This is a bright idea. If you want to convince a customer to buy your product, you give them a taste. Warner Brothers did this a couple of years ago when they released the TV Premiere DVD series where you could get a show or two of a situation comedy like The Jetsons, Gilligan's Island, The Waltons, and so on for around five dollars. These came in a cardboard sleeve with a coupon offering a five-dollar rebate if you bought the box set of the series. In other words, give us five bucks to try this and we'll give you your money back if you like it and buy more. Fox Home Entertainment goes one better with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Best of Season One which features four episodes of this great sitcom including the pilot and a 10 dollar rebate coupon if you buy the entire season.
Interestingly, this is not the first time this situation comedy from the seventies featuring great comic actors such as Mary Tyler Moore, Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper, and Gavin MacLeod has been released on DVD. The first release of season one was outrageously priced and this probably scared away fans. There is a mental block most customers get if a series costs more than 45 dollars a season. Luckily, the people at Fox came to their senses and re-released season one and put out season two for less than that magic figure.
Anybody who feels the Mary Tyler Moore Show was not a major television comedy just has to watch the pilot episode. The first supporting characters Mary meets are Phyllis, Rhoda and they both got a spin-off series. She then goes to WJM TV where you see Gavin MacLeod (of Love Boat fame), the great and underrated Caddyshack star Ted Knight (who later on went on to star in Too Close For Comfort about a cartoonist), and Ed Asner (who himself got a spinoff as Lou Grant. That is definite longevity and comedic talent.
As an entrée into the series, The Best of Season One definitely works. In addition to the pilot episode where Mary arrives in Minneapolis after leaving her cold-footed suitor, you get other great shows such as Support Your Local Mother with Nancy Walker as Rhoda's mother, Toulouse-Lautrec Is One Of My Favorite Artists, and the very funny The Show Must Go On where a snowstorm causes havoc with Election Night reporting at WJM while Mary is in charge.
One could of course be very demanding and have wanted more than just a minor extra feature consisting in a promo of the entire series. Then again, what do you expect for less than ten dollars or less than $2.50 per show. The picture quality on this four episode DVD set is not beyond reproach as a couple of scenes in a couple of episodes do suffer from fading but in some ways you have to remember this show is thirty years old! Nevertheless, the humor is still fresh and the jokes still make you laugh.
By the way, the French translation on the dust jacket is factually wrong as it says there are two shows on the DVD when it is obvious there are four. Hey, had to find a real flaw somewhere
Other seventies situation comedy DVD set reviews
Our review I Dream of Jeannie The Complete Series
Our review Maude The Complete First Season
Our review Mash Season 8
Our review Welcome Back Kotter Season One
Our review Bewitched Season Two
Our review Good Times Season Four
Our review Gilligan's Island Season Three
Our review One Day at a Time Season One
Our review Sandord and Son Season 6
Our review Barney Miller Season Two