RLJ Entertainment // 1966 // 755 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jim Thomas // September 12th, 2013
Rob: Honey, I hate to see you cry like that...
Laura: [crying] Well, this is the only way I know how to cry!
The Dick Van Dyke Show had weak ratings its first season, so much so that CBS sent out cancellation notices; however, one of the sponsors really liked the show, and pressured CBS to renew it and put it in a better time slot. With a new lease on life, the show caught on; ratings were never stellar, but the accolades were: after the fourth season, the series picked up its third consecutive Best Comedy Emmy. Then Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke announced that the fifth season would be the show's last. They thought they were beginning to run out of ideas, and preferred to go out before the quality of the show started to dip (Off the top of your head, how many shows would have been better off following this show's lead? It's a long list).
While the show still has its delights, there are a few hints that they made the right call. A two-part episode results in Rob being elected to the New Rochelle city council -- but we never hear of it again. At the same time, there are also some true classics, such as "Coast to Coast Big Mouth," in which Laura accidentally humiliates Alan Brady (Carl Reiner) on national television -- an episode that made TV Guide's list of the best 50 television episodes of all time. The last filmed episode, "The Gunslinger," is a clever parody of High Noon; the last episode aired, "The Last Chapter" is really just a clip show.
Technically, The Dick Van Dyke Show: Season 5 (Blu-ray) is a slight step down from Season Four -- though it's still pretty good. The biggest problem is the first episode, in which the video is noticeably softer than other episodes (perhaps they were experimenting with videotape). Yes, there's a lot of grain, but the image is still sharp, and the video is crystal clear. When you see some clips in the extras, you'll appreciate the restoration even more. The mono HD is crystal clear. In terms of extras, you get the extras from the earlier DVD release -- pretty good in their own right -- plus part of a TV Academy tribute to Carl Reiner (the tribute is spread out across the seasons). Most perplexing is a remembrance by Don Rickles of the two-part episode in which he guest starred ("4 1/2" and "The Alan Brady Show Goes to Jail"). It's touching and sweet -- but those episodes are from the fourth season, not the fifth.
Trivia: Several episodes were written by John Whedon, grandfather of Marvel's The Avengers Joss Whedon.
Though it might not have measured up to previous seasons, Season Five doesn't
miss the mark by much.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: RLJ Entertainment
* Full Frame (1080p)
* DTS HD 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 755 Minutes
Release Year: 1966
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Fan Site