(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Disc and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.)
Sitting through a season of The Dick Van Dyke Show, which, admittedly, I have never done before, though I have seen episodes here and there throughout the years, one could be excused for forgetting the turmoil of the world outside its charming and genteel settings. The series ran from 1961 – 1966, an era that would see the assassination of a president, the rise of hippies, an eruption of racial tensions and the civil rights movement, the escalation of the Vietnam War, and, of course, the rock and roll counterculture that would give us The Beatles, The Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and The Velvet Underground. But in the world of Rob and Laura Petrie (Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore), time had hardly moved on from the 1950s. Their separate twin beds, like those of Lucy and Ricky Riccardo testified to that every week. The charm of The Dick Van Dyke Show, which at the basic level followed the lovable TV writer Rob and his wife Laura and their circle of friends through their various adventures and mishaps, is the very idea that it was and is 30-minutes of escapism from the chaos of the world outside. In its own way, however, even The Dick Van Dyke Show was moving and grooving with the times. Mary Tyler Moore (who would go on to become a pop-culture icon of 70s feminism in her role as Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show) was not quite June Cleaver. She was more self-assured already, a woman of the 60s. In season 4′s episode “My Mother Can Beat Up My Father”, for example, Laura unveils a wicked Judo move on poor Rob who gets his male ego bruised when he realizes that, yes, in fact, his wife CAN beat him up. Poor Rob even laments that women are competing with men for everything these days. Go figure. Season Five was the final season of this classic series and it is not without its groundbreaking moments, such as the episode “Buddy Sorrell, Man and Boy” in which Buddy (Morey Amsterdam) gets a long-coming Bar Mitzvah.
As with previous seasons, The Dick Van Dyke Show was restored from the original 35mm negatives and arrives on Blu-ray with a VC-1 1080p encodement from RLJ Entertainment. Looking at the nearly pristine black and white image that barely has a scratch, save for a few speckles that pop up on occasion, one could think this was filmed yesterday. It does have the look that perhaps a slightly heavy dose of DNR was applied, but there is still a sufficient amount of detail and texture to be witnessed, especially when watched in full motion, as opposed to the screen captures included here, which seem to highlight the smoothness of the grain structure. There does seem to be a bit more source damage evident here than in season 4, but not a sufficient amount to be distracting.
An English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (48kHz/24-bit) track of the monaural mix is included. It’s a bit boxy and there is some crackle, but it actually sounds quite natural once your ears adjust.
There are a lot of supplements included here, but everything is a port-over.
- Audio Commentary: “Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth” by Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke
- Remembering “Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth” (1.33:1; SD; 00:02:07)
- “Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth” Me-TV Promo (1.33:1; SD; 00:00:34)
- Select Episode Photos
- Emmy Awards (1965 – 1966) Outstanding Comedy Series (1.33:1; SD; 00:02:09)
- TV Academy Tribute to Carl – Gary Shandling (1.33:1; SD; 00:02:29)
- Me-TV Promo – My Blonde-Haired Brunette (Season 1) (1.33:1; SD; 00:00:34)
- Me-TV Promo – Package 1 (1.33:1; SD; 00:01:50)
- Remembering 4 ½ and The Alan Brady Show Goes to Jail (1.33:1; SD; 00:07:06)
- Audio Commentary: “Dear Sally Rogers” by Rose Marie, Larry Mathews, and Bill Idelson
- Select Episode Photos
- Keep Your Fingers Crossed (Theme from The Dick Van Dyke Show) – Printed Sheet Music
- Remembering Richard Deacon (1.33:1; SD; 00:03:40)
- Remembering Sally (1.33:1; SD; 00:03:18)
- Emmy Awards (1965 – 1966) Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series (1.33:1; SD; 00:02:57)
- Me-TV Promo – Package 2 (1.33:1; SD; 00:02:05)
- Comic Relief (1992) (1.33:1; SD; 00:06:15)
- TV Land Awards (2003) (1.33:1; SD; 00:15:15)
- Nick at Nite Promos (1.33:1; SD; 00:01:30)
- Audio Commentary: “The Gunslinger” by Carl Reiner & Dick Van Dyke
- Remembering “The Gunslinger” (1.33:1; SD; 00:00:55)
- Select Episode Photos
- Remembering Buddy’s Bar Mitzvah (1.33:1; SD; 00:00:39)
- Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman: If Men Could Cry (1.33:1; SD; 00:05:26)
- TV Land Promo for The Dick Van Dyke Show (1.33:1; SD: 00:00:33)
- Theatrical Trailer: The Art of Love (1.33:1; SD; 00:00:51)
- The New Dick Van Dyke Show Preview (1.33:1; SD; 00:00:34)
The Definitive Word
This final season of The Dick Van Dyke Show is every bit as pleasant, inoffensive, yet groundbreaking as all four previous seasons. It looks about as good as it can get here in this Blu-ray edition.