The Good

This DVD set is very economically housed with 3 discs being separated among two slim cases. This is a very well written and well acted TV show.

The Bad

With black and white seen as the “kiss of death” in the movie marketplace, why have they put 3 pictures in that color on the back of this DVD cover?

Bob Newhart plays psychologist Robert Hartley in a show that seems to predate and rival the more recent “Frasier” in many ways. As an espouser of group therapy Hartley tries to help his patients solve their “off the wall” problems, and sadly things often end up much worse than when they started. Whether he’s trying to help his wife Emily feel younger in the “The Modernization of Emily” or he’s helping out another psychologist in “Confessions of an Orthodontist,” this show seems to live by the principal that no good deed really ever goes unpunished. One of my favorite episodes was “Emily For Carol” in which Carol takes a vacation and Emily fills in for her. Having worked in a situation where my personal and professional lives merged for a moment, I truly felt Bob’s pain.

The Bob Newhart Show - Season 2 was a lot of fun. It’s a 1970s situation comedy that is right up there with my favorites like “All In the Family” and “Good Times.” I found the situations to be interesting and funny and it’s great to see that the humor has held up over all these years.


Audio Commentary Tracks and a “Making-Of” Featurette

There are commentaries for “The Modernization of Emily,” “The Last TV Show,” “Mister Emily Hartley,” “Blues for Mr. Borden” and “T.S. Elliot.” Newhart is on all of these commentary tracks. The other voices that appear are Marcia Wallace, David Davis and Jack Riley. I expected them to have more fun on these commentary tracks, but when they started off, especially in “Last TV Show,” I thought I might be in for a rough ride. Luckily, the group atmosphere that took place actually helped to lighten things up. They didn’t talk about anything that special, they just gave anecdotes to the show and I like how Bob Newhart knew that he shouldn’t just be the focus of the show just because it bared his name. The “Making-Of” featurette was a pretty serious minded look at how this show was made. From the initial idea, to the casting, it’s actually a pretty in-depth look at what went on behind the scenes to bring The Bob Newhart Show to the screen.


Full Frame - 1.33:1. What is really interesting to me as that the look of sitcoms over the years hasn’t evolved. Sure, these shows have changed in terms of what they were shot on, but if you look at the style of The Bob Newhart Show, you could take the coverage, the close ups and the angles and they look almost identical to any of the other sitcoms that are on TV today. And in all honesty, I really don’t think that this matters at all. As long as the writing is good and the acting is well done, we will like these characters and watch them however they might be presented. That said, I think for episodic TV, we don’t want images that are too jolting or hard to follow.


Dolby Digital. English and Spanish Mono. These discs are close captioned as well. Subtitled in English and Spanish. I loved the dialogue on this show. As it is in mono (as many of the shows I review are) I had to turn up the sound on my TV a tad higher, but once I got it leveled it played fine. However, when I switched back and watched the extra features, I found that due to the technology of how they were put together, I had to turn my TV set down. All in all The Bob Newhart Show plays pretty much like many of the other shows I have reviewed. As long as I can hear the dialogue and see what the actors are doing, I’m happy.


This 3 disc set comes in digipack packaging and is very slim even with the disks inside their vinyl, cardboard cover. The front features a retro designed shot of Newhart and the cast. Behind them are the touched up buildings of Chicago. This “baked bean” (I couldn’t think of another description) colored cover continues the retro look on the back as well. There are 3 pictures here that are in a bluish black and white. This is a mistake as some people might think that that’s the color that this show is in. There is a description of what Season 2 is about, a “Special Features” listing and some technical specs. The slim cases that house the discs have the same cover as the vinyl cardboard cover that houses them. The back of the covers feature an index of the shows, a description of those episodes and a listing of the commentaries on selected shows. This packaging stands out because it puts the show in it’s proper historical context, as far as TV lore and history is concerned.

Final Word

Bob Newhart may have been the star of this show but it really was an ensemble piece. Like “The Andy Griffith Show,” Newhart was the anchor to an often “interesting” cast of characters. I thought that Suzanne Pleshette was great as his wife Emily. She brought such a sense a levity to his reserved character. Jack Riley, Marcia Wallace and the rest of the cast are all great in the comedic and serious tonal effects they have on this show. Until I had screened this box set, I had never watched an episode of the The Bob Newhart Show, but now I feel like I have a much better understanding of what all the hoopla was about.

And it’s well deserved hoopla, I might add.

The Bob Newhart Show was released .