M*A*S*H - Martinis and Medicine Complete Collection
DVD | Box Set
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One of television's longest-running and most beloved shows of all time is now available in one extraordinary DVD collection. Loaded with top-rank extras that every M*A*S*H fan will love, The Ultimate Collection contains all 11 heartwarming and hilarious seasons, including the record-breaking series finale (still the most-watched episode in TV history), plus the original 1970 film, two all-new bonus discs and a retrospective book created exclusively for this release. Relive all your favorite M*A*S*H memories with the doctors and nurses of the 4077th that kept us in stitches-and created a true television classic.
This M*A*S*H-tastic 36-disc collection is one for the television time capsule. It contains all 11 seasons of this multi-Emmy Award-winning series, PLUS Robert Altman's 1970 iconoclastic anti-war classic, PLUS two discs of special features, including two reunion specials and a series retrospective episode of A&E's Biography. As with the individual season sets, there are no new episode commentaries, a major disappointment. But M*A*S*H-ophiles will enjoy this set's other bonus features, including emotional behind-the-scenes footage of the filming of the last half-hour episode, "As Time Goes By," the inevitable bloopers, interviews with cast members as well as fans about their favorite episodes, a segment about the series' "Jocularity," a parade of PSAs (cut down on salt to avoid heart disease), and the text of an unproduced script penned by Alda for an episode titled, "Hawkeye on the Double." All of this material (except for a commemorative booklet) is available elsewhere in different configurations, but this space-saving (albeit ungainly packaged) box set collects them all under one tent.
Adapted for television by legendary comedy writer Larry Gelbart, the series has long since supplanted Altman's film in the public's consciousness. Life and death at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War doesn't seem like ripe fodder for a comedy series, but M*A*S*H masterfully balanced laughter and tears (less so in its later, more preachy seasons). It often does play better without a laugh track (a viewing option for all episodes). During its run, M*A*S*H survived several delicate operations, including the departure of Gelbart after season 4 and the loss of core ensemble members McLean Stevenson as Col. Henry Blake and Wayne Rogers as Trapper John (after season 3), Larry Linville as Frank Burns (after season 5) and Gary Burghoff (a veteran of the original film) as Radar (after season 8). The show thrived with the introduction of some new blood, Henry Morgan as "regular Army" Col. Potter and Mike Farrell as compassionate BJ (season 4) and David Ogden Stiers as elitist Charles Emerson Winchester III (season 6).
M*A*S*H was honored with the prestigious Peabody Award "for the depth of its humor and the manner in which comedy is used to lift the spirit and, as well, to offer a profound statement on the nature of war." This was a sitcom that did not always leave you laughing, as witness the classic season 3 episode "Abyssinia, Henry." And throughout its run, M*A*S*H broke the sitcom mold with several episodes, including "The Interview" (season 4), in which Clete Roberts interviews the staff of the 4077th, "Point of View" (season 7), subjectively seen through the eyes of a wounded soldier and "Life Time" (season 8), which unfolds in real time. M*A*S*H boasted one of television's greatest ensembles, fully embodied characters who each became icons, most notably Alan Alda, who served with distinction as Hawkeye, the series' soul and conscience. But a special salute to Loretta Switt, whose Margaret Houlihan went from "Hot Lips" to nobody's pushover. From the "Pilot" to the feature-length finale, "Goodbye, Farewell & Amen," still the most-watched episode in history, this essential (but not so much if you bought the individual season sets) collection honors one of television's greatest half-hours. --Donald LiebensonSee all Editorial Reviews
Last Day of Filming, Jocularity, PSA's, Saxophone Promo, Just the FAQs - Game
M*A*S*H: 30th Anniversary Reunion, Fan Base, Memories of M*A*S*H, Script from never made episode
Option to watch episodes with or without soundtrack
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My only other criticism would be that Fox apparently used some grainy intro footage. It doesn't look nearly as crisp as the re-runs found on TV.
Overall, I paid $117 for what I thought would be at least decent, watchable DVDs, albeit in poor packaging. What I wound up with was poor quality, scratched (and in one case, chipped) DVDs in crappy packaging.
Steer clear of it - save your money!! You're going to pay more if you purchase the individual seasons separately, but at least they should be packaged better and hopefully, the DVDs will be of much better quality.
Color me Disappointed.
There are lots of comments elsewhere about the packaging. I found it fine myself. I have been able to handle all of the discs without any scratching on the heavy paperstock packaging. Actually, over the years, I have scratched more discs on the center posts of plastic cases by having the disc slide a little bit before settling in. So in some ways, I like this booklet style packaging better for a big set of discs.
The outer box is a great display piece as well.
One very minor criticism is on the design of the menus of a couple of seasons. Every episode of MASH begins wih the theme/credits. Through at least season five, you can skip the first chapter as you start the episode which skips only the opening credits. Somewhere about Season 6 (I think) the first chapter of the episodes is the opening credits AND a couple of minutes of the show. Which means if you skip chapter 1 as you could do all along, you miss a little bit of the episode and have to back up (or just FF through the credits and manually stop). This is true for 2-3 seasons and then it is back to the way it was done in the first five.
Very minor gripe I know. But still something I could wish would be a little different. I guess the difference is because each season was worked on individully for DVD release and there were different folks making those decisions along the way.
There is one episode along the way that is the syndicated version because the original, full length episode was not available anymore. So the episode is cut and it does not have the clarity of the rest of the remastered series. But again, out of 251 episodes of a series that is now over 40 years old, not bad really.
The set contains all of the episodes in original 4:3 TV format. It also includes two DVDs containing special features, including an unreleased storyboard and the 30th-anniversary special. Also included is the original theatrical widescreen format.
As said before, the box sucks, so make sure you protect the DVDs somehow.