Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

Columns




Wonder Years: The Complete Series, The

Time Life // Unrated // October 10, 2014
List Price: $249.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted October 28, 2014 | E-mail the Author


http-equiv="content-type">
The Wonder Years - The Complete Series DVD Review


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489367_1.png"
height="300" width="400">




There's no other way to put this: The Wonder Years
was groundbreaking television. It is a series which singlehandedly
managed to
help change the television landscape and the potential for the way
family
dramas could be told. In a way, the series works as a perfect precursor
to the
newer golden age of television we are currently in. Without it, I doubt
television would look so bright today. There were no other family
dramas like
it before its creation, and since the series ended there have been no
series to
match it (though a number of series have tried and have had some degree
of
success). The Wonder Years is one of television's crowning
achievements.


Set during the late 60's and early 70's, The
Wonder Years

focused upon the Arnold family and the experiences and journey they all
had
during this turbulent time of change and development. Told through the
perspective of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) with voice-over narration
done by Daniel
Stern as an older, wiser Kevin Arnold, The Wonder Years
explored the
lives of the family individually and as a family unit. 
Kevin's parents Jack (Dan Lauria) and Norma
(Alley Mills), or characters otherwise known as Mom and Dad to the
kids, Wayne
(Jason Hervey), Kevin's older brother, and Karen (Olivia d'Abo), his
older
sister, make up the rest of the Arnold family. The series also focused
upon
Kevin's best friend growing up, Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano) and his
childhood
crush and close friend Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar). These
characters made
Wonder Years one of the most successful programs ever made. The course
of the
story was successful in large part because of these fine actors and the
quality
writing that made their storylines so compelling.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489367_4.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_5.png"
height="300" width="400">


The performances were incredible. Fred Savage
gives one of
the greatest performances ever delivered by a child actor. The
performance even
earned him an Emmy nomination as the youngest nominee for Best Actor
ever
nominated in the category. Savage made the role so charming, so
delightful, and
relevant to the series with his humorous delivery and empathetic
smarts.
Everything about the performance is stunning; it's the kind of
performance one
might overlook as 'not acting' but that couldn't be further from being
accurate. Kevin Arnold was an incredible character from the writing
standpoint
and it took a perfect actor to make the part so believable, memorable,
and
convincing. When the series required dramatic depth, Savage was there
to
deliver. When it needed light humor, he was there for that too. And he
was
great with working within the framework of the voice-over narration in
a way
that felt seamless and that genuinely felt convincing throughout the
course of the
show. At many times, the long pauses experienced due to the narration
seemed
like moments most child actors wouldn't be able to successful meld
into. Savage
made those moments work perfectly and used his own form of expression
to carefully
balance these scenes out.


Danica McKellar was also a perfect choice for the
important part
of Winnie Cooper. She was the quintessential American girl-next-door
who was
the dream-girl of Kevin Arnold, but it was her intelligence, strength,
and
growth as a character which made Winnie Cooper stand out as being one
of the
most compelling characters on the show. Winnie had some of the most
difficulties to deal with out of the entire cast of characters, as
Winnie had
to accept the loss of her brother as a result of the Vietnam war, the
pending
(and finalized) divorce of her parents, and the struggle of growing up
under
such circumstances. McKellar made the role believable and memorable in
the best
way and was a great match to the enthusiasm and spirit of Savage.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489367_10.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_7.png"
height="300" width="400">


Josh Saviano was also great as the best-friend
Paul Pfeiffer.
In real-life, Saviano was a popular kid who was a lot better with
sports and
having that 'cool' factor but on the show Saviano made Paul the
quintessential
smart-kid (who some might refer to as being a 'nerd') with a heart of
gold. The
character was one that experienced compelling ups and downs
himself
and yet Paul was always there for Kevin Arnold when he needed him. This
performance
is another home-run for the series and it completed the group of the
young cast
members that predominately drove a large number of the 'growing-up'
storylines
featured on The Wonder Years.  


The rest of the Arnold family was also essential
to the
story. The storyline involving Jack and Norma Arnold had a huge
significance to
the show. There were a number of ways that these characters played a
huge part.
Jack was the working-father of the 60's and the gruff-voiced father,
someone
who worked his day-job and then came home to watch sports while every
member of
the family wondered about his mood and when it might burst. He was
stern and
grumpy a lot of the time but Jack was also someone who cared a lot
about his
family and his character had some surprising moments throughout the
show. Dan Lauria
made the character highly believable.  In
fan-favorite episode "My Father's Office" Kevin starts to wonder
about what his father does for a living and gets to go down to his
office and
take a look. It's one of the most believable episodes about a
working-class
person ever made on any television program in the way it shows the
work-life
and family life in a way that rang true for many viewers.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_3.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_9.png"
height="300" width="400">


Norma was the stay-at-home mom working to make
sure the kids
had help with school when they needed it and regular meals, and she
would work
to take care of the home. Yet this was something that changed over the
course
of the show as the series delved into exploring the changing cultural
values in
America when Norma eventually goes to find work and seeks a deeper
meaning in
her life outside of the family life and home. This concept of the
changing
times was perhaps best explored in the fan favorite episode, " Pottery
Will Get You Nowhere", which focused on a disagreement and argument
which
arose between Jack and Norma.


 This episode presents
the first moment in the series the audience sees the parents argue, and
for
Kevin Arnold it's an eye-opening moment where he sees both his parents
differently than he had before. He sees his Mom as more than just his
mom, he
sees Norma and her wants and desires to do something more. And he sees
the
stubbornness and mean-spirited way in which his Dad, Jack, responds to
her. Yet
he also realizes for the first time they are not just mom and dad but
that they
were also their own beings and husband and wife. Alley Mills gives a
tremendous
performance as Norma and is perhaps one of the greatest actors on the
show, presenting
a stellar emotional range and a believable mom, which is impressive as
she had no experience as a
mother
when making the series. Mills finds a perfect balance between
the
motherly role and the characteristics that her kids
might
sometimes overlook on the show but that the audience most assuredly
doesn't. It's
a great performance on every level.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489367_6.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489367_7.png"
height="300" width="400">


In no way should the impeccable voice-over
narration by
Daniel Stern be overlooked. Voicing Kevin Arnold as the narrator of the
entire
series storytelling, Stern brought many of the series best lines to
perfect
fruition. The narration and performance of the voice-work was great and
entirely essential to the framework of the show. The narration is
something
that worked the rhyme and flow of the series to greater heights. The
whole
series was more successful than it would have been without said
narration. It
simultaneously made the series feel nostalgic and in-the-moment at the
same
time to a degree uncommon for any story. Part of this was the excellent
writing
but another part was the craft and style of Stern. Stern would later
become one
of the best director's on the program, and his significant impact on
the series
was felt from beginning to end.


The writing was such a pivotal aspect of The
Wonder Years
.
Without the great writing, none of the great performances would exist.
The
characters were so well drawn by the staff of writers telling the
stories. The
series emphasized all of the character moments with a precision that
rarely
occurs anymore. And these screenwriters knew how to emphasis important
things
in numerous ways on the show.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489367_5.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_4.png"
height="300" width="400">


Some of the topics covered through the series
scripts
included changing views about war during the Vietnam war and how this
impacted
America (as many viewed the war as not being right for American
citizens and it
was the first time war had been public to so many people with televised
coverage in the news), the drafting of people into war, societal
dynamics with
women taking on more work roles outside of the home, better empowering
messages
for women, hippie culture, Woodstock, change from black and white to
color
television, the greatness of a teacher who did believe in you, the
experience
of loss (recognizing the loss of family or loss that
is
felt by someone close to you), a shift in marriage with
more
acceptance of divorce by society, school plays, music
lessons, puberty,
first kisses, family friendship, rivalries, differences in cultural
experience, and fighting for what you believe in to the end. These are
only
some of the many varied topics covered on the show: some carried along
by their
seriousness and relation to the time-period and other topics conveyed
because
of the sheer normalcy in life and growing up regardless of the setting.


The directing and editing was also a huge part of
the reason
the show worked as well as it did. Throughout the seasons, the series
managed
to feel (at least in part) like a documentary film, where the
storytelling
ebbed and flowed like a home movie. This is one of the strengths the
director's
involved on the program brought to it. And as far as the editing is
concerned,
the careful selection of newsreel footage clips selected for thestyle="">  series was so well handled it's amazingly
impressive. Every time footage showed the Vietnam war going on the
editing
teamwork in place made it so that no clips were incorrectly used in
accordance
to their corresponding years. This was a dramatic element that
succeeded
splendidly as a result connected to seamless and effective
editing. 


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489798_5.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489367_2.png"
height="300" width="400">


The Wonder Years had another magnificent
aspect: who
could forget the endless array of classic rock and pop songs sprinkled
throughout the program? The music was an aspect which was just as vital
to the
series success as any of the characters, the writing, and the
direction. Songs
ranged from Bob Dylan to The Rolling Stones to The Beach Boys. No
matter who
the artist was viewers could count on some of the best music around to
be the
soundtrack to the storytelling. This was a magnificent part of the
series'
creation and it is undoubtedly part of the reason the series was one
which
struck a powerful chord (pun intended!) with so many audience members.


Now, I would like to take a moment and simply
discuss some
of the most essential episodes of the series and to briefly describe
the plot
relevancies - which were so integral to why these are episodes of
television
that made such a tremendous mark on the legacy of the show. While all
115
episodes made a special mark on the show's success I would like to talk
about
some great moments within the series that I feel have a particularly
special
place within the show. 


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489367_3.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489367_8.png"
height="300" width="400">


Some of the landmark moments on the show
occurred in the
following episodes
: The Pilot (in which the show was
introduced to
viewers with a perfect montage of newsreel footage set to incredible
music) and
that explored the opening dynamic of the show. It also introduced the
role of the Vietnam
war on the show with the death of Winnie's brother, who was killed
during the Vietnam war, and the first kiss of Kevin and Winnie (which
was also the first kiss of actors Fred Savage and Danica McKellar). Swingers
explored changing sexual-education in America. Coda explored
the possibility
presented of a dream and the realization of a lost dream through
Kevin's
attempt to play successful piano music. The Phone Call explored
the
simple (but daunting) task that is remarkably difficult for Kevin:
calling his
crush on the phone.  Our Miss White
was a exploration on a student's crush of a teacher at school, and it
followed
the production experienced for a school play with political tones
relevant to
the time-period.


Christmas explored American struggles with
the
economics of Christmas as a holiday and being able to afford the things
American
families tend to want (in this case, the focus was set around going
from a
black and white television to a color TV set).  Walk
Out
was a special episode in which
Kevin, Paul, and others end up staging a school walk out to protest the
war in
Vietnam. Birthday Boy explored the growth of maturity in Kevin
as he
comes to accept that Paul's bar mitzvah is happening on his birthday.
The two
end up enjoying it together that day, and it's something that became a
celebration of both of their births. Odd Man Out explores the
way
disagreements between friends can get out of hand.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_1.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_2.png"
height="300" width="400">


On The Spot explored Winnie's performance
in the
school play Our Town, which was essential to the plot as she was
determined to
prevent her parents' divorce through her performance in the play. In Whose
Woods are These?
Kevin, Winnie, and Paul stand up for what they
believe in
at a discussion about the woods being changed into a shopping center:
they
fight for their memories and the importance of it as something
important as a piece
of their town's history. In The Family Car, Jack must come to
terms with
the family needed a new vehicle and be able to let go of the emotional
connection to the old clunker because of time invested in the vehicle
and the family
memories which he associates with it. The Pimple is all about
Kevin's
obsession with getting a pimple when a girl he used to have a crush on
comes to
visit. Yes, there is an entire episode of The Wonder Years
dedicated to
the youthful agony of body acne. Yet it is in moments such as these
that the
series has found a way to remain just as relevant all these years
later. Today,
it's still something that many kids face and can relate to. (Still
no magic
one-drop cure for a little pimple
).


Goodbye (a Emmy award winning episode for
Best
Writing and Best Direction) focused on the determination of Kevin to do
better
in math as he receives help from his favorite teacher, before he must
come to
face and accept his passing. The end result of the episode being to
remember to
hold onto one's drive and determination to do better and to hold on to
those
special memories of those individuals in one's life who inspired and
encouraged
you the most to succeed. In its own way, this may be the best episode
of the
entire series run. It's impact is so remarkable and I can cry simply
thinking
about the episode and it's meaningful impact. This episode is a true
gem in
every sense of the word.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489798_1.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_10.png"
height="300" width="400">


There is little doubt in my mind that the impact
of the
series is one the extends far beyond what anyone might guess for an
ordinary
television show: this was a cultural goldmine of a program that has
been
meaningful to so many people's lives and in a real way. Viewing it now,
I felt
I encountered and discovered things I never noticed or picked up on
before in
past viewings. I realized that as I have grown, so has part of the way
I
experience the show.  This was a series
amongst
my childhood favorites growing up and I was glad to know that the
series lived
up to my memories.  It's every bit as
good as I remember it being. But it's also a better show than I even
recalled
as I can now sense things I never did about the show previously. It's
even more
emotionally impactful.


The writing was so brilliant that this is a series
that can
bring new insight into each viewing and experience. There is so much to
explore
in this well of creativity and it helps to make this series one of the
greatest
achievements in television history. That realization is something that
makes revisiting
the show even more special. Anyone who has in any way, shape, or form
found The
Wonder Years
meaningful to their lives at one point or another
should
revisit it as there is an enormous amount of room for fond memories but
there's
also plenty beneath the surface of experiencing this show again after
so many
years: the beautiful writing, the depth of the characterizations, and
the story
arcs seem even better with the distance of time. Even if experiencing The
Wonder Years
was one of my favorite television experiences as a
kid, experiencing
it again feels even more meaningful now.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_6.png"
height="300" width="400">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489798_3.png"
height="300" width="400">


The series managed to deftly blend writing,
directing, and
acting of high caliber into each weekly episode. The storytelling of
these
characters, their journeys, and the way the times played a role in
their lives was
always the driving point of the show's story and audiences could relate
to and
connect to these stories of middle-class suburban living in a genuine,
heartfelt, and memorable way because it was so inherently relatable. In
many
ways, The Wonder Years tapped into not only one generation but
the
generations of many. Even though technology has changed and culture has
shifted, the truth of the matter is that the way people and family are
is
something enormously meaningful and relatable that hasn't changed much
over the
years. Family is still family. Growing up is still growing up. These
are things
that everyone can relate to. And the common experiences we all hold is
something that doesn't change over time. And this is one significant
reason why
the series has remained so timeless. Any kid watching this series today
could
find something meaningful and important in it. That is part of the
beauty (and
indeed the wonder) of The Wonder Years.


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489798_4.png"
height="300" width="400">


The DVD:





Video:


The Wonder Yearsstyle=""> has been so highly anticipated for DVD
release that I'm sure one of the big questions series fans are
wondering about
is: "well, how does it look"? Well, there isn't a easy answer
to this question. The series was originally filmed on 16mm film stock,
which
for any viewers familiar with the types of film that have been commonly
used on
television series, a simple way of responding might be to say 'well,
not very
good'. The choice of film stock is a element of the show's production
history
that was most likely chosen for budgetary reasons alongside the fact
that it
was in keeping with the series documentary-style filmmaking and
simplicity.
This was done to make the show feel more authentic and true to the time
when it
originally aired. Back then, no one had HDTV's or fancy home theater
equipment
to make presentations as vibrant as they are today. No one who worked
on making
The Wonder Years had any idea the show would eventually be
available to
own, let alone in a fancy collectible set with all the trimmings. The
show is,
as so many productions are, a product of its time. And with that comes
some of
the limitations of the way television productions were handled during
the late
80's and early 90's.


During that time
period, countless television productions during were shot on film but
editing
was completely handled and cut for VHS. The Wonder Years is
such a
program. The original footage was transferred entirely to the tape
format, so
what you have on this DVD collection is essentially a replication of
the sort
of quality one would expect for a VHS tape being transferred over to
the DVD
format.


Don't expect any
miracles with the quality of the video. If you are a video quality
enthusiast
(as I am), you may find it t be a bit disappointing on some level.
However, I
will say that I found the presentation to be amongst the best PQ
presentations
I have seen for a show transferred from VHS source to DVD. I have
personally watched
(and reviewed) other shows from the same production period which faced
similar
time, budget, and technological limitations that had significantly
worse
presentations than The Wonder Years.


The series certainly
looks 'watchable' throughout and has generally clean cinematography.
There
isn't a lot of print damage and the image appears generally stable and
consistent. Some VHS to DVD PQ presentations look horrendous and
unwatchable.
This is not the case here. For The Wonder Years it looks like
Time Life
did the best they could do with the original materials available to
them when
putting together this collection. The sources they had were kept in
reasonably
good shape (all things considered).  Season
1 does look slightly less refined in
comparison to subsequent seasons, but is not dramatically different
from what
follows. It's slightly softer and the photography is a little less
smooth. Part
of the reason it looks different at all is probably because of
production
aspects (such an budget changes) after the show became a proven hit.


In order for the
show to look any better than it does on these DVD's would be for the
entirety
of the show to be re-scanned from the original film negatives and then
be
meticulously re-edited to match the original frame-by-frame editing
used
throughout the entirety of the series. This is something that has only
happened
once in the history of television releases coming to home media.
That
project was Star Trek: The Next Generation, which is one of the
most
successful franchise series ever produced, and Paramount had to invest
large
sums of money to hire many individuals to work in teams on the project
for
several years. Do you see this ever happening to The Wonder Years?
Personally,
I don't ever see it happening. 
Especially knowing that the show was shot on only 16 mm film
stock.  By comparison, Star Trek: The
Next
Generation
was shot on 35 mm using Panavision cameras and original
film
materials had been meticulously stored.


One last thing I
want to note regarding the presentation is that Time Life has done a
reasonably
good job with their encoding process. I have noticed no encoding
related errors
and the PQ is something that seems to be as good as possible given the
way it
was transferred to DVD. The discs contained in this collection have an
adequate
usage of space for the presentations. Each episode of the show tends to
fluctuate between 5 and 8 mbps for the encode quality and this is
actually an
entirely reasonable rate for the DVD format and given the limits that
existed
in the source material. The entire series run is presented
on
DVD across
26 discs and is in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full
frame,
exactly as it should be.


Keeping all of these
important and relevant details in mind, I am confident that Time Life
did the
best job they could have possibly done to bring the show to DVD with as
good a
presentation as one could have reasonably expected from a home media
release
for The Wonder Years. Fans of the show should feel enormously
pleased
with the quality available, even if it might initially be something
that seems
less than ideal.


Perhaps most
importantly,  the series is still perfectly
watchable. You'll have a blast watching it regardless of PQ
considerations. Keep
in mind the limitations inherent in the source and you'll undoubtedly
enjoy the
experience more. Even though the show looks like videotape on DVD, The
Wonder Years
remains just as entertaining and enjoyable as it did
back when
it aired on television.


Audio:


Time Life put even more care into the audio
equation of the release.
While the quality is dated to the production time period and only
sounds
reasonably good for a stereo audio sound presentation it's a acceptable
sound
design
that should still leave fans pleased with how things sound: dialogue is
a well-reproduced
area and even if songs lack high-fidelity audio, the sound of the music
playing
certainly is remarkable to experience on any level. 
The beauty of the release is in the efforts
made by Time Life to put the show out on DVD with as much of the
original music
as was possible, though. This alone makes the audio effort an enormous
undertaking that should be appreciated.


Time Life was the perfect company to release the
series on
DVD as meticulous care was put into clearing rights to the various
classic pop
and rock tunes that were an integral part of the series experience. style=""> The home division experts of Time Life are not
strangers to licensing music for release. It was vital that the series
remain
as close as it could to the original broadcast.  The
songs made up a huge part of the themes,
emotions, and storytelling. In total, 285 songs were cleared for
release and 96%
of the show's original music is now intact on this DVD collection.


For the remaining 4%, Time Life replaced with
songs through
collaboration with Fox Studios and the lone 14 tracks were selected to
either
sound similar to the original style or intent, or in some cases (such
as in the
case of a Blood, Sweat, and Tears song) were replaced with similar
versions (as
the Blood, Sweat, and Tears song was replaced with a version of the
song that
had been performed by the lead singer of the band -- only solo). It is
remarkable and commendable that Time Life was able to secure so much of
the
original music for the DVD presentation. (For a full list of the
cleared songs,
please check href="http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Wonder-Years-The-Complete-Series/20174">here.)


This is the first time the show has ever been made
available
in years with these songs as a part of the viewing experience. The
series
previously debuted on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon
Instant
Video but with none of the original music left intact. This alone makes
the DVD
release an essential purchase for serious fans of The Wonder Years
looking to finally own a great classic in television history with the
best
possible presentation, true to the way it was intended by the creative
team
behind the making of the series.





Extras:


 


To say that the
supplemental aspect of this release is extensive is to actually
under-cut it to
some extent: this is a behemoth of a release that has more supplemental
materials attached to it than virtually any other television-on-DVD
release I
have ever encountered in my many years of reviewing DVD releases. It's
one of
the most extensive, well-produced, and organized sets regarding
supplemental
materials around.





src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489799_10.jpg"
height="256" width="400">


 


For starters,
viewers will discover themselves considering the packaging of the set
to be an
extra itself. The Complete Series collection is housed in a locker.
Yes,
an actual locker with a closing hinge and everything that swings
open
when you want it to. Sure, it doesn't lock (neither did the ones used
on set
while filming!) but it's a genuine replica of the type of locker seen
on the
series. It looks almost exactly like what one will remember seeing on
the show
from Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper. That's a stunning packaging choice
right-off-the-bat.
I can't think of there being a more creative style packaging decision
on any
other DVD release in the history of the format.


 


Though mega-DVD
collectors will see a resemblance to the previously-released Heathers
DVD
Collector's Edition (which also came housed in a similarly themed
locker style
packaging) the implementation of the design style is much more
effectively done
here and feels much more suited for a complete series release of one of
the
most beloved shows ever made. It's a truly awesome and awe-inspiring
package. It's easily one of my favorite designs ever used.


 


Inside of the
locker, owners will find a set of Wonder Years magnets designed
to
complement the locker packaging. If someone wants to be creative with
the look
of the packaging they can add extra flair to it with the included
magnets. The
magnets have the following sayings/illustrations: 'I Love Kevin
Arnold/I Love
Winnie Cooper', Peace & Flower signs (hippie style), the school
Kennedy
Wildcats mascot sign, a 'Love Me' psychedelic design, and quotes from
the show:
"Butthead!", "McCovey is off the table!", and "Holy
Cow!"


 


The set also
contains a Wonder Years Yearbook (1988-1993). This is one of
the best
and most well put together book bonuses I have seen included as an
add-in with
any DVD box-set. While some sets occasionally throw in printed books
that are
mostly stills from the show or movie with no major text or interesting
sub-sections, this is a genuinely thoughtful inclusion for the complete
Wonder
Years
collection.


 


The yearbook
includes a replica-style printing of real signatures and notes that
were given
by a sampling of cast and crew involved in the making of The Wonder
Years
.
The opening pages show these signatures as they were created for the
book and
the back of the yearbook includes a typed notation on who left which
note next
to the signatures (which makes this a yearbook easier to read for those
signees
with harder-to-read signatures). It works extremely well and even if
the book
is admittedly smaller than an actual yearbook, it feels a bit like a
real one
to some degree: a degree that works quite well.


 


Everyone
involved
in putting together this Wonder Years yearbook did a tremendous
job of
doing so. It is absolutely terrific! Looking through its 59 pages, the
book
managed to bring smiles and an overwhelming sense of emotion to me. The
book
offers a heartfelt note from creators Neal Marlens and Carol Black, a
section
for memories from the wonder wall (which features pictures from during
the
production run across the years, alongside some fun captions
accompanying
them), a section on the cast members with full two page spreads for all
of the
lead actors: Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold, Josh Saviano as Paul
Pfeiffer, Danica
McKellar as Winnie Cooper, Dan Lauria as Jack Cooper, Ally Mills as
Norma
Arnold, Olivia d'Abo as Karen Arnold, and Jason Hervey as Wayne Arnold.
It also
includes photographs and a page for narrator Daniel Stern. Plenty of
memorable
quotes and series photographs from the series appear alongside the
pages, as
well as occasional notes from the creative team.


 


There are also
pages with blurbs and photographs dedicated to the beloved teacher
characters
of the show: Miss White, Mr. Cantwell, Coach Cutlip, and Mr. Collins.
There are
two pages on the school sports, eight pages for "Say it with style",
showing costumes through production photos of the wardrobe selections
actors
would wear for roll call. A few pages are given to call sheets and
other
production pages.


 


Then there's a
section entitled "Most Likely to..." which catches viewers up with
the main actors and what they are doing today in their lives. For
example, Fred
Savage is now a popular director working on television programs like
ABC's Modern
Family
and Danica McKellar now writes successful books for
middle-school
girls designed to help them get a better grasp of learning math.


 


There is also a
'Then and Now' section with photographs from the show with the actors
followed
by new photographs of them today (and in many cases, now all grown up!)
There
is also a 'Last Looks section with production behind-the-scenes
photograph
rarities. Lastly, the book includes humorous fake ads featuring some of
the
made-up businesses featured on the series, and some 'dedicated ads' for
the
characters (the kind you actually see parents and friends sponsoring
for some
kids in school yearbooks). A cast and credits list is also included for
The
Wonder Years
.


 


The packaging
for
the set is also designed with two book-style packages (one for Seasons
1-3, another
for seasons 4-6) which feature covers designed as replicas of notebooks
from
actual characters on the show. Each notebook feature heavy cardstock
with great
design art and a sampling of quotes, illustrations, and cultural
markings for
the series and the emphasis on different parts of the series is made
more
prominently clear through the creative design. In pulling out the discs
from
the sleeves, viewers will find that they can be a little bit tricky to
simply
extract. One must be a bit delicate with the discs and the holders to
make sure
that these discs are carefully pulled out so as to not get smudges or
light
scratches on them. However, it's not something I would describe as a
big
inconvenience and the packaging is one of the best I've personally
encountered.
It's gorgeous, fits perfectly with the series, and works fine. It's
just a bit
less conventional than typical. In this case, I do not consider that to
be a
bad thing. This set is an immensely unique center piece in my film and
television collection now. Each book of discs also includes a detailed
episode
guide with episode descriptions, air-dates, notes on music highlighted
in
episodes, and there is a sampling of iconic quotes sprinkled
throughout. One
will also find the occasional commentary by writers and producers.
Lastly, it's
worth noting that introductory notes were written by executive producer
Bob
Brush and actor Fred Savage.


 


As to the
on-disc supplements...


 


You could
literally
spend an entire week just to explore the bonus materials (if viewing
hours of
extras per day), which is a lot more than you can say for your average
DVD. The
Wonder Years
: The Complete Series set by Time Life understands that
the
groundbreaking series deserved a lot of love in the extras department
and
there's no way (...zilch of a chance!) that any fan will walk
away from
this set feeling it was shortchanged in this department. There is a
total of
around 23 hours of supplements. In "technical" terms one could go
through all of them in one day if they did so without sleeping,
bathroom breaks,
and any pauses. I imagine most viewers will find it significantly more
enjoyable to explore the featurettes, interviews, outtakes, and the
reunion
footage across an entire week of marathon viewing or several months of
selecting from the extensive list of extras. A diehard fan could even
intersperse watching the show with these supplements over the course of
an
entire year if they wanted to. It's clear that a significant amount of
time was
spent from those DVD-wizards at Time Life just to put it all together.style=""> 


 


Supplements are
listed by-disc below:


Season One
Disc Two:


Highlights
from The Wonder Years Cast Reunion (May 28, 201) - (20 min.):



A
Wonderful Day: Highlights from the
Cast Reunion
is a cast get together where the actors
reminiscence about
their time spent working on the show, with Fred Savage, Danica
McKellar, Josh
Saviano, Ally Mills, Jason Hervey, and Olivia d'Abo.



A
Wonderful Day: In the Arnold Kitchen

is a sub-section of the supplement where a portion of the reunion takes
plac
within the kitchen set with the entire Arnold family, including Dan
Lauria
(joining the rest), the actor who played the dad, Jack Arnold.




Featurette:
With a Little Help from My Friends: The Early Days of The Wonder
Years
(25
min.):
A
discussion with the cast and creators about the casting and making of
the pilot
episode.

Interviews
with:


Creators Neal Marlens & Carol
Black (34
min.):

Highlights
Include:
Bringing The
Wonder Years
into Being -- where the creators discuss their early
attempt
at turning it into a feature film before deciding on the television
show format,
the Narration's important place in the storytelling, the Inspiration
for the
show (focusing on honoring their generation more-so than the series
being a
true-to-life autobiographical creation), the Location (production
areas), working
and finding the television Cast and Crew, Jack and Karen (discussing
the
characters), and the great premiere ratings after the Super Bowl, and
the
series positive reception.

Episodes Discussed: "My
Father's Office," and "Pottery Will Get You Nowhere."



Fred Savage
(Kevin Arnold) (29 min.):


Highlights
Include:
Starting Out
- Savage discusses how his parents were the first to see the potential
for the
series and his involvement; how he enjoyed the pilot script but at the
age he didn't
grasp all the things he does today, Getting the Job (auditioning for
the part
following the producers interest in his involvement), Moving to Los
Angeles
(his own family journey into new territory of television production), The
Wonder Years
Moms, Learning the Character (and his approach to
playing him),
Jason Hervery as Wayne Arnold, Karen and Kevin (with emphasis on their
special
relationship), Josh Saviano as Paul Pfeiffer, Dan Lauria and Alley
Mills,
Norma's Evolution, Daniel Stern, Guest Stars, Working with (who became
close to
Savage is real life) Crystal McKellar, Kevin and Winnie's Love
Interests, the
First Kiss, Watching the Finished Show, the Music, Acting with… a Piece
of
Tape? (as this was a one camera show and they sometimes had to work
with
stand-in's for the other actors and film reactions to acting that
happened
separately), Winnie's Point of View, and "Being a Kid in the ‘60s".style="">

Episodes
Discussed:
"My Father's Office"



Danica
McKellar (Winnie Cooper) (12 min.):


Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job -- McKellar's journey from acting "for fun" in spare time to
unexpectedly finding herself involved on the series (the part was
initially to
be a guest spot only), Getting Educated: the juggle between school in
real-life
and showing up on set prepared, Acting with Fred, Becoming Famous, Just
Being a
Kid (she avoided the partying so often associated with Hollywood
youth), Winnie
Cooper, Kevin Arnold, the Music, Neal Marlens and Carol Black, Working
with
Josh Saviano, Awkward Pauses (as the actors had
to learn to act while knowing that there would be voice-over narration
simultaneously), and Understanding the ‘60s.

Episodes
Discussed:
"Swingers"
src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_3.png"
height="300" width="400">


Josh Saviano (Paul Pfeiffer) (22
min.):



Highlights
Include:
Getting Started,
Auditioning for The Wonder Years -- and getting the part of
Kevin's
nerdy best friend despite being a varsity baseball player who was
probably the
most popular kid of the bunch, the Premiere of the show, the
Show Picked
Up (and the impact this had on his life), Getting Recognized, Moving to
Los
Angeles, Playing a Kid from the ‘60s (and how this made him feel like
he
actually had a part of the same experience kids had growing up then as
he
learned and experienced part of that time in a way many kids wouldn't
have had
an opportunity to experience), Cast and Crew, and working with Skip
Cook, Fred Savage, Kevin Arnold, Winnie Cooper, and finding himself
in Paul Pfeiffer (who he describes as always remaining as a special
part of him
even with their noted differences).

Season Two
Disc Four:



School
Days: Roundtable with Danica McKellar, Fred Savage, and Josh Saviano (8
min.):
Danica,
Fred, and Josh discuss their real lives and their character's school
experiences. Highlights of the roundtable include: School Days,
Teachers on the
Set, Brawls in the Halls, and Growing Up on Set.




Featurette:
The Times They Are A-Changin': The Era (29 min.):




Discussion
with the cast and crew about the time period of the show: style=""> 
the importance of the period's social context
and bringing that to life in an authentic way for the show. In no small
way,
this is one of the best and most vital bonus material featurettes. The
show
radically changed the way television shows could discuss history by
both
looking to the past and placing an impact on modern productions.



The
series tapped into telling it's story with the 60's ad 70's time-period
as an
essential element of the show. In one especially wonderful tidbit, one
learns
the every moment throughout the show where television archival footage
appeared
was chosen to match seamlessly with the time period by year so nothing
seemed
out of place and the actual sequences of events relating to the Vietnam
war
would be accurately portrayed as an aspect of the storytelling. The
writers and
producers of The Wonder Years did great work to showcase all of
these
immense ways in which the times were (quite literally) changing in
society and
in the cultural landscape. This piece highlights some of those moments
in a
truly great way. A must see for all fans.

Interviews
with:


Daniel Stern (Narrator) (31 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting
Cast, the Narration, the Narrator on the Set, Working Around School
Time,
Choosing Which Episodes to Direct, a New Style of Television, Playing
Older
Kevin, Dan Lauria and Alley Mills, Preserving the Style, and David
Stern (his
brother was a writer for the series).

Episodes Discussed:

Directing "Pottery Will Get You Nowhere"
src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_2.png"
height="300" width="400">




Dan Lauria (Jack Arnold) (21 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Joining the Cast, Episodes Featuring Jack, the Crew, Why the Show
was so
Special, the Arnold Family, Jack and Karen, Alley Mills, Jack and His
Dad, Josh
Saviano, Kids Growing Up, Acting with Tape, and Jack and Norma.style="">

Episodes
Discussed:
"My Father's
Office," "The Lost Weekend," "Swingers," "Our Miss White," and "Pottery
Will
Get You Nowhere."




Ally Mills (Norma Arnold (34 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, A New Breed of Sitcom, Daniel Stern, Favorite Moment from the
Pilot,
Working with Kids, Fred Savage, Jason Hervey, Danica McKellar, Josh
Saviano,
Dan Lauria and Olivia d'Abo, Playing Kevin's Mother, Norma's Evolution,
Growing
Up in the ‘60s, Vietnam, Dan Lauria's Military Service, John Corbett,
and the
Emmys.

Episodes
Discussed:
"My Father's
Office," "Angel," "Hiroshima, Mon Frere," and "Pottery Will Get You
Nowhere."

Season
Three Disc Four:


Hall Pass:
Roundtable with Danica McKellar, Fred Savage, and Josh Saviano (8 min.):

Danica,
Fred, and Josh discuss the magic of The Wonder Years, and
discuss how
the show is really about growing up from the kids perspective and
honoring that
feeling. They also discuss the episode "Carnal Knowledge."




Featurette:
A Family Affair: At Home with the Arnolds (27 min.):

The
Wonder Years
heart was the Arnold family, and this featurette
highlights
both the family and the sum of its parts through cast and crew
interviews.



Interviews
with:




Olivia d'Abo (Karen Arnold) (34 min.):style="">

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Preparing for the Part, Karen's Childhood, Alley Mills, Dan
Lauria,
Working with Actors Your Own Age, Wayne Arnold, Fred Savage, Danica
McKellar,
Working with Child Actors, Daniel Stern, the Narration,
Acting with Tape (stand-ins), Shooting the Pilot, the Emmys, and the
Emmy Effect
(and its impact on the show).



Jason Hervery (Wayne Arnold) (24 min.):style="">

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Wayne Arnold, the Music, the Era, School on
Set, and
Just Being a Kid.

style="">                      
src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_6.png"
height="300" width="400">


Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper) (16
min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting a
New Boss, Winnie's Struggles, the Final Episode, the Teachers, the
Fans, Family
on Set, Growth Spurts, Working with other Kids, Growing
Up On
Screen, Memories, Winnie After the Show, and Moving On.

Episodes
Discussed:
"Heartbreak,"
and "Just Between Me and You and Kirk and Paul and Carla and Becky."style="">



Crystal McKellar (Becky Slater) (21 min.):style="">

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Life on the Set, Fred Savage, Directors, Acting to a Piece of
Tape, the
Music, Education, Going to Yale with Josh Saviano, Dan Lauria, Family
Ties,
Kevin and Winnie, Life After The Wonder Years, and The
Wonder Years
on
DVD (at last).

Episodes
Discussed:
"Just
Between Me and You and Kirk and Paul and Carla and Becky," and "The St.
Valentine's
Day Massacre."

Bonus Disc
One:


 src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489799_9.png"
height="300" width="400">


16 Years
Later: The Wonder Years Cast Reunion, May 28, 2014, in Los
Angeles,
California (52 min.):




Fred
Savage (Kevin), Danica McKellar (Winnie), Josh Saviano (Paul), Alley
Mills
(Norma), Olivia d'Abo (Karen), and Jason Hervey (Wayne) get together
and talk excitedly
about the show. They recollect their memories of making the series, and
the
culture significance then and now (the significant impact of the
series), and
what it was like growing up while making the show. You can tell the
cast is so
excited to see one another that sometimes that there can be overlap
between
what some of them end up saying as there wasn't moderation done to the
conversation and cast members talk over each other somewhat. This means
missing
some of what is said, but it also shows how close these beloved actors
were
(and are) with each other, and the piece is still a blast because of
getting to
see these beloved actors together again. 
 




Pilot
Episode Outtakes: The First Kiss with commentary by Danica McKellar
& Fred
Savage (20 min.):




Watch
all six of the takes of the first kiss from the pilot episode. Danica's
mom
saved the outtakes on videotape and provided them for this bonus
feature.
Danica and Fred provide commentary and state that it was the first time
that
they had seen the footage for twenty years. The last take was the one
they
ended up using as Danica McKellar points out it was the lone take where
Kevin
end's the scene stroking her hair (which was a special moment for her).
Both
joke that they thought they heard their Mom's applauding the kissing
(it was
other on-set members) but both apparently filmed the scene without
contacts
(and both needed them) so they got confused about the applause. A funny
commentary.



Featurette:
When a Man Loves a Woman: Kevin & Winnie Forever (30 min.):

This focuses on the Kevin and Winnie relationship arc over the
course of
the show, includes interviews with cast and crew, and a sampling of
series
clips that were focused on the character's romantic storyline. style="">



Interviews
with:



Neal Marlens and Carol Black, Creators (31
min.):




Highlights
Include:
Kevin and
Winnie, the First Kiss, the Music, Life Lessons, the Test of Time, the
Production, Controlling the Look, Anywhere - USA, Guest Stars, Life
After The
Wonder Years,
and Describing The Wonder Years in One
Word. You'll
have to watch to find that out!




Dan Lauria (Jack Arnold) (22 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Bob Brush,
Preserving the Style, True to the Era, Favorite Episodes that You are
Not In,
Mr. Collins, Jack Changing Jobs, Kevin and Winnie, the Music, the Theme
Song, Quality Television, the Cast, and Fred Directing.style="">

Episodes Discussed:
"The
Ties That Bind," "The Wedding," "Buster," and "The Tree House."

 src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_9.png"
height="300" width="400">


Alley Mills (Norma Arnold) (24
min.):

Highlights
Include:
Transitioning
from Neal and Carol to new showrunner Bob Brush, Filming in Warehouse,
the
Kitchen Sink, Kevin Growing Up, What Kevin Would Be Like Today, the
Music, and
Meeting Fans.

Episodes
Discussed:
"Summer
Song," "Cocoa and Sympathy," "The Pimple," "Mom Wars," and "The
Wedding."

Season Four
Disc Four:


Featurette:
ABC: Teachers That Made a Difference (36 min.):
The
cast and crew highlight the important teachers of The Wonder Years.
Highlights on this featurette include: Kevin's English teacher crush
(Miss
White, who even got him involved in an acting career momentarily),
Kevin's math
teacher mentor (Mr. Collins), disgruntled "Physical Education" teacher
(Coach
Cutlip), and science teacher with the monotone commentary (Mr.
Cantwell).

Interviews
with:


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414501155_1.png"
height="300" width="400">


Fred Savage (Kevin Arnold) (21
min.):

Highlights
Include:
Transition
from Neal and Carol to Bob Brush, Wendel Meldrum as Miss White, Mr.
Collins,
Fantasy Sequences, Acting Challenges, Getting Educated, key grip
Skip Cook
(and his importance), Hanging out with Josh, Art Imitating Life
(sometimes
real-life events going on with them would later end up being integrated
directly into scripts by the series writers), Kevin Arnold Grown Up, On
the Job
Training, Directing Kids Today (as grown-up Fred Savage is a successful
director), Going Back to Acting, Keeping in Touch with the Cast,
Running Into
the Cast and Crew, The Wonder Years on DVD, the Meaning of The
Wonder
Years,
and Looking Back.

Episodes
Discussed:
"Summer
Song," "On the Spot," "Little Debbie," "The Ties That Bind," "A Very
Cutlip
Christmas," and "The Accident."




Robert Picardo (Coach Cutlip) (38 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Working on 2 TV Shows, Neal Marlens and Carol Black's
involvement as creators, Working with Child Actors, Josh Saviano,
Miss
White, Mr. Collins, Karen Arnold, Favorite Scene, Dan Lauria, Alley
Mills,
Daniel Stern, Fan Reactions, the Baseball Hat, the Test of Time, and
his Final
Thoughts.

Episodes Discussed:
"Swingers,"
"Loosiers," and "A Very Cutlip Christmas."



Ben Stein (Mr. Cantwell) (15 min.):style="">

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Becoming an Actor, Mr. Cantwell,  The
Voice (that made Stein famous for dry
dialogue in film and television), the Show's Success, Fred Savage, the
Arnold
Family, Favorite Character, Casting, Being on Set, the Era, the Music,
Favorite
Lines, Junior High School, and the Test of Time.




Wendel Meldrum (Miss White/Mrs. Heimer) (13
min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting
Cast, Working with Child Actors, the Casting, Fred Savage, Kevin
Arnold's role,
Being a Crush, The Teachers, Working with the Cast, The Music, Relating
to The
Wonder Years
, and Looking Back.

Episodes Discussed: "Our Miss
White," and "Graduation."

Season Five
Disc Four:


That's A
Wrap! Mark B. Perry's Farewell Set Tour Season Five (4 min.):

A home
movie made about Mark B. Perry's (Writer/Producer) last day on set when
he left
the show at the end of season five. Includes a tour of the layout of
the sets
in the warehouse the show was filmed in. With audio commentary by Mark
B.
Perry.




Featurette:
Will You Love Me Tomorrow: The Wonder Year's Love Stories (26
min.):
The
cast and crew highlight the many love stories of The Wonder Years.
While
Kevin and Winnie may have been the main love story arc for Kevin all
of the
Arnold kids (Kevin, Wayne, and Karen) had their interesting and
important love
stories throughout the series.

Interviews
with:


 src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_8.png"
height="300" width="400">


Olivia d'Abo (Karen Arnold) (36
min.):


Highlights
Include:
Transition to
Bob Brush as showrunner, True to the Era, David Schwimmer, Why Karen
and
Michael Worked, Introducing Michael to the Family, Standing the Test of
Time,
Character Arc, Keeping in Touch with the Cast, Favorite
Episode
Line, Favorite Memories, and The Wonder Years on DVD.style="">

Episodes
Discussed:
"Pilot," "My
Father's Office," "Angel," "Pottery Will Get You Nowhere,"
"Brightwing," "Whose
Woods Are These?," "Daddy's Little Girl," "Stormy Weather," and
"Independence
Day."



David Schwimmer (Michael) (40 min.):
style="">

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Fan of the Show (Schwimmer insists he was a huge fan), Casting,
Fred
Savage, Dan Lauria and Alley Mills, Michael, Olivia d'Abo, Karen and
Michael,
the Arnold Family, Kevin and Winnie's role on the show, Jason Hervey as
Wayne
Arnold, Alley Mills as Norma Arnold, Karen and Michael's Future, How The
Wonder Years
Changed His Life (he feels he would have never ended
up
getting cast for Friends without having been cast on The
Wonder Years
),
Funny Memories, and Standing the Test of Time.style="">

Episodes Discussed:
"Stormy
Weather," and "The Wedding."

Season Six
Disc Four:


One-Hour
ABC broadcast of the Series Finale (48 min.):




The
one hour broadcast version of the series finale. Time Life has included
both
the original broadcast version and the reedited two episode syndicated
version so
that all viewers can choose between the versions they would most prefer
seeing.
This is a wonderful inclusion as the broadcast version originally shown
is a must. Thanks, Time Life!




Featurette:
At Last: The Final Episode (16 min.):
The Cast
and Crew discuss the final episode of The Wonder Years and the
making of
the ending of one of television's most iconic series.

Interview
with:


 src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_5.png"
height="300" width="400">


Bob Brush, Executive Producer (55
min.):

Highlights
Include:
Joining the
Show, Preserving the Style, Kevin Arnold, Danica McKellar as Winnie
Cooper,
Josh Saviano as Paul Pfeiffer, Karen Arnold, Wayne Arnold, Jack and
Norma, Jack
Arnold, Casting Kids, the Generation Gap, Evolution of the Story,
Kevin's Love
Life, Choosing the Music, Clearing the Music, W.G. "Snuffy" Walden
(Composer),
Working with Child Actors, Making the Magic, Pleasant Surprises, Growth
Spurts,
the Final Season, the Final Narration, the Test of Time, Picking
Favorites, and
The Wonder Years on DVD.

Episodes Discussed:
"Daddy's
Little Girl," "Goodbye," and "Graduation."



From the
Vault: Alley Mills and Bob Brush Letters (5 min.):
Alley
Mills reads a letter she had written to Bob Brush (Executive Producer)
upon the
ending on the series, and the response letter she got in return.

Bonus Disc
Two:


Have a Neat
Summer: The Wonder Years Cast Reunion, May 28, 2014, Los
Angeles, CA (18
min.):
More
from the cast reunion with Olivia d'Abo (Karen), Jason Hervery (Wayne),
Alley
Mills (Norma), Danica McKellar (Winnie), Fred Savage (Kevin), and Josh
Saviano (Paul).
Catching up on how many kids everyone has now as fully grown adults,
the
experiences in getting cast, the child star's moms, favorite episodes
of the
series, and fond memories of Dan Lauria (Jack Arnold).




Featurette:
My Generation: The Kids Grow Up (30 min.):
The
cast and crew discuss some of the guest star highlights from the
series, the
challenges of working with and being child actors, getting an
education, and
the "moms" of The Wonder Years child cast.

Interviews
with:


Josh Saviano (Paul Pfeiffer) (49
min.):



Highlights
Include:
The Pfeiffer
Family, Success of the Show, Preserving the Style, Favorite Episodes,
Ben
Stein, the Era, the Music, the Emmys, Friends on Set, Standing the Test
of
Time, Life after The Wonder Years, Watching with his Daughter,
The
Wonder Years
Family, and Final Thoughts.

Episodes
Discussed:
"Heart of
Darkness," "Little Debbie," "Birthday Boy," "Just Between Me and You
and Kirk
and Paul and Carla and Becky," "My Father's Office," "Loosiers,"
"Poker,"
"Heartbreak," and "Final Episode."

 src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_10.png"
height="300" width="400">


Jason Hervey (Wayne Arnold) (27
min.):

Highlights Include:
Wayne
Grows Up, Favorite Episodes, Life After The Wonder Years, style=""> the Fans, Standing the Test of Time, the
Reunion, and The Wonder Years on DVD.style="">

Episodes Discussed:
"Angel,"
"Private Butthead," and "Independence Day."



David M. Stern, Writer/Producer (36 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, the Characters of The Wonder Years, Daniel Stern, the
Narration,
Closing Narration, Working with Child Actors, Fred Savage, Alley Mills
and Dan
Lauria, Roberto Picardo as Coach Cutlip, Transition
from Neal
and Carol to Bob Brush, the Music, and The Wonder Years on DVD.style="">

Episodes
Discussed:
"Goodbye,"
"My Father's Office," "Steady As She Goes," "Birthday Boy," and "Odd
Man Out."




Bruce Nachbar, Producer (30 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Daniel Stern, Working with Kids, Transition from Neal and Carol to
Bob
Brush, Cast and Crew, the Narrator on the Set, Favorite Episodes, the
Music,
Stock Footage, Shooting in Los Angeles, Deleting Scenes, Bloopers,
Kevin's
Point of View,  the Test of Time, and The
Wonder Years
on DVD.

Episodes Discussed:

"Independence Day," and "CODA."

Bonus Disc
Three:


Featurette:
Bookends: Kevin & Paul (14 min.):
Writers,
Producers, and Fred Savage (Kevin) and Josh Saviano (Paul) discuss the
legacy
of their characters friendship, their growth and development together
(both on
the show and in real life), and special moments on the series as well
as some
of the differences between the actors (in real-life) and the characters
they
performed.



Featurette:
Both Sides Now: The Music That Made the Moments (18 min.):


The
creators, writers, producers, cast members, guest stars, and the series
composer W.G. "Snuffy" Walden discuss the importance of the shows music
to
telling the story. They describe the significant impact that the
classic songs
used throughout the series had throughout pivotal moments and the role
it had
on the show as its own character. They also discuss the simple, melodic
and entirely
effective score of W.G. "Snuffy" Walden. Artists
featured on the series (as included on this DVD collection, which
retains 96% the original music as broadcast) include the likes of Bob
Dylan,
Simon
and Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones, Joni
Mitchell,  and countless other great
classic rock and pop musicians, with hit songs highlighted like "When a
Man Loves a Woman", "Good Vibrations", "My Girl", and
"Louie Louie", and the iconic theme song no one can forget, "With
a Little Help from My Friends" as performed by Joe Cocker.

Interviews
with:


 


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_1.png"
height="300" width="400">


Seth Green (Jimmy Donnelly) (10
min.):

Highlights
Include:
Auditioning
for The Wonder Years, Being a Child Actor on The Wonder
Years,
Identifying
with a Character on the show, Favorite Episode, the Music, Jimmy
Donnelly, Why
the Show was so Unique, Fred Savage, and the Beauty of The Wonder
Years.


Episodes Discussed:
"Lunch
Stories," and "Sex and Economics."




Ken Topolsky, Producer (33 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Getting Started, Job Description, Working with Child Actors, Fred
Savage,
Danica McKellar, Josh Saviano, the Moms, Directing, Casting Kids, the
Music of
the show, Episode Air Dates, Narration (and its importance),
Wendel
Meldrum as Miss White, Crew, and the Pride of a Parent.style="">

Episodes Discussed:
"Whose
Woods Are These?," and "Independence Day."
style="">



W.G. "Snuffy" Walden, Composer (18 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Surviving the Show, the Scoring Process, "Winnie's Theme," the
Music,
Transition from Neal and Carol to Bob Brush, Composing for the End
Credits,
Inspiration, Playing other Instruments, Scoring Internal Emotions,
Kevin and
Winnie, Scoring for Television over Film, Looking Back, Current
Projects (which
includes Under the Dome), the
Test of Time, and The Wonder Years on
DVD.

Episodes Discussed:
"Pilot"




David Bianculli, TV Critic (29 min.):

Highlights
Include:
The
Wonder Years
as a Series, Premiering After the Super Bowl, First
Impressions, the Narration, Daniel Stern, Kevin and Winnie, Jack
Arnold, Norma
Arnold, Wayne Arnold, Karen Arnold, Paul Pfeiffer, the Politics of the
show,
the Music, and Standing the Test of Time.

Episodes
Discussed:
"My Father's
Office," "Our Miss White," "Little Debbie," "Independence Day," and
"Just Between
Me and You and Kirk and Paul and Carla and Becky."




src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_7.png"
height="300" width="400">


Michael
Dinner, Director (35 min.):


Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Job Duties, Casting Kids, Working with Child Actors, Fred Savage,
Kevin
and Winnie, Norma Arnold, Karen Arnold, Kevin and Wayne, Daniel Stern,
the
Narration, What The Wonder Years is About, the Teachers,
Creating
Characters, Network Support for the show, Kevin Growing Up, the Music, style=""> Final Season, Standing the Test of Time, and
Final Thoughts.

Episodes Discussed:

"Goodbye," "Little Debbie," and "Private Butthead."





Bonus Disc Four:

Featurette:
I Love You for Sentimental Reasons: Fan-Favorite Episodes (22 min.):

Executive
Producers, writers, and the cast discuss fan-favorite episodes of the
series.
Episodes that are discussed are: "Just Between Me and You and Kirk and
Paul and
Carla and Becky," "Nemesis," "Swingers," "Separate Rooms," "The Lost
Weekend,"
"Private Butthead," "Homecoming," "Little Debbie," "My Father's
Office," "The
Treehouse,"  "Goodbye," and more.

Interviews
with:


src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414490220_4.png"
height="300" width="400">


Daniel Stern (Narrator) (27 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Working as a Voiceover Actor, Making the Connection,
the Wisdom of
The
Wonder Years
, the Final Episode, Kevin and Winnie, Standing the
Test of
Time, Memories, The Wonder Years on DVD, and Final Thoughts on
Kevin
Arnold.
style="">



Mahaila McKeller, Danica and
Crystal's Mom (9 min.):

Highlights
Include:
The Cast of The
Wonder Years
, Life on the Set, Danica and Crystal, Auditioning,
Competition, Memorable Moments, Fred Savage, Josh Saviano, and Crystal
and Josh
in College.



Skip Cook, Key Grip (24 min.):


Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, Taking Care of the Kids, Dennis Bishop (Gaffer), On the Set, Fred
Savage,
Fred's Mom, Jason Hervey, Wayne Arnold, Alley Mills, Dan Lauria, Bob
Brush
(Executive Producer), Daniel Stern (Narrator/Director of episodes),
"The
Show Must Go On", and Final Thoughts.

Episodes Discussed:
"The
Family Car"




Alicia Alexander, Location Manager
(12 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting the
Job, What She Knew Going In, Job Description, Finding the Right
Location,
Finding a School, the Basement, and the Crew.




Mark B. Perry, Writer/Producer (52 min.):

Highlights
Include:
Getting
Started, the Show's Appeal, Working with the Kids, the Writers, The
Arnold
Family/Cast of Characters, David Schwimmer, the Pfeiffer Family, Becky
Slater,
the Final Season, the Music, The Wonder Years on DVD, Standing
the Test
of Time, and Final Thoughts.

style="margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: center;"> src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/1414489575_8.png"
height="300" width="400">


Final Thoughts:


At last, The Wonder Years is available on
DVD with
"a little help from my friends" as a result of the immense work done
by the fine folk at Time Life. The bottom line? This complete series
set was
worth the wait.  The Wonder Years
would receive 24 wins in various categories at the Emmys and Golden
Globes (with a lot of emphasis on the
series writing
and direction) and with a total of 70 nominations received across its
six season run it was clear the show made a dramatic impact on
television.
Revisiting
the show on this newly compiled complete series set makes it easy to
see why
audiences and critics alike helped the show to become such a huge
success.


Time Life painstakingly worked for over a year to
ensure the
DVD release would have as much of the original broadcast music as
possible when
making its home media debut. The end result is absolutely triumphant:
96% of
the original music is intact (for more information on the 14 songs
missing and
what replacements were used please read href="http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Wonder-Years-The-Complete-Series/20182">here).
That means 295 classic rock and pop songs were cleared for this DVD
release. A
lot of effort was made in securing those rights and in finding the
replacement
songs for the 14 broadcast run songs unavailable
because of
rights issues.


The Wonder
Years
is one of
the greatest television series ever made. It has been one of the most
requested
shows for DVD release from television fans. Yet it was considered one
of the
series least likely to be released on home media because of
rights
issues related to the 299 popular classic songs used throughout its
entire run.
And yet, here it is... all 115 episodes in a great collection on DVD
for the
first time. This is a miracle that fans should appreciate and the
enormously
long wait for the DVD's is now over.


Time Life has done such an impressive job with
this release.
This is one of the most well thought out and prepared DVD collections
ever created.
It's clear that a lot of dedication and hard work went into making this
a
complete series set that would be well-worth owning for longtime fans.
From the
solid presentation which ensures the best picture quality possible, to
the enormous
effort
made to secure music rights, to the beautiful collectible packaging,
and to the
enormous, mind-boggling array of bonus materials (as this set harkens
back to
when DVD's used to include more making-of supplements) its abundantly
clear this
set more than deserves the coveted DVD Talk
Collector Series
This
is the best and most essential DVD release of 2014.


Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

Buy from Amazon.com

C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
DVD Talk Collector Series

E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews
1. Spawn of the North
2. Cary Grant Collection
3. Clockwise
4. A Different Story


Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links