The Midnight Special’s Re-Issues Will Have Audiences Singing, Dancing Well Past Midnight

Courtesy:  StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment/NBC

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment/NBC

StarVista Entertainment and Time Life Entertainment have made quite the name for themselves over the course of recent years.  Releases of classic series such as The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family, The Dean Martin Show, China Beach, and most recently The Wonder Years have taken a company that for years was the butt of many people’s jokes to a place in the upper echelons of home entertainment companies.  For years, Time Life was known mainly for the not-so-well-known products that it pushed through extended advertisements on television.  Now it has carved out even more of a comfortable place in that upper echelon with the release of The Midnight Special on DVD.  The classic late night live concert series was released in a number of formats last month, resurrecting one more important piece of television and music history.  The show’s six-disc collector’s edition is one of the best of the sets that any fan of classic television and music can add to their own home library.  That is because it is one of the best examples of what made this series so great during its nine-year run on NBC.  It presents ninety-six total performances from bands, artists and groups across the music industry’s spectrum.  The acts that make appearances throughout the set’s six discs are the center of this box set’s enjoyment and success.  Just as important to note is the quality of the footage.  More than four decades have passed since the Midnight Special first debuted in 1972.  In that time, the footage presented in these performances has stood the test of time quite well.  And last but not least worth noting in the set’s success is its companion booklet.  The booklet serves as an episode guide for viewers.  That is the central point of its importance.  It also features personal insight from the series’ creator Burt Sugarman. Sugarman’s retrospection on the series and its importance adds one more layer of appreciation for this series.  Together with the acts that appear on each set and the quality of the footage, all three factors together make The Midnight Train another wonderful release from Time  Life Entertainment and StarVista Entertainment.

The Midnight Special was one of the most famed and beloved series on television during its day.  Unlike so many other series of the time, acts that came on the series in its heydey actually sang instead of lip synching.  What’s more, unlike American Bandstand, The Midnight Special focused on more than just the big pop acts of its day.  The acts that came to perform on NBC’s live overnight concert series spanned the music world’s ranks.  That is the most important aspect of this recently released classic series.  The acts that performed on The Midnight Special included the likes of John Denver performing alongside Linda Rondstadt and Aerosmith performing alongside Barry White, The Stylistics, and ELO.  It also featured acts the likes of: B.B. King, Frankie Vallie, Sammy Hagar, The O’Jays, BeeGees, and so many other greats that are still remembered today.  Even the show’s host himself, radio host Wolfman Jack was a celebrity in his own right.  Even today, he and those acts noted here are just as beloved as they were decades ago.  In an era when so many musical acts are little more than flash-in-the-pan pop acts and rarely radio worthy rock bands, musicaians and audiences alike need to be reminded of what once made music great and could again–originality and real talent.  That in mind, it makes sense that the list of performers that came on The Midnight Special is the central point of this series’ success whether in its six-disc box set or its other formats.

The list of artists, bands, and groups that graced The Midnight Special’s stage during its nine-year run on NBC is the most important aspect of this series’ recent re-issue.  More than four decades have passed since it first debuted on NBC in 1972.  That makes for plenty of reason to be concerned about the quality of the show’s footage in its transfer from tape to disc.  Luckily for audiences of all ages, painstaking efforts were taken to present the performances as they appeared in their original broadcasts. Those efforts paid off in spades as both the audio and video of each performance have been well-balanced.  Any impurities in the quality of the footage whether in the audio or video are so minute that they are unnoticable.  The end result is a product that for the show’s original audiences will generate a much-welcomed sense of nostalgia.  Both for those same audiences and the show’s much younger audiences, it also serves to show just how far music has come (both in a good and bad way) and how far recording technology has come, too.  So in the end, the quality of the footage in these performances makes Time Life and StarVista’s new re-issue of The Midnight Special even more enjoyable for audiences of all ages.

The efforts taken to transfter The Midnight Special’s master tapes to disc have definitely not been for nothing.  The show looks and sounds just as good as it did in its original run all those years ago in its rencet re-issue.  The acts that appeared on the show (and that are featured on the new six-disc compilation) are just as important to the overall presentation.  Both aspects together more than make the series worth a watch or two in any of its three re-issue formats.  The last aspect of the series’ re-issue (at least in its six-disc compilation format) that makes it a success and so enjoyable is the set’s companion booklet.  The booklet serves primarily as an episode guide, pointing out disc-by-disc and episode-by-episode each artist, band, and group that appears.  That listing even includes the songs performed by said acts.  By itself, the episode listing more than helps the enjoyment of the series’ re-issue.  The added insight from series creator Burt Sugarman adds one more layer of enjoyment to the series’ various presentations.  In terms of the six-disc box set, Sugarman recalls how so few people had faith in the show and how great it felt to prove those naysayers wrong.  That insight along with other comments from Sugarman make for even more interest and enjoyment in watching the performances culled for the show’s different re-issues.  While being the last of the noteworthy factors that make The MIdnight Special so…well…special, it is hardly the least important of the factors that make the series’ sets such a joy.  This aspect, along with the quality production values and the performances culled for the releases, makes The Midnight Special a truly special experience for viewers of all ages.

The Midnight Special is available online now.  Its eleven-disc and sixteen disc sets can be ordered online direct from Time Life’s online store at http://timelife.com/products/the-midnight-special-collector-s-edition.  The six-disc collector’s edition can be ordered via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Special-6DVD-Amaray/dp/B00L9OPJ5C/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1414009549&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Midnight+Special.  More information on this and other releases from Time Life Entertainment and StarVista Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://www.timelife.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

StarVista, Time Life To Release Latest Carol Burnet Box Set Next Month

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

StarVista Entertainment will release the latest in a continuing series of DVD sets from the Carol Burnett Show next month.

The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups will be released by StarVista Entertainment Tuesday, April 15th.  The new set features seventeen more episodes of The Carol Burnett Show on six discs.  Each episode presented in this new box set was hand-picked by Carol Burnett.  Fans of CBS’ hit sitcom Mama’s Family will be pleased to know that “The Family”, the skit that led to Mama’s Family, will be featured throughout the set’s seventeen total episodes.  Also included among the set’s sic discs are more installments of the beloved skits, “Carol & Sis”, “Alice Portnoy”, “The Charwoman” and “The Old Folks” just to name a handful.  There are also guest appearances from Carl Reiner, Charo, Roddy McDowall, Ruth Buzzi, Andy Griffith and lots more.

The classic resurrected skits featured throughout all six of this set’s discs are only part of what audiences can expect from Carol’s Crack Ups.  StarVista has sweetened the deal for fans by adding bonus cast interviews and commentary, bonus sketches, and two previously unavailable featurettes in: “Tim Conway: Chief Cracker Upper” and “Tim On The Street.”

The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crack Ups retails for $59.95.  More information on this latest release and the complete 22-disc collection of Carol’s Crack Ups is available online at http://timelife.com and http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS, and http://twitter.com/timeLifeUS.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

StarVista, Time Life Announce Release Date, Details For Mama’s Family Season Three

Courtesy:  StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life

Thelma Harper returns this winter!  StarVista Entertainment and Time Life have announced that they will release the third season of the hit sitcom Mama’s Family on February 25th, 2014.  There are changes for the Harper family in the series’ third season.  The most noticeable of those changes is the departure of Vint’s kids, Buzz and Sonja.  The pair was replaced in Season Three by a new character named Bubba Higgins.  Bubba was the child of Ed and Thelma’s daughter Eunice.  He was played by Allan Kayser.  His sudden appearance is explained by his having been previously incarcerated in juvenile hall.  It is explained that he decided to move in at Thelma’s because Ed and Eunice had moved to Florida.  It’s not the only change that viewers see this season.  Ellen (Betty White—Golden Girls) goes under the knife, and Thelma’s sister Fran (Rue McClanahan—Golden Girls) dies.  Of course, Thelma doesn’t let it remain a somber occasion.  She harps on Ellen for how she did her hair for the funeral.  There are plenty more laughs from this, the penultimate season of Mama’s Family in its original run.  The upcoming box set’s release’s bonus features and guest appearances will impress, too.

Mama’s Family Season Three comes packed with its own share of bonus features.  Fans of The Carol Burnett Show that weren’t lucky enough to get their hands on any of the stand-alone box sets or the complete series set get yet another classic “The Family” skit taken from said show as a bonus in this set.  Also included is a profile of Bubba Higgins, an interview with Allan Kayser, and a Mama’s Family cast reunion.  If the bonus features aren’t enough for viewers, maybe the guest star lineup will.  Golden Girls star Betty White returns again.  Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Dr. Joyce Brothers, Jack Dodson (The Andy Griffith Show), and Lewis Arquette (Best in Show) all make appearances, too.

All twenty-five episodes of Season Three are included across four discs.  The set is listed at an MSRP of $29.95.  More information on Mama’s Family Season Three and other releases from StarVista Entertainment and Time Life is available online at http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS and http://www.timelife.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Every Family Should Add Christmas With Carol To Their Holiday Viewing Tradition

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista

Traditiooooooon.  Tradition!  Sorry, folks.  This critic had a brief Fiddler on the Roof moment there.  Why?  That’s because this critic was thinking about the traditions in which people take part each year during the holiday season.  One tradition in which so many people take part during the holiday season is the watching of the annual holiday specials on TV’s major networks.  Those specials are wonderful in their own right.  But they aren’t the only specials out there.  Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista have released a new compilation from The Carol Burnett Show that more than deserves to be a part of any family’s annual holiday viewing tradition in The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol.  Those that watched the sketches included here will enjoy them just as much as those that are new to the comedienne’s talents.    Audiences will appreciate first and foremost that the episodes culled for this compilation are presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcasts.  They will also appreciate that in comparison to so much of today’s comedy, it is actually quite family friendly.  Just as important to this compilation is the inclusion once more of a thorough episode guide included inside the box.  All three of these aspects make this latest compilation more than deserving to be part of any family’s holiday viewing tradition.

The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol includes two classic holiday themed episodes from the show’s original run.  While there are only two episodes, those two episodes are presented exactly as they were done in their original broadcasts.  Nearly thirty years has passed since the first of the pair originally aired.  And almost thirty-six years have passed since the latter of the pair originally aired.  Needless to say that in watching both episodes included in this set, the classic footage has stood the test of time quite well.  Of course, those charged with preserving it and restoring it where necessary have done their jobs expertly.  So they too deserve a round of applause.  The same can be said of the set’s bonus holiday sketches.  That the footage still looks as wonderful as it did in its original broadcast will instill in some viewers a sense of nostalgia.  For others, it will hopefully help to garner respect for one of television’s greatest programs.

The quality of the footage alone in the included shows and sketches goes a long way toward making this new holiday collection a joy for the whole family.  The material in the shows helps it to go just as far.  That’s because unlike so much of what’s out there today, the sketches included in the set are largely family friendly.  Given, there is some material that is slightly edgy at best.  But it’s nowhere near the level of the material in some of today’s sketch comedy shows.  No names will be used here.  A prime example would be Burnett’s sketch with Alan Alda (M.A.S.H.) , “Morton of the Movies.”  Alda’s Morton is a department store Santa that falls in love with Burnett’s character.  The catch is that Morton uses a bunch of movie quotes and character styles to make her fall for him.  Her reaction to discovering this is everything that makes physical comedy so great.  The way that her eyes bug out and her mouth drops open as she watches the lines that Morton just used being recited on television is classic in every sense.  It’s the type of comedy that viewers of every age will appreciate and enjoy.  ON the other end of the spectrum is a slightly edgier sketch with Burnett playing the beloved secretary, Mrs. Wiggins.  Mrs. Wiggins is celebrating the holidays with her boss, Mt. Tudball.  And the ditzy secretary ends up causing Mr. Tudball more trouble than he bargained for as a result.  This is a moment that older audiences will appreciate more.  It’s nowhere near the level of today’s comedy.  But it at least has substance.  That’s more than can be said for so much of what currently classifies as comedy.  There is much more comedy included in the material collected for than what is listed here.  Audiences will find their own favorite moments when they order the DVD for themselves as it is available now.  Of course, the material included on this DVD isn’t the last commendable portion of the presentation.  Audiences will also appreciate that Time Life and Star Vista have once again included a relatively thorough episode guide with the collection that is itself a bonus.

The episode guide included with this new DVD is its own bonus.  So often, DVD compilations (both single and multi-disc sets) lack guides for viewers.  This should be considered a cardinal sin.  Time Life and Star Vista have thus done very good.  Not only are the episodes outlined in the bonus guide, but thorough summaries of the set’s main sketches are included along with a handful of photo stills from different portions of the included episodes.  The inclusion of the sketch summaries helps to set expectations before viewers even put the DVD into their DVD players.  And the inclusion of photo stills helps to heighten those expectations.  In turn, these two elements make the overall presentation of the DVD that much more enjoyable.  These elements work together with the previously noted elements to make The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas with Carol a wonderful addition to any family’s holiday viewing tradition this and every holiday season.  It is available now on DVD and can be ordered direct from Time Life Entertainment online at http://timelife.com/products/christmas-with-carol.  More information on this and other releases from Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista is available online at http://timelife.com and http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Time Life, Star Vista Score Another Hit With Mama’s Family Season Two

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

The second season of the hit classic sitcom Mama’s Family is one more wonderful addition to the home library of this show’s fans.  While it might have been edgy for its day during its original television broadcasts, it still had its own comic value.  In comparison to the fare being offered to today’s audiences, it is just as valuable for that same reason.  Season Two offers audiences just as many laughs as the show’s first season thanks to its writing staff.  Audiences see Thelma get a job working alongside Naomi in what is one of the season’s best episodes.  Fans also get in the season premiere, one of the most relatable of storylines when Thelma teaches Buzz and Sonja about the “good old days.”  And Thelma’s “help” with Fran’s advice column hits some hilarious highs, too.  These are just a few of the great episodes offered up in Season Two.  And they’re just part of what fans will appreciate in this season’s box set, too.  Fans will also appreciate the StarVista and Time Life Entertainment have included a bonus booklet with the set.  The booklet in question offers viewers a brief yet thorough synopsis of each episode contained on the set’s four discs.  Completing Season Two is the inclusion of the original TV movie Eunice that would eventually lead to the creation of Mama’s Family after The Carol Burnett Show ended.  These aspects and much more make Mama’s Family Season Two all the more worth adding to any fan’s home library.

Mama’s Family Season Two offers up to fans twenty-one complete episodes.  One of those episodes, “Mama for Mayor” is actually split into two separate episodes, bringing the grand total to twenty-two episodes.  What audiences will appreciate most of all from these episodes is that unlike the previous release of Mama’s Family in 2006, these episodes (as well as those in the release of Season One) include the famed introductions by Alastair Quince (Harvey Korman).  These introductions were allegedly not included in the show’s previous release in 2006.  They are a welcome addition to the whole presentation.  It’s one more part of the show’s writing that made it so fun.  Of course, the writing behind the episodes themselves will definitely entertain audiences, too.  One of the best examples of that writing is in the episode “Supermarket.”  This episode sees Thelma being forced to work alongside Naomi when she takes a job as a customer consultant at her local grocery store.  The rivalry between the two women reaches comedic heights as the pair go toe-to-toe.  In another of this season’s best moments, Thelma takes Buzz and Sonja on a trip back to the “good old days” when she sees what had become of youth culture in the world at that time.  Every generation can relate to this laugh riot episode.  And of course, Thelma’s biting commentary comes into hilarious play when she helps Fran with her advice column.  This is an episode that will leave any true comedy lover laughing tears of joy.  And it serves as one more example of how solid the show’s writing was and still is today in comparison to today’s sitcoms.

The writing staff on Mama’s Family did a top notch job writing the episodes for the show’s second season.  There are more laughs throughout this season than can be noted in one sitting.  Audiences will just have to take them all in when they order this set themselves.  When they order this set, they’ll find that the laughs aren’t all to appreciate.  Along with such solid writing, fans of the show will appreciate the Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista have included EuniceEunice was the TV movie that would eventually lead to the creation of Mama’s Family after The Carol Burnett Show’s end.  Being that Mama’s Family only lasted roughly two seasons in its original run, this inclusion is a big bonus for the show’s original fans.  It brings everything full circle and makes this season even more of a full experience for those looking to get back to a better brand of comedy.

The writing behind each of the show’s episodes in Season Two and the inclusion of Eunice offer viewers so much to appreciate.  But Time Life and Star Vista didn’t stop there.  Just as with the show’s first season, a bonus episode guide was included with the set.  The guide offers a brief yet concise synopsis on each the season’s episodes.  Many audiences take episode guides in box sets for granted.  But there are a lot of box sets released even today that don’t offer episode guides.  The inclusion of this little, but important bonus helps tie everything together.  It gives viewers the chance to know the plot of each episode, and thus make a decision which episode(s) to watch.  In turn, it helps audiences make a fully informed decision on which episode(s) they want to watch.  The resultant effect is even more appreciation of the show’s writing and of the set’s overall presentation.  This season is available now along with the show’s first season, and can be ordered direct online via the Time Life Entertainment website at http://timelife.com/products/mama-s-family-seasons-one-two.  More information on this and other releases from Star Vista and Time Life Entertainment is available online at http://timelife.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Time Life, StarVista Deserve Applause For Mama’s Family Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Time Life/StarVista/Warner Home Video

Courtesy: Time Life/StarVista/Warner Home Video

Television today is a pale shadow of what it once was.  It used to have so much heart and substance.  But somewhere along the way, something changed.  Both the heart and substance were thrown out the window in favor of programming overly laden with sex and violence.  Thankfully StarVista, Time Life and Warner Home Video have officially released another nugget of television’s past in the form of Mama’s Family Season 1 that reminds audiences of what once made television great.  The first season of this spinoff from The Carol Burnett Show is front loaded with so many laughs that even audiences not familiar with the iconic comedy will agree it’s a welcome re-issue.  It also boasts some wonderful acting on the part of star Vicky Lawrence and her co-stars.  On a more extrinsic level, audiences will appreciate Season One’s packaging.  The packaging for the discs is right along the lines of most other companies.  All things considered, Mama’s Family Season One proves in its new re-issue to be just as fun as it has ever been.  It is a highly recommended piece for anyone looking for a change of pace from what TV studios offer today.

The debut season of Mama’s Family is the funniest of the show’s six total seasons.  It offered some of the greatest writing of any sitcom of the twentieth century.  It was completely unlike anything else on the air at the time.  It took the classic nuclear family setup from older family based sitcoms and completely turned it on its ear.  Even more interesting, it did so without being too racy or edgy.  By comparison to today’s programming, that speaks volumes for this sitcom.  Mama’s Family walked a very fine line even during the 80s.  But it never crossed that line.  It’s just part of the writing that made (and still makes) it such a cult hit.  Season One also offered its share of pure laughs.  A prime example of that lies in an episode that sees Thelma and company make an appearance on the hit game show, Family Feud.  Then host Richard Dawson was even on hand for the laugh riot episode.  This was such a funny episode in that it took that dysfunctional family element and took it outside the walls of Thelma’s house into a wholly new environment.  The result is one of the funniest episodes of Season One and of the entire series.

The writing behind Mama’s Family made this sitcom unlike anything else on television at the time.  It continues to do so today.  But what is good writing without a cast to bring the scripts to life?  Luckily, the cast that made “The Family” a hit on The Carol Burnett Show were also the cast here in Season One of Mama’s Family.  It would have been so easy to replace any of the core cast with new actors for the series.  Luckily that didn’t happen.  In turn, the chemistry developed among the original cast members was allowed to develop here.  It was obvious just how much chemistry the cast had, too.  This is especially the case between Burnett and Lawrence.  Audiences will be laughing nonstop as they watch the pair argue so convincingly as if they really were mother and daughter.  The episode, “Cellmates” is proof of that.  When the pair end up in jail together, it leads to one of the funniest moments between the pair in Season One.  The occasional appearances of Betty White and Rue McClanahan as Fran and Ellen added their own extra comic element, too.  Ironically enough, the pair would go on to star together in The Golden Girls only a couple years later.  That aside, the acting of both women and the rest of the show’s cast in Season One proves to be one more reason that any true fan of comedy should watch at least this season.

Writing and acting are obviously the most important part of any television program’s success.  Both elements have made Mama’s Family a huge success even roughly three decades after it first premiered.  There is one more piece of the puzzle to examine in what makes  the newly re-issued first season of Mama’s Family a success.  That piece to the puzzle is its packaging.  Season One’s packaging follows the standard used so commonly today for multi-disc box sets.  Two of the set’s three discs are placed on either side of a plastic “insert” while the third is placed in its own spot on the back side of the case.  This standard packaging format helps to protect the integrity of the discs.  It also is more ergonomic.  Packaging usually doesn’t get much credit for DVD and blu-ray sets.  But it really is an important part of any release’s full presentation.  And in this case, it’s the icing on the cake of a much welcomed and needed blast from the past that is available now on DVD.  It can be ordered along with the larger complete set online at http://timelife.com/products/mama-s-family-the-complete-series.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New Carol Burnett Show Re-Issue A Great Piece of TV Nostalgia

Courtesy: Time Life/Star Vista

Television today is largely anything but family friendly.  As Peter and Lois Griffin joke in the opening to Seth McFarlane’s hit cartoon, Family Guy, “all you see is violence in movies and sex on TV.”  While that line is meant entirely in a tongue-in-cheek manner, there’s a certain modicum of truth to it in today’s television culture.  Thank goodness for companies such as Time Life.  Time Life officially released yesterday what is one of the greatest sketch comedy/variety programs of all time and one of the greatest family friendly programs in television history in The Carol Burnett Show.

Time Life released “The Carol Burnett Show:  Carol’s Favorites” yesterday.  The six-disc compilation contains seventeen episodes considered among the “best” of the show’s roughly eleven year run on CBS.  The episodes compiled for this new set leave no doubt that Burnett’s show was one of the influences behind NBC’s Saturday Night Live.  The sketches from this show clearly hint at the bits that would come from the latter.  The Carol Burnett Show even spawned a little show called “Mama’s Family” that would last a total of six seasons on television.  Saturday Night Live, on the other hand, has tried multiple times to spin off its sketches to both the big and small screen with little success.  That goes to show the importance and staying power of The Carol Burnett Show to this day.  It’s even been spoofed by a number of television shows that have come since.  And after all, it is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

“The Carol Burnett Show:  Carol’s Favorites” is a wonderful collection for those who are unable to pick up the complete twenty-two disc collection.  That collection was released yesterday alongside this compilation.  It contains every episode from the show’s run.  Among some of the best episodes included in the six-disc “Carol’s Favorites” are the ones that include the hilarious skit, “The Family.”  That skit was the precursor to Vicki Lawrence’s hit TV sitcom, “Mama’s Family.”  Fans of “Mama’s Family” will be happy to know that on this set is the very first episode of “The Family.”  Guest star Roddy McDowall even gets his own role in the skit.  McDowall is just one of a bevy of guest stars to make appearances on the show.  Also appearing on the show in this compilation are the likes of:  Joan Rivers, Johnny Cash, The Jackson 5, Steve Martin, Betty White, Vincent Price and loads more.

From the original skits to the guest stars, The Carol Burnett Show offered so much great entertainment for the entire family.  That’s not all that makes this set such a great addition to the library of any classic television fan.  The set’s packaging is another bonus.  While the box may seem slightly bulky, the packaging for the discs themselves is very impressive.  Three inserts hold all six discs inside the box.  Each disc has its own spot on the inserts, thus protecting them and increasing their longevity.  This may come across as something minor.  But the longer the discs last, the more families will get to enjoy this TV classic.

The packaging goes a long way to making “The Carol Burnett Show:  Carol’s Favorites” a joy for families and fans alike.  But one would be remiss to ignore the most obvious factor of this set that makes it such a joy.  That factor would be the footage itself.  There are those who would speak badly of the footage quality.  But as with so many shows from that era, watching it from its original airing recordings is like listening to an original classic jazz song on vinyl.  The static on those old original vinyls creates a certain sense of nostalgia.  In the same vein, seeing this show as it originally aired will bring back that sense of nostalgia, too.  Trying to enhance it would only decrease that sense of nostalgia.  So kudos to Time life for keeping it how it was. 

There are shows that deserve to be resurrected on DVD and blu-ray.  And then there are those that are better left dead.  The Carol Burnett Show is one of those shows that belong in the prior category.  Despite what some critics may have to say, this newest reintroduction of this classic show is quite welcome.  Now a whole new generation can experience what is an example of television with real heart.  “The Carol Burnett Show:  Carol’s Favorites” is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Time Life’s website, http://timelife.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.