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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Rural > Southern > Nighttime Soap Opera > City > Relationships > The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Season Four (1965 1966/CBS DVD Set)/Hart Of Dixie: The Complete Second Season (2012 2013/Warner DVD Set)/How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Season 8 (2012

The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Season Four (1965 - 1966/CBS DVD Set)/Hart Of Dixie: The Complete Second Season (2012 - 2013/Warner DVD Set)/How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Season 8 (2012 - 2013)/New Girl: The Complete Second Season (2012 - 2013/Fox DVD Sets)/Petticoat Junction: The Official Third Season (1965 - 1966/CBS DVD Set)

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

The TV on DVD sets keep on coming and here are five comedies old and new...

The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Season Four (1965 - 1966) was the year the show started filming in color and that only pushed the writers to make the humor even more outrageous as the series stayed #1 on all of TV and the cast hit their hilarious stride. To the credit of all, the show did not try to go into directions that made no sense, sticking with what worked, including sending up what was topical. This includes an episode where Max Baer Jr.'s Jethro decides to become a James Bond-type spy including building a spy car that looks like it will be in the scrapyard before its initial use.

What makes the show hold up for the rural humor intended is that the makers were fearless in creating idiotic situations that did not seem so to The Clampetts, especially as Jed (Buddy Ebsen) always had a common sense moral center and down home sense of things, even when he almost charmingly had only half a clue as to the realities of what was going on in reality. All 32 half-hour shows are here on 4 DVDs.

There are no extras, unfortunately.

Hart Of Dixie: The Complete Second Season (2012 - 2013) is yet another nighttime soap opera like the many we used to get, but with a twist: it knows it is being good trash, but it is also a comedy. Set in the South, it is not a satire or direct spoof of such shows, but has comic moments explicit during the usual soap opera happenings, making for a nice change of pace for such a show.

However, the makers cannot really capitalize on this or take it to a place that makes the show a clever howler throughout, especially since it still wants to be that trashy nighttime soap it is likely being sold as to begin with. The mostly unknown cast (Rachel Bilson and Tim Matheson are the few known actors) is not bad and the 22 episodes here over 5 DVDs are moderately watchable, but this is a show that did not stuck with me in the least and tends to be aimed at a female audience whether it wants to admit it or not.

A pullout paper episode guide in the DVD case is the only extra.

Hard to believe, but we are now at How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Season 8 (2012 - 2013) and we having covered three of the first four seasons elsewhere on this site, I was never a fan of the show though some other writers on the site have liked it. An enduring hit at this point, it has not become any funnier, is mildly entertaining at best and only the chemistry and appeal of its cast of its audience (and the lack of good scripted series on TV in general) can explain how the show has survived to this point.

All 23 half-hours are here on 3 DVDs and none of them really stuck with me either, though I might remember the funny faces some of the actors made after telling jokes. This is for fans only and that might be an understatement.

Extras include a Music Video, its Making Of, audio commentary tracks on two episodes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel and a Set Tour with co-star Josh Radner dubbed How We Made Your Mother.

New Girl: The Complete Second Season (2012 - 2013) is a series that operates pretty much the same way. The teleplays are not that strong, but the cast is very watchable, maybe just a little more so with the terrific Zooey Dechannel in the title role and the underrated jake johnson, for whom comedy comes so easily, yet why is this man not a household name yet?

25 episodes are here over 3 DVDs, but I found the show a bit too safe at times and even formulaically set up in its teleplays to really soar, yet it has its moments and even if the show does not stick with one, you can see why people keep watching.

Extras include extended versions of two episodes (Virgins, Full Of Schmidt), an audio commentary track in the Cooler episode, Deleted Scenes and a Gag Reel.

Last but not least is Petticoat Junction: The Official Third Season (1965 - 1966), the sister show to Beverly Hillbillies that also turned to full color by this season. Happenings in Hooterville were never as consistently over-the-top as the show it was spun-off from, but it was always a charming, funny, fun show with its humorous moments and some really underrated writing that made the best use of its cast.

Unlike the newer shows, the scripts for these older shows had writers who knew how to push the ideas all the way and get the most out of them and though these older series are set in surreal worlds when you think about it, they can seem more realistic since the characters just don't mumble, complain and seem stuck in ways that don't ring true. Any characters stuck in these older shows are stuck in funny ways the the caveat that thy can be unstuck with some thinking and tend to have a more realistically positive undertone. Bea Benaderet, Edgar Buchanan, Lori Sanders, Gunilla Hutton and Linda Kaye Henning were also very well matched and like their companion show, the actors really melded well at this point. Nice to see the show hold up so well too at it also hit its stride here.

There are no extras.

The 1.33 X 1 color transfers on Hillbillies and Junction are finally presented for the first time in transfers worthy of their 35mm filmed shoots. Except for some softness, the color form the prints on both sets are very very impressive, show the money and effort put into making the shows and save for those who have seen the shows on good film prints, these series have never looked this good in color before on home video ever! That makes them fun to watch (or to watch all over again if you have seen them before) so expect to be impressed with both sets. Official means CBS has issued the best versions you will veer see on DVD. Hope we get Blu-ray editions down the line.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the newer three TV shows are all HD shoots that look good for the format and are the equal of the older shows, but have their detail limits and Mother in particular is softer than it should be throughout, making it the poor picture performer on the list for whatever reason.

The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Hillbillies and Junction sound as good as they ever have and show ho well recorded they were for their time, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the newer shows have some obvious clarity advantages, but tend to be dialogue/joke based and more towards the front speakers meaning don't expect any great soundfields in their cases.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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