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The Complete First Season
Running Time: 635 minutes
Starring: Robin Williams, Pam Dawber, Elizabeth Kerr and Conrad Janis
Retail Price: $39.99
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Mono, English Closed Captions, Episode Selection, Chapter Stops (5 chapters per episode, 7 for "The Mork & Mindy Special"), Four-Disc Set
Released: September 7th, 2004
"Na nu! Na nu!"
Technically a spin-off to the beloved "Happy Days" (the season five episode where Mork was first introduced is still one of that series absolute best episodes), "Mork & Mindy" was able to break out of the shadow of the series that spawned it and became a pop culture phenom all its own. Running a good four years, the concept of the show was pretty simple: Mork from Ork (Robin Williams) is sent to earth to study the planet and report back his findings to his boss, Orson. After landing in the woods in Boulder, Colorado, Mork meets up with Mindy McConnell (Paw Dawber) after being left there by her boyfriend who steals her car (Mindy refused to put out). Mindy soon discovers that Mork is indeed an alien, and the two end up becoming roommates and Mindy offers to help him. The rest is comedic gold, as Mork tries his best to learn the ways of human society. Luckily for us, Mork is quite the lovable alien though with a load of childlike innocence, so it's usually hard to stay mad at him when his well meaning ways get him into trouble.
It's true the concept of the show is a bit standard at this point (aliens learning about human life and being taken in... hmm, did "3rd Rock From The Sun" slightly rip off this show?), but a lot of "Mork & Mindy" does still hold up very well today - this is a very entertaining and hilarious series. While the show would stumble in later seasons (though end on a predictable and happy note), the first season is where the show definitely shines the brightest (this was the only season where it got nominated for an Outstand Comedy Series Emmy). Other than the weird and manic energy from Mork, the writing is really good here. A lot of the episodes focus on Mork learning the basics of earth life - different kinds of people, pets, Christmas and in one of the most memorable episodes Mork learns a series of emotions (when Mindy kisses him). The pilot is also really great, as it features "Happy Days" favorites such as The Fonz and Laverne. (Who doesn't like to see other friends on another series?)
When it comes to a sitcom like this though, a good deal of the show's success depends on its cast and certainly that's where "Mork & Mindy" delivered. Robin Williams is certainly an iconic comedian and a fabulous as well as recognized film actor today, but let's not forget that his roots were in television and this series was more or less a vehcile from him. It really is hard to imagine anyone else but Williams in the role of Mork. Williams may walk the fine line of schmaltz these days, but he's still an incredibly gifted comedic talent and this show shows it off in the best ways possible. Williams is fun, he's beyond enthusiastic and he's certainly wacky, but he's also charming and heartfelt - who else could have formed such a fun, insane character? Williams plays well off of the entire cast with his silliness (got to love that voice) and crazed banter (I'm sure he improvised quite a bit). Pam Dawber was certainly great as Mindy. Of course she was a bit more stern as the straight woman, but Dawber certainly had great comedic talents and nicely developed the quirks of Mindy. Dawber had great chemistry with Williams which made it so easy to buy into their arrangement together. If anything, Garry Marshall certainly knows how to cast pairs well.
"Mork & Mindy" may not be remembered as one of the absolute best series of all time, but at least it's still remembered. While I think some viewers remember the show mainly for its changes, they shouldn't forget how great it was to begin with. It had two great leads, it had heart and it was really funny and imaginative. Whether it's been awhile since you've last seen someone from Ork or if you're part of a new generation discovering the show, be sure to check out the first twenty-four episodes of the first season on DVD.
The episodes are in their original 1.33:1 full screen and look decent overall. The episodes aren't in top quality however: scratches, blemishes, debris and those kinds of instances are on the episodes and the episodes do appear to be a little bit grainy. Detail is okay and fleshtones are pretty average, and while color saturation isn't spectacular, it is pretty good and a lot better than I anticipated. Given the show's age and other factors, these episodes look quite fine.
All the episodes are presented in their original mono (in English) and are good for what they are. There isn't too much to go on about here other than the tracks have decent fidelity and are naturally quite limited in their sound design. Dialogue is easy to hear, the laugh track sounds fine while the music and sound effects are more than audible. Everything is just straightforward and comes together well, without any hiss or distortion to speak of. These tracks are inoffensive and pleasing for what they are. This set also features English closed captioning,.
Sad to say, nothing. Maybe there will be hope for this section for future seasons?
The first season of "Mork & Mindy" is definitely a lot of fun, and it probably is the absolute best season of the series. I am disappointed the set has no extras, but at least the episodes look and sound decent. If you're a fan of the series or of the delightful Robin Williams, then be sure to pick up this set.