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WKRP In Cincinnati: The Complete Series
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Join everyone's favorite radio DJs—the rockin' Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) and the soulful Venus Flytrap (Tim Reid)—as they weave through the inner-office antics of the crazy WKRP staff; including the station's program director Andy (Gary Sandy), indecisive manager Arthur (Gordon Jump), advertising executive Herb (Frank Bonner) and, of course, the station's lovely receptionist, Jennifer (Loni Anderson). So sit back and enjoy the sound of uproarious laughter as you watch all episodes of this iconic series.
Please note: Where possible, original music from the series is included in this release. Over 90% of the original music is contained in the set. Missing music is due to inability to obtain rights for some content.
Shout! Factory has done yeoman’s work in trying to correct this with WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete Series...The image quality, considering this series was originally shot on video tape, is almost uniformly outstanding. And, once again, Andy is overseeing a station playing the likes of Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, the Grateful Dead, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, the Cars, Wings and the Police, instead of a series of featureless Muzak tracks.
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So, how does the final package stack up? First the good:
- As stated above, every episode appears to be sourced from the original master tapes, and about half of them include original bumpers just prior to the tag scenes and/or closing credits
- Many songs integral to certain scenes or plots are intact ("Hot Blooded", "Tiny Dancer", "Imagine", "Chances Are", etc.)
- More than 3/4 of the episodes are completely unedited, musically or otherwise, while a few others just have very minor edits to a particular piece of music or dialogue
- Scenes which haven't been present since the episodes originally aired are intact (Johnny testing the baseline chalk in "Baseball", a drunken Jennifer and backstory for Les's nonappearance in "Baby It's Cold Inside", etc.)
- The original voice of Jennifer's caller Joan in "Ask Jennifer", along w/the original audio from the opening scene of "I Am Woman", are present (90s syndication/cable prints had a horrible actress redub the lines in question for both episodes)
- Both the "Filthy Pictures" and "Dr. Fever & Mr. Tide" episodes are presented in their original hour-long formats, complete w/original
bumpers at the halfway points
- The "Do My Eyes Say Yes?" and "A Fish Story Story" featurettes from the earlier Fox release are included, as are two new bonus features: footage of a recent cast reunion at the Paley Center, and a new interview w/series star Gary Sandy
Now the bad:
- For some artists, it was impossible to get the rights...among those replaced are the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, the Sports, Bob Marley, the Eagles, and Candi Staton
- Minor imperfections from the original source tapes occasionally surface, although these are rare and really don't detract from the episodes in question
- Nearly a minute of footage is cut from "Hold Up", due to removal of Linda Ronstadt's "Back In the USA"
- Although "Rise" by Herb Alpert is present in "Hotel Oceanview", it was removed from "For Love or Money, Pt. 1".
- Legendary announcer Johnny Olson's voice-overs for the "Real Families" episode have been replaced, due to replacement of the fictional show's theme music
- Whoever they got to overdub Venus for a few select lines sounds nothing like Tim Reid, making the edits quite noticeable
- Perhaps the oddest edit of all takes place in "The Contest Nobody Could Win", where most of the third act has been replaced w/alternate takes of the same scenes, which includes a different actor playing the fake contest winner, which is actually how the episode originally aired (the scene most viewers are familiar with is apparently a reshoot done for syndicated prints)
But despite these flaws, SF has put together a great set that, for the most part, really does this classic series justice...if you're a fan, it's definitely worth the purchase!
And the video! I was under the impression that WKRP was originally shot on magnetic media, not film. How did they make it look this good on a modern 1080i TV? Amazing.