The Good

A brilliant show that attacks the Right just as much as the Left.

The Bad

I would love more special features on these discs. They can pack the Highlander TV show with boatloads of extras but not All In The Family?

All In The Family - The Complete Fifth Season won a Golden Globe and was nominated for 4 Emmys. It is an example of TV writing at it’s finest. Norman Lear and Co. had more then hit their stride, and as a result this season resounds with great episodes. The opening 4 parter titled The Bunker’s And Inflation, really captures the mood that many in this country probably have now. Work is tough, your unions can’t help you and things just seem to be getting worse and worse for the American worker. Everything today seems to be about making money for the company you work for, at the expense of yourself and everything else. No other show I have ever seen speaks to this the way that All In The Family did and still does.

Best of all, this brilliantly conceived show did it all through laughter. It has often been said that a Republican and a Democrat could sit back and watch this show, and they could both laugh at the same thing for completely different reasons. Other great episodes on this 3 disc set are All’s Fair, the two parter Archie Is Missing and Archie And The Quiz just to name a few.

All in all, All In The Family - The Complete Fifth Season is a welcome addition to the other releases of this show, and I cannot put into words how awesome it is to be collecting every single, solitary episode of this seminally important show.

Features

No real extras came with this DVD release, except for Episode 15 in which Henry Fonda takes us through a retrospective of the first 100 episodes. This is something that played on TV Land and is really interesting, simply because it breaks down all the characters and the scenes in an almost poetic way. I am really happy that Sony chose to include this episode on this 3 disc set.

Video

1.33:1 - Full Screen. Now this is a TV show! Classically shot and classically acted it’s almost like watching a 30 minute stage play every time out. One thing I like about this show is that these characters seem like a family. They eat together, grow together and really put across some interesting (often funny) ideas. I don’t think these episodes look that much different than when they air on TV Land, but I don’t think that they look bad either. The fact that we have this show on DVD will allow us to study it. The writing, the issues and everything else made it as groundbreaking as it continues to be.

Audio

English. Close Captioned. It doesn’t say what kind of sound they use here, but something tells me it is of the mono variety. I only say this because that seems to be the kind of audio that is used for these older shows. This show is so dialogue-centric and dependent on the writing and performances, that they could just sell the audio for All In The Family and I would probably buy it. The sound here is really good and while there isn’t much to say about it’s quality, I didn’t have any problems hearing anything on this show.

Package

The classic All In The Family packaging that they have used for all the releases beginning with the 2nd Season. This cover features Edith, Archie, Gloria and Michael and the color scheme is that of St. Patrick’s Day. The back features 3 shots from the show (two of which look like posed promo shots), a description of the show and some technical specs. All three discs unfold with packaging that has more shots of the cast. There is also an episode index which lists out each show and also gives a thumbnail description of the episodes. Nothing too special but All In The Family is the kind of show that speaks for itself.

Final Word

I have been trying to think about what makes All In The Family so special to me. I was born in New York in 1973, but my parents moved my brother and I out to California when I was 4. During my formative years we used to visit “home” quite a bit as we still had the majority of our family there. I guess I have always sort of felt like an honorary New Yorker (even though I consider myself a 100% California Native), there is a part of me that still feels some connection to that city from my past. Maybe I also see my parents in the Mike and Gloria characters (which I guess would make me “little Joey”), and thus I see Archie and Edith as surrogate Grandparents of some sort.

Whatever the case, there is something about this show that I am almost drawn to. That I want to be a part of even though I know I never will be. My family is almost completely different from the Bunker’s, yet that doesn’t mean I can’t feel like a member of All In The Family.

All in the Family was released .