The Muppet Show: Season One

The Muppet Show: Season One (1976)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and their many guests
Extras: Pilot, Pitch Reel, Muppet Morsels Trivia Track, Gag Reel

Finally, after having seen episodes from the show being torn apart and released in non-continuous order by another studio, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, who now owns the home video rights to the Henson library, has prepared a DVD set containing all episodes from "The Muppet Show's" first season. All 24 episodes are included on this DVD set, as well as the original Muppet Pitch Reel that was created by Jim Henson to suggest the show to networks. The original pilot of the show can also be found on the release, as well as a truly hilarious promo gag reel from the first season.

The first season of the show was already an indication of things to come and it is amazingly star-studded, featuring guests such as Candice Bergen, the late, great Sir Peter Ustinov, Charles Aznavour, Florence Henderson, Lena Horne, Phyllis Diller, Twiggy and Vincent Price, among many others. Clearly, Vincent Price's horror-infused episode is the highlight of the season for most fans.

Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and all the others are at the top of their game, of course, making sure their guests are always feeling welcome and never get bored… and neither are the viewers of these hilarious antics that are the Muppet Show.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has prepared "The Muppet Show" in its original fullframe presentation on this 4-disc DVD release. The image is generally clean and clear, though it is visibly dated as a result of the technical limitations of TV productions in the 70s. The color palette is not as vibrant as you may remember, and looks a bit muted at times, but I found it to be somewhat more vivid than on the previous "Muppet Show" releases, and it seems generally faithful to the original production. Black levels on the transfer are solid, creating deep blacks and shadows that hold just enough detail.

The audio on the release is a Dolby Stereo track that nicely reproduces the production's original audio. Frequency response is good, though unexaggerated and without bass extension. The dynamic range is good making sure all elements are properly reproduced and dialogues stand out without being drowned out at any time. The many musical numbers are well preserved and do not unnecessarily suffer from the technical limitations of the production. English subtitles are included in the release.

As an additional extra the release contains a "Muppet Morsel" feature, a trivia subtitle track filled with interesting tidbits about the Muppets. Unfortunately no commentary track is included. Sadly Frank Oz seems to distance himself a bit from his work with Jim Henson these days, as a commentary by him would have been the ultimate supplement, no doubt.

For fans this release is finally the revelation they've been waiting for all these years. The felt-covered packaging further adds to the style and appeal of the release. Go, get it! This is what you've been waiting for. I know I have, and I can't wait for the other seasons to show up.