjoy The Bob Newhart Show the way it was intended to be enjoyed. Thank you Shout!Factory for honoring Bob Newhart with this release and for answering the many fans who have been waiting a long time for this day to come as well!
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on February 8, 2014
I ordered and waited patiently for the last two seasons of Bob Newhart only to be finally informed that it wouldn't be released. I already have seasons 1-4, so although I'm pleased that the Series is now available to buy in full, I'd be happier if I could buy seasons 5 and 6 separately. Will this happen in future, I hope so.
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on July 21, 2014
Hi guys. Let me just say I am extremely satisfied with this set. The fact is that nobody else is going to release the whole series again. So this is the best you're going to get. And it's not bad at all actually. This is one of my favorite 70's series. No. The quality is not consistent but I found that most of the discs were just fine. Some later season episodes were a little washed out in the color department but these were in the minority. Just to have the entire series finally is a dream come true. I got a brand new set for $60. which I thought was a pretty good deal. I was one of the ones who had purchased the previous sets but am really not upset about purchasing them again. It's been a long time and that money was spent many years ago. You can sell them here or on E-bay if you want to re-coup some of your money. I just gave them to people who I know would appreciate them. So if you're a Bob fan definitely get the set.
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on July 9, 2014
I grew up watching this series in its original run in the 1970s. So glad to have all six seasons together. Really evokes so many fond memories for me as I re-watch these classic sitcom shows from my youth. I highly recommend this set for fans of The Bob Newhart Show. No DVD set is perfect, but the negative reviews are overblown here in my opinion. This is a fun set and I have no regrets after buying it.
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on August 11, 2014
After recently seeing a Bob Newhart performance at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, in which Bob received two separate standing ovations, I decided to finally buy the complete series box set of "The Bob Newhart Show." Therefore, I have no problems with the earlier releases of the first four seasons of the show. In addition, although the video quality isn't of high-definition quality, the episodes are eminently watchable. All problematic issues were soon forgotten after I started watching the show. Bob Newhart was one of the first successful stand-up comedians to star in a TV sitcom. That started a trend that continued with Tim Allen, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, and many others. In addition, the show was not cancelled by CBS because of poor ratings. After six successful seasons, Bob decided that is was time to end the series. The writing on the show perfectly suited Bob's personality and comedic style. The casting choices were uniformly excellent, especially with Suzanne Pleshette as Bob's wife Emily. Special mention must be made of Jack Riley as Bob's patient Elliot Carlin, who appeared in 56 of the 142 episodes. To say that he is an unforgettable character is an understatement. The box set also includes an informative booklet, which gives a brief synopsis of each episode, along with its original airdate.

What really makes this box set special are the bonus features. Audio commentary is provided on several episodes. The bonus disc includes the original, unaired pilot. In it, Peter Bonerz plays Dr. Jerry Robinson as another psychologist, instead of an orthodontist. Marcia Wallace does not appear as secretary Carol Kester, nor does Bill Daily appear as nutty navigator and neighbor Howard Borden. The 19th Anniversary special is also included. It takes place on the day after Bob had a dream about being a Vermont innkeeper named Dick Loudon. The most surreal moment of the special is when they show a clip of Bill Daily as Major Roger Healey on the "I Dream Of Jeannie" TV series. The bonus disc also includes "Group Therapy," which was recorded in Los Angeles in December of 2013. It's a nostalgic discussion of the show with Bob Newhart, Peter Bonerz, Bill Daily, Jack Riley, and director Michael Zinberg. Sadly, Suzanne Pleshette and Marcia Wallace had both passed away, and are sorely missed in the discussion group. Bob and Bill do show their age, while Peter has held up well. Sadly, Jack Riley had a stroke, and is confined to a motorized wheelchair. This look back to when they were all in their prime is bittersweet, as time has taken its toll on all of the participants. Fortunately, the TV show's comedy is timeless, and has held up very well over the years.
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on July 21, 2014
This is such a great series. I've been watching it every night since I purchased it. I had the earlier double disc collection which I hated. Gave them away and thanks so much to Shout Factory I'm enjoying this complete collection of THE BOB NEWHART SHOW. Plus comes with bonus features. No disappointment here.
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on June 3, 2014
I think this is one of the best sitcoms of the '70s. The cast of characters were all excellent in their roles and the humor was not like the juvenile crap that passes for humor now on television. When I saw it was being released on video I pounced because I think this was Newhart at his best. His show as the innkeeper had some funny moments, but not the wit of this show.
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