DVD Review “Mama’s Family: The Complete Series”

mamafamilyActors: Vicki Lawrence, Beverly Archer, Ken Berry, Dorothy Lyman, Eric Brown
Directors: Dick Martin, Harvey Korman, Roger Beatty
Number of discs: 24
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Starvista Entertainment
DVD Release Date: September 10, 2013
Run Time: 3900 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love “Mama’s Family”? It really brings the dysfunctional into the word family. The series started off as spin-off from reoccurring comedy sketches on “The Carol Burnett Show”, which were called “The Family”. When I think about this show I just think about classic ’80s-era TV. This is before the madness of reality TV, where the talent actually had to be talented! Vicki Lawrence is so amazing playing Thelma ‘Mama’ Harper. She stars alongside a fantastic cast including Rue McClanahan, Betty White, Ken Berry, Harvey Korman and Carol Burnett. For the first time ever, thanks to StarVista Entertainment/Time Life this show is making its debut as a complete series in a very nice Collector’s Set featuring all 130 Episodes taken from the the original broadcast masters. If you are a fan of this show, you do not want to miss this set.

Official Premise: Set in the fictional city of Raytown, “Mama’s Family” revolves around the eye-opening escapades of the Harper clan, headed by formidable matriarch, Mama Harper, a fiery-tempered no-nonsense woman who does not suffer fools gladly. In fact, she makes everybody suffer a little with her patented snappy retorts that truly put the “diss” in dysfunction. Adding to the unforgettable mix are Mama’s journalist sister, Fran (Rue McClanahan, The Golden Girls), who lives with her; her youngest son, Vint (Ken Berry, F-Troop), who moves in with his two teenagers after he is evicted; and Naomi (Dorothy Lyman, All My Children), who marries Vint by Episode 4. Mama’s extended family includes her two daughters, highfalutin’ Ellen (Betty White) and high-strung Eunice (Carol Burnett), as well as Eunice’s husband, Ed (Harvey Korman).

This collector’s set features all 130 episodes on 24 DVDs. Overall this set also contains over ten hours of special features, which are worth the purchase alone. The first two seasons feature the rare, original broadcast masters (aka the “Joe Hamilton” cuts) of the episodes. Each one also included an introductions from  Harvey Korman. There is a cast reunion roundtable with Vicki Lawrence (Mama), Ken Berry (Vint), Dorothy Lyman (Naomi), Beverly Archer (Iola), and Allan Kayser (Bubba).  There are all-new cast and the interview with Vicki Lawrence “interviewing” Mama through the magic of split-screen technology. There is the 1982 CBS-TV movie “Eunice focusing around Mama’s daughter (played by Carol Burnett), There are key “Family” sketches from “The Carol Burnett Show” and much more. Lastly there is also a “Collectible Mama’s Family Album” featuring character bios and a “Mama’s Family Tree”.

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