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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Documentary > Beverly Hillbillies – Meet The Clampetts (Mill Creek DVD Set) + Exporting Raymond (2011/Sony DVD) + Family TV Classics (Mill Creek DVD Set) + Spin City – Season Five (2000 – 2001/Shout! Factory DVD Se

Beverly Hillbillies – Meet The Clampetts (Mill Creek DVD Set) + Exporting Raymond (2011/Sony DVD) + Family TV Classics (Mill Creek DVD Set) + Spin City – Season Five (2000 – 2001/Shout! Factory DVD Set)


Picture: C     Sound: C (Spin: C+)     Extras: C-/C/D/D     Episodes: C/C/B-/C



When you think about it, doing a funny TV sitcom that works should be the easiest thing in the world, but that is not always the case and riding on played-out aspects of what we could call a TV genre does not help.


The Beverly Hillbillies – Meet The Clampetts is the latest low-budget DVD set of the classic megahit series to be issued, this one by Mill Creek.  Years ago, this might have been a bargain, but despite the shows being amusing, the quality is not and they have replaced the classic theme song with a lame new instrumental despite the same music showing up through the episodes.  Until CBS issues the show on Blu-ray, their “Official” DVD sets of the series are the only releases of the series you should bother with.  The featurette included is weak and lame.


Newer shows that think they are smarter, even hit ones, are not always so.  Up next is something new on a cancelled show that lives like a zombie that cannot be killed…



Yes, just what everyone wanted, a documentary about Everybody Loves Raymond, the hit TV show not everybody likes, including yours truly.  The Co-Producer and Creator of the hit is Phil Rosenthal, who may have though he was done with the show (many were also hoping for the same), but like a zombie of the living dead, the show is now ready to surface in other markets.  However, they do not want syndication rights with foreign language dubbing, they want to remake the entire show!  Rosenthal’s Exporting Raymond (2011) shows the insanity he goes through to sell the concept to Russian TV.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is very soft, has motion blur throughout and is a sloppy digital shoot, while the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is really pushing things, especially with all the flat location audio.   Extras include feature length audio commentary with Rosenthal, trailer, Deleted Scenes and comparisons of the U.S. and Russian versions of the show.


Mill Creek fares a bit better with a new DVD set they have dubbed Family TV Classics and it includes episodes of Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriet, The Buster Keaton Show, Dennis O’Keefe Show, Dick Van Dyke Show, Ed Wynn Show, Lassie, Milton Berle Show, Petticoat Junction (which has better copies again from CBS DVD already on the market), Sky King, Edgar Bergen Show and Sea Hunt.  It makes for a good crash course on classic TV, but not much else and some copies look VHS bad, but it is amazing how this is the best of the four titles here.  It also reminds me how many classic TV shows deserves their own sets and serious restoration, plus the filmed shows could have Blu-rays if good film copies exist or can restored.  The talent across these shows is amazing and it reminds us also of how great TV once was more often than it got credit for.  There are no extras.


Finally we have Spin City – Season Five in which Charlie Sheen (before he permanently flew over the edge) became a new character to replace star Michael J. Fox, whose illness became too much and forced him to leave his hit series.  The show was being sold on Sheen joining the cast and pushed Heather Locklear in a comic role that played against her more well known work in primetime soap operas (Dynasty, Melrose Place) and campy drama (T.J. Hooker), but the show was never great and already on the wane when Sheen arrived.  You can feel the presence of Fox missing and the 23 half hours here (over four DVDs) shows that, sometimes painfully.  I can see why DreamWorks wanted the hit to continue, but it was too late top do anything about it.  The 1.33 X 1 image is riddled with softness and aliasing errors while the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is the best audio of the four sets by default, but is nothing great and adequate at best.  There are no extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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