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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Animation > Children > Shorts > According To Jim – The Complete Third Season (2003 – 04) + Boy Meets World – Season 5 (1997 – 98/Lionsgate DVD Sets) + Food With Friends (Nickelodeon DVD) + Little Rascals: Boys Of Our Gang + Classic

According To Jim – The Complete Third Season (2003 – 04) + Boy Meets World – Season 5 (1997 – 98/Lionsgate DVD Sets) + Food With Friends (Nickelodeon DVD) + Little Rascals: Boys Of Our Gang + Classic & Hidden Episodes (Legend DVDs) + Melissa & Joey – Season One, Volume One (2010) + Webster – Season Two (1984 – 85/Shout! Factory DVD Sets) + Scholastic DVD Wave: The North Star + Scrambled States Of America + Splat The Cat


Picture: C+ (World/Melissa/Webster: C)     Sound: C+     Extras: D/D/D/C-/C-/D/D/C-/C/C     Episodes/Shorts: D/D/C+/B-/B-/D/D/C+/B-/B-



Two declines have happened at the same time in television programming and sadly, they have intersected: TV situation comedies and children’s programming.  I was struck by how profound this was by a recent wave of DVD releases that happen to arrive at the same time.  They included duds we have covered before.



Two awful sitcoms include the highly unfunny According To Jim – The Complete Third Season, which is actually worse than the previously lame season wee covered at this link:



Jim Belushi can act and can even be funny, but when he is bad (especially this bad), I wish he had better material and I am reminded how much I miss his brother John.  How a show like this stays on the air is because it is safe and barely does well.  That is at least commercially.  Picture and sound are the same as the last set and lame extras include two making of featurettes as boring as the show.


Boy Meets World – Season 5 is the first time I am looking at the show.  If you are unfamiliar, here is what the show is like from our previous coverage:


Seasons 1 – 3



Season Four



If this show was not so badly written (or made in the 1970s), this high school comedy with Ben Savage might have been truly fun and as smart and as memorable as the likes of a Welcome Back, Kotter.  Instead, it is formulaic, sometimes smug, lame, unfunny comedy where everyone says dumb things, including dumb things that think they are smart to say and rings false every second.  And you wonder why the dropout rate is so high.  The 1.33 X 1 image is very soft, the Dolby Digital 2.0 sound barely stereo and there are no extras.


In contrast, Food With Friends compiles six episodes of different Nickelodeon series on one DVD that all have the common denominator of food. I prefer these as singles versus ones that seem like poor substitutes for full season sets.  Dora, Diego, Ni Hao, Blue, Wonder Pets and Yo Gabba Gabba are all here, including a two related Music Videos.  All have decent 1.33 X 1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.


Sadly, the oldest on this list is the best.  Legend Films continues their varied releases of The Little Rascals with two more singles: Boys Of Our Gang + Classic & Hidden Episodes.  Note the title of the latter disc.  You see, the original shorts were heavily syndicated on TV to the point that many even today are still under the impression it was a TV series and not a series of theatrically released film shorts.  Nicer still, all the shorts here are uncut and in their original black and white form.  If you are unfamiliar with the show, try these links for the two DVD sets of their shorts on the market that are the most popular:


Warner Archive/MGM Our Gang Collection



Genius Little Rascals – Complete Collection



Boys Of Our Gang includes the shorts Little Daddy, Birthday Blues, Honkey Donkey, Fishy Tales, Pay As You Exit and bonus silent short Monkey Business, while Classic & Hidden Episodes has Big Ears, Lazy Days, Free Eats, Fish Hooky, Mush & Milk and bonus silent short The Fourth Alarm.  These all look (in their 1.33 X 1 frame) good with few flaws and are as good as any singles on the series that have been issued on DVD to date.  So good in fact I wonder when they will arrive on Blu-ray.


Melissa & Joey – Season One, Volume One takes a “it looks like she had her face done Melissa Joan Hart (from the awful Sabrina) and Joey Lawrence (who thankfully does not supply a Rap theme song, but let’s not give these people any ideas) in a really, really bad knock off of Who’s The Boss? that makes that show look like a course in advanced supercomputer programming.  This horrid show has Lawrence becoming a “manny” (male nanny; one who does not sing Mammy) in this absolutely implausible, awful, lame, pathetic excuse for TV programming that is the worst on the list.  Pray for cancellation while Lawrence’s younger brothers abduct him and stop him from making the show.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is very soft and loaded with motion blur, while the Dolby Digital sound is limited and weak for a new production.  Tired featurettes, Sneak Peek of more shows (terrifying) and one of the least funny Blooper Reel’s in DVD history are the extras.


Webster – Season Two manages to be worst than the One which we covered here:




At this point, the show was running 100% on Emmanuel Lewis’ appeal, because the teleplays are awful.  The 1.33 X 1 image remains digitally harsh (likely sourced from old digital copies) and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is barely so as well.  There are no extras.


Finally we have three more DVD releases from Scholastic.  The North Star includes the title short narrated by Tim Curry and four other shorts including Players In pigtails by Zooey Deschanel, Scrambled States Of America offers four shorts teaching geography and the three-DVD Splat The Cat is a three disc set that is still educational, but focuses on fun fiction for young people that seemed more repetitious than usual for a set from the company.  Still, they all have read-along functions, one author interview per release and continue the quality of the many previous titles we have covered including those at this links:





You can find more by entering the word “Scholastic” in our search engine.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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