Thursday, March 19, 2009
I've been a fan of this show for a long time. So much of a fan that I created one of the longest running fan sites on Mr. Belvedere on the Internet, online in some form or the other since 1998. That's Eleven Years now. Oh man. I've since carved a sizable career as an artist in another field, but this show still has a pull on me that I can't explain.
I've been waiting for this DVD for a long time, and quite honestly, I really can't be expected to give an objective review. I'll still try and offer my thoughts nevertheless.
I would like to make it clear that for this particular post, I will not make any comment about specific story points, because I will be doing individual reviews of each and every episode.
I like the packaging of this DVD because of it's "home-y" feel. It's feels like a photo album, which is reflected in the opening credits of the first episode, where photos of the cast, as if gathered from a photo album, are shown one after the other.
5 discs containing 29 episodes of the first and second seasons are housed in three thin plastic casings within a sturdy slipcase. I like the packaging because it's not too bulky.
The decision by SHOUT! Factory to release Season 1 and 2, instead of a "best of" set is a very good, and very hopeful indication that they will push through with the rest of the series. The way this first set is packaged, it's only logical to expect that Season 3 and 4 will go in one package, then season 5 and 6 will go in a third set. Fingers crossed!
The picture is better than I remember them being, watching them on cable many years ago. It's not as good as the picture quality of say, Three's Company on DVD, but I suppose these are the best prints that can be found. And they're good enough for me.
There is a pretty good bonus feature with four cast members reminiscing about the show. They give rather illuminating insight into what goes on behind the scenes, specially with regards to Bob Uecker. I wish it were longer, but that's just me.
With Christopher Hewett gone, the only remaining cast member not included in the new interviews is Tracy Wells. In an interview with Star 102.5 in Buffalo, Brice Beckham has a possible explanation. Tracy may well have been unable to join the interviews because of a previous commitment. I'm sure we'll hear from her in future DVD releases.
Another extra includes a Saturday Night Live sketch, "The Mr. Belvedere Fan Club" sketch with Tom Hanks. SNL sketches are a hit and miss for me, but this one was actually kind of funny.
There's an unlisted bonus feature here, which is Stewie of Family Guy singing the theme song to Mr. Belvedere. But as it's integrated into the interview section, I suppose they opted not to mention it. But I thought I would, because it's kind of cool.
I'm glad for the features that's there, but it leaves me hoping for other stuff like perhaps a Christopher Hewett tribute. Perhaps interviews with the creators of the show. Jeff Stein has a pretty frank and illuminating interview for Macleans.ca and it would be pretty interesting what more he has to say. I think there is a certain aspect of the show that a lot of people have missed, that of the subversive nature of the writing which would be great to spotlight.
Well, it's wishful thinking, but a commentary track or two would be AWESOME.
Thanks to everyone at SHOUT! Factory for making this DVD happen. It's been a long time coming, but I'm glad it's here!