Green Acres as far as the eyes can see — Shout! Factory just released a massive complete series set of the classic sitcom in a twenty-four disc set. All 170 episodes across six seasons starring Eva Gabor and Oliver Douglas are here, which should hold even the most avid fan of the series over through winter. Until now, only the first three seasons were available — and it’s been twelve years since those were released!
Before receiving this set for review, I had probably seen this show just once or twice before, and even then, it’s been at least fifteen years and it must have been on Nick At Nite. Old series’ like this, Mr. Ed, My Favorite Martian, are the types of old, but notforgotten shows that Shout! acquires the licenses for that were at least previously commonly seen in syndication. Some of these shows have found their way back to the digital airwaves with niche digital TV channels like MeTV and Grit, but there’s always something to be said for a complete DVD set which Shout! has made available.
I have watched only a small fraction of the 170 episodes included within, but for any fan of vintage TV, especially long-running shows like this, you understand the formally early on. The premise here is that a well-off married couple, tired of the pace of New York City, decide to slow the pace of life down some and move out to the country. There’s an adjustment period to be sure, especially for Eva Gabor’s character, and plenty of wholesome hilarity ensues. I think it’s precisely that element that makes these old shows enjoyable decades on from their original air date — they’re comfortable, easy, and often times still funny. I’m not saying you’ll bowl over with laughter here, but there are plenty of smirk-worthy and chuckle moments to be had watching this old show. It carries about it a sense of charm that the older TV shows used to have and that you would be much harder pressed to find today. In this way, these old shows — numerous in number, yet always familiar in tone and rarely if ever controversial or “complicated” — are like comfort food. It’s no wonder these old classics are shown in syndication, anyone can sit down and enjoy them, even if they aren’t really paying attention to the specifics.
Shout! TV is no stranger to box sets and they have done another fine job with this one. Inside the outer box are six DVD cases, one for each season, and four discs for each case. The case spines have different colors yet the format of the artwork and menus is consistent, like you would expect for a complete set. Episodes are presented in their original 1:33:1 format of course, and subtitles are supported, which is kind of a big deal given that this release is probably going to be bought by and for some seniors who could benefit from the on-screen dialog. In terms of any remastering or digital restoration, to my knowledge and to my untrained eyes and ears, none of that has occurred with this set, but that’s not particularly surprising.
There are several extra features included, spread throughout the set. The pilot episode features an audio commentary by a pop culture historian. Another features The Hooterville Handbook author, while another includes part of a 1966 episode of the Merv Griffin Show in which Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert were guests. A large photo gallery, six episodes of Granby’s Green Acres Radio Show, and a podcast recording that can be used as an alternate audio track to the final episode round out a sufficient set of features for this set.
For fans of this popular vintage series, the availability of all seasons on DVD has been a very long time in the making, but that time has finally arrived.