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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Rhoda – Season One: 35th Anniversary Edition (Shout! Factory DVD)

Rhoda – Season One: 35th Anniversary Edition (Shout! Factory DVD)


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



After All In The Family had so many successful spin-offs, CBS and Mary Tyler Moore productions decided they should try, but they did not just throw any show out there as a money machine.  The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a big hit and a giant watershed critically and within the industry.  Valerie Harper played Rhoda Morgenstern on the show and was so popular, some feared a rival network would offer her a big contract to leave and MTM & CBS knew it.  Thus, Rhoda became the first spin-off and the result was a huge, groundbreaking hit.


Rhoda decides to visit her family back home in the Bronx not expecting to stay, but one thing leads to another and she stays.  She is going to stay with her sister Brenda (Julie Kavner, now immortalized as the voice of Marge Simpson on The Simpsons) and see her mother Ida (the great Nancy Walker) who wants to keep her childhood guilt going.  Unexpectedly, she meets the father of a child Brenda is babysitting and they sort of get along.  Joe (David Gerard) is a divorcee who runs his own company and is not dating Brenda.  There might be something to stay for after all.


The show is exceptionally smart like the show it come from, was a further expansion of women’s issues like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and That Girl before it, plus was made for an audience with the assumption they were intelligent.  Most feature films these days are not this well written and coming from that last Golden Age of TV, that is no surprise.  Harold Gould got to play Rhoda & Brenda’s father, a role only a few years ago he was considered far too ethnic to play in That Girl.


The comic performances throughout the 24 episodes including early appearances by Henry Winkler, Linda Lavin, Howard Hesseman, Barbara Sharma, Beverly Sanders, Richard Mazur, Pamela Bellwood, Richard Romanus, Joseph Sirola, Cara Williams, Scoey Mitchell, Richard Schall, Norman Fell & John Ritter ironically in the same episode, Frank Campanella, Candy Azarra and the entire cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show guest starring in a cross-over set of shows.  However, there are many more surprises, especially if you have not seen the show (which is why we have not named the episodes) and for its 35th Anniversary, Rhoda remains a classic and a real winner.  All serious TV on DVD collections should have this set!


The 1.33 X 1 image varies from episode to episode, but when they look good, they look really good and you can see how nice the film prints really are for the show.  There is a disclaimer about flawed tape sources, but these are filmed shows and hopefully the original materials are in a vault where they can still be made into HD versions.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono also varies, sometimes with some compression, other times with slight harshness, but when it is clear, it sounds very good for its age.  The only extras are a short featurette called Remembering Rhoda which you’ll like, but wish was longer and a thin episode guide inside the case.


For more Rhoda, see these links to our coverage of seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show:









-   Nicholas Sheffo


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