Coach is one of those shows that never seemed to make a lot of noise. I can’t remember any year it was on that it burned up the ratings or scored many awards. Still, it was the little show that could. It ran for nine seasons, always holding on to a loyal core audience. I’m sure most of the success belongs to the underrated talents of Craig T. Nelson. I’ll admit that this guy just never showed up on my talent radar until his unexpected turn at drama during The District. It was then I learned to appreciate his self-effacing subtle abilities. Now I watch Coach with a somewhat renewed interest. Dick Van Dyke’s lesser known brother in comedy, Jerry is also a huge reason for the show’s stamina, if not outright success. The bumbling Luther was my favorite part of the show. The first season of Coach is a short one. I also appreciate the way it begins. It assumes you already know these guys and doesn’t feel the need to explain why everyone is here. The Coach is already in his position with his staff that we’ll soon get to know better. It’s a quirky show, and not at all one of my favorites, but certainly worth a second look on DVD.
Each episode of Coach is presented in its original full frame format. I’m a bit disappointed in the quality. It’s about what you saw during its original broadcast, but falls short of other restoration projects I’ve seen. Sometimes the picture has a distinctive VHS look to it. Most of the color is soft. Black levels are barely adequate. The overall picture quality gives the series a much more dated feel than was necessary.
Each episode sports an adequate Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Again, it’s all here, but nothing really jumps out. Dialogue is fine, and perhaps that’s all I have any right to expect here. There are instances of high-end distortion as well as an occasional hiss. Expect 80’s broadcast over average cable service, and that’s what you’ll find here.
I guess the packaging is an expected bonus. The 2 discs are found in a football replication folder. It looks kinda cool, but there’s no way this fits on your DVD shelf. It would have been smart to include it in a box that could be placed with your other DVD’s. Not so here. A real pain to find a place to keep it. There’s also a ton of wasted paper inside as they try to provide you with a “coach’s notebook”.
The rest of the extras include a bonus episode from season 2, but I suspect it will be included if and when there is a season 2 release. “The Great 80’s Flashback” has already appeared on too many other sets for it to be considered anything more than tedious by now.
I suggest you only pick this up if you’re a fan of the show. There aren’t that many episodes, and honestly none really stand out. I understand there is a set that does not include the special packaging. Trust me, get the generic version. I suspect fans of the show need to step up, or my guess is, “You can kiss the next four years goodbye.”