It’s true that MASH was winding down by year 10. Everyone involved already knew that the next year would be the last. This is what separates the true professionals from those in it for the money. Instead of dragging out the concept until there was virtually nothing of quality remaining, the entire cast and crew decided it was time to finish on top. A lot of folks would have simply gone through the motions once the end was in sight. Instead, these guys kept pouring it on. The stories and acting in this season are just as good as in any other. The saddest thing about this release is that there is only one more to come.
For the first time in a while there were no major cast changes in this season. All of the characters from season 9 remain. I think if anything can be said about this particular year it might be that the characters have become a bit more vulnerable. Almost every character comes into a story where they are left questioning themselves. For Hawkeye it is mostly philosophical. For Potter and Winchester there are real questions of limitations. For Houlihan there are a ton of emotional issues when she is stranded on her birthday. BJ has to deal with changes in his wife. Klinger has a close encounter with the spirit of a dead soldier that causes his own inner reflection. Finally, Father Mulcahy has to decide a huge moral issue in one of his best episodes. An AWOL soldier seeks sanctuary in the mess tent after Mass.
Each episode of MASH is presented in its original broadcast full frame aspect ratio. Again, we’re talking about a vintage sitcom. The picture is generally in fair condition. There will be both grain and print specks to contend with; however, the transfer is certainly watchable at all times. There’s a lot of Army Green to be seen and it does show up in the drab palette the producers were probably intending. Since most of even the outdoor shots were filmed on set, lighting is often a little unnatural and perhaps too even.
This is an old sitcom, and therefore we can’t expect anything more than the Dolby Digital 2 track mono mix provided. What’s important is that the sound is clean and free of any distracting distortion.
Packaging is exactly like all the previous years.Unfortunately there are no extras. I don’t understand why this series did not demand more respect. Commentaries and interviews would have been quite appropriate when you consider the place the show has in television history. It is my hope that this oversight is finally rectified, particularly in the record breaking finale.
I can’t imagine anyone who bought the first 9 seasons would even think about stopping now. So don’t. It says something about a series when some of its best episodes can be found in its 10th year. I’m not sure I can think of another comedy where that was true. Discs are in the stores so “hop to it, soldier.”