Entertainment Value - 9
Picture Quality - 7
Audio Quality - 7
Packaging Quality - 5
Summary : Although the packaging leaves something to be desired, the content within is pretty darn good.
Throughout the late 70’s and early 80’s, there were a plethora of amazing genre bending films and television shows that changed the way we looked at television. While there was still an audience for the classic, family friendly fare that Baby Boomers and their parents had grown up with, the viewership for that content began to taper off. In general, there was a push back against the traditional programming that everyone was used to, and Soap was released amid that movement.
Soap was named after the term “Soap Opera,” and the show itself was a pretty harsh satire of the genre. While the show itself has more in common with a sitcom than it does with a soap opera, it intentionally exhibited certain tropes of the daytime melodrama while pushing more than a few buttons. For instance, the show would always end on a cliffhanger, with the narrator asking the audience a bunch of questions in order to get them to tune in next week.
Of course, instead of presenting these cliffhangers in an overly dramatic fashion, they would always make some kind of joke out of it, with one example being the narrator asking whether or not one of the characters would even care about the situation at hand. Fans of shows like All in the Family will probably appreciate the scathing social commentary, particularly the fact that this was a commentary of certain aspects of the entertainment business itself.
Personally, I never really watched the show as a kid, because it was a little before my time and it was never really on. However, I had recently been told by many friends and colleagues that this series was worth checking out, and they were definitely right. The humor and wit on display in this show is well before its time, and I would even go so far as to say that it’s much more on point with regards to social issues today than many television shows produced in the past ten years.
When I was asked to review this title, I jumped at the opportunity, because I knew that this was my chance to finally check out the show that everyone had been talking about. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed and I am really enjoying the series so far. I’m also happy to report that Mill Creek has actually done a pretty good job with this release, even if it isn’t perfect. Not only is it nice to get two seasons on one set, but they did a pretty good job of splitting the episodes up evenly onto each disc.
The Soap 2-Season Combo Pack from Mill Creek Entertainment comes on four discs, with all 47 episodes of both Season 1 and 2 split evenly across. There are never more than 13 episodes on any one disc, and in fact you’re more likely to find between 11 and 12 episodes on each. This allows for a picture quality and bitrate that is more than acceptable, and audio that is also pretty decent. To be honest, I was surprised at how good the series looks, but then that might also be because these transfers appear to be taken straight from the previous Sony releases.
Even if these are just a repackage of an old release, that might not necessarily be a bad thing. After all, if you can’t find the original release, at least now you won’t have to worry about picking up the secondary release from Mill Creek. As usual, they’ve provided us with perfectly adequate quality in this release. Of course, with the Sony releases of these season sets still kicking around the bargain bins here and there, one has to wonder whether or not it was even necessary to re-release these so soon. Regardless, I was happy to find that MCE did not phone it in for this DVD set.Well, at least they didn’t phone it in when it came to picture quality, but the packaging still leaves something to be desired. Although it is sufficient, the cover art (reproduced from previous Sony releases) seems to be printed on visibly cheap paper. In addition, the case for this set forces you to stack all four discs together on one disc hub, which collectors will recognize to be a huge problem. Not only does this make it more difficult to get to the disc you want, but it also increases the potential that one of the discs will get scratched. If these were blu-rays, there wouldn’t be a problem – but these are DVDs and they tend to scratch easily.
Once again, there are no special features to be found here. That being said, I guess you can’t complain about something like that when you’re getting two entire seasons of a show on one affordable DVD set. When it comes right down to it, this isn’t a bad re-release and it will at least keep this great television show on store shelves for a bit longer. If you find this 2-Season Combo Pack for a good price, don’t pass it up. Even with the subpar packaging and the lack of special features, it’s worth it to check out one of the funniest and most controversial television shows of the 70’s.