DVD Review “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: The Complete Series”

maryhartmanActors: Louise Lasser, Greg Mullavey, Mary Kay Place, Dabney Coleman, Graham Jarvis
Directors: Joan Darling
Number of discs: 38
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Shout! Factory
DVD Release Date: December 3, 2013
Run Time: 8100 minutes

Series: 4 out of 5 stars
Extra: 3 out of 5 stars

Hope you have some times on your hands coming up since all 325 episodes of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” are now available on DVD within it’s new 38-DVD box set for The Complete Series. This comes back with around 135 hours of television. This series has never been available in its entirety before and thanks to Shout! Factor fans of the series can own it all…and in perfect time for the holidays! “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” is such a groundbreaking satirical soap opera and starred the amazing Louise Lasser (“Take the Money and Run”, “Bananas”). I never caught the show in its original run but it is still as entertaining as it was when it first aired. A must have for any fan of the series!

Official Premise: Not since the show’s original network run has anyone been able to experience this iconic cult classic in its entirety. In the fictional town of Fernwood, Ohio, the heroine, housewife Mary Hartman, lives a life that is a quest for perfection as portrayed by the Reader’s Digest and TV commercials. She is ravaged by a never-ending onslaught of mass murders, venereal disease, low-flying airplanes and a waxy yellow buildup on her kitchen floor. Louise Lasser stars in the title role of Norman Lear’s innovative and bent serial, which combines the drama and pathos of a traditional soap opera with a wry, satirical sense of humor.

Besides Louise Lasser, she is backed with an amazing cast including Greg Mullavey (“Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”, “iCarly”), Mary Kay Place (“Big Love”, “The Big Chill”), who also won an Emmy for her role, Graham Jarvis (“Misery”, “Guiding Light”), Debralee Scott (“Police Academy”, “American Graffiti”), Victor Kilian (“The Ox-Bow Incident”, “Only Angels Have Wings”), Dody Goodman (“One Life To Live”, “Grease”), Philip Bruns (“General Hospital”, “Flashdance”), Dabney Coleman (“Boardwalk Empire”, “Tootsie”), Martin Mull (“Arrested Development”, “Roseanne”) and Claudia Lamb (“Forever Fernwood”).

I would love to say that the episodes looks pristine and are perfectly restored but I wasn’t terribly blown away with the DVD transfer of the episodes. They are not terrible just show their age a bit. In terms of special features, I was a little bit last down with the lack of commentary tracks. There are two interesting featurettes including “Inside the Funhouse Mirror”, which features Norman Lear, Louise Lasser and Mary Kay Place talk about the making of the show. The second is called “On the Verge of…” is has Norman Lear and Louise Lasser discussing the episode “Nervous Breakdown”. Lastly there are ten original “Fernwood 2 Night” episodes! This was the real draw for me, which follows the fictional town made popular by “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and stars Martin Mull, Fred Willard, and Frank De Vol.

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