The Good

Bea Arthur is brilliant in this Norman Lear production.

The Bad

Absolutely no Extra features.

Maude: The Complete First Season is yet another social commentary/social satire offering from the mind of the brilliant Norman Lear. Spun off from the great All in the Family TV show, Maude r is not. On her fourth husband (Walter; Bill Macy) and with a live-in daughter (who also has a small child herself), in many ways this show still represents the American family.

Never shying away from controversy, Maude almost never censors herself. This show looks at such interesting issues as white guilt ("Maude Meets Florida"), fidelity ("Walter's Secret") and politics ("Flashback"). While I am sure that some people would see almost every episode of this show as social and political in some way, I think it's success was derived from the fact that it never left the comedy that far behind. With a run that ran from 1972 to 1978 what made this show stand out was the solid acting and writing. Yes, the screenplays were topical but you need good performances and a lot of levity to pull that off.

Maude: The Complete First Season did that in spades.


No Extras came with this DVD.


Full Screen - 1.33:1. The quality on this DVD's picture was okay. These shows are about 35 years old now and I noticed some of what I call the 1970s smear. What is surprising is that I haven't seen that on a lot of other shows from that time. It wasn't that noticeable, I just found that sometimes the lighting scheme created a moire pattern that was unbecoming. Still, all 22 episodes seem like they have been well compressed and the assets look like they have been cared for over the years.


Dolby Digital - English. Close Captioned. The audio on this show can best be described as solid, if not spectacular. Nothing about the audio really grabbed me but lets define what we're talking about. This is a sitcom, it's designed to maximize laughs and to make us laugh. Did I hear all the jokes? Yes. Enough said.


Looking like a mock up of The Brady Bunch we get the many faces of Maude Findlay on the front of this slipcase cover. The back features some shots of Maude and Walter, as well as some more shots from the episodes contained in this set. There is also a well written description of what this show is about and some very minor system specs. All of the episodes have been compressed onto 3 discs, which are neatly stored in two slim cases. The covers are orange and purple with some more pictures from the show on each one. Listed all around the backs and insides of the covers are the episode order and a description of each one. Once again, Sony packages things neat and tidy with this release.

Final Word

Having loved Bea Arthur on The Golden Girls, I knew that I was going to enjoy her here. While I can't say that I necessarily always agree with where her character is coming from, I think that that says a lot about her handling of this role. Maude Findlay is as complex as characters get. She is tough, yet needy. Warm, yet can become an ice queen in seconds. I think what has endeared people to this character (and probably to Bea Arthur) is that she doesn't seem to separate herself publicly from who this woman is. In short, Arthur embodies this character and that is why we remember both of them.

All in the Family may have spoke louder, carried a bigger stick and was probably even better (heck, I think it is), but I feel that Maude works because it shows Norman Lear's ability to look at many sides of the same issue.