R. Jamieson | Halifax, NS Canada | 11/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Newhart was very likely the best situation comedy of the 80s and I sorely miss seeing Bob on TV. I'm one of those who has a fondness for the first couple of seasons, when the humour was at its most intelligent and subtle...not unlike Bob himself, come to think of it. This DVD release is highly anticipated though I share the pessimism of others that Fox will stick with the series. Inevitably, demand for series TV tends to drop off as additional years are released. Perhaps more distrubutors should take a cue from Time-Life, who released all seasons of Get Smart in a single package, before rolling out individual seasons. It allows true fans to collect the full set at a reasonable one-time price and more casual fans to collect only selected seasons. Much smarter marketing, in my view, than the painful sporadic (and indefinite) release of discs over a period of years."
Autumn Christmas | 11/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Newhart is simply the best television show ever made. It's funny, relaxing, and something that the whole family can watch together. I will buy this dvd set on Feb 26th, and will be ready for season 2 by 9pm that night!"
Finally - An Overlooked TV Classic!
Shannon Thompson | Canton, GA | 11/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember when "Newhart" debuted in the early 80s when I was in high school and I'll have to admit the first few episodes had to grow on me. However, Dick, Joanna, and George really started clicking as funny and memorable characters. Kirk could be overbearing, but he was written out eventually in favor of a superb performance by Peter Scolari as Michael Harris. The show's strongest performer, Julia Duffy, as Stephanie would also eventually emerge as a true comic talent to the success of this long-running series. And, of course, the presence of Larry, Darryl, and Darryl go without saying.
I understand everyone's apprehension about this long-running series being short-circuited, but I believe the "die hard" Newhart fans that remember the original show from the 80s can help launch it to a successful sales juggernaut. I think the one advantage that die hard Newhart fans have is that they have released EVERY possible TV show that has ever debuted (with the possible exception of the Adam West "Batman" series from the 60s). I mean, they have released really lame one or two season shows that have disgraced the television medium in the past few years and they keep putting this trash out for purchase.
A couple of years ago, I wrote to Bob Newhart begging him to get on the DVD release bonanza for the best sitcom ever - Newhart. I got back a standard reply that Bob really wanted to release "The Bob Newhart Show" from the 70s first. I was really frustrated that "Newhart" was not coming to DVD. The first season of "Newhart" was very good, but the true power of this show came in the third and fourth seasons when the characters really began to evolve. (By this time, Kirk was written out and Leslie thankfully left after the first season, in favor of the awesomely hilarious Stephanie!) I am confident that we will be able to get all eight seasons of "Newhart" released on DVD.
But, if the DVD distribution of the series fails, we have more to blame than Fox. We need to blame CBS, the original broadcasting station of this fantastic show, because of the licensing restrictions they put on re-broadcasting the show in re-runs. I remember that Nick-At-Nite ran the re-runs of Newhart in the mid-90s and then the Country Music Television ran it briefly in the early-2000s and then it disappeared completely from all cable channels. My fear is that a lot of consumers in their late-twenties and early-thirties will not remember this show and I'm sure that Fox will not properly publicize it, so it will be up to the folks who can remember the 80s to lengthen the DVD seasons on distribution to the public. This happened with the Rod Serling classic horror show, "Night Gallery". Although, Night Gallery ran for three seasons, only Season One has been released on DVD five years ago! When I wrote to Universal about releasing Season Two and Season Three of Night Gallery, I received a "rubber stamp" response that not only had been the sales been slow, but not many people actually remembered the show!
So, I am extremely excited about Season One of Newhart and I am crossing my fingers that we can get the other seven seasons released from the studio! This is one of the best sitcoms ever produced and Nick-At-Nite and TVLand really need to sit-up and take notice of a true television classic!"
The Second Sitcom Begins
Mark Baker | Santa Clarita, CA United States | 03/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1982, Bob Newhart returned to TV with his second sitcom. In my mind, this show is even better then his first, although it got off to a slow start.
Dick Loudon (Bob Newhart) is the author of multiple how to books and travel guides. He's always dreamed of restoring an inn. Together with his wife Joanna (Mary Frann), he decides now is the time. So they buy the Stratford Inn in Vermont and go about restoring it and turning it into a bed and breakfast. Along with the inn, they get caretaker George Utley (Tom Poston). George is a bit dim and simple, but he's truly a lovable guy. They also hire Leslie Vanderkellen (Jennifer Holmes) as their maid. Unfortunately, their next door neighbor latches on to them as well. Kirk Devane (Steven Kampmann) runs the Minutemen Cafe and has the bad habit of lying about everything.
Now those familiar with the show are probably already scratching their heads at some of the cast. The show was still finding itself in the first couple of seasons, so the characters everyone associates with this sitcom aren't all here yet. Larry, Darryl, and Darryl do show up for two guest shots (and they are both great) and Leslie's cousin Stephanie (Julia Duffy) does show up for one episode as well. She's not quite the stuck up snob we'd love starting next season, but it's not a big stretch to see it in her personality.
I can see why the two characters that were replaced were replaced. It has nothing to do with the actors, everyone on the show is great. But Kirk gets old in a hurry. And Leslie, while a wonderful character, isn't that funny.
Having said that, there are some truly great moments here. The Loudons try to deal with a skeleton in their basement. Dick is disappointed when he can't get the inn declared a historical landmark. He has to delicately tell a group of women what their ancestors found when they stayed there during the Revolutionary War (hint, it wasn't a place of good repute). George meets up with his old girlfriend. A crowded Christmas gets even worse when a pregnant woman arrives about to give birth. And Kirk's lies come back to haunt him when his cafe is robbed.
There are three bonus featurettes, two really short, but "Getting to the Heart of Newhart" is about 18 minutes and includes interviews with Bob, Julia, and several of the other actors. The box lists a fourth, but it is no where to be found on the discs.
While the best was still definitely to come from this classic sitcom, there is still plenty here to please fans. I enjoyed checking into the Stratford and hope the wait isn't to long before I can book another visit."