Mork & Mindy is the series that made Robin Williams a household name. Yes, before the glory of Patch Adams, Williams was once best known as an alien named Mork, from the planet Ork, who was sent to Earth to study our ways and customs. Every week, after getting into hijinks, he'd report back to Orson, his boss back on Ork and usually there'd be some sort of life lesson to be learned from Mork's experiences.
Essentially the show was an excuse for Robin Williams to kick it into overdrive and act as manic as possible, and for Pam Dawber, as Mindy – the girl who takes him in for some reason, to act cute and confused by Mork's incessantly wacky antics. Whether it was greeting new friends with a gracious 'nanoo nanoo' or cursing his mistakes with a vocal 'shazbot' this man from space who traveled to Earth in a flying egg was never at a loss for words. He also sported some keen suspenders.
When I was a kid, there was nothing funnier than Mork. He was hands down the coolest, funniest, most side splittingingly hilarious alien ever. I had many a hearty and childish belly laugh and didn't think it at all possible to get tired of the words 'nanoo' and 'shazbot.' It just didn't seem possible in my feeble and underdeveloped mind.
Now, as the mature and grown man that I have so obviously developed into, Mork has sadly lost much of his charm. Much of what I thought was brilliant comedy in my younger days is now nothing more than basic slapstick with a few oddball catch phrases thrown in to keep things 'original.' While the initial rush of nostalgia kept me going for a few episodes, the more I actually thought about what I was watching the more I realized that I wasn't really laughing all that much. Yes, there were times where you honestly can't help but chuckle at the sheer stupidity of William' onscreen goof offs, but there aren't enough of them in each episode to really make this set worth your time unless you're a hardcore Mork fan, and if you are hardcore Mork fan I'd be interested to know why as nothing would make me happier than to get the kind of enjoyment out of it that I used to as a kid.
The episodes on the set are as follows:
Pilot (a.k.a. The Mork & Mindy Special) This is the episode where we are introduced to Mork and learn of his plight as he lands in Boulder Colorado, meets Mindy, and subsequently shacks up with her. Mork talks about Fonzie, Mindy works at a record store, hijinks ensue.
Mork Moves In Mindy is forced to explain to her father, Fred, why there's a strange man living with her while trying to teach Mork to act like someone from Earth.
Mork Runs Away Mork splits from Mindy's pad when he realizes that he's having a negative impact on her chances with the local men. While out searching for a new place to live, he meets a crazy man named Exidor.
Mork in Love Mindy explains the concept of love to Mork who in turn takes it to an extreme as he tries to woo a pretty blonde girl named Dolly. The fatal flaw in the Orkling's plan is that Dolly is a mannequin.
Mork's Seduction Mindy's old high school rival, Susan (Morgan Fairchild) is in town and soon makes a date with Mork. This causes Mindy to get quite jealous and follow them on their date.
Mork Goes Public Mork decides to turn himself in to a local tabloid newspaper that is offering a big cash reward to anyone who can prove that aliens do exist. He plans to help Mindy pay her college tuition with the reward, as well as help Fred pay for some plumbing expenses.
To Tell the Truth Mork learns about telling the truth the hard way when he inadvertently resurrects the landlord for Fred's record store, despite the fact that Fred and Mindy don't actually like him at all.
Mork the Gullible An escaped convict convinces Mork to help him with a scheme by telling him it's the only way to help his dying mother. Mork winds up in jail.
A Mommy For Mork Mork uses Orkan technology to turn himself into a five year old kid so that Mindy can get a taste of what it would be like to have a family of her own, and so that Mork can experience what it would be like to actually have a mother.
Mork's Greatest Hits After Mork stands up to and defeats a local tough guy, Fred and Mindy get him some self defense lessons because they figure payback is coming, and you know what they say about payback…
Old Fears Mindy's grandmother loses one of her best friends and becomes seriously depressed until Mork again uses his Orkan technology to change his age and become a fancy old man interested in dating the poor woman.
Mork's First Christmas Mork becomes frightened by the strange behavior he notices in people as they go about their Christmas shopping and planning. Susan comes back to stir up more trouble between Mork and Mindy.
Mork and the Immigrant When Mork meets a Russian immigrant who tells him that all aliens have to register with the Immigration Department, Mork goes down to the local office and tries to do the right thing.
Mork the Tolerant Mork's neighbor, Mr. Bickley, complains about all the noise that Mork makes. Mork tries to make it up to him by having him over for dinner and it goes about as well as can be expected.
Young Love Mork marries his friends Eugene and Holly in the attic of Mindy's apartment, thinking that he is helping them avoid their evil parents by doing so.
Snowflakes Keep Dancing On My Head Exidor offers Mork and Mindy the use of his cabin up in the mountains but when the two arrive there, they find that the cabin is burned down and that they're about to get pummeled by a blizzard.
Mork Goes Erk Susan convinces Mork, Mindy and Mr. Bickley to attend a seminar that will help them deal with their personal problems, hosted by a strange man named Ellsworth (David Letterman).
Yes Sir, That's My Baby Mork becomes obsessed with babies and decides to buy one using a whole lot of Mindy's money.
Mork's Mixed Emotions Mindy gives Mork a kiss which causes a huge problem when he doesn't know how to deal with the emotions that it stirs up inside of him.
Mork's Night Out Mindy's out of town so Mork and Bickley hit the town and end up at a bar where they try and score with the ladies. You'll be surprised at the power that rainbow suspenders apparently hold over the women of Colorado.
In Mork We Trust Bickley thinks that Mork's Orkan age machine is a calculator and when he starts playing with it, he turns Mork into various different ages.
Mork Runs Down Mork's birthday is coming up and he needs to recharge himself using his egg shaped Orkan Gleek. Mindy has accidentally put the Gleek in a carton of eggs and they now need to find it.
It's a Wonderful Mork Mork makes a boo boo at Mindy's dinner party and she and Fred get a little ticked off at Mork, who decides to go back to Ork. Orson has other plans for him.
Mork's Best Friend Mork befriends a caterpillar and names him Bob. Soon, Bob dies and Mork is devastated, now having to make funeral arrangements for his dead pet.
Presented in its original fullframe aspect ratio, Mork & Mindy looks pretty nice on DVD. There are a few spots where the colors look a bit faded and flat but the prints used are nice and clean and didn't notice any edge enhancement or compression artifacts. Colors are vibrant and bright and black levels are stable and deep. There's a little bit of dirt evident here and there throughout the series but the times you'll notice this are few and far between.
Despite some levels that are maybe a little bit lower than average, the Dolby Digital Mono track sounds clean and clear. It's presented in English and comes with optional closed captioning in English but no foreign language subtitles. Dialogue is always easy to understand and there isn't any hiss or distortion evident on the track worth noting and the background music comes through at just the right volume over top of the dialogue and sound/folly effects.
Shockingly enough (I'm being sarcastic) Paramount has loaded up this box set with a whole lot of nothing. There are no extra features at all in this release. Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch.
Mork & Mindy just isn't as uproariously funny as I remember it being. Sure, there are times where it's hard not to laugh at a seemingly coked up Robin Williams spazzing out in front of a confused Pam Dawber, but the schtick gets old. Despite the fact that it looks and sounds pretty decent, the lack of extra features don't do this release any favors either. Unless you're a hardcore Mork fan, Mork & Mindy – The Complete First Season is probably best served with a 'skip it' grade.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.