Why is it that kids watch so much bad programming? When I was a child I watched a lot of Full House, even though I knew at the time that it was a poorly-crafted program. I really don’t remember ever laughing during an episode, and I knew how cheesy the whole thing was, yet if I was at home changing channels, and the show came on, I would inexplicably stop and watch. At first, I think it was confusing for me that Dave Coulier was on the show, as up until that point I was used to seeing him as the host of Nickel…deon’s Out of Control. I think that was the first time that it really sunk in for me that the people on TV were actors, and not real people.
Season Five catches the show’s eight-season run during its “prime”. The season starts off with Uncle Jessie and his wife Becky finding out that they are going to have twins. This is an event that really marks the beginning of the end of this show for me. The episodes leading up to this point put the focus on Bob Saget and his daughters, while this season starts the transition to spending much more time with the supporting characters. Subsequent seasons saw the characters growing in increasingly different directions, and the whole mess just became more and more disjointed. While this opened up new storytelling options for the writers, it also changed the show’s core dynamic. The same could be said for the final couple of seasons of this show’s thematic forerunner, Growing Pains. Once Mike Seaver became a responsible adult, the show had strayed too far from what made it appealing to audiences in the first place.
As far as I am concerned, this series was painful from the start. I have no problem with wholesome family shows, as I am fond of both The Gilmore Girls and the short-lived series Providence. This show was just so absurdly sickly-sweet, however. A lot can be said for the art of moderation and subtlety in television programming, and this show had neither. Just as the hint of a figure in the shadows is scarier than a big monster in a horror film, so too is a kind word and a knowing look more touching than completely absurd acts of zany devotion to ones own family. Obviously, this show found a strong audience, but I will never understand why.
Finally, I find something positive to say about this product. Listen, this is certainly not the best audio track I have ever come across, but compared to every other aspect of this disc, I felt like I was listening to Star Wars: Episode Three. Dialog is clear and mostly easy to hear. Ambient noises coming from props fill in the dead space nicely, and the audience laughter is not too loud. The audience factor seems to be the big problem with most TV-on-DVD products, so it was nice to find one that smoothly fit into the soundtrack without overpowering it.
I was expecting the picture quality to be a little rough, considering the show’s age and the original full-screen presentation. Unfortunately, the results are even worse than I thought they would be. I was really hoping for something positive to say here, but I just can’t do it with a clear conscience. The picture quality is simply atrocious. It is very dark, and coupled with the grainy presentation, details are nonexistent. At first I thought it was my imagination that the episodes looked like they were copied from somebody’s old VHS tape, but imagine my surprise when I actually found a couple incidences of a scrolling image! It was as if somebody forgot to adjust the tape machine’s tracking feature when the digital master was being created. I am really disappointed in Warner Brother for this offering. I know that people love this show, and I am sure that it will sell enough to be profitable for the studio, but I wish they had put a little more time into this project.
Nothing. Zip. Nada. There are as many special features on this set as there are engaging storylines in this season. The good news is, if I am ever tied to a chair and made to watch this entire DVD set again, I won’t have to suffer through any extraneous material.
If it is not painfully obvious at this point, I don’t care for this show. Now, I know I am not completely alone in this. The show never received positive reviews from critics during its run, yet it obviously found a loyal fan base somehow. I am sure there are many that will not agree with my assessment of this series as one of the all-time bad shows, but it’s my job to calls ’em likes I sees ’em, so there you go. If you don’t believe me, check out this link. Please direct all hate mail to the comments section of this review. We all love getting feedback here at Upcoming Discs, even if it is bad. I look forward to reading your rants.