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Boy Meets World on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3

"Boy Meets World" The Complete First Season DVD Review

Buy Boy Meets World: The Complete First Season from Amazon.com Boy Meets World: Season One (1993-94)
Show & DVD Details

Director: David Trainer (Pilot directed by John Tracy)

Regular Cast: Ben Savage (Cory Matthews), William Daniels (Mr. George Feeny), Betsy Randle (Amy Matthews), Will Friedle (Eric Matthews), Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter), Lee Norris (Stuart Minkus), Lily Nicksay (Morgan Matthews), William Russ (Alan Matthews)

Recurring Characters: Danielle Fishel (Topanga Lawrence), Jason Marsden (Jason), Willie Garson (Leonard Spinelli), Marty York (Larry), Kelly Packard (Tracy)

Notable Guest Stars: Chauncey Leopardi (Nicholas, "Pilot"), Marla Sokoloff (Paige, "Cory's Alternative Friends"), Nikki Cox (Heather, "Killer Bees"), Rue McClanahan (Bernice Matthews, "Grandma Was a Rolling Stone"), Keri Russell (Jessica Feeny, "Grandma Was a Rolling Stone"), Jim Abbott (Himself, "Class Pre-Union"), Kathy Ireland (Alexis, "Model Family"), Don Gibb (Tony, "It's a Wonderful Night")

Running Time: 506 Minutes (22 episodes) / Rating: TV-G
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Surround 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned

DVD Release Date: August 24, 2004
Season 1 Airdates: September 24, 1993 - May 13, 1994
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with cardboard slipcover

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

A star () denotes my ten favorite episodes from the season.

With Cory and Shawn's "Risky Business", the money keeps pouring in! By blowing up a mailbox, Shawn brings excitement into Cory's life in "The Fugitive." Pre-midnight madness in "It's a Wonderful Night."

Disc 3

16. Risky Business (23:10) (Originally aired February 11, 1994)
Inspired by Mr. Feeny's project on mock businesses, Cory and Shawn bet Minkus ten dollars that they can be more fruitful with a real investment. Cory and Shawn decide to spend their allowances on horse races and they win. Soon, Cory's embracing all kinds of risk, but he goes too far when he's left home to babysit Morgan.

17. The Fugitive (23:04) (Originally aired February 25, 1994)
Shawn crosses over the line when he blows up a mailbox with a cherry bomb.
Cory helps him, letting Shawn secretly stay in his room. Cory's guilt has him near the point of cracking, but with some guidance from his parents and Mr. Feeny, Cory tries to give Shawn the help he most needs.

18. It's a Wonderful Night (23:11) (Originally aired March 11, 1994)
Everyone's got plans for tonight. Amy and Alan are out at a real estate conference, Cory and Shawn intend to watch a horror movie, and Eric and his friend Jason have dates. But Eric fails his driving test, and then the babysitter cancels. At Jason's encouragement, the unlicensed Eric accepts the keys to his father's car and goes through with the double date plans. Meanwhile, Mr. Feeny is called in to babysit. This is one of the first episodes that really ventures outside the classroom, and is a forerunner to some of the wackier episodes from future seasons.

The scuba class dons their swimwear in "Kid Gloves." Shawn's excited to play the role of Polonius in "The Play's the Thing." "Boy Meets Girl": Cory and Topanga's first date? It wasn't a date!

19. Kid Gloves (22:28) (Originally aired March 25, 1994)
Cory is disappointed by the "silver mittens" necklace his father gives him for his birthday. At school, the class gets to choose from extracurriculars. Naturally, everyone picks the same one (the SCUBA Club) and naturally, their diving instructor is Mr. Feeny! When he gets home after the first day, Cory doesn't mind much that the "silver mittens" are missing, until his dad explains that they are actually silver boxing gloves, his prize for finishing second in his weight class out of the entire U.S. Navy.

20. The Play's the Thing (23:06) (Originally aired April 29, 1994)
It's time again for the springtime school play, and Mr. Feeny's class is putting on select scenes from Hamlet. Cory, who has been cast as Prince Hamlet, has some suggestions to improve the play, and when Feeny doesn't balk, Cory quits. Meanwhile, when the district manager makes Alan take a pay cut, the family's annual New Jersey shore vacation and Goofy Golf tournament are cancelled.

21. Boy Meets Girl (22:54) (Originally aired May 6, 1994)
After watching a movie about the changes they'll go through, the sixth grade wrestles with hormones. Shawn gets a case of the giggles from his female classmate Hilary and he opens up to Eric, not Cory. To keep up with Shawn, Cory asks Topanga out.

22. I Dream of Feeny (23:11) (Originally aired May 13, 1994)
In this season finale, Cory wishes that Mr. Feeny would be sick so that tomorrow's dreaded geography exam won't be given. The next day, Mr. Feeny is sick! At first, Cory is amazed by his mind powers, but when he learns that Mr. Feeny is in the hospital with appendicitis, guilt overwhelms him to the point where he keeps seeing his teacher everywhere.

Mr. Feeny spooks Cory in "Boys II Mensa." Lee Norris played Stuart Minkus, a character that only lasted one season.

VIDEO AND AUDIO

"Boy Meets World" is, of course, presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen, matching the aspect ratio it was shot and broadcast in. The video quality was quite pleasing, display the show's colors accurately and vibrantly. Picture is sharp (though not quite perfectly sharp) and detailed, and on account of DVD's resolution, it looks better than it does in reruns on TV. Some episodes appeared on the dark side, but I think that's more to do with season 1's budget and lighting than anything else. While it's clear that the show wasn't shot on a feature film budget, this DVD release offers stellar video presentation of episodes that over a decade old.

Episodes are presented in Dolby Digital Surround. The rear channel is effectively called into use for music and a bit of reinforcement on the laugh track. This stereo presentation aptly displays the show's basic sound mix of dialogue and music. Volume is consistent, and the audio was always crisp, understandable and well-mixed. Sound quality is about as good as you'd hope for and expect from a '90s sitcom.

The original Season 1 opening credits! William Daniels in the restored opening credits sequence. Bonus Features Menu on Disc 2 offers an audio commentary.

BONUS FEATURES

For several years in syndication, episodes from the first four seasons of "Boy Meets World" all began with an abbreviated version of Season 4's opening credits sequence
featuring the cast riding off in a car. On DVD, the original 1-minute opening credit sequence from Season 1 is intact, with the original theme music and its winning blend of animation and clips of the cast. It was great to see this opening credits sequence for the first time in over a decade.

Unfortunately, some of the extras that were announced for this set didn't make the actual product. These include a behind-the-scenes featurette that was titled "Yesterday and Today" and a section of Outtakes and Bloopers. I was really looking forward to these, so their absence is disappointing, but hopefully they will be included on a future season release. Some video features, especially new material with the cast members who participated in commentaries, would have made a nice supplement.

The highlight bonus feature of this boxset: audio commentaries, four in total. Stars Ben Savage, Rider Strong, Will Friedle, and Danielle Fishel reunite with producer Michael Jacobs to reflect on these early episodes.

The first commentary features Savage, Strong, Friedle, Fishel and Jacobs talking about the episode "Cory's Alternative Friends," which marks the first appearance of Topanga. This track is quite fun-spirited and funny, as the cast members fondly recall their early fashions ("everything had hoods") and hairstyles, the show's lapses in continuity, and other cast members including the short-lived occupants of the cafeteria's "death chair."

Eric and Cory respond to Jim Abbott in "Class Pre-Union." Cory tries to persuade Mr. Feeny that he's the right person for the geography bee.

In the second commentary, the five participants take a moment to recognize the episode, recall the Hollywood Christmas parade and how young taping audiences were wowed with William Daniels' credits, not for The Graduate or 1776 but for being the voice of K.I.T.T. on "Knight Rider." They also discuss the unusually fast way the students went through school and how the show shifted focus several times along the way.

Matthew Lawrence, who played Shawn's half-brother Jack in the show's last three seasons, shows up for the last two commentaries. The third commentary, on "Boy Meets Girl", doesn't flow quite as continuously as the first two, as there are some periods of just laughing and again more talk about hairstyles and costumes. Still, discussion remains pretty entertaining and the oddness of Lawrence talking about a show he wouldn't be on for another four years doesn't go unnoticed.

It's worth noting that the Season One commentaries are only accessible from the Bonus Features menus; you can't change audio tracks while watching these three episodes.

Bonus Episode from Season 4: "Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow" Eric enjoys TV and a big bowl of cereal in this memorable Season 4 episode.

The last commentary appears on the only other special feature, a bonus episode from Season 4: "Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow." (21:30) Some might find this an odd inclusion, but considering that a Season 4 boxset release is a while off at this point, I think it's a neat bonus, and it happens to be one of the show's best episodes.

In this episode, first aired in the fall of 1996, Cory is feeling insecure about the way he looks. To teach him that looks aren't important, Topanga takes scissors to her hair and cuts off a chunk. The only problem is that she's suddenly stressed out about her appearance. Meanwhile, at home, Eric's been spending all day on the couch in his bathrobe, watching TV with large bowls of cereal. He's more confident about his TV show idea ("The Good-Looking Guy") than he is about getting a job.

The commentary again provides a humorous retrospective on this Season 4 episode, as co-creator and cast members recall their least favorite opening credits sequence, character developments, and a luxury of the show's popularity: swing sets.

Boy Meets World: The Complete First Season - Disc 1 Main Menu Boy Meets World: The Complete First Season - Episode Selection Menu on Disc 2

MENUS, DESIGN, and PACKAGING

The animated 16x9 menus feature the catchy first season theme song and the main menu rotates a collection of photos of the various primary characters. The baseball and globe in the title logo move around and the cursor is a pencil.
The volume isn't mixed too loudly, and the menus are neither too dull nor too elaborate. They're just right and quite nice.

The Episode Selection menu provides the titles for each show, accompanied by a still from each episode. A "Play All" option gives you the choice to play each of the 7-8 episodes on the disc in a row. Episodes are arranged by airdate.

Each episode includes a number of chapters, allowing for easy access within each show. In general, five chapters are given to the opening scene, opening credits, end credits, and the portions in between commercial breaks.

In addition, English subtitles are included, which shows a nice effort, since many other studios leave television sets with merely closed captions and no subtitles.

The first disc opens with a teaser for The Incredibles, and DVD promos for Home on the Range and "Alias" Season 3. The Sneak Peeks menu (only on Disc 1) adds previews for Around the World in 80 Days, The Young Black Stallion, "Felicity" Junior Year DVD Collection, "Popular" Season 1, and "Boy Meets World" on ABC Family.

Boy Meets World: The Complete First Season - Digipak packaging folds open to reveal the three discs.
The outer sides of the Digipak case. The inside of the Digipak case reveals an assortment of photos from Season 1 and a letter from producer Michael Jacobs.

The first season of "Boy Meets World" is nicely presented in a slim Digipak with a nice glossy slipcover (prone to fingerprints). The inside case slips out and folds open to reveal eight sides, featuring an assortment of photos from the first season, a nice letter from producer Michael Jacobs on the show, and of course, the three DVDs. The names of the episodes are printed on the three discs.

On the plastic wrap, there is a gold "Series 10th Anniversary" sticker, which appears to be off by a year.

Cory Matthews, boy who meets world. Lunchtime is an important time for best friends Cory and Shawn.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Though it differs in tone from the rest of the series, Season One of "Boy Meets World" does not differ in quality. Few shows are this much fun to watch and Disney's DVD presentation truly satisfies. While the price may be a bit high, fans of this series are strongly encouraged to pick up this Season One set, so that future seasons, in which the show gets even stronger, will be released to DVD.

Those who are not familiar with this sitcom are highly recommended to check it out for some quality entertainment. The show manages to engage a wide audience with all it offers in the way of comedy and heart. There's really not a bad episode in the bunch, as the set provides over eight hours of surefire delight.

This is a high quality home video release of a genuinely well-made family sitcom that stands widely entertaining over a decade after it first aired. More DVD season sets of "Boy Meets World" of this caliber are highly anticipated.

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Boy Meets World on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

Reviewed August 13, 2004.