There were a lot of changes in store for the Bunkers in the 9th and final season. The biggest change was the addition of Stephanie played by Danielle Brisebois. She was the daughter of one of Edith’s cousins. The girl was originally left with the Bunkers for what was supposed to be a temporary situation. Of course, the couple gets stuck with the 9-year-old girl and have to raise her. The matter is made worse when Archie discovers she’s Jewish. Mike and Gloria have moved out to California but are not completely out of Archie’s life. Archie and Edith make a trip out to see them and their grandson in a three-part episode, only to discover they have split up. This would lead to yet another All In The Family spin-off called Gloria. The release includes the three-part All In The Family Retrospective hosted by Norman Lear.
The series was first released through Fox for three seasons. Sony took over the releases for the next three seasons. Finally Shout Factory has stepped up and has taken over the release chores for this classic comedy.
This would not be the end of the story. The next season the show would continue as Archie Bunker’s Place. Stephanie remained with Archie, but they finally killed off Edith.
It’s perhaps a sad commentary on the level of political correctness that Archie Bunker could never have graced network primetime in 2010. Archie was ignorant and an incredibly vocal bigot. Archie was an equal-opportunity bigot. He didn’t just hate certain minorities … he hated everybody who wasn’t white blue-collar protestant. Carroll O’Connor, who brilliantly portrayed Archie, was without a doubt one of the best actors to grace a network sit-com. Just watch his eyes and you’ll understand. All in the Family holds a record for spin-off series. The Jeffersons, Maude, Good Times, and Archie Bunker’s Place are just a few of the highly successful shows that owe their roots to All In The Family. Rob Reiner, Meathead, has since followed in his father Carl Reiner’s footsteps as a highly-acclaimed producer.
All In The Family is appropriately presented in its original full frame 1.33:1 format. This is a 30-year-old sit-com. Colors are clearly washed out, and the prints show noticeable wear. I must say that the presentation is still quite extraordinary when you consider the source material. There is nothing here to distract from the very funny material being presented.
Let’s be fair here. Yes, this is a minimalist mono 2.0 track. All you really need is clear dialog, and this release provides just that. Anything more would be unfaithful to the original program.
A special thanks has to go out to Shout Factory for picking up the show for release on DVD. It has been several years since the last seasons of All In The Family had been released. This is a series that absolutely belongs on any collector’s shelves. It’s been too long. Now you can have the full collection. Show them they made the right decision here and get yours today. Shame on both Sony and MGM for dropping the ball here. “Can you spell ‘atrocious’?”