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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > The Bob Newhart Show – The Complete Fourth Season (Fox DVD Set)

The Bob Newhart Show – The Complete Fourth Season


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



In the middle of it long run, The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Fourth Season began to go into a new direction that kept the comedy going, but the show itself lost a certain naturalness and sense of possibility it had up until the previous season.  Suzanne Pleshette’s Emily becoming a working wife was not a problem, but that the space between the couple was constantly interrupted by their friends and cohorts did throw the show off for good.


Another compact set is offered on three double-sided DVDs in another set of nice slender cases in another nicely illustrated box, adding funny box art.  The opening this time has become fancier with choppy graphics, signaling the change of direction, though this set has episode prints with a shorter version that cuts the fancier graphic aspects likely for commercial time.  To recap, the classic cast headed by Newhart, Pleshette, Peter Bonerz, Bob Daily, Marcia Wallace, Patricia Smith, John Fiedler and others in this David Davis/Lorenzo Music created show which became an instant classic.  With everything set up, the comedy about a psychologist (something that had never been done on TV before) continued to find new places to go.  The comedy never humiliated the persons suffering mental illness, while actually exposing such problems for the first time in a way TV had never seen before.  This season was still funny, but some good things were lost.


In this 1975 - 76 season, guest stars included Tom Postin, Cliff Osmond, Howard Hesseman, Robert Casper, Patrick Cranshaw, Renee Auberjonois, Richard Foronjy, Keenan Wynn, Alan Manson, Philip R. Allen, Titos Vandis, William Daniels, Kristina Holland (in a few shows), Ellen Weston (both in one of the same shows and veterans of Kolchak: The Night Stalker), Nora Marlowe, Lawrence Pressman, Gail Strictland, Brooke Adams, Amzie Strictland and Veronica Hamel.  This was often before these actors became recognized and found success of their own.  MTM had a knack for casting the best talent in the business and it paid off as this show continued to build and build in the ratings after a rough start.  Here are the episodes, with commentary by Newhart, Pleshette & James Burrows marked*, Newhart & Marsha Wallace**, Newhart, Burrows & Jack Riley***, Newhart, Wallace & writer Sy Rosen**** and Newhart, Pleshette, Wallace & Burrows*****:



  1. The Longest Good-Bye*
  2. Here’s Looking At You, Kid
  3. Death Of A Fruitman
  4. Change Is Gonna Do Me Good
  5. The Heavyweights
  6. Carol’s Wedding
  7. Shrinks Across The Sea
  8. What’s It All About, Albert?
  9. Who Is Mr. X?**
  10.  Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time
  11.  Over the River & Through The Woods***
  12.  Fathers & Sons & Mothers
  13.  The Article
  14.  A Matter Of Vice-Principal
  15.  Bob Has To Have His Tonsils Out, So He Spends Christmas Eve In The Hospital
  16.  No Sale
  17.  Carol At 6:01
  18.  Warden Gordon Borden
  19.  My Boy Guillermo****
  20.  Duke Of Dunk
  21.  Guaranteed Not To Shrink*****
  22.  Birth Of A Salesman
  23.  The Boy Next Door
  24.  Pepper-Two



I have much more to say about the entire show in my review of the first season, but am glad the theme song is back in tact.  The 1.33 X 1 image are better than the second season set, but the poorest of the four sets so far with the worst grain and color we have seen to date.  These shows need some serious work on them.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also adequate, though it still sounds a tad small.  The music was by Pat Williams, with the original title song by Lorenzo and Henriette Music.  Extras include five very funny commentary tracks above and both a great vintage gag reel and yet another new featurette about this season on the final side of DVD 3.  The result is a set consistent with the previous ones in everything but picture performance, but the show is a classic and fans will still not want to miss it.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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