Hollywood’s major movie studios offered audiences little to enjoy this year both in regard to theatrical and streaming content. This year’s crop of new cinematic presentations has just been more of the same prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events and books. The last of those categories – the movies based on actual events and books – change so much from the source material that they are really that unworthy of watching and always have been. Anyone that wants the real stories behind those movies based on actual events would do better watching PBS’ American Experience and American Masters series.
Speaking of PBS, PBs is also known for importing shows from overseas that really are so much better than even what major American networks have to offer, as in the case of Endeavour and the surprisingly enjoyable rebooted series, All Creatures Great & Small. Both those series saw their latest seasons released to DVD and BD this year, and those seasons are included in this year’s list of the year’s top new DVD/BD box sets for grown-ups. Also on this year’s list is the recently released full series release of Seaquest DSV: The Complete Series. DC also had a number of notable home releases this year from series, such as Doom Patrol, The Flash, and Lois & Superman, all of which also made it onto this year’s list.
As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this one features the year’s top 10 titles in the given category and five honorable mention titles, for a total of 15 titles. From dramas to comedies to action and more, this year’s collection of new box sets for grown-up audiences offers so much enjoyment and engagement. Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2022 Top 10 New DVD/BD Box Sets For Grown-Ups.
PHIL’S PICKS 2022 TOP 10 NEW DVD/BLU-RAY BOX SETS FOR GROWN-UPS
All Creatures Great & Small: Season 2
Endeavour: Season 8
Seaquest DSV: The Complete Series
Abbott Elementary: Season 1
Star Trek Discovery: Season 4
The Flash: Season 8
Lois & Superman: Season 2
Doom Patrol: Season 3
The Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection
Peacemaker: The Complete First Season
Spiderman: Far From Home/Homecoming/No Way Home
James Bond: Daniel Craig 5-Film Collection
Star Trek Lower Decks: Season 2
Halo: Season 1
Titans: Season 3
Grown-ups were not the only audiences who received lots of enjoyable offerings this year in regard to home releases. Families in general also had lots to like this year in the way of home releases. Only 10 titles made Phil’s Picks list this year, instead of 10, just because there were not enough new family releases for families. This year’s field of notable family releases includes the 2022 World Series Collector’s Edition set, The Batman: The Complete Series, and even the complete series run of Ed, Edd, & Eddy. That Seaquest DSV set is technically family friendly, too, in comparison to so many action shows out there today. Keeping all of that in mind, here is the list of this year’s top new Family Friendly DVD/BD Box Sets.
PHIL’S PICKS 2022 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY FRIENDLY DVD/BD BOX SETS
The Batman: The Complete Series
The Proud Family Original Series: Anniversary Edition
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: Kindness Collection
World Series 2022: Collector’s Edition
Seaquest DSV: The Complete Series
Ed, Edd & Eddy: The Complete Series
Rugrats: Season 1, Volume 1
Kamp Koral: Season 1, Volume 1
The Patrick Star Show: Season 1, Volume 1
Scooby Doo & Guess Who: The Complete Second Season
That is it for this year. Work is already underway for new titles being released in 2023. The second season of the Rugrats reboot is due out in March, for instance. Strange New Worlds: Season 1 is due out around the same time. Lots of new music, movie, and TV reviews are coming as 2022 gives way to 2023, so stay tuned!
The Honeymooners is one of the most iconic and important series in the history of television. Given, it only lasted for 39 episodes over the course of less than a year (October 1955-September 1956), but in the course of that time and in the years since it ended, the impact that it has had remains fully evident. It is well-known that it is the source material for The Flintstones, and there is no denying it had to have had at least some influence in the creation of All In The Family. It has also been spoofed by countless other TV series since its end, and even remained so popular that it apparently has a new reboot in the works, with famed actor Damon Wayans Jr. executive producing.
As if all of that is not enough to show its place in America’s (and the world’s) television pantheon, the show remained so popular following its short run in the late 50s that the cast was brought back in the late 70s for four live specials recorded at a studio in Miami Beach, Florida. Those specials — Second Honeymoon, Valentine Special, Christmas Special, and A Christmas Carol — have each seen their own standalone releases over the years, but have not been collected into one set. That is until last month. MPI Home Video, which also has released the original series in full on DVD, released those four specials on DVD March 22 in a two-disc collection. The set is another win for any devotee of The Honeymooners. That is due in no small part to the stories featured in each special. This will be discussed shortly. The bonus content that accompanies the collection makes for its own positive and will be discussed a little later. The set’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of The Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection. All things considered, they make the collection a must for any fully devoted fan of The Honeymooners and even any casual fan of the iconic series.
MPI Home Video’s recently released DVD collection, The Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection is an impressive presentation that will appeal just as much to the most devoted fan of The Honeymooners as it will to the series’ more casual fans. The set’s success comes in part through its featured stories. Second Honeymoon is funny in its own right as Ralph (played then by a much older Jackie Gleason) thinks Alice (played by a much older Audrey Meadows) is pregnant when he finds a knitted warmer for his bowling ball and a pair of knitted mitts that Alice had made. Ralph is not smart enough to realize that the holes in the ball warmer are for the holes in his bowling ball. The rest of the time, Ralph leans how to put a diaper on a baby, even thinking a list titled “Mother’s Diet” is a list of what Alice is eating for herself and the baby that does not exist. Gleason’s acting chops are just as sharp throughout the episode as are those of his longtime partner, Art Carney, and their female counterparts. Watching this hilarious story unfold and climax at a meeting of Ralph and Ed’s lodge meeting makes for so many laughs from beginning to end. It is a story that itself has been spoofed so many times by so many other shows, including The Flintstones and other sitcoms.
Another great example of the importance of the stories is that featured in Valentine Special. Ralph gets suspicious of Alice when he finds a list of phone calls that she has taken during her time as an operator. Seeing the names, he thinks Alice is cheating on him. The discovery of a life insurance policy, and Ed mentioning how everything was playing out like an episode of Kojack (which was nearing the end of its run when this special was recorded — it ended in 1978) does not ease Ralph’s nerves any more, especially when Alice has Ralph lay on the floor face down in order to measure him for his new surprise Valentine’s Day gift. The whole thing is yet another fully engaging and entertaining comedy of errors that thrives in its physical and verbal comedy. It shows even to this day that it is possible for comedy to be enjoyable without going full blue. When these two episodes are considered with the two Christmas specials that are also featured in the set (the Christmas Carol story, by the way, is clearly the inspiration for the story at the center of A Flintstones Christmas Carol), the whole of the stories makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment.
Going back to the matter of how the stories manage to show that it is possible for comedy to work without going full blue, one of the bonus features included in the collection proves that even more. The bonus in question is an episode of the series’ reboot from 1967 in which Alice is played by Sheila MacRae. The episode’s story centers on women’s liberation. The writing was clearly an attempt by those behind the cameras to try to make the show relevant to the times, but it sadly fell flat. All of the humor was so opposite of the topics and writing on which the original series rested. It is a clear example of the importance of the collection’s bonus content. That is because it allows viewers to see the contrast of the original series to at least one of its reboots.
On a similar note, Jane Keane, who plays Trixie in the featured specials, is featured in a behind the scenes featurette in which she speaks of Gleason’s apparent dislike of working with MacRae because she was so starkly different than Audrey Meadows. Keane mentions specifically as an example, that Gleason did not like that MacRae wanted to make Alice softer than the portrayal made so famous by Meadows throughout her own career. In comparing the two women, Meadows really is better than MacRae. That is just this critic’s own take on that discussion. This bonus is yet another example of the collection’s overall bonus content.
The two skits that spoof The Honeymooners further show the bonus content’s importance because they show how far the show’s impact reached even long after its original end. One of the skits features Ralph and Alice as an interracial couple, Ralph being black and Alice being white. It shows that the show’s influence even reached into the social climate of the time yet was not preachy in that fashion. The other skit, featured in an episode of The Hollywood Palace, features Ray Bolger alongside Meadows as Ralph and Meadows once again as Alice, except in this case, Alice is the bus driver and Ralph as the stay-at-home spouse. It is a subtle social statement even here, but not overly preachy, thankfully. If anything, it makes for its own share of laughs. When this and the other skit are considered along with the other noted bonus content, the whole of the set’s bonus features makes its overall importance clear. It adds its own share of engagement and entertainment to the overall presentation, making the viewing experience that much more enjoyable.
Moving from the bonus content, there is one more item to note in examining this collection’s overall presentation. That item is the set’s packaging. The collection’s two discs each sit inside the standard size DVD case on their own “plates.” This protects the discs from marring one another, and in turn ensures their longevity. Those responsible for this packaging item are to be commended for going that route. In similar fashion, the smart packaging also means the collection will take up the same amount of space on any rack as any DVD case containing just one disc, making for even more aesthetic appeal. When all of this is considered along with the positives of the stories featured in each of the set’s specials, and with the bonus content that accompanies them, the whole makes this collection a fully engaging and entertaining presentation.
MPI Home Video’s newly released The Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection is a thoroughly enjoyable presentation. Whether one is an established fan of the series or more casual, there is plenty for viewers on both sides to appreciate, beginning with the specials’s stories (and the cast’s work presenting them live on stage). The stories and the cast’s work presenting them make for so much engagement and entertainment, showing that the show still had some gas left in the proverbial tank, even nearly two decades after it had ended its initial run. The bonus content that accompanies the collection adds to the engagement and entertainment because of the secondary level of content that it brings. It really leads to so much discussion through everything presented. The set’s packaging rounds out its most important items. It is ergonomic, which is appealing for any physical media fan. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of this collection. All things considered, they make the set one of the best of this year’s new DVD/BD box sets for grown-up audiences.
The Honeymooners Specials: The Complete Collection is available now. More information on this and other titles from mpi home video is available at:
Second Honeymoon finds Ralph wanting to celebrate his and Alice’s 25th wedding anniversary by renewing the couple’s vows. When Ralph thinks Alice is pregnant though, Ralph’s old pal, Ed Norton teaches Ralph how to care for a baby.
Valentine Special features Alice secretly trying to buy Ralph a suit for Valentines Day. The thing is that when Ralph finds evidence of Alice’s plans, he thinks she is cheating on him and wants to kill him. Ralph enlists Ed to help him go undercover and find out what Alice is up to.
Christmas Special involves Ralph’s love of gambling as he risks his and Alice’s life savings on the lottery, as well as Ed’s holiday bonus. To make things even more interesting, Ralph’s gamble also puts in jeopardy, the social security check of Alice’s mother.
Christmas Carol finds Ralph leading and starring in his company’s annual holiday fundraiser play. In this case the play happens to be none other than Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Ed ends up directing the play and his inexperience helming such a project leads to plenty of comedy.
More information on this and other titles from mpi media group is available at:
Timeless Media will release another piece of television history next month when it releases The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years 1951 – 1955.
Timeless Media will release The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years 1951 – 1955 on Tuesday, October 21st on DVD. The box set contains ninety episodes spread across eleven discs. The release of this box set marks the first time that the episodes contained therein have been seen since their original broadcast some six decades ago. Among the eleven DVDs is one disc that includes a number of bonus features. Among those features is the documentary feature “America’s Clown: An Intimate Biography of Red Skelton,” behind the scenes rehearsal footage, and even a pair of bonus episodes.
Along with all of the classic episodes and bonus features, The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years 1951 – 1955 also features guest appearances from a number of the biggest stars of the day. The list of those guest stars includes the like of: Jackie Gleason, Johnny Carson—who called Skelton “one of the great clowns of our time”—Diahann Carroll, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Peter Lorre and many others.
The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years 1951 – 1955 will retail for MSRP of $59.97. More information on this and other releases from Timeless Media is available online at: