A mere two months after releasing the third and final season, Anchor Bay has
just released a "complete" collection of the 80's cult hit "the Greatest
American Hero". In addition to all three seasons of the hit TV show, they've
decided to throw a few extras in the set that any fan of Ralph and the gang
would appreciate. All three seasons are here, in addition to the original insert booklets. In addition, they've included an iron-on decal,
a replica of the suit's direction and a full-size cape.
The DVDs in this set are the exact same thing that was
previously released in the individual season sets. There are 44 episodes, spread
across thirteen DVDs housed in black thinpacks. Here's what I wrote about the
a fan of this show from the beginning, and being able to watch it again after
all this time instantly brought me back to my childhood. The special effects
aren't up to today's CGI standards, but the charm of the show is definitely
still there. Sure, I wish the effects technology that exists today was available
back then (and available on a television show's budget), but the suit was
only part of it for me - I thoroughly enjoyed the natural chemistry between Katt,
Culp and Sellecca. When it comes to older, less "media-savvy" television shows
of the past, a common question seems to be whether it "holds up" by today's
standards. For me, it did. Music changes notwithstanding, Anchor Bay has put
together a great set that i'm going to give a Highly Recommended. For a
brief moment, I thought about knocking it down to a Recommended because I felt
that AB stumbled a bit as far as some of the original songs were concerned, but
in all honesty, I had too much of a good time revisiting this show to care.
Bring on season two!"
I had the fondest memories of season two, particularly
the season premiere where Ralph joins a baseball team. However, fellow reviewer
Holly E. Ordway was the one who reviewed it for our site.
"The Greatest American Hero is a surprisingly entertaining show whose quirky
charm has stood up to the passing of several decades. It's certainly in the
category of "fluffy fun," but then, who says everything has to be serious and
dramatically powerful? It's worth watching both for those who were big fans of
it in its original run, and for viewers who may be seeing it for the first time.
I had the pleasure of reviewing the
DVD Talk. I wrote:
stated in my review for the season
one, I was a fan of
this show from the beginning. However, it really seemed to stumble during the
third season. The chemistry between Connie, Robert and William is still there
and stronger than ever, but the writing was uneven. It was great to see what the
inside of the spaceship looked like, and it would've been great if Ralph
actually had the instruction book for the suit for more than 20 minutes, but
overall i'd have to say I was disappointed by this season. Two episodes on disc
3, "This Is the One the Suit Was Meant For" and "the Newlywed Game", were the
lone standouts as far as storytelling was concerned. The majority of the time,
it seemed as if the writers (two of the thirteen episodes were written by
Stephen J. Cannell) had a dartboard in their offices which they'd use to shape
the elements of whatever episode they were working on at the time. Thanks to
this scattered writing, i'd have a hard time recommending this set if you
weren't a fan or a completest who already owned the first two seasons. I am very
grateful to Anchor Bay and Cannell Productions for putting this show on DVD (and
so quickly, too!), but i'd have to recommend that casual viewers unfamiliar with
the show Rent It."
the Iron-On Decal:
This replica of the insignia on Ralph's suit measures 3½"
x 3½". I was pretty disappointed it wasn't larger. I mean, how am I going to
complete my costume?
the Directions For the Suit:
Measuring 6½" x 4¾", i've tried
to take a picture to illustrate what the inside looks like. To the right is the
booklet from the series. After flicking a switch on the back, the clear tabs,
along with the spine and the multi-colored symbols in the book light up. The
"page" to the left of the symbols is lenticular and changes from English to the
"Little Green Guy's" language. I think it looks pretty darn cool, but very
The pièce de résistance is a full-size replica of Ralph's cape.
It measures 46" x 28" and was made in China. I'd love to tell you what it's made
of, but I can't figure it out. However, it's pretty darn sturdy.
All of these items come in a tin box that measures 8"x
6" and is close to five inches thick. The suit's logo is embossed on the front
cover, and the back also opens up.
Video: The Greatest American Hero is presented in an aspect ratio
of 1.33:1. The picture was sharp and clear with a color palette that was bright
in some episodes and slightly muted in others. Holly found that some of the
outdoor shots tended to be a bit grainy, and we both agree with that Anchor Bay
did a great job with the transfer. However, it's a shame they couldn't do
anything with the terrible-looking cheesiness of Ralph's flying scenes.
Audio: All three seasons of the Greatest American Hero have a Dolby 2.0
soundtrack. While Holly and I found the tracks to be clean and natural-sounding,
we thought seasons one and two to be a bit flat. However, season three sounded a
bit livelier. It should also be pointed out that there are some instances
where the original music has been replaced on some episodes.
Supplements: Since the discs are the exact same thing as the individual
releases, season one is where you can find a 75 minute interview with
with Stephen J. Cannell, William Katt, Robert Culp, Connie Sellecca and Michael
Paré. It also
contains the unaired pilot for the Greatest American Heroine. Season two
contains a 84 minute interview with Cannell and Mike Post, along with a
dubbed version of the second season premiere. Curiously, they choose to
repeat the entire episode on disc 6 instead of adding the Japanese dub as an alternate track
to the episode on disc 1. Weird, I know. Rounding out the extras on season two is a
photo gallery, as well
as DVD-ROM content containing Cannell's script for "the Two-Hundred-Mile-An-Hour
Fastball". Unfortunately, the extra from season three, a sound clip playing a
clip of Joey Scarbury's "Theme From the Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or
Not)" doesn't make the transition.
Conclusion: I'm torn when it comes to these "special, limited edition" box
sets of TV shows that seem to be becoming the norm. Fans of the
show, to whom these special LE sets are clearly marketed to, get screwed because
chances are they've already purchased the individual season sets. Personally,
i've been pretty lucky since this has only happened to me with Buffy, the
Vampire Slayer. However, Homicide: Life On the Streets and Alias
are on the horizon, so i've got to scramble to ditch the individual volumes (at
a possible loss) or just buy the set (at a definite loss). I think that's
unfair. Particularly since the only people that a full-size replica cape or
light-up instructions would matter to, have already spent their hard earned
money on the individual sets. As you can see, the whole sordid situation is an
enormous conundrum that i've already spent too much time talking about.
Regarding this set, if you haven't already bought all three seasons or
can unload the ones you've purchased, by all means, grab this. The extra items
aren't cheaply made and would be definite conversation starters - imagine
running around your house wearing the cape when company is over! If you already
own all three seasons and can't unload them, i'd recommend hanging on to the
individual seasons. For fans though, it's a no-brainer. Highly Recommended.
Oh, and in case you were wondering - the
"Contents do not actually grant the user flight, super strength, invulnerablity
or any other super power!"