All in the Family: Season 8
DVD | Box Set
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All 24 Original Half-Hour Episodes from 1977-1978
Season Eight of the award-winning television series from Norman Lear earned Emmys for Carroll OConnor, Jean Stapleton and Rob Reiner, not to mention the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series.
This second to last season finds Archie (OConnor), Edith (Stapleton) and the Stivics (Reiner and Sally Struthers) battling some difficult issues when Archie buys a bar he cannot afford, Edith questions her faith and Mike and Gloria plan a move to California. As dark as the plots run at times, the laughs always shine through in this perfectly balanced and performed sitcom that inspired spin-offs Maude and The Jeffersons.
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Now, a few words about a two-parter included in season #8 entitled "Edith's 50th Birthday." No TV viewer in 1977 could have possibly been prepared for the content of this gripping entry. As our loveable Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton in a BRILLIANT performance) is alone in her home, making preparations for her birthday milestone, an intruder posing as a police officer enters and begins a slow but calculated sexual assault. Suddenly the usually cheerful and congenial Edith must think quickly on her feet and summon newfound courage and strength from deep within her soul. Even as this tense and serious situation unfolds, there is still room for a few moments of "comic relief"---albeit uneasy and nervous comic moments. The skillful blending of comedy and drama were, of course, always trademarks of this great program. However, we are treated here to two boldly extreme ends of the emotional spectrum. Things were never quite like this in the Bunker household before. Edith was such a sweet, gentle and beautiful lady. How could something as terrifying as this be happening to her? Remember, Edith was not simply a character on television. Edith Bunker was our mother, or sister, or aunt, or next door neighbor. Most of us have had an Edith in our lives. I am willing to bet that there were several million viewers on the night of this episode's premier (myself included) who were on the edge of their seats in horror and with a profound desire for swift vengeance.
***No "spoiler" here*** Edith's ultimate retaliation on her assailant produces the longest (and loudest) audience roar in the history of the series. Absolutely unforgettable! Make no mistake about it---this is television at its most powerful and memorable. This is entertainment at its very best!!!
1 + 2. Archie Gets the Business (2/10/77): Archie buys Kelcy's Bar from a sickly Kelcy, but not without getting "permission" from Edith first. NOTE: Unlike previous seasons, hour-long episodes are presented in their original, undivided form. 9/10
3. Cousin Liz (9/10/77): Archie and Edith attend Edith's cousin Liz's funeral, where they find out a dark secret between Liz and her roommate Veronica. 7/10
4 + 5. Edith's 50th Birthday (16/10/77): Whilst Archie, Gloria and Mike are preparing for Edith's surprise birthday party, Edith has an unexpected visitor at the door.10/10
6. Unequal Partners (23/10/77): Archie wants to go fishing with the Hefners but Edith has already organized a wedding to be held in the Bunkers' living room. 9/10
7. Archie's Grand Opening (30/10/77): The big day has finally arrived, but Archie's staff quit on him... 9.5/10
8. Archie's Bitter Pill (Part 1) (6/11/77): Archie is feeling blue as the bar's not doing too well, so he takes some pills to try and fix things. 8/10
9. Archie's Bitter Pill (Part 2) (13/11/77): Facing a going-bust bar, Edith, Gloria and Mike attempt to get Harry to go back into business with Archie. 8.5/10
10. Archie and the KKK (Part 1) (27/11/77): Fed up with Mike's article regarding minorities and looting, Archie joins the Kweens Kouncil of Krusaders... 9/10
11. Archie and the KKK (Part 2) (4/12/77): Archie confesses to his family that he joined the KKK, then is faced with the tough job of stopping a cross-burning. 6/10
12. Mike And Gloria Meet (11/12/77): Flashback to Mike and Gloria's first date 5.5/10
13. Edith's Crisis Of Faith (Part 1) (18/12/77) It's nearly Christmas time, and Beverly La Salle drops in for a visit and invites the Bunkers to his show. Little do they know they won't be going... 5/10
14. Edith's Crisis Of Faith (Part 2) (25/12/77): Christmas Day arrives, but it seems Edith's faith is still in doubt... 6.5/10
15. The Commercial (8/1/78): Edith is offered to do a commercial for a brand of laundry detergent one day at the laundromat, but she cannot lie when it is revealed that her brand does a better job. 7.5/10
16. Archie And The Super Bowl (15/1/78): It's Super Bowl Saturday at Archie Bunker's Place, but not all is well... 7/10
17. Aunt Lola's Visit (22/1/78): Archie is not too pleased when Edith's Aunt Lola stays over at the Bunker home. 8/10
18. Love Comes To The Butcher (29/1/78): The local butcher develops a crush on Edith, and Archie gets suspicious... 6.5/10
19. Two's A Crowd (12/2/78): Archie and Mike share stories from their pasts after locking themselves in the storeroom of Archie's Place. 9/10
20. Stale Mates (19/2/78): Mike and Gloria go on a weekend vacation to the Poconos to try and rekindle their marriage. 8.5/10
21. The Brother (26/2/78): Archie's estranged brother Fred pays a visit after not seeing Archie for 29 years. 9/10
22. Mike's New Job (5/3/78): Mike announces to the family that he has got a job in California, meaning he, Gloria and Joey have to move. 9.5/10
23. The Dinner Guest (12/3/78): Mike gets a call from his new boss to have dinner with him, on his and Gloria's last night in the Bunker house. 7.5/10
24. The Stivics Go West (19/3/78): The Bunkers and Stivics share their final goodbyes before the Stivics head for California. Had Norman Lear not decided to keep the AITF name going for one more season, this would have been the final episode under the original name. 8.5/10
Average rating for first season: 7.88/10
Average rating for second season: 9.03/10
Average rating for third season: 9.25/10
Average rating for fourth season: 9.27/10
Average rating for fifth season: 9.19/10
Average rating for sixth season: 7.96/10
Average rating for seventh season: 7.9/10
Average rating for eighth season: 8.04/10
Once again, a great job by Shout! in both speed of release and quality of the episodes, which has improved over Season 7's, and hopefully Season 9's will be of the same standard.
The picture quality and sound of the 3 last series is a lot better than the first 6. Good job! Wish the first 6 would have been transferred to DVD by the same company.