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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » That '70s Show: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
That '70s Show: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
Mill Creek // PG // November 3, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $149.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted December 9, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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That 70's Show - The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

That '70s Show is one of the best (and funniest) television sitcoms ever created. The series is a throwback sitcom which takes place in Wisconsin in 1976. The show focuses on Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and his friends as they grow up during the 70's. It is from executive producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner (both of whom produced Roseanne and 3rd Rock from the Sun).

Eric and his friends spend much of their time hanging out in the basement. They also go out in Eric's Vista Cruiser and go on road trips or spend time hanging out at the disco. It is the 1970's: That '70s Show is a pop-culture bonanza filled with references to the decade and the culture prominent at that time. From vinyl records, to fashion, and even the opening of the original Star Wars.

Eric Forman's group of friends consists of Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson), Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon), Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), Fez (Wilmer Valderrama),  and Jackie Burkhart (Mila Kunis). Eric is essentially a nice nerdy guy: the geek of the group with the basement everyone hangs in. Hyde is Eric's best friend, the rebel of the group, and the most sarcastic of the bunch. Donna is smart, laidback, and a feminist. She is Eric's next-door-neighbor (and Eric's had a crush on her for years).

Michael is the dim-witted member of the group (with the best looks) and he is always getting into trouble with his girlfriend Jackie. Jackie is a spoiled, rich girl at the start of the series but over the course of the show she becomes a more developed character and becomes one of the sweeter members of the group. Fez is the foreign exchange student. No one can ever figure out what country he is from. He is the most rambunctious and downright silly member of the group.

Kitty Forman (Debra Jo Rupp) and Reginald "Red" Forman (Kurtwood Smith) are Eric's parents. Eric's sister is Laurie (Lisa Robin Kelly).Bob Pinciotti (Don Stark) and Midge Pinciotti (Tanya Roberts) are Donna's parents. The parents are such an integral part of That '70s Show. Eric's parents are especially memorable: Red is always discovering new ways to yell at Eric while Kitty is a sweet and loving mother. Both characters are terrific fun and have great depth as the series developed.

The series was directed by David Trainer (who directed every episode of the series, except for the pilot). Trainer managed to help the series to be every bit as entertaining and humorous as possible. The series direction was creative and fun throughout and Trainer always seemed to bring the best out of the ensemble cast.

The actors have terrific chemistry together. Part of the reason That '70s Show became such a huge success was the terrific casting. The cast worked together wonderfully and each actor created a distinct and memorable character. The whole group of actors were terrific at the comedic elements while also excelling at the dramatic moments as the series developed.

The number one reason why That '70s Show is such a great sitcom (and is one of the best) is actually a rather simple reason: it is easily one of the funniest television series ever made. The series was extremely well written throughout and the actors were genuinely amazing. The cast always found ways to make the series laugh-out-loud hilarious. The series grew over the course of its first season and found a great groove which carried on for many years.

The series dropped in quality during the last few seasons of the show but was still entertaining and worthwhile. While most of the cast was still on the show, the series just wasn't the same without Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace around as series regulars. Grace's absence was especially a issue given that Eric was essentially the lead character of the show. Kutcher's absence was also strongly felt as he was also one of the funniest cast members. Even with Kutcher and Grace gone from the series, the show continued on and has a bittersweet and generally satisfying conclusion (with essential guest appearances).

The series was remarkably well produced during its run. The series cinematography by Ronald W. Browne (The Three Amigos, 3rd Rock from the Sun) was absolutely terrific. The series does creatively succeed at having the essence of 70's culture. The series production design by Garvin Eddy (Roseanne) was a tremendous accomplishment: the series manages to be consistently great with its 1970's style and this was largely because of the work of the production designer. The music by Ben Vaughn and Jeff Sudakin was well-done as well.

That '70s Show had so many classic episodes over its run. It's impressive how many amazing episodes were made during most seasons of the series. The show also had a number of highly satisfying holiday-themed episodes centered around Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The series also had classic spoof episodes (including one episode centered entirely around the films of director Alfred Hitchcock). The series also featured many impressive guest stars (from Mary Tyler Moore to Don Knotts).

That '70s Show is a great television series. The series received many nominations over its eight season run (including 16 Emmy Award Nominations). It has a classic theme song with "In the Street" and the memorable "Hello, Wisconsin!" Over the course of its eight seasons the series had 200 episodes (most of which were highly entertaining and absolutely hilarious). While the series wasn't perfect during the final seasons of the show, the series had a better run of classic episodes than most series ever have. The show remains a hilarious, entertaining, and creative gem which fans will continue to appreciate for decades to come.

The Blu-ray:


Video:

That '70s Show: The Complete Series arrives on Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment with an 18 disc set. First, the good news: the  series looks pretty impressive on Blu-ray and fans of the series will certainly want to add the release to their collections. The series is amazing and the Blu-ray release is a must-have for fans.

The 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation has generally good color reproduction, clarity, detail, and depth. The series is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen as was used for production of the series (even though the series was originally broadcast in 1.33:1 full-frame and released on DVD in that aspect ratio). Fans will gain more with this HD widescreen presentation than what was available previously on DVD.

The downside to this release is that the previously released Season 1 and Season 2 Blu-ray sets were spread across more discs (4 discs per season instead of the 2 discs per season in this set) and had higher bit-rate encodings. Fans who previously purchased these Mill Creek releases might want to hold on to them even after purchasing this complete series set. For everyone else? It's probably OK to just get the complete series set. The PQ is impressive.

Audio:

The audio on this Blu-ray release is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. This is a strong lossless audio presentation of the series. The music featured on That '70s Show sounds terrific. Dialogue clarity is excellent. Fans will be pleased with the release. Though this isn't surround-sound heavy as a presentation, the clarity of the audio is strong and the lossless quality boost is certainly a nice upgrade.


Extras:

The packaging on this set is amazing. The outer slipcover features felt-like material which is reminiscent of the 70's. The style and design is totally cool and very fitting for the show. The packaging is also noteworthy for having a high-quality cardboard package design with CD-sized Vinyl-like seasons packaged within. Each season set features beautiful, colorful artwork and the discs are housed similarly to a 2 LP vinyl record. Each season case has episode descriptions for what is on each disc. Two discs are given for the extras and almost all of the bonus materials from the previously released season sets are included.

Select audio commentaries featuring director David Trainer are spread throughout the entire set.

Hello Wisconsin! (18 min.) is a behind-the-scenes featurette about That '70s Show.  

Webisodes: Kelso's Serenade (7 min.), Jackie Moves On (7 min.), Holy Crap! (6 min.), Red Fired Up (7 min.), Cat Fight Club (7 min.), and Moon Over Point Place (7 min.)

Making Company: David Trainer on Directing That '70s Show (8 min.)

Beyond the Polyester: Writing That '70s Show (8 min.)

That '70s Show Set Tour with Director David Trainer (12 min.)

That '70s Blooper Special (10 min.)

That '70s Show Through the Years: A Retrospective features 3 minute long interviews with the cast on the characters of the show: Eric, Jackie, Kelso, Hyde, Donna, Fez, Kittie and Red, and Bob.

Season One: A Look Back (5 min.)

Season Two: A Talk with Director David Trainer (13 min.)

Season Three: A Look Back (23 min.)

Several featurettes are included with clips from the individual seasons: Season Four in 4 Minutes (which actually is 4 and a half minutes), Season Five in 5 Minutes (5 min.), 6 Minutes of Season 6 (6 min.), That Seventh '70s Season (13 min.) , and Season Eight in 8 Minutes (8 min.)

A '70s Show Flashback features cast interviews with Laura Prepon (6 min.), Mila Kunis (6 min.), Wilmer Valderrama (9 min.), Danny Masterson (7 min.), Debra Jo Rupp (7 min.) Kurtwood Smith (6 min.), Don Stark (7 min.), Tommy Chong (5 min.), and Josh Meyers (5 min.)

Trivia Game - Exclusive to the Complete Series Blu-ray set is a brand new trivia game with questions about That '70s Show and 70's pop-culture.

Groovy Green Screen (3 min.)

Foto Hut (18 min.) features stills from the series with the cast of That '70s Show

Lastly, over an hour of original broadcast promo spots for That '70s Show are included.

Final Thoughts:

That '70s Show is a genuinely great sitcom. It's one of the funniest television series ever created. With an amazing cast, great characters, excellent writing, and consistently strong direction, the series impressed and amazed. The show has now arrived on Blu-ray in a complete series set. Fans will certainly want to add this impressive release to their collection.

The release has all 200 episodes of the series, two discs of extras, collectible packaging, and good high-definition PQ and AQ. Mill Creek has put together a solid set of a classic sitcom worth revisiting for decades to come.

Highly Recommended.

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.

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