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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » MASH Season 2
MASH Season 2
Fox // Unrated // July 23, 2002
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted July 10, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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Okay, readers, here's the scoop: I'm reviewing the Season 2 set of M*A*S*H on DVD, and I'll say up front that I'm not actually a fan of the show. Before watching the episodes on DVD, I'd seen a few episodes on TV over the years, and found them reasonably funny, but I never watched it regularly. I expect that most readers of this review already know whether or not they like the show; if you fit into that category, feel free to skip to the technical portions of the review. If, like me, you vaguely know about M*A*S*H but aren't sure whether or not you'll enjoy it, the rest of this section is for you.

As I mentioned, I'd seen a few random episodes of M*A*S*H years ago, and I remembered finding them reasonably amusing, so I was surprised to find that the episodes I watched on the Season 2 DVD just weren't that funny. The show did run for eleven seasons, so it may be a case of the second season not showing the cast at its best, but in any case I didn't find many laughs. Partly this is due to the generally serious tone of the episodes; for a show that's billed as a comedy, M*A*S*H is surprisingly dark. At one point, during a particularly grim episode, I went so far as to turn the laugh track back on just out of curiosity to find what I was "supposed" to find funny.

There's a lot of repartee among the main characters, most notably Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and his fellow surgeons; some of it's funny, but a lot of it falls into the category of "people being mean to each other," which I've never found to be particularly amusing. The remainder of the humor is generally slapstick. In general, I'd say that whether or not you will enjoy M*A*S*H Season 2 depends entirely on your sense of humor. If, for example, you think that a general being accidentally hauled away in a latrine is extremely funny, then you will probably on the whole enjoy the show. That particular scene didn't even crack a smile for me, but it was quite evidently the high point of that episode.

Video

Presenting a television show from 1973 is a tough challenge, especially for DVD enthusiasts who have become accustomed to high-quality transfers. Looking at the transfer of M*A*S*H Season 2, I'd say that the image quality isn't as good as it could be, even considering the age and source material. The image, which is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, is relatively noisy, with a fair amount of print flaws; color and contrast are adequate. I've seen other television shows of about the same time period that were cleaned up and presented much better. On the other hand, it's certainly watchable, so I think it's fair to say that the DVD of M*A*S*H is about average for its video quality.

Audio

The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack is about what I'd expect; nothing great, nothing terrible. The dialogue comes across clearly for the most part. The best part of the soundtrack, which I appreciated considerably, is the choice to listen to it either with or without the laugh track.

Extras

As far as I can tell, the M*A*S*H DVD set doesn't include any extras; however, since Fox elected to send a screener for only the first of the three discs in the set, I can't personally verify what's on the second and third discs. The menus are straightforward and easy enough to navigate.

Final thoughts

If you are already a fan of the show, I'm sure you'll want to go out and buy it, so go ahead: as long as you don't expect perfect video quality, you'll be satisfied by what you get. If you aren't sure whether you will like the show or not, I would definitely suggest that you rent it first to find out whether it's to your taste before buying.
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