The Good

A funny show that has a laugh at everyone's expense.

The Bad

No extras came with this DVD.

F Troop: The Complete First Season is the kind of TV show that Robert Altman would have made if he'd had the chance. Starring Ken Berry as the bumbling captain Wilton Parmenter and commander of Fort Courage (where this show is set), F Troop probably gets a lot more right than it does wrong about being involved in the military. I certainly don't think this movie is an accurate depiction, I just think it probably taps heavily into the mindset that most soldiers probably obtain after years in the service. How else to explain such characters as Sergeant Morgan O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) or Corporal Randolph Agarn (Larry Storch)?

Whether they are dealing with Parmenter's mother showing up for a visit, or unwittingly engaging the Hekawi Indians, or some new brass wants to bring changes to Fort Courage, I found this show to have a wry and relevant sense of humor. When people think of black and white shows from 1960s they usually underestimate how subversive they are. This is a fact that I don't think was lost on the producers as this show only ran for two years.

Features

No extras came with this DVD.

Video

Standard Version presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of it's original television exhibition. While at times, parts of the black and white seem a little too compressed, at no point on any of these 34 episodes did I notice any of the action getting blocky or overly pixilated. One thing I really appreciate, is how this show looks very official and dignified, but beneath all of that the humor and physical comedy brew very close to the surface.

Audio

Dolby Digital - English: Mono. The audio for these shows from 1965 has obviously been bumped up a bit. As I have watched episodes of The Andy Griffith Show on a DVD I bought for $1, I know precisely how bad audio on these older shows can sound (then again, what do you expect for a $1, right?). While there isn't anything about the audio that I feel will test out anybody's home theater systems, on my 9", one speaker TV these F Troop discs played just fine.

Package

The front cover features Berry and the rest of the main players making faces that seem to tell us who their characters are. There is a lot of wood paneling all around them which lends itself to the motif of that time. The back cover offers up some pictures from some of the episodes, a small description of this show, a cast list and technical specs. All of the six discs that make up this set are housed within three slim, digipack cases. More shots from the episodes are displayed and the episodes are listed out, on the different sides, pertaining to what discs they are on. While not the most amazing packaging, everything is snugly in it's place.

Final Word

Apparently, Ken Berry has retired from acting. He's 73 so it makes sense but I just wish I got the sense, when I looked over his career, that he was appreciated more. Who knows, he probably is and I just don't see it but he is a really good actor. From playing Sam Jones on The Andy Griffith Show, to Vinton Harper on Mama's Family, this guy could play both serious and comedic roles with ease. I just wish that he was as celebrated as someone like Don Knotts but then again, I guess we can only have one of those, right?

All in all, F Troop: The Complete First Season is filled with laughs and laconic humor that really serves the storytelling well.

F Troop was released .