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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > The Facts Of Life – The Complete Fourth Season (1982 – 1983/Shout! Factory DVD Set)

The Facts Of Life – The Complete Fourth Season (1982 – 1983/Shout! Factory DVD Set)


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



By 1982, The Facts Of Life became such a hit for NBC that not only did they make a TV movie with the same characters; they actually filmed it instead of videotaping it as they did the actual show.  If you are unfamiliar with the show, try this link to our coverage of the previous season:





The Complete Fourth Season was launched with the telefilm The Facts Of Life Goes To Paris and it is very different as it drops the laugh tracks, has far less jokes, has more serious moments, tries for more of a feel-good approach and the makers realized they had to tone things down or the characters as they are in the series would be a spoof of themselves in a real world, especially one as great as the city of Paris.  Mrs. Garrett goes to cooking school while the girls deal with a stricter girl’s school and some find romance.  Kim Fields’ mother makes a cameo as an incidental character too.


They did this in time as Jo (Nancy McKean) and Blair (Lisa Whelchel) are about to go off to college if matters permit.  As the show moved on, it would successfully ad new characters, but like Paper Chase or Welcome Back, Kotter (give or take their amazing abilities to always flunk), it is always hard to hold the original cast of any kind of TV school series together.  What follows the telefilm is the last 24 half-hour episodes of the original cast together, or what fans might think of as the end of the vintage era.  Now they’re all out on DVD.


The 1.33 X 1 image on the telefilm was shot in 35mm film and looks better than any show from either set that was shot on professional NTSC analog videotape.  However, it is not an outstanding transfer, yet makes everyone look better than they ever would otherwise.  The taped episodes on the other hand have more aliasing errors than expected, than the last set and are disappointing.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono also shows its age in all cases, with the episodes sounding more closely miked as expected, yet the telefilm has a smoother sound despite the location shoot.  The only extra is a trivia game.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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