Mill Creek Entertainment // 1992 // 585 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // October 26th, 2012
"Welcome to Roseannadu."
Roseanne was and is one of the best TV sitcoms of all time. Conceived first as a vehicle for the stand-up comedy of its star, Roseanne Barr, and then marketed as TV's first "blue collar" sitcom (ignoring most of the output of Norman Lear in the 1970s), the show quickly found its voice as a brilliant portrayal of marriage, family and the American working class. It was serialized at a time when a lot of sitcoms weren't, meaning fans got to watch one long story that evolved over the course of nine seasons instead of a bunch of 24-minute one-offs. It also blended genuine drama with comedy in a way that few sitcoms were doing in the late '80s and early '90s; it's no surprise that Amy Sherman-Palladino, who would go on to do the same thing with her own show Gilmore Girls, was a writer on the show from seasons three to six -- arguably the peak of the series.
Here are the 25 episodes that make up Roseanne: The Complete Fifth Season:
* "Terms of Estrangement, Part 1"
Roseanne (Roseanne Barr, She-Devil) and Dan (John Goodman, The Big Lebowski) lose their bike shop and must adjust to the financial hit. Becky (Lecy Goranson, Boys Don't Cry) and Mark (Glenn Quinn, Angel) leave for Minnesota together and make a big life change.
* "Terms of Estrangement, Part 2"
Becky and Mark return and the family deals with their news; Dan is depressed over losing the shop.
* "The Dark Ages"
When the Connors can't pay their electric bill, the power is shut off. Darlene (Sarah Gilbert, High Fidelity accidentally falls asleep with David (Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory) and has to convince her parents that nothing happened.
* "Mommy Nearest"
Jackie (Laurie Metcalf, Runaway Bride) begins dating a younger man; Bev (Estelle Parsons, Bonnie and Clyde) bargains with her daughters to let her come move to Lanford.
* "Pretty in Black"
Dan and Roseanne play a trick on Darlene to make her think they're throwing her a sweet sixteen party.
* "Looking for Loans in All the Wrong Places"
Roseanne and Jackie have to turn to their mother for a new business venture.
* "Halloween IV"
The show's annual Halloween episode finds Roseanne being visited by the ghosts of Halloween Past, Present and Future.
* "Ladies' Choice"
Nancy (Sandra Bernhard, Hudson Hawk) comes out as a lesbian; Bev decides to move into a retirement community.
* "Stand On Your Man"
The ladies sign up for a self-defense class after an incident at work; Arnie (Tom Arnold, True Lies) comes back for Nancy.
* "Good Girls, Bad Girls"
Darlene stays out way too late at a concert after Roseanne reluctantly lets her go with her friend Molly (Danielle Harris, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers).
* "Of Ice and Men"
DJ (Michael Fishman, A.I. Artificial Intelligence) wants to be a hockey player; Roseanne counsels Jackie into getting back together with Fisher (Matt Roth, View From the Top).
* "No Place Like Home for the Holidays"
The Connors have to spent Christmas apart; Darlene learns about David's abusive home life.
* "Crime and Punishment"
DJ gets in trouble for bringing a comic book drawn by Darlene to school; Roseanne finds out that Fisher has been hitting Jackie, so Dan pays him a visit.
* "War and Peace"
The family deals with the fallout of Jackie's abuse and Dan's arrest.
* "Lanford Daze"
Darlene is punished when she vandalizes the loose meat restaurant; Loretta Lynn visits Lanford.
* "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home"
Roseanne and Jackie's father passes away and a surprise visitor attends the funeral.
* "First Cousin, Twice Removed"
Roseanne's horrible cousin shows up and encourages Darlene to move to New York.
* "Lose a Job, Winnebago"
The Connors take a road trip to attend a TV taping; Dan wants to have another kid.
* "It's a Boy!"
Darlene asks Roseanne to let David move in to get away from his abusive situation at home.
* "It Was Twenty Years Ago Today"
Dan and Roseanne celebrates two decades of marriage; Roseanne poses for some racy photos as an anniversary present.
* "Playing With Matches"
Roseanne plays matchmaker with her mother; Darlene's friend Molly makes a pass at David.
* "Promises, Promises"
Darlene and David make plans to go to the prom and lose their virginity together.
* "Glengarry, Glen Rosey"
The Connors face losing their home.
* "Tooth or Consequences"
Roseanne loses a tooth; Darlene is accepted to an art school in Chicago.
* "Daughters and Other Strangers"
Roseanne and Dan make a decision about art school in Chicago.
Season Five is one of the best in the series' history, throwing huge obstacles in the Connors' path and not shying away from tackling some dark subject matter. It introduced a number of changes on Roseanne. The Connors lose their bike shop. David moves in with the family. Becky and Mark get married. Story lines about abuse are introduced. This is also the last season for Lecy Goranson as Becky; she would be replaced by Scrubs' Sarah Chalke, who I like a lot but was never as good as Becky as Goranson. Of course, Goranson would eventually return and essentially share the role with Chalke. The Becky Confusion would become one of the show's running jokes.
All the seasons of Roseanne were previously released on DVD by Anchor Bay, so if you want a detailed breakdown of the series you're best off reading Judge Jennifer Malkowski's fantastic coverage. Those original DVD sets had two problems: they were too expensive, especially as the prices of DVDs started coming down (but these sets never really seemed to), and they contained the syndicated versions of the episodes with approximately two minutes cut out of each show. These Mill Creek discs address both of those problems, offering the uncut episodes at a very low price. The episodes themselves appear in their original 1.33:1 full frame television ratio. They don't look great -- especially because Mill Creek has put all 25 shows on three discs, and compression affects the video quality -- but they're certainly acceptable, especially for the price. The 2.0 stereo audio tracks are on the thin and tinny side, but also function just fine.
The big issue with the Mill Creek DVD sets is probably the packaging. Though the set comes in a standard amray case, there are no plastic hubs inside to house the actual discs; instead, the three discs are in paper envelopes stuck inside. If that's the tradeoff for the low retail price (seriously, they can be found in some stores for as low as five bucks a season), I'll take it.
Bonus features have been carried over from the Anchor Bay DVDs, and they include Roseanne Barr answering a collection of fan questions and some disinterested video commentaries. Neither one is very good, but it's nice to get any bonus features at all on an inexpensive reissue.
Season Five is one of the very best in Roseanne's impressive nine-season run. The show would eventually jump the shark in a big, bad way (once the Connors win the lottery, all bets are off), but this was still the series at its peak. Anyone fans of the show who didn't already invest in Anchor Bay's sets would be crazy to not pick up these Mill Creek editions; the quality isn't always top-notch, but you'll get the uncut episodes of one of the best sitcoms ever for incredibly cheap.
Review content copyright © 2012 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 585 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Video Commentaries