The Wonder Years Season 1 DVD Review
One of the most requested DVDs of all time comes to home video with a little help from Time Life.
For the legions of fans who have been longing to see “The Wonder Years” on DVD, the wait is finally over. Thanks to Time Life/Starvista Entertainment, the complete 6 episode first season set is finally here. Now you can relive one of the very best coming of age TV series of all time by seeing the 1960’s through Kevin Arnold’s eyes.
In case you need a refresher, the first season essentially introduces viewers to the Arnold family (comprised of Jack, Norma, Karen, Wayne, and Kevin) as well as Kevin’s pal Paul and his longtime crush Winnie. The season, which takes place during Kevin’s entrance into Junior High School, deals with issues such as the Vietnam War, sex education, infidelity, puberty, romantic confusion, suburban life, death, and father/son dynamics.
Unlike many dramedies and or coming of age series, “The Wonder Years” was never phony or insincere. The reason the series has stood the test of time is because of it’s honest, real, funny, charming and moving plotlines and characters. The show could have easily delved into an after school special esque series about teenage life, but it never did. It was an expertly written series that tackled so many real world issues.
Another key to the show’s enduring success was, of course, the cast. From Fred Savage’s charming lead performance as Kevin to Danica McKellar’s perfect portrait of the girl next door in Winnie, every cast member was entirely convincing in their roles. You can’t ask for a better cast here nor could you ask for better chemistry.
Note: The season 1 set is available in stores and online. While no dates have been given yet, I would assume the remaining season sets will follow in the near future. If you are impatient or would like ALL of the seasons, “The Wonder Years- The Complete Series” DVD set is available to purchase exclusively on Time Life’s website.
Presentation: Fullscreen. How does it look? Sadly, the series has not been remastered. The show appears as it once did on TV complete with faded colors and a slightly fuzzy looking standard definition picture quality. Still, I think most fans will just be glad to own this season set on DVD with the original music intact.
The unspecified audio track is a bit flat, but the music, narration, and dialogue sound serviceable.
* A booklet containing a episode plot recaps, quotes, credits, and factoids.
* Sizable interviews with Neal Marlens and Carol Black, Fred Savage, Danica McKellar, and Josh Saviano. The actors chat about careers, working on “The Wonder Years,” characters, auditions, and the creators discuss how the show came about, the cast, episodes, and more.
* “With A Little Help From My Friends: The Early Days Of The Wonder Years”- A featurette about the show that contains episode clips, cast and crew interviews, and discussions about the series, the setting, the music, characters, etc.. Some of this material is featured in the interviews.
* “Highlights From The Wonder Years Cast Reunion”- A heartwarming and funny reunion in which Fred Savage, Danica McKellar, Josh Saviano, Alley Mills, Olivia d’Abo, and Jason Hervey goof around and chat about Olivia’s real accent, age, Fred’s acting, and Danica and Fred’s first kiss. There’s also footage of an Arnold family reunion (including Dan Lauria) roundtable discussion on a replica of the dining table set.
Overall Thoughts: Whether you’re a die hard fan or are curious to see what the show is all about, “The Wonder Years” comes highly recommended from this reviewer.
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