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Wonder Years: The Complete Series, The
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Wonder Years 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.
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. 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 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.
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.
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.
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".
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"
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: 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"
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.
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.
Olivia d'Abo (Karen Arnold) (34 min.):
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.):
Highlights Include: Getting the Job, Wayne Arnold, the Music, the Era, School on Set, and Just Being a Kid.
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."
Crystal McKellar (Becky Slater) (21 min.):
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:
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.
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.
Episodes Discussed: "The Ties That Bind," "The Wedding," "Buster," and "The Tree House."
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).
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.):
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.
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.
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.):
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.
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.
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."
Jason Hervey (Wayne Arnold) (27 min.):
Highlights Include: Wayne Grows Up, Favorite Episodes, Life After The Wonder Years, the Fans, Standing the Test of Time, the Reunion, and The Wonder Years on DVD.
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.
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.
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.
Episodes Discussed: "Whose Woods Are These?," and "Independence Day."
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."
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, 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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