Written by Hombre Divertido
More than thirty years after the final episode of the iconic series aired, 20th Century Fox delivers the last season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show on DVD. Season seven hit the shelves on October 5th, and though the presentation leaves quite a bit to be desired, there is still enough energy left in the cast to make many of these episodes worth owning.
Though aired often over the years, the final episode of the series may be worth the purchase of the final season. Well written and executed, like the entire series, the final episode is simple but brilliant. No extended-length episode, just a simple farewell to those who worked in the WJM newsroom and those who loved them.
Another gem to be found in season seven is Episode 23 (The second to the last) titled “Lou Dates Mary” where our two stars do indeed date, and even kiss, in one of the more memorable moments of the entire series.
Yes, season seven includes classic moments and some notable guest-star performances by Eric Braeden, David Ogden Stiers, Helen Hunt, Vincent Gardenia and others, but it is clear nonetheless that the series was ready to retire. With Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman long since gone off to their own shows, the private life of Mary Richards has faded into the background with the series revolving around her life at WJM. This did allow the characters of Sue Ann Niven (Betty White) and Georgette Baxter (Georgia Engel) to step in to the forefront, but the added energy was not substantial enough to fill the void left by the afore mentioned talented ladies.
Episodes such as “What’s Wrong with Swimming,” in which Mary hires a former Olympic swimmer (Caren Kaye) to do sports on the news broadcast, are tired and trite and not worthy of the show as a whole. The episodes revolving around Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) and his family also seem desperate, and only serve to give us less of Mary, Lou (Ed Asner) and Murray (Gavin MacLeod).
Ultimately this is an amazing series, and one that certainly deserved better treatment than provided by 20th Century Fox in this release. The packaging looks cheap, there is no bonus material, and though the rarely seen curtain call after the final episode is touted on the packaging as being included, it is not. Research shows that if you call the 800 number on the back of the DVD case, you can have a replacement disk sent to you that does include the curtain call.
Recommendation: Tough call. The series is great and the final episode is a must have for the true fan, but the presentation is bad. Yes, the show does look and sound good here, but one can only hope that a better release of the entire series will be forthcoming.