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"The Golden Girls" The Complete Sixth Season DVD Review

Buy The Golden Girls: The Complete Sixth Season from Amazon.com The Golden Girls: Season Six (1990-91)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Director: Matthew Diamond

Regular Cast: Beatrice Arthur (Dorothy Zbornak), Betty White (Rose Nylund), Rue McClanahan (Blanche Devereaux), Estelle Getty (Sophia Petrillo)

Recurring Characters: Herb Edelman (Stan Zbornak), Harold Gould (Miles Webber), Debra Engle (Rebecca Devereaux), Richard Riehle (Det. Parres)

Notable Guest Stars: Don Ameche (Brother Martin), Martin Mull (Jimmy), Ruby Dee (Mammy Watkins), Peggy Rea (Mrs. Contini), Christopher Daniel Barnes (Kevin Kelly), Siobhan Fallon (Abby), Sonny Bono (Himself), Lyle Waggoner (Himself), George Grizzard (George Devereaux), Cesar Romero (Tony Delveccio), Brenda Vaccaro (Angela), Mitchell Ryan (Rex Huntington), Monte Markham (Clayton Hollingsworth), Debbie Reynolds (Trudy Steele), Marvin Mitchelson (Himself), Meg Wyllie (Myra), Don Lake (Mr. Porter), Alan King (Mel Bushman), Kristy McNichol (Barbara Weston), Barney Martin (Karl), Hal Linden (John Nerretti), Sid Melton (Don the Fool), Bill Dana (Uncle Angelo)

Running Time: 615 Minutes (25 episodes) / Rating: TV-PG
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: November 14, 2006
Season 4 Airdates: September 22, 1990 - May 4, 1991
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Six-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.

In "Melodrama", Rose is in for the scoop of her life and doesn't even know it. Miles returns incognito. Dorothy's on a date at the last place anyone should take Dorothy Zbornak.

Disc 3

19. Melodrama (23:22) (Originally aired February 16, 1991)
A robbery takes place
during Rose's audition for a TV reporter position and Blanche looks to turn an occasional fling into a long-term commitment.

20. Even Grandmas Get the Blues (23:52) (Originally aired March 2, 1991)
Sophia persuades a reluctant Dorothy to participate in the mother-daughter Festival of the Dancing Virgins while Blanche tells her date that she is her granddaughter's mother.

21. Witness (22:49) (Originally aired March 9, 1991)
Miles risks his life to abandon the witness protection program and be with Rose instead.

22. What a Difference a Date Makes (23:57) (Originally aired March 23, 1991)
Dorothy looks for revenge when she reunites with the man who stood her up at her high school prom.

Uncle Angelo (Bill Dana) is a familiar face for fans of "The Golden Girls", and he's back for Season Six. When new information on the Shady Pines fire surfaces, the police eye Sophia. Sophia shows off some of that Sicilian spunk.

23. Love for Sale (23:56) (Originally aired April 6, 1991)
Stan reappears and bids on a date with Dorothy in an auction. Meanwhile, Uncle Angelo returns to Miami stricken by poverty.

24. Never Yell Fire in a Crowded Retirement Home (Parts I and II) (45:15) (Originally aired April 27, 1991)
Investigators suspect Sophia in the Shady Pines fire that brought her to live with the girls in the first place. The questioning leads to a two-part clip show (the only one of the season). The decision to revisit the Shady Pines fire was a good one but it's a shame that more time wasn't spent on it rather than a clip show,
as the premise is an awkward one for this format, which feels forced as a result. Still, both the interstitials and clips are plenty hilarious. The episode originally aired in a one-hour block.

25. Henny Penny -- Straight, No Chaser (23:26) (Originally aired May 4, 1991)
When Dorothy is appointed director and star of the school production of "Henny Penny", Blanche, Rose, and Sophia join her on stage.

VIDEO and AUDIO

The show is correctly presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen, the original aspect ratio of this and just about every other sitcom. Per the norm, the video quality is not much more. It errs on the side of dark, soft, and grainy, though not too severely. It's only a little better than its appearance on syndicated television, which is more or less expected for a TV show of its age considering that studios can rarely justify the expense of extensive restoration for them.

Audio comes by way of a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, which bears no noticeable difference from standard TV viewing. There aren't any overly noticeable issues with volume or clarity, other than that stereo recordings in 1990 TV weren't the most dynamic. Don't expect to be wowed, but don't expect to be disappointed either. The 2.0 track is certainly sufficient.

Cast and crew from "The Golden Girls" comprise a panel at the Museum of Television & Radio's 2006 Pacey Festival. Betty White and Rue McClanahan reflect on "The Golden Girls" in the sole bonus feature.

BONUS FEATURES

After the first four releases offered very little excitement in the way of bonus features, Season Five finally delivered with audio commentaries from Arthur, McClanahan, and Betty White. That appears to have been a one-time deal,
but since their comments definitely fell on the side of the general rather than the specific, that's perhaps for the best. Having their reflections recorded and attached to some of their favorite episodes is a treat for fans, but there's no need to repeat those same thoughts. That said, more diverse commentaries would have been welcome, whether from the primary cast or those who worked behind the scenes. These and many other relevant and easy-to-include features should be expected for a so popular a series, but Disney has made it clear that they do not intend to get this show the "Seinfeld" treatment on DVD. Therefore, it's something of a delight that the Complete Sixth Season set comes with one truly worthwhile supplement.

That supplement is "The Golden Girls at the William S. Paley Television Festival" (20:15), a live panel of cast and crew from "The Golden Girls" who engage in moderated discussion about their memories from the series. The Museum of Television & Radio (MTR) features a number of television shows at the annual festival, which this year included "The Golden Girls". The event was held on March 10 and panelists included Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Susan Harris, Terry Hughes, and Marc Cherry, among others. The DVD features a recording of a portion of the discussion; it's unclear how much is left out but it's obvious that more was said before and after what is shown. Reported durations for past panel discussions indicate that it probably lasted around an hour in its entirety, meaning about a third of it made its way to this DVD. Though Bea Arthur was announced as an expected attendee, she is nowhere to be found. Estelle Getty is too, for that matter, but her poor health unfortunately makes that impossible. Arthur's absence and the truncated video are disappointing, though the brevity can likely be excused due to the video appearing "courtesy of" the MTR.

I don't want to complain too much, though, because even as-is, it's a fantastic treat. White and McClanahan naturally dominate the discussion but everyone gets their turn and as the conversation flows, new insights develop. Such a recent reflection on the show by those who made it makes for the ideal bonus feature and the best that the series has been granted thus far. (Rumors of what's to come for Season Seven, however, boast even more potential.) It should be noted that the MTR has released complete DVDs of several of the 2005 panels, including the other Disney/Cherry show, so a release of the entire "Golden Girls" event is possible, though far from guaranteed. Either way, its appearance here is greatly appreciated.

The main menu for Disc 3 offers all the standard options as well as a bonus feature placed directly on the main screen. The episode selection screen presents anywhere from three to five episodes at a time.

MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The show is again presented on three single-sided, dual-layered discs in a Digipak case housed inside a cardboard slipcover. Both cover and disc art are purple this time with each of the four main ladies pictured inside a diamond on the front.
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The episodes are listed inside the Digipak and broken down by disc but are not printed on the discs themselves as they have been before. There is a pocket for inserts of some sort but none are to be found. The rest of the package is decorated with various stills from the sixth season and a continuation of the diamond motif.

The main menu is exactly the same as before -- various clips of the show that are not disc-specific rotate against a still background as an instrumental rendition of "Thank You For Being a Friend" plays -- only this time, the background is purple. The bonus feature is selectable directly from Disc 3's main menu. The sub-menus are static but accompanied by the same music. Each episode is helpfully broken up into four or five chapters and can be viewed one at a time or all together via "Play All."

The first disc (and the first disc only) opens with sneak peeks for The Santa Clause 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, "Alias": The Complete Fifth and Final Season, "Home Improvement": The Complete Fifth Season, and "Scrubs": The Complete Fourth Season. From the Disc 1 main menu, one can also access previews for "Desperate Housewives": The Complete Second Season, "Grey's Anatomy": The Complete Second Season Uncut, "Lost": The Complete Second Season, and "Desperate Housewives" on ABC.

Whenever the Golden Girls sit down to the kitchen table, you can be sure that cheesecake is soon to follow. The girls put on a musical production of "Henny Penny" for Dorothy's school.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

"The Golden Girls" finished its sixth season in tenth place, down a few spots from previous years but not at all a bad showing for an aging sitcom about aging women scheduled on Saturday nights. It's appropriate that the show that proves getting old doesn't mean slowing down is still in tip-top shape in its penultimate season. Though the first few episodes are noticeably weaker, the rest of the lot is exceptionally strong. The standard video and audio comments apply here; things look and sound like one might expect for a 1990s sitcom and no better, but this release earns higher praise for a valuable bonus feature. Whether completing your collection or sampling the show for the first time, you can't go wrong with The Complete Sixth Season.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

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The Golden Girls: The Complete Second Season The Golden Girls: The Complete First Season
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Season 6 Guest Stars:
Debbie Reynolds: Halloweentown & Halloweentown II Halloweentown High | Siobhan Fallon: Holes
Cesar Romero: The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Now You See Him, Now You Don't The Strongest Man in the World
Don Ameche: The Boatniks | Harold Gould: Gus Brother Bear | Richard Riehle: Balloon Farm Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
Christopher Daniel Barnes: The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition Spider-Man: The Venom Saga Cinderella II: Dreams Come True

UltimateDisney.com | DVD Review Index | Disney / Buena Vista TV Shows Page | Search UltimateDisney.com

The Golden Girls on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7 NEW!


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

Reviewed November 29, 2006.