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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Full House - The Complete Series Collection
Full House - The Complete Series Collection
Warner Bros. // Unrated // November 6, 2007
List Price: $169.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted December 2, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Packaging
3. Season 1 Mini-Review
4. Season 2 Mini-Review
5. Season 3 Mini-Review
6. Season 4 Mini-Review
7. Season 5 Mini-Review
8. Season 6 Mini-Review
9. Season 7 Mini-Review
10. Season 8 Mini-Review
11. Video
12. Audio
13. Final Thoughts


Introduction

Full House is a family-oriented situational comedy (sitcom) television series. The series ran for eight seasons from 1987 to 1995 and had a total of one-hundred and ninety-two episodes. This review covers Full House: The Complete Series, which is a massive collection of the show's eight season run. The complete series set contains thirty-two DVDs, which have the same content found in the individual DVD season releases. For more details about the individual seasons, refer to DVD Talk's reviews of the show's season sets: season one, season two, season three, season four, season five, season six, season seven, and season eight.

On the note of the complete series collection having the same content as the individual releases: if you are considering double-dipping this set, it is not worth it. Since there is no new content, there is no compelling reason to re-purchase the entire series. The only difference is the packaging. Instead of a thin cardboard box housing two thin pack DVD cases (season set packaging for seasons 3-8; seasons 1-2 were packaged in digipacks), there is a custom cardboard packaging in the appearance of a house. Inside of the house are the thin pack DVD cases from the individual season releases.

For those unfamiliar with the series, it is based upon a rather somber premise. A loving husband of three young girls was recently widowed after his wife passed away. He was immediately thrown into a difficult situation having to care for the three girls while maintaining his professional career (talk show co-host of Wake Up, San Francisco). To help him in a time of need, his best friend from college and brother-in-law moved into the house. However, despite the dramatic setup, the show's general format offered goofy, neurotic family comedy with the three dads getting used to their new roles and the young girls learning the ins and outs of life.

As the series progressed and the cast aged, more drama was incorporated into the series. Personally, I liked the show's early seasons when the younger cast was really young and their goofy behavior came off as cute and over-the-top. However, as they aged, their over-the-top mentality started to become less and less humorous. Part of that problem was due to the fact that the show itself never really changed much. It started to feel very repetitive (in a bad way) in the later seasons. In the final moments, the show was pretty hard to stomach.

The remainder of this review will consist of a review of the complete series collection packaging, summary reviews of each season with an overview of the bonus features (if there are any), audio/video details, and concluding thoughts. Each season review will have a link to the full season review (if you want more details).

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Packaging

Full House: The Complete Series DVD collection is comprised of thirty-two DVDs. The DVDs contain the show's entire eight season run, with four discs dedicated to each season. The DVDs are the same pressings from the individual season DVD releases. In other words, there is no new content. The DVDs are housed in a custom box that is a replica of the Tanner family home (there is a picture from the show's opening title sequence in the "Introduction" section of this review).

The custom packaging is roughly the size of eight and a half DVD cases side-by-side (roof not included). The packaging itself has a detachable roof. The roof comes off fairly easy. When the roof is off, the DVD are contained (unlike the complete series packaging for Everybody Loves Raymond which had a roof that came off easily and the contents could fall out as a result). With the roof off, the front of the box opens to reveal sixteen thin pack DVD cases. Each thin pack holds two DVDs and has the same cover artwork and episode information as the individual season releases. Note that seasons one and two were originally released in digipaks. It was not until season three that Warner Bros. started using thin packs.

The good news is that there will not be any issues with discs getting scratched. The thin packs are pretty reliable and I have not had any problems with the two-disc think packs.

As a picture speaks a thousand words (or however the saying goes), here are some pictures of the complete series collection and a shot with the individual season sets for frame of reference.

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Season One
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

Full House is a feel good family sitcom that tackles the issue of three dads and three young girls learning to live with each other and get by in life. While the series isn't particularly innovating, the first season is very enjoyable. With half of the cast so young and innocent, the situations they got into came off as cute and fun. I enjoyed this season a lot. The first season spends a lot of time setting up the format, the cast, and the direction of the series. The format is pretty simple, using an episodic approach. In each episode, the family gets stuck in a few sticky situations.

Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) is the father of three girls. Prior to the time of the pilot episode, his wife passed away and left him in a large home with three growing girls. He works as a sportscaster and is frequently gone during the day. In an effort to repair his life, his brother in law and a close friend move into the house to help him raise his girls. Danny is your typical neurotic father who has a strong will to do to the right thing. Jesse Cochran (John Stamos) is the brother in law and a rock n roll wannabe star. Jesse adds a character with a wild side. In season two, Jesse's last name was changed to Katsoplis. The reason is mentioned in the pilot episode commentary. Next there is Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier). He is Danny's best friend and a starving comic. His personality gives the series a few great laughs with plenty of impressions and goofy speak. The Tanner kids in the series are DJ (Candace Cameron), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and Michelle (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen). DJ is the older sister and gives a fifth grader's perspective. Stephanie is the middle child and offers a very young perspective, with plenty of cute moments. Michelle is the baby in the series, and she does not have a very active role in this season.

In general, I really liked the cast in this first season. The diverse personalities of the older cast and the cuteness of the younger cast together form a fun balance. One example is that Stephanie leaves little details out in a given situation that are pretty important, and because of it, the result is a funny situation. When asked why, she responds "because nobody asked me". Another fun joke is seeing how Danny and Jessie interact. In this first season, Jessie is essentially portrayed as a womanizing playboy, which doesn't seem to always go over well with homebody Danny--especially, when it happens in front of the kids. It's also important to note that the womanizing is not presented in a sleazy manner, but rather humorous. Another aspect that I enjoyed was how Danny, Jessie, and Joey interacted. There was a lot of time spent on getting them to cope with each other's different personalities.

Bonus Features

  • The "Unaired Pilot Episode" for the series is included in the season one set. This extra is the most interesting to be released in any of the Full House DVD season sets. The unaired pilot has John Posey in the role of Danny Tanner. Watching this episode, no matter how annoying you find Bob Saget, will make you realize how right Bob is for the part of Danny.
  • There are two audio commentaries for episodes "Our Very First Show" and "Mad Money" with creator and executive producer Jeff Franklin. Both commentaries have some decent background information about the show.
  • There is also an interactive trivia game to test your knowledge about the show.

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Season Two
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

In this season there are some fairly big changes for the cast, which include the introduction of a new character. The season premiere episode "Cutting it Close" introduces Rebecca Donaldson (Lori Loughlin), who is initially a recurring character and later becomes a fulltime cast member. Rebecca is introduced when Danny is promoted from a sportscaster to co-host of local show "Wake Up San Francisco" with Rebecca. She quickly becomes a love interest for Jesse and an integral part of the show.

Another big change for this season is Jesse's hair, which also takes place in the season premiere episode. In "Cutting It Close" Stephanie accidentally cuts a chunk of Jesse's hair off while pretending to be a barber. (Hence the title.) This sole act has Jesse giving up his mullet and getting a different look. This season also sees Jesse and Joey starting a little business together developing advertisement jingles. They find out in "Jingle Hell" that they are a pretty good team, which turns into a permanent job.

What works for this season is the same aspect that made the first season work. None of the cast members are particularly funny, but their goofy over-the-top behaviors compliment each other well. Their diverse personalities and oddities simply meld together to produce some hilarious situations. The younger half of the cast also adds a funny cuteness, which I'm a sucker for.

For instance Michelle is older than she was in the first season and talks more. Everyone now and again she'll blurt out some little phrase and it is simply so cute in the context she said it that you can't help but chuckle. Stephanie and D.J. are both still quite young and offer innocent fun through their pre-mature views of life. There are also reprised roles from Stephanie's boyfriend Harry and D.J.'s best friend Kimmy Gibbler. Both Harry and Kimmy offer contrasting characters that put Stephanie and D.J. in some funny situations.

Bonus Features

  • "Full House Rules of Parenting" is about 3.5 minutes in length. It is a montage of season two clips with caption related to parenting like "Watch Your Step" and "Always Use Caution"
  • "Full House Trivia Challenge" is an interactive game, where a question is posed and slowly a picture from the episode is revealed. Once the picture is revealed, you have three different answers to select. Overall there is very little appealing about the extras and you'll probably be bored with them in a matter of seconds.

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Season Three
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

Season three is no different than the earlier seasons in terms of content with the exception the cast is a lot more comfortable together. The same little antics that cracked me up in seasons one and two are still giving me a good jolt. The cast quite goofy together and their individual antics come together to produce a lot of family fun oriented laughs. All of the characters give over-the-top performances, which alone would be bad, but together make for some fun humor. The dialogue is corny, but corny in a good way. If you enjoyed seasons one and/or two, then season three will be a blast.

The third season begins with a fun family vacation episode "Tanner's Island". Danny reveals to the family he is taking them away for a week in Hawaii to celebrate Joey and Jesse being with the family for two years. Upon finding they are all going to Hawaii, Jesse gets excited about Elvis sightseeing while Michelle just wants to eat the cake on the table. It is a goofy way to start the season and seeing the diverse reactions to the Hawaiian trip is a riot. The fun continues with Danny's clipboard of fun, a to-the-minute-schedule of everyone's day. Of course Danny's schedule is ruined when they get stranded on an island.

The seasons other fun episodes include "Granny Tanny", the full house gets a little fuller when Danny's mother Claire moves in, "Star Search", Joey gets a break as a comedian by competing on Star Search with Ed McMahon, "Misadventures in Babysitting", DJ tries her hand at babysitting to get some extra cash; it is a fun episode about responsibility and how to get a little kid unstuck from a staircase, "13 Candles", on DJ's thirteenth birthday the father trio witnesses DJ get romantic with a boy, "Honey, I Broke the House", Steph gets behind the wheel of Joey's new car and drives it into the house, "Fraternity Reunion", Joey and Danny relive their college days and they get arrested while in drag.

Bonus Features

  • The only extra included is a montage of season three clips with a Joey impression theme called "Joey Impersonations: Season 3 Montage". It's a fun clip that is worth a laugh, but nothing you will really want to watch over and over again.

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Season Four
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

For everybody involved in the Full House universe, season four has more drama than past seasons. Jesse and Rebecca get engaged (again) and they tie the knot, Jesse runs into old girlfriends from his childhood in Greece and high school, Joey's performs in an opening act for Wayne Newton in Las Vegas, DJ gets overly self-consciousnesses and tries to starve herself to lose weight, Stephanie faces what life is like without a mother, Danny gets a girlfriend (and her obnoxious son), and there is a cross-over episode with Steve Urkel from Family Matters. All of which, turn out to be some fun stories perfect for this family-oriented sitcom.

Season four kicks off with "Greek Week". Danny's Greek in-laws, who are also Jesse's parents, come to San Francisco for few days. The catch is the in-laws brought a couple of kids with them, both of whom want to find love. Gina is a former childhood flame of Jesse's and Sylvio is a young teenager who has been admiring pictures of D.J. for years. The situation gets complicated when both Jesse and Gina, and Sylvio and D.J. are decreed married by an old Greek tradition. Rebecca and Danny do not react well to the situation. Eventually everything works out and Rebecca and Jesse get engaged again. It is a silly episode and a fun way to start off the season.

As the season continues, there are more goofy episodes with the cast. Some of the highlights include "Viva Las Joey", Joey gets a call from his agent to do a show in Las Vegas as the opening act for Wayne Newton, "One Last Kiss", Jesse attends his high school reunion and runs into his ex-girlfriend, "Secret Admirer", Danny's new girlfriend's son Rusty writes a love letter that gives everyone the wrong impression about everyone else's intentions, "Stephanie Gets Framed", the cross-over episode with Family Matters; Stephanie gets glasses and Urkel gives her the courage to face her friends at school, "The Wedding", Jesse and Rebecca finally tie the knot, "Fuller House", Jesse moves out of the Tanner household, and "The Graduates", Danny's latest girlfriend has more in common with his teenage daughter D.J. than with him.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features included with this season set.

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Season Five
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

In the season premiere "Double Trouble", the full house gets a fuller (again). Becky and Jesse discover they are going to have twins! This episode is pretty kooky by itself. As the season progresses, the twins are revisited as a primary storyline several times. The two-part episode "Happy Birthday, Babies" is about Michelle's special birthday, which happens to be the same day the twins are born. In "Nicky and/or Alexander", Jesse finds out he can't tell the twins apart. The episodes that have the twins in the fore are pretty fun episodes. There is also another aspect with Rebecca's hormones taking over--which is worth some laughs.

While the twins offer some solid stories, the overly neurotic Danny is the clear winner this season. The stories that feature him are great. In "Matchmaker Michelle", Michelle tries to fix up Danny with her kindergartner teacher when she decides she wants a new mommy. Then there is "Bachelor of the Month". Danny is picked as the hottest guy in town and it goes straight to his head. The guy is already a goofball and with an inflated ego, he is a riot. But the best episode about Danny is "The Trouble with Danny". He tries to be a messy guy. It is so not like him and it is great for laughs.

Other fun stories dealing with the characters include Joey in "The Legend of Ranger Joe", Joey is hired to replace cartoon show host Ranger Roy and makes a fool of himself by thanking the guy who hired him, Stephanie wears herself out in "Gotta Dance" and also shows off her fierceness in a spelling bee competition in "Spellbound", Michelle in "The Devil Made Me Do It" faces her conscious, the good and the bad, and D.J. in "Five's a Crowd" is joined by her three dads on a hot date.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features included with this season set.

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Season Six
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

Season six begins with the introduction of a new character. D.J. returns from summer vacation in Spain. She returns with a big surprise, her new boyfriend Steve Hale (Scott Weinger). Steve goes to school with D.J. and plays her love interest. His running jokes include how dumb he is and how he likes to eat anything and everything. Throughout season six and into season seven, he is present. He is D.J. first serious boyfriend and a slight headache for the family as they get accustomed to their oldest daughter in love. Personally, I never liked him. His dumb as bricks personality was just too much. He hurt the show more than he helped.

Jesse and Joey also have another joint business venture. Jesse's music career goes downhill. His hit song quickly falls off the charts and his music career goes down with it. But everything changes when Jesse's manager calls to inform him that he is a hit in Japan! Jesse takes Becky and the twins to Tokyo and spends two weeks living his dream as a famous rock star. And when Jesse is offered to continue touring Asia for the next year, Becky is very, very unhappy. He realizes the errors of his ways and decides being with his family is more important than his dream.

The season also has a couple serious storylines, which is not new to Full House, but still deviates from the common feel-good nature of the show. One of these dramatic storylines deals with violence in the home. Stephanie has a troubled schoolmate, who does not get along well with others. When she is forced to work on a project with him, she learns that he is a victim of violence. His father beats him. It is a troubling issue for Stephanie to come to terms with, especially when she spills the beans to her teacher and the boy is taken by social services.

Other storylines include Joey's new partner Jungle Jenny on the "Ranger Joe Show" gives him a headache, Danny's long distance relationship with Vicky, which gets pretty serious, Jesse reveals that he is a high school dropout and goes back to school, Joey faces his college nemesis, Stephanie has her first date, and many stories about Jesse and Becky's twin boys like Jesse's obsession with Nicky and Alex's hair; he doesn't want them to get haircuts.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features included with this season set.

Return to the Table of Contents


Season Seven
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

Season seven is another season of change and growth (but what season isn't for a long running television series?) The show's tone similar to past seasons, but the goofy, over-the-top attitude doesn't work as well. The real problem is that the show is past its prime. In general, season seven is pretty weak. The stories addressed include new relationships, breakups, responsibilities, parenting, job opportunities, and more. It just does not feel as funny or enjoyable as the earlier seasons.

The season begins with "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night". The episode has two plotlines, which includes the Tanner girls returning from an awesome time at summer camp and the twin boys being rambunctious. The former deals with the girls realizing that home is where they belong. The latter is about Jesse and Becky's twin boys. Nicky and Alex have no regard or concern for authority. Jesse and Becky spoil them rotten. It is an issue they have to deal with, as well as the boys' poor social skills and lack of interest in their peers.

The DJ-Steve relationship continues to be an important development. DJ and Steve go through the ups and downs of love. At the end of the season, they call it quits. There are other romantic relationships (new and old) with rest of the cast: Danny and Vicky breakup, Stephanie meets a cute boy, and Joey's girlfriend rubs the family the wrong way.

Another major development is Jesse's latest business venture. In "Smash Club: The Next Generation", Jesse learns that the club his band started in is shutting down. He decides to save the club and bring a special (alcohol-free) venue for underage kids to listen to hip and cool music. Jesse has problems acquiring the loan from the bank, as well as a troublesome opening night in "Another Opening, Another No Show". The club turns out to be a success and another setting for future episodes to take place in. While Michelle is a young girl, she finds herself in the center of several stories... mostly learning about the facts of life.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features included with this season set.

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Season Eight
click here for the full season review

The Mini Review

Season eight contains the final moments of the Tanner family as the last of the series. Overall, the season has its moments, as did season seven, but fails to compare to the innocent, silly fun-filled humor found in the show's earlier seasons. This stems from the fact that the show never recovered from its season six changes (having more drama and less innocent comedy), and the content never felt as right with the over-the-top cast. The storylines are about the youths getting older and the dads (and Becky) having to come to terms with it, more stories about careers and professional lives, and so on. However, the major focus is on the kids: Michelle growing into her independence, Stephanie becoming a rebellious teenager, and D.J. preparing to move on.

The season premiere episode "Comet's Excellent Adventure" is the first of many that highlight Michelle's growing independence. She begs the dads to let her walk Comet on her own. They say no. But when Jesse is preoccupied with his music, Michelle takes the family dog out and loses him. It is a pretty serious episode for the entire family, as Michelle could have been hurt and they all love the dog. Losing Comet isn't her first mistake as she tries to come into her own. In "You Pet It, You Bought It", Michelle earns over two-hundred dollars selling lemonade. She uses her profits to buy a donkey, which wrecks havoc in the Tanner household.

"Making Out Is Hard To Do" is an episode highlighting Stephanie's rebellious teenage ways. She doesn't do her chores and lies to Danny about her actions. Then Danny catches her at a make-out party! There are other stories that deal with Stephanie and her rebellious friend Gia, including a scary car accident. D.J.'s love life is at the fore throughout the season. She dates a couple guys and gets pretty serious with one of them. Kimmy also gets a little dramatic and elopes with boyfriend Dwayne.

As for the adults, Jesse loses the Rippers in the beginning of the season. His former band joins The Brady Bunch's Barry Williams and become an instant success. It hurts Jesse and he forms a new band. Joey also tries out teaching and becomes Michelle's substitute teacher in "To Joey, With Love", which has a few kinks. In "The Producer", Becky is promoted to executive producer of Wake Up, San Francisco. While it is great news, Danny was hoping to get the honor.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features included with this season set.

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The DVD

Video:
The video is given in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. The picture quality is good considering its age. The image is a bit soft at times. For the most part, it looks good with a slight grain and no noticeable issues attributed with video compression.

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Audio:
The audio in this release is in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo. The quality is quite good. The audio is fairly flat, which is due the show being dialogue driven. This release supports closed captioning.

Seasons 1-3 have subtitles in English, French, and Spanish
Seasons 4-5 have subtitles in French and Spanish
Season 6 does not have subtitles
Seasons 7-8 have subtitles in English

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Final Thoughts:
Full House: The Complete Series contains all eight seasons of the television sitcom Full House. The complete series collection has the same content as the individual DVD releases. For those who have already been collecting the season sets, there is little reason to double-dip. However, for newcomers to the show and casually interested viewers, this set is a great way to grab all of the show's episodes. While it is not one of the best family sitcoms to air and quality wanes as the show progresses into its later seasons, it still has its moments and can be fun for an occasional watch. If you are looking for a solid family sitcom that touches upon all sorts of family oriented issues and values, Full House is the right pick. Its over-the-top and goofy cast will offer hearty laughs and plenty of feel good moments throughout its one-hundred and ninety-two episodes.

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