November 9, 2005

DVD Review: The Munsters - The Complete Second Season

I approached my date with The Munsters with much trepidation, I was not sure how well this had aged. I was just remembering my recent experience with the second season of The Brady Bunch. What an absolutely horrible time that was, that Bunch has not aged well at all. The Munsters are another one of those shows that I have fond memories of watching in reruns in my youth. I am pleased to say that my memories are intact, I still get a kick out of the show.

I put in Disk 1 and sat back to enjoy the fun. The opening music came on and Herman came crashing through the front door, I felt like I was 10 years old again. You remember the days, taking your PB&J and glass of milk, perhaps some potato chips, eagerly setting up camp on the family room floor, turning on the TV and watching The Munsters. Sitting on the floor in eager anticipation of the crazy antics Herman would get himself into, or what spells Grandpa would conjure up, or perhaps what trouble Spot would get into. Or perhaps you wanted to see how Marilyn would get made to feel less than normal amidst the rest of the family. Whatever the case may be, entertainment was the order of the day.

Throughout the second season we watch Herman become more childlike, in stark contrast to his brutish visage. Grandpa continues to mess with the magic and act as a the comedic counterpoint to Herman, while Lily plays referee between the two.

Episodes this season feature such setups as Eddie becoming a bully at school, Grandpa making a boyfriend for Marilyn, and Herman and Lily getting jobs at the shipyards. One thing I learned while watching, is that it didn't matter what the story was, it is just fun to watch these wacky characters in action. I was always amused by the reactions the other people would have to coming into contact with the modified monsters.

The Munsters have aged very well. The stories and subjects still hold resonance today, as does the slapstick humor. Actually, I should say especially the slapstick humor. I am amused just by the concept of placing these classic styled monsters into a standard sitcom.

Audio. We get a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track. It sounds very good, crisp and clear without any detectable distortion. Nothing to complain about, just enjoy.

Video. Presented in its original black and white in 1.33:1, these episodes look fantastic. I cannot recall ever seeing them look this good. Universal has done a fine job with the transfer of these episodes.

Extras. The third disk contains all of the extras, and they are all quite good. There are four 44 minute documentaries, each containing some interesting information.
-America's First Family of Fright chronicles the creation of the show, through casting, promotion, demise, and the legacy they left behind.
-Fred Gwynn: More Than a Munster follows Fred from his start in comedy in college, through Car 54 and further into his career of writing and painting, to his later film appearances.
-Yvonne DeCarlo: Gilded Lily. An interesting look at the lovely DeCarlo from her early career troubles to film leading lady and a television legend.
-Al Lewis: Forever Grandpa. Get a look at the role that has become more than just a role over the years, this includes new interviews with Al. Seems like a great guy.

Bottomline. This is a great set, well worth the time to wallow in. The Munsters is a great time, funny, goofy, clever. Reminds me of being a kid. Plus, the extras are very good.



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