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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Teens > Ballet > Soap Opera > Australian TV > TV Situation Comedy > Drama > Legal > Dance Academy – Season One, Volume One + Volume Two (2010/Flatiron DVD Sets)/Laverne & Shirley – The Sixth Season (1980 – 1981/CBS DVD Set)/Private Practice – The Complete Sixth & Final Season (2012 –

Dance Academy – Season One, Volume One + Volume Two (2010/Flatiron DVD Sets)/Laverne & Shirley – The Sixth Season (1980 – 1981/CBS DVD Set)/Private Practice – The Complete Sixth & Final Season (2012 – 2013/Disney/ABC DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-/C/C-     Episodes: C/C+/C-



Now for a set of the latest TV on DVD releases…



Looking more like a bad reality TV show at first, Dance Academy – Season One, Volume One + Volume Two (2010) is actually a soap opera out of Australia aimed at a young teen audience.  The young characters love to dance and are particularly involved with ballet, so in the drama starts.  Since they do ballet and not some “lesser” form of dance, the implied expectation is that they are all “quality” young people, so when they start to get involved, any heartbreak, upset or interactions taken seriously are supposed to be worth it because the people and situations have more “value” though the scripts are never elitist about this.


Unfortunately, they are the same old same old all over again, so this is aimed at a younger audience and is just friendly enough for those audiences.  If you are past your teen years, you’ll want to skip this one.


Cast Photo Gallery sections appear on both volumes, but the second offers a “Backstage Pass”.



By Laverne & Shirley – The Sixth Season (1980 – 1981), the show took a few turns that would start to hurt the show win the long run.  Besides putting the gang in the middle of the 1960s, they suddenly packed up and left Milwaukee and moved to Hollywood, which some die hard fans would say is when they jumped the shark.  With the cast in tact and all eventually having excuses to move West, a then unknown Ed Marinaro (who was tried out as a DeFazio relative in the last season) as the gals’ new building manager which set him up to be the next big TV sex symbol, et al.


However, Marinaro stunned the industry by quitting the show in the middle of this season to join a new series called Hill Street Blues, which became a classic of its own and gave him a long-term career instead of possibly the shorter one he was concerned about if this show had stereotyped him.  We’ll never know what would have happened if he stayed, but he is good in the shows he is in, then they slowly cut him out of the opening credits as the original cast settles in.


Leslie Easterbrook becomes a new regular as Rhonda the blonde sex symbol in a character than never caught on.  By the time we get the awful two-parter where Vicki Lawrence shows up as a drill sergeant tormenting the title duo, the show had lost its way.  All 22 half-hour episodes are here on three DVDs.


Previews made later for syndication are here for all episodes, while a hilarious Gag Reel appears on the first DVD.



Finally we have Private Practice – The Complete Sixth & Final Season (2012 – 2013) in a show that was well past its prime by the previous season, but the ratings were so good that Disney/ABC was going to keep this running until it was out of gas.  It was already running on fumes, long past the time the lawyer TV series cycle was dead.  We get the last 13 episodes and they are for fans only, wrapping up the show for good.  Unless you start with the debut season and work your way forward, skip this set.  The cast is at least trying, but any more episodes and everyone would have laughing this one off of the HDTV screen.


Deleted Scenes and Bloopers are the only extras.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Dance and Practice should be the image champs here, but they both have motion blur, softness and detail issues, both being HD shoots, that makes sense.  As a result, the 1.33 X 1 image on all the episodes of Laverne & Shirley look really good, were all shot on 35mm color film and except for a few bad shots, is all looks fine for its age.  It also would be the biggest Blu-ray candidate on the list.


The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on episodes on Practice should be the sonic champs here, but sound is too much towards the front channels and even center channel, so the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Dance and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Laverne & Shirley are able to more than compete being well recorded enough.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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