DVD Review: One Day At A Time: The Complete Series

One Day At A Time: The Complete Series was created by Whitney Blake and Allan Manings, and developed by Norman Lear. The liberated sitcom classic was directed by Alan Rafkin and stars Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips, Pat Harrington and Valerie Bertinelli.

One Day At A Time follows Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin), an independent woman who transplants herself and her two daughters – rebellious Julie (Mackenzie Phillips) and smart aleck Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli) – to Indianapolis in search of a new life. Moving into an apartment under the watchful eye and ever-present tool belt of the building’s quirky superintendent Schneider (Pat Harrington), the Romano women muddle through life, love, and laughs as they discover their own potential.

One Day at a Time ran from 1975-1984. The series follows Anne Romano, a divorced mother who is raising her two daughters as best as she can. Julie is the oldest daugher and brings a lot of rebellious drama for Anne to deal with while the younger Barbara always delivers her wisecracks on demand. Anne does a great job balancing her career with her small family but there are always some extra stumbling blocks along the way for her to deal with. There’s also Schneider, the loyal building super, who is more like a family member than maintenance man and he is always ready to deliver some laughs.

The series ran for nine season and always had a rotating door of recurring characters from beginning to end and they all served an important part of the series. Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips, Pat Harrington and Valerie Bertinelli were the mainstays of this long-running sitcom even though Phillips started having more of a recurring role towards the end of the fifth season. This is when more new characters were introduced into the mix as well as a new love interest for Anne that came along in the sixth season. There was a lot of chemistry with this cast and it’s all evident with each and every episode. The writing was smart, funny and even series when it needed to be and this talented cast delivered it all on queue every single time.

The packaging comes with a thick slipcase with five clear plastic keepcases inside. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes series details, some images and list of special features. . There’s also a nice 20-page booklet inside that includes episode listing, synopsis, air dates and images. The discs for each season are all color coded so you don’t have to worry about getting them mixed up. Inserting each disc, the menu screens were simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this standard-definition release varied with each disc and the video is a little fuzzy/blurry at times but that’s to be expected considering the age of this series. There’s a disclaimer that plays at the beginning of each disc. As far as the audio goes it was all sounded really good and with very little static. I really didn’t have any major issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I really enjoyed watching One Day At A Time: The Complete Series and the majority of it was all a first time watch for me. Over the years I guess that I had caught a few episodes here and there (probably on TV Land?) in passing but never really payed that much attention to it but this was really a funny sitcom that dealt with real-life situations. As silly as it got at times, there were also some very serious moments that focused on some controversial topics like harrassment, discrimination, sex, drugs and good ole family drama. The smart writing and this wonderful cast where the heart and soul of the series and why it was one of the most successful sitcoms of the 1970s and 1980s. If you’re not familiar with Norman Lear, he was the television legend behind other classic sitcoms like All In The Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, and Mary Hartman and this one fits perfectly in with this impressive lineup. One Day at a Time even features the catchy theme song “This is It” that’s now stuck in my head. All 208 episodes will finally be available in a 27-DVD set on December 5th thanks to Shout! Factory. This is one that fans have been wanting for a long time and now it’s finally arriving.

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Run Time: 27 Discs / 208 Episodes / 5130 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

DVD Video: Widescreen Presentation

DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include Mackenzie Phillips & Glenn Scarpelli One Day Later (28:52), the One Day At A Time Reunion (38:43), and “This Is It: The Story Of One Day At A Time.” (30:28)




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One Comment

  1. Don Quinlan says:

    This is easily one of the worst (and hastily proofread) “reviews” of a complete series release that I’ve ever had the frustrating displeasure of reading. While it may sound like a cliché, these were 5 utterly wasted minutes of my life that I will never get back! While there is at least some rudimentary reference to the video issues that plague this release throughout all of it’s 9 seasons and 27 discs, there is not a single explanatiion (at least not an accurate one) that even attempts to provide the reader/prospective buyer with a modicum of insight beyond “…that’s to be expected considering the age of this series” which is a completely erroneous and patently irresponsible conclusion that couldn’t possibly be further from the truth! In fact the “age” of these prints has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the fact that the show looks so blurry and suffers from bleeding, ghosting and even frame-dropout. The sole reason for the substandard video quality is actually due to one factor, mystifyingly overlooked in your sad excuse for a Product Review….the show was originally shot on videotape, not film (which also explains why Shout Factory was unable to do much, if anything, to rectify these issues. Actually, considering the fact that several frames are missing in a couple of episodes, I doubt very much that Shout did anything at all to improve the overall image quality (what little can be done to “clean up” flaws and imperfections on videotape source masters is incredibly expensive and in all likelihood prohibitively so to Shout Factory). I also suspect that better source elements exist (at least cleaner videotape masters) somewhere in the film vaults of CBS but as is often the case with licenced products, very little time and effort was devoted to searching their vaults for the optimum source prints by the original network & rights holder (the once classy Paramount Pictures, now the indifferent, paranoid, greedy and sickeningly cheap CBS Home Video), the interim rights holder from 2002-2017 (the equally enterprising & frugal Sony Pictures Entertainment) and the contracted distribution rights holder (Shout Factory) based on the set’s omnipresent disclaimer of “best ‘available’ source prints” and the fact that the show looked considerably better when originally broadcast. In all likelihood (as was infamously the case with Shout Factory’s dishearteningly substandard partial 2-season release of the classic series “Room 222”), Shout Factory was given one of several worn out sets of Betamax copies recorded from the original master tapes used to produce multiple syndication copies for various networks tha broadcast reruns of the show throughout the past 40 years. As a result, what likely ended up being transferred to disc by Shout Factory were well-worn videotapes of videotapes, resulting in the image “banding” and “ghosting as well as the colour-bleeding and frequent “blurry” segments.

    All of that being said, it is what it is and really doesn’t look all that bad, at least in comparasion to some other infamously horrible-looking releases (eg. the aforementioned first two seasons of “Room 222” which actually was originally shot on 35mm film, yet was sourced from a badly deteriorated videotape copy, the original SONY complete season releases of “All in the Family”, another series originally shot on videotape). Had “One Day at a Time” originally been shot on 35mm film, at least there would be exponentially higher quality elements in existence with which new high definition masters could easily be created, however, as was the case with “Room 222”, I’m guessing that Shout Factory would’ve been provided with videotape copies to use as masters anyway and the show would still look just as crappy. However, if 35mm prints are available, their quality and components are actually a higher standard than even the current industry standard if “High Definition” and can (with a modest investment of time & resources) be mad to lookas though they were filmed yesterday!

    Ergo, you (and the legion of amateur “reviews” and other stridently uninformed quality-apologists) are misinformed and utterly mistaken in suggesting that age is a factor in the substandard video quality of the prints contained in this or any release from this era. Furthermore, one need look no further than recent releases of film classics from the 1930’s and 40’s (eg. “Casablanca” (1942), “Citizen Cane” (1941), “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), “Gone With the Wind” “ (1939), “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940), “It Happened One Night” (1934)) or even previous TV-on-DVD releases of much older shows (eg. “Get Smart” (1965-1970) from Time/Life, “The Beverly Hillbillies, Seasons 1-4”, (1962-1966) from CBS Home Video, “Mission Impossible” (1966-1973) from CBS Home Video, “M*A*S*H” (1972-1983) from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, “Mannix” (1967-1975) from CBS Home Entertainment, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (1961-1966) from Image Entertainment, “The Fugitive” (1963-1967) from CBS Home Entertainment, “The Twilight Zone” (1959-1964) from Image Entertainment) for incontrovertible evidence that age has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the prospective quality of a DVD or BluRay release, nor can it be reasonably offered as a viable excuse for substandard images or prints!

    I could go on but this response is already entirely too verbose (and it gets kinda mean moving forward).

    I strongly advise in closing that you seriously consider an alternate vocation as film/television review is flagrantly not your strong suit.

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