Blu-ray Review: The Dick Van Dyke Show (The Complete Fifth Season)

Recently someone asked what’s the point of getting old TV shows on Blu-ray. Weren’t DVDs good enough? This is a proper answer for shows that just good enough. But shows that are legendary deserve extra resolution. Finally getting to glimpse into their world with a 1080p image is watching them for the first time. Longtime fans of The Dick Van Dyke Show need to get their hands on the Blu-rays. There’s so much more to admire on the screen. The black and white transfers allow Mary Tyler Moore to glow. Pause the right frame and that’s the face of an angel on your HDTV. The added detail can lead to getting lost in the writer’s room at the Alan Brady Show. The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Fifth Season wraps up one of the greatest sitcoms in television history with the proper transfers.

“Coast to Coast Big Mouth” starts the season with its greatest episode. Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) takes a friend to see the taping of a game show. When she ends up a contestant, the host gets her to spill the beans about Alan Brady’s fake hair collection. Seeing how her husband Rob (Dick Van Dyke) works for Alan, this might end up be a career destroying moment. Alan (Carl Reiner) doesn’t want his secret out of the bag. He doesn’t want people to think he’s a cueball like Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon). What can Laura do to preserve her husband’s position? Can she cry hard enough. While working late on a script, Rob swears he sees a UFO outside the building in “Uhny Uftz.” Can it be aliens or Alan Brady’s new helicopter? “The Ugliest Dog In the World” makes Rob find a rather ugly do to appear in a before and after sketch with a famous Hollywood dog. They get the bad example from a pound and it turns out he’s due back in his cage. Can they really let the pup head back to prison? “No Rice At My Wedding” involves Laura finding an old date is getting married. It’s a flashback to when Laura and Rob first started dating. Allan Melvin (Sam the Butcher from The Brady Bunch) is part of the military tale. Rob gets left an old roll-top desk in “The Great Petrie Fortune.” The desk is supposed to be a clue to a treasure. “Body and Sol” is another flashback to the couple’s start when Rob was a big time boxer on the army base. Allan Melvin is back. Garry Marshall (Happy Days is the referee in the ring.

“Fifty-Two, Forty-Five or Work” lets the writers get the summer off when Alan wants to reruns for the hot time of the year. While Sally (Rose Marie) and Buddy (Morey Amsterdam) have lined up other gigs for the downtime, Rob has nothing waiting for him. He files for unemployment thinking he’ll just collect his check. But they hook him up with a job that isn’t quite comedy. Keep your eyes peeled for James Frawley, the director of several Monkees episodes and The Muppet Movie. “I Do Not Choose to Run” and “The Making of a Councilman” turns Rob into a reluctant candidate for city council. Can he really enter a profession more debasing than show business? “The Bottom of Mel Cooley’s Heart” lets Richard Deacon play hurt when he gets savaged by Alan Brady for a minor issue. The writers want to support him, but they fear Alan going after them. “Dear Sally Rogers” makes her nervous before guesting on a talk show because she feels out of jokes. “Talk to the Snail” marks a feared downsizing in the writers room. The government want to set up a stakeout from Rob’s house in “The Man from My Uncle.” Can Rob keep this operation undercover? Godfrey Cambridge (Watermelon Man) is hilarious as agent Harry Bond.

“The Last Chapter” wraps up the series in a brilliant way. Rob has finally finished his book that he’d kept secret from everyone. The book always the series to flashback to the night Laura and Rob decided to get hitch. The wedding turns into a long running disaster as Dick keeps setting off Laura. There’s also the wrong baby fear with a cameo from Greg Morris (Mission: Impossible). The ending serves as a perfect wrap around with Allen Brady buying the book to make into a TV series with Rob and the gang as the staff writers. It ends the story of Rob Petrie without a drastic closure like canceling the Alan Brady Show or sending him to Hollywood for a bigger gig. This feels like the final episode without making a viewer sense the whole story has ended. You can still enjoy the reruns. Watching this episode on Blu-ray makes The Dick Van Dyke Show makes a 50 year old rerun look brand new.

The Episode
“Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth,” “A Farewell to Writing,” “Uhny Uftz,” “The Ugliest Dog in the World,” “No Rice at My Wedding,” “Draw Me a Pear,” “The Great Petrie Fortune,” “Odd But True,” “Viva Petrie,” “Go Tell the Birds and Bees,” “Body and Sol,” “See Rob Write, Write Rob, Write,” “You’re Under Arrest,” “Fifty-Two, Forty-Five or Work,” “Who Stole My Watch?,” “I Do Not Choose to Run,” “The Making of a Councilman,” “The Curse of the Petrie People,” “The Bottom of Mel Cooley’s Heart,” “Remember the Alimony,” “Dear Sally Rogers,” “Buddy Sorrell, Man and Boy,” “Bad Reception in Albany,” “Talk to the Snail,” “A Day in the Life of Alan Brady,” “Obnoxious, Offensive, Egomaniac, Etc.,” “The Man from My Uncle,” “You Ought to Be in Pictures,” “Love Thy Other Neighbor,” “Long Night’s Journey into Day,” “The Gunslinger” and “The Last Chapter.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. They’ve done an exceptional job of scanning the 35mm source. You can see so much more into Rob’s work and home life. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio Original Mono. They don’t try to mess with Mary Tyler Moore’s legendary crying moments.

Emmy Awards (2:09) has Carl Reiner accept the Emmy for their final season. Carol Burnett gets hot and heavy with Peter Falk.

TV Academy Tribute to Carl (2:29) lets Garry Shandling chat with one of his idols. The Dick Van Dyke Show was his major influence on his two legendary sitcoms.

ME-TV Promo – My Blonde-Haired Brunette (0:34) includes Carl talk about crying funny with Mary Tyler Moore.

ME-TV Promo – Package 1 (1:50) are a series of promos from my favorite network. Svengoolie provides a voice over.

Remembering 4 1/2 and the Alan Brady Show Goes to Jail (7:06) lets Don Rickles speak about his guest star moments. He relishes saying “Don Rickles remembers Dick.”

Emmy Awards (2:57) captures Dick winning for Outstanding Performance by an actor and Mary for Actress. Dick beat Bob Crane for the hardware. Mary swears she’ll never have an experience as wonderful as being on the show. Little did she know was coming.

ME-TV Promos (2:05) has Carl playing Allen Brady including his old toupee.

Comic Relief 1992 (6:15) brings out the cast with Billy Crystal thrilled to unite his idols. Dick, Mary, Carl, Rose Marie and Morey are brought onto the stage.

TV Land Awards
(15:15) reunites the cast. Ted Danson does the introduction. Dick, Mary, Carl, Rose Marie and Larry Mathews unite on the stage. Mary thanks the wrong legendary castmates as a joke. Morey had passed away in 1996.

Nick At Nite Promos (1:30) allows Dick Van Dyke to speak of preserving our TV heritage.

Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman “If Men Could Cry” (5:26) has a reunion between Dick and Mary on sets made to look like the old set. They have an outtake where Dick cries in a scene.

TV Land Promo for The Dick Van Dyke Show (0:33) deals with the nuttiness of comedy writers.

Theatrical Trailer for The Art of Love (0:50) is a movie starring Dick, Carl and James Garner. The trailer is in black and white even though the film is in Technicolor.

The New Dick Van Dyke Show Preview (0:34) is for the the final season. Dick arrives in Hollywood to revive his showbiz career. The series only lasted three seasons.

The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Fifth Season brings to an end one of the best sitcoms with a presentation worthy of its greatness. The final season has several episodes that were among its best. The final episode ends the show in a way so satisfying, it rarely gets met by other shows. The Blu-ray image makes everything so much better.

RLJ Entertainment present The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Complete Fifth Season. Starring: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Carl Reiner and Richard Deacon. Boxset Content: 31 episodes on 3 Blu-rays. Released: August 6, 2013.

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