DVD Review: The Golden Girls – The Complete First Season

The Golden Girls, created by Susan Harris (Soap, Benson), was centered around four vibrant and single women who lived together in a house in Miami, Florida. Golden Girls was a unique sitcom due to the ages of its lead characters, who were all over 50. Smart and sarcastic Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), Man-crazy Blanche Deveraux (Rue McClanahan), naive Rose Nylund (Betty White), and wisecracking octogenarian Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty).

The show has pretty much never left the airwaves since its original end date in May 1992. After years of local and then eventual cable syndication, including outlets such as Lifetime, WEtv, Hallmark, and now TVLand and Logo, there now continues to be the option of reliving and enjoying this timeless classic over and over again in its original form on DVD.

The episodes from this season’s set are listed below. They are presented in order of the original air dates. Items with an asterisk note personal favorites from the set:

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Disc One

1)      (9/14/1985) The Engagement (The Pilot) (24:47)

2)      (9/21/1985) Guess Who’s Coming to the Wedding? (24:47)*

3)      (9/28/1985) Rose The Prude (24:50)

4)      (10/5/1985) Transplant (24:45)*

5)      (10/19/1985) The Triangle (24:47)

6)      (10/26/1985) On Golden Girls (24:46)

7)      (11/2/1985) The Competition (24:39)

8)      (11/9/1985) Break-In (24:11)

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Disc Two

9)      (11/16/1985) Blanche and The Younger Man (24:48)*

10)   (11/23/1985) The Heart Attack (24:47)

11)   (11/30/1985) Stan’s Return (The Return of Dorothy’s Ex) (24:39)

12)   (12/7/1985) The Custody Battle (24:47)

13)   (12/14/1985) A Little Romance (24:23)*

14)   (12/21/1985) That Was No Lady (24:42)

15)   (1/11/1986) In a Bed of Rose’s (24:47)

16)   (1/18/1986) The Truth Will Out (The Will) (24:18)

17)   (2/1/1986) Nice and Easy (24:47)

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Disc Three

18)   (2/8/1986) The Operation (24:45)*

19)   (2/15/1986) Second Motherhood (24:49)

20)   (2/22/1986) Adult Education (24:48)

21)   (3/1/1986) The Flu (Flu Attack) (24:32)*

22)   (3/8/1986) Job Hunting (24:47)

23)   (3/29/1986) Blind Ambitions (24:48)

24)   (5/3/1986) Big Daddy (24:45)

25)   (5/10/1986) The Way We Met (24:41)*

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There is some really well-written and acted comedy on these DVD’s. The biggest standouts on this set for me are “Guess Who’s Coming to the Wedding?”, where an upset Dorothy finally gets to confront her cheating ex-husband Stanley at her daughter’s wedding; “Transplant” where Blanche ponders the possibility of giving one of her kidneys to her sister Virginia. The girls are in for a shock when they discover Rose’s latest date in “A Little Romance.” Dorothy faces her fear of hospitals in “The Operation.” Everyone (except Sophia) deals with being sick on “The Flu,” and the girls reminiscence on how they became friends, complete with their first of many bonding times with cheesecake on “The Way We Met.”

Familiar Faces:  Some memorable guest stars appear throughout the show’s run. The first season doesn’t disappoint. Meschach Taylor (Desigining Women), Gordon Jump (WKRP in Cincinnati), Polly Holliday (Alice), Hallie Todd (Lizzie McGuire), also movie and TV actresses Anne Haney, Sheree North, and Priscilla Morrill.

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The menus are well designed and easy to navigate. Three sets of moving clips play in a gold background, with the option to either play all the episodes on each disc or choose from which episodes you’d like to watch.

One of the true highlights of getting this set for me, besides owning one of my all-time favorite series, was seeing the show in its original unedited form. While cable TV exposure is truly a blessing for fans of the show, especially as more and more people discover it with every rerun cycle; we do miss out on things. For example, here on DVD, not only do we get each episode in order with its original 24 minute run times, which means all of the jokes and scenes are there, but we also get them with the original openings and closings intact and no annoying on-screen ads!

Video:  4/5. The show was originally shot on tape. Colors are bright, video is clear. Not perfect, but it is presented in good shape and suits the job of a sitcom very well.

Audio: 4/5. I’m knocking a point off of this because this set should be in stereo, seeing as that’s how it aired on NBC originally and that’s what we get when we watch reruns on cable. But for some reason, the DVD sets for the first 2 seasons have mono audio. It does a good job and you can hear everything, including all the classic one-liners, clearly, but what was the reason for the mix-up here?

Extras: 1/5. I’m only giving this category any marks because it’s well, something. The only thing that could be considered bad from this set is the bonus feature with Joan and Melissa Rivers, which makes lame jabs at the characters’ fashion choices. Even as someone who’s watched and actually enjoyed Fashion Police every once in a blue moon; it’s just really a tacky and disappointing feature.  I’d much rather have seen a blooper reel, original NBC promos for the show, commentary, anything respectable, really.

I would strongly recommend this DVD set for any fan of the show. They’re still available, so get it whenever you can! There’s so many laughter inducing moments; you will not regret it.

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