Great drama, but that's about it.
Brian D. Iannessa | Cerritos, CA USA | 09/13/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I honestly expected more from the season four set, considering this was the final season of this epic drama.
-The quality in some of the episodes is shaky - at least on my Sony Blu Ray player. There are a fair share of pixilated scenes (like in the episode 'Distance,' for example) that almost appear as if they were transferred from a VHS master. I didn't notice this problem with the first two seasons.
-No extras was a cheap way to go out. If anything, Shout Factory should have saved a few of the extras from the first and second season and placed them on the Season Four discs. Also, they could have mustered a few commentaries. Hell, get Marshall and Edward to at least comment on the series finale! Their series introduction - albeit intriguing - was the only extra in this set and very brief at that.
-Artwork was dated on the outside box. I'm starting to think that they only had good stills from the first season. Or perhaps all of the program's publicity photos were done in season one.
Final take: Only buy if you're a die hard fan like I am, and want to complete your thirtysomething digital collection."
Markedly Reduced Quality for Significant Price Premium
Infrequent Reviewer | 10/01/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I paid the full pre-release price for this set. I felt a little ripped off when I opened it and realized there were no features -- having enjoyed the first two seasons completely and having already noticed a drop-off of episode-specific commentary in Season 3.
The prior reviewers have nailed it. It seems a lot of this was just recorded off whatever master there is and not digitized well. Picture quality varies -- sometimes between cuts in the same scene! This feels like a slapped together set. Disc 4 cuts off before the ending of (what I assume is) the final scene of the last episode, and closing credits for that episode are therefore also omitted.
That said, the scenes cut out for syndication are returned to us here and the final episode is re-mastered beautifully (the only reason this review goes up to 2 stars).
I don't know the politics or the finances surrounding this project, but commentaries on the prior seasons' discs and opening credits on the Season 4 episodes indicate to me that Zwick and Herskovitz lost interest after 3 seasons and became involved again only for the final episode. Maybe this has something to do with the Season 4 quality. Whatever the reason, this final offering is a disservice to the series and disappointment to those of us who now have a 4-Season DVD collection.
That Girl 122 | Philadelphia, PA | 09/20/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you loved thirtysomething, of course you need the 4th (and final) season on dvd and for the time being this is the only one available. This season had so many memorable moments (Billy's proposal, Ellyn's wedding, Nancy's remission, Gary dying, Hope & Michael falling apart, Nancy & Elliot moving to California etc). It is worth buying despite some of the issues with this particular package. I note that a number of reviewers are blaming Shout! Factory for the limited extras on this release. I am wondering if we are lucky to have the season available at all.
For many years, the thirtysomething dvd release was delayed due to problems getting clearances for the music that was such an essential part of the show. MGM, which owns the rights to thirtysomething is on the verge of bankruptcy. I noticed some changes in the "pop" music on the soundtrack, most notably that "Chapel of Love" was replaced on the wedding episode. This makes me wonder if the entire dvd had to be done "on the cheap" due to MGM's financial issues. This would also explain why the package artwork is clearly taken from first-season promo materials. It is possible that if it weren't for this "amazon exclusive," the 4th season might not have been released in any form whatsoever.
Creators Ed Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz taped a short introduction for Season 4 that basically rehashes material available on extras for the first season. Sadly, there are no commentaries from the actors, directors or writers. I have a LOT of questions for Liberty Godshall who co-wrote and acted in the episode "Advanced Beginners" which will probably have to wait for a deluxe edition. Mel Harris directed one episode and according to IMDB, never directed anything else. I would love to hear stories about that. I also noticed some comments about Michelle Pfeiffer who was the reigning "hottie" in pop culture at the time-- and had recently divorced Peter Horton who played Gary. (Surely an "inside" joke in the days before IMDB.com.)
Extras aside, this season is such a great encapsulation of a particular period in time. There was a familiar-feeling recession that hit-- forcing DAA to cut staff and partner with a Dutch company (and throw the usually-unflappable Miles Drentell off his game.) AIDS and AIDS-testing were new issues for heterosexual couples. One character deals with an HIV-positive test that felt like an immediate death sentence 20 years ago. Yet the stories and characters continue to feel like real people with real feelings and real challenges in relationships, in families, at work and in the greater society that are universal across time.
I love watching this show again and being reminded of who I was the first time I saw it. I was a little younger than the characters. Now, I am substantially older than thirtysomething and can see how this show influenced the way I understood my life in my 30s. (A lot of wishing that Billy Sidel would come along, of course!)
I think it would be a really interesting show for people who are currently in their 30s to watch and compare their lives with since when it first ran, they were little kids. It is a brilliantly written, acted and directed slice of time full of the humor, sorrow, drama and melodrama of the minutia of life."