on April 30, 2009
The L.A. Times has reported that all music rights have apparently cleared, which means that the dvd of this landmark series, unlike Northern Exposure, will retain the spirit of the original with its original soundtrack intact. Other pluses are the creation of a new master copy (ensuring excellent visual quality) and extensive bonus features, including commentary and interviews. Each subsequent season will be released at six month intervals. All great news for fans who have patiently awaited this release for almost 20 years.
on May 8, 2009
This show changed the way I watch television. I began taping episodes when I realized that the shows tie together almost like an enormous miniseries, and the quality is so dense that the episodes deserve many repeat viewings, like good movies do. "thirtysomething" deserves a high-quality DVD format, and it has always been puzzling to fans that this astoundingly no-brainer fact has not motivated a DVD release until now. I'll be snapping up my copy as soon as it is released, and I expect that it will be worth every penny. I wanted to learn more details about the special features included, so, thanks to a tip from another reviewer, I looked up the L A Times April 29, 2009 article "The years roll back--we're thirtysomething again" for more information. Here are some essential factoids gleaned from the article that Amazon has not yet posted:
The Season 1 DVD set will include interviews and commentaries by cast members Ken Olin (Michael), Mel Harris (Hope), Timothy Busfield (Elliot), Patricia Wettig (Nancy), Melanie Mayron (Melissa), Peter Horton (Gary), and Polly Draper (Ellyn). Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz did a voice-over commentary for the pilot episode and new interviews. High-definition master copies of the episodes have been created, which will give the DVDs excellent visual quality. Subsequent seasons will be released to DVD at roughly 6-month intervals (4 seasons total). The long agonizing wait for these DVDs has been due in part to clearing the rights to the music (lots of it) used as an integral part of the show, and the need to create master copies that would allow easy transfer to DVD.
on May 8, 2009
Twenty years later, and this remains one of my favoite all-time shows. It got a lot of flack at the time for being about a bunch of self-absorbed yuppies, but that was just those who watched for fifteen minutes and saw some character whine about something. In truth, it was a well written, compelling, and poignant series with a top-notch cast that really hit the mark portraying family and friendships and the rocky roads we encounter in this thing called life. I was only in high school and early college when it came out, but now that I'm in my late thirties (yikes!) I have often remembered episodes that touched upon experiences I was having over the years, sometimes funny and sometimes painful. I loved all the characters for different reasons, but I was always drawn to Melissa Steadman, the eternally single, wise-cracking cousin of Michael. Now that I'm married with a baby, I would probably relate just as much to Hope or Nancy. Anyway, I look forward to finding out who strikes me this time around. If only we could get Zwick and Herskowitz to create one last reunion epsiode in a made for TV movie. How cool would it be to see where all our favorite thirtysomethings ended up now that they are in their fifties! Lets start a petition! Anyone on board?
on August 29, 2009
I've been waiting for this series on DVD ever since the format (DVD, I mean!) was first announced. I, like many others, can't believe it took this long. But it was worth the wait.
I was worried that after more than 20 years, the series would now appear stale and dated. I'm happy to report that it does not. Oh, don't get me wrong - superficially, the clothing and hair styles definitely look pretty period. I'm going to throw up if I see Michael wear one more wool tie, or racquetball shoes with his suit. Maybe more damning (in that it definitely separates the show from the current era), the late 1980's were still a time when people made an effort to look their status. Men always wore suits to work; stay-at-home moms(!) wore cardigans and "mom jeans" around the house - even those only in their early 30's. Today, when everybody walks around all the time in t-shirts and jeans and "30 is the new 20", it has the effect of making all the characters look older than they're supposed to be. In this one way, the show has more in common with the 1950's than the current decade.
But the themes of family, friendship, love, sex and death are universal and timeless, and thirtysomething always tackled them better than any other show before or since. That's how I've always remembered the series, anyway, and thankfully it seems I wasn't just looking back through rose colored glasses. In fact, I'm actually getting more out of the show now than I did when I was younger, because now I actually am thirtysomething myself - and I'm going through a lot of the same issues being dealt with in realistic ways on the show.
The series was criticized by some initially as being just a bunch of yuppie whining, but I never felt that was valid and I still don't. For one thing, from the beginning, the characters are all very self-aware - they know when they're just whining and when they're dealing with real issues. And there are real issues to be dealt with here.
For another, part of the genius of thirtysomething was always that it recognizes how nuanced and complicated things like marriage are, how something simple like not cleaning up enough can turn into a major problem, or how sometimes a husband and wife can just lose each other without even knowing why. This is not whining; this is real life, and most TV dramas just don't deal with those types of issues, either because they're too difficult to fit into an hour or because they're too hard to turn into a compelling story. thirtysomething always manages to do both.
I will say that, while I love the first few episodes, for me the series really doesn't hit its stride until about midway through season 1, with the religion-themed "I'll Be Home for Christmas". This was the episode that really hooked me when it first aired, and from then on the series only gets darker and more serious as it goes along. Some people might like the lighter-toned first few episodes better, but I will say that most of the "yuppie whining" critics faded away by the start of the second season, and certainly by the time Nancy's cancer manifested.
As for the DVD itself, I haven't finished watching the entire set yet but I love the big booklet and I love that there are quite a few extras. I'm less a fan of the lack of subtitles (which are helpful to my wife, who's not a native speaker and never watched this series before) or the transfer, which I'd expected better of when I'd read they were going back to the original film. It looks fine, but really not any better than I'd expect to find on standard-def cable. I wasn't expecting a widescreen HD transfer or anything, but then again you never know - a lot of old SD shows have started appearing that way lately (look at Seinfeld), so I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
I will definitely be buying every season of this DVD set, even with the shortcomings of the DVD's themselves.
on September 28, 2009
If you're reading this, you probably don't need me to convince you just how phenomenal "thirtysomething" was. You probably remember that the TV-viewing public of the late 80s/early 90s felt like it was divided between those of us who 'got' the show and those who just didn't see the point of it. I recall being engaged with these characters, who seemed to grapple with some of the 'real-life' issues I was facing; I also recall being enraged by those who flippantly dismissed them as a bunch of 'whining yuppies'!
How marvelous it has been to revisit the first season, which has taken far too long to make its appearance on DVD (blame the music on the show with its tangled copyright issues). I've only spotted a few problems, such as EPISODE 5 having the wrong closing credits (i.e., those of EPISODE 9, where they also appear). By far the worst one, however, is the lack of any audio for all of the SPECIAL FEATURES on DISC 6. I have attempted to replace my copy, but it now appears to be a recurring manufacturer's error (hence my three-star rating). I would recommend that you check your copy of Disc 6 immediately after receiving your set....
on February 15, 2010
My girlfriend and I were 17 in 1987 when this show debuted - I'd race over to her house after work to watch thirtysomething at 10:00 pm every Tuesday...we were far from being thirtysomething, but we LOVED this show and couldn't wait for the DVD release!
We both turned 40 this year, and for my b-day she got me the first season - I was thrilled! (And audio problems notwithstanding, this show is still awesome!) When this show ran, we didn't have husbands, kids or the other issues thirtysomething dealt with, but we LOVED it - for it's incredible characters and their interactions, the whole feeling of the show...what is it about it that makes it so great?!?!
BTW, I am a very conservative, happily married woman of almost 18 years with three kids...althought many topics and situations on the show are pretty liberal, I can relate to so much of it...the kids/husband/parents/working/money, etc....
Also, I love the soundtrack and have owned it for years...
Thank you for finally releasing this for the fans!! I want them all! :)
on August 27, 2009
The wait is finally over and I can finally watch these episodes without the VCR and remote control (fast forward through the commercials). I saw this series after college and it struck me hard about adults coping with adulthood. Granted I was still fresh from college and still haven't really experienced the real world with an intimate group of friends. But, you realize that life after school does create some new obstacles. There is your high school reunion and revisiting the past with friends. You may or may not go back to your college reunion or keep in touch with roommates and close friends. Slowly, your once tight group of friends dwindle to just yourself and your family. In this series, the viewers realize sometimes its the good friends who are your family. In the years apart, your friends are your family and this series captured the daily struggle of marriage, friendship, career choice, etc. I remembered all the conflicts between Michael/Hope and Elliot/Nancy. I also loved the single folks like Gary, Ellyn, and Melissa who constantly search for love and cling on to the married folks for stability in their life. I used to watch this series 10 years ago after graduating from college. There was a marathon that Bravo had with commentaries with the actors. Hopefully the DVD series captures some of these commentaries. Overall, I am grateful that the series is finally being released with no editing of the soundtrack. With Northern Exposure, the whole soundtrack of the following episodes (after Season 1) were butchered up. Luckily, all soundtrack to this DVD set is kept to its original.
My only gripe about this release is there are no subtitles. What!!!! I loved the dialog between the friends and spouses. I am happy about the music being kept but come on about the closed caption. This should have been stressed by the creators since every fan probably is rewinding to catch a phrase in an episode. Well, there is also the book- "thirtysomething stories" which has some of the screenplays from episodes throughout its run. I just finished watching "undone" episode where Michael invites old-time flame, Emily, which causes tension between him and his wife, Hope. I loved how so much was revealed in just a few lines from Hope to Michael and Michael to Emily. For fans, you will not be disappointed. Plus, you also get a booklet that has the listing of episodes as well as some remarks about the series. For season 2, I hope they get it right and have subtitles for all the episodes. Nice art work on the discs and the disc covers. If you missed this series growing up, then you should check this release. It's been 20 years but this stuff is contemporary and still up with the times... We all experience the same hardships as these yuppies did. Yes, we whine alot as many newspaper critics complain about this cast of characters. But, we all want to be heard and listened to as we either approach or start our lives in our 30's.
on September 26, 2009
I am thrilled to finally have Thirtysomething on DVD. The show itself is as good as I remember. However, the audio quality of the DVD is not good. At times, I have to turn the volume of my TV set nearly all the way up just to hear the dialogue. Then if music plays, I get blasted. I hope they improve the quality on subsequent season releases!!
on September 10, 2009
I was a freshman in high school when my parents divorced- it was 1987 and this was my mom's favorite show . As a single mom with limited funds, we never really got to eat out much or even order pizza... we used to stay in and watch tv together- this was a boring show for me to watch as a teen but I saw how it meant alot ot my mom to watch it with her. She passed away suddenly at the age of 50 almost 12 years ago. She always said that she wished that she could have purchased it on video tape, but she had these grainey old VHS tapes from the 80's that she would put in every now and then. When I saw that the DVD's came out, I knew I had to buy them. I preordered them and they showed up on my bithday. I am 36 now, with a family and a home of my own. I watched the first dvd last night and as soon as I heard that theme song I teared up! The show was way before Carrie Bradshaw and her girlfriends and Friends or Seinfeld and it was insightful watching it as an adult myself, with a house that we are working on, a 5 year old and new job opportunities- I was really glad that I bought it! My mom would have loved it too.
on September 11, 2009
How to rate this one? The show is magnificent; that hasn't changed. The characters and the dilemmas they face ring as true today as they did when the show first aired. I've never understood how people can compain that they characters whine about inconsequential things when what concerns them most reveal the deepest of values: how to be the best parent, partner, friend I can be? How can I balance these roles? How do I negotiate the needs of others and my own needs? What is important and how can I craft a life that reflects those values--and still make a living?
These concerns and they way they are explored by the series are completely absorbing. There is an absolute ease between the characters that is entrancing. The bluesy soundtrack remains my all-time TV show favorite, and I love the risks the show takes with surreal elements. But for those of you buying the series do be forewarned: the quality of the actual product is very low--not unlike what you might find posted on youtube. The film quality looks like a bad version of the Waltons--disagreeably grainy in not a gritty-grainy way, but just looks dated and old. The worst is the dubbing. The pilot is particularly bad: there are parts where the actors' mouths and the words they are saying don't match up at all, to the point where it almost looks like an English-dubbed foreign movie. And be prepared to watch holding the remote. For the most part, I had to watch with the sound turned to 27 on a 1-30 range, something I've never done before (usually I watch TV with the sound around 17); however, when Janey wails it is LOUD and I had to turn the sound way down. This was frustrating because then I couldn't hear what the actors were saying, so you had to choose between hurting your ears with Janey's wailing but being able to hear the actors' lines OR not hearing the lines but saving your eardrums. It doesn't appear that captions are available, so that wasn't an option.
So . . . yes, I am completely glad and thankful that the official DVD was finally released. I do hope, though, that the technical issues are worked out (and captions added!) when subsequent seasons are relased.