Featured TV on DVD Review: Here's Lucy: The Complete Series
April 6th, 2014
I previously reviewed several seasons from The Lucy Show, which ended for business rather than ratings reasons. Here's Lucy is a very similar show in tone, if not in terms of characters. It too lasted six seasons before ending its run. (This time ratings did play a significant part in that happening.) All six seasons have been released on DVD in the past, but a couple weeks ago, a full series Megaset was also released. Is the show worth picking up for fans of the Lucille Ball? Is the box set worth the asking price?
Lucille Ball stars as Lucy Carter, a single mother with two kids, which is essentially the same character she played in The Lucy Show. Here her two kids are Kim and Craig, who are played by her real-life kids, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. She works for Carter's Unique Employment Agency, which is run by her bother-in-law, Mr. Moody, I mean Harrison. Same actor as before, and pretty much the same character. For most of the show's run, this was the setup. (After season three, Desi left, while the end of Season Four there was backdoor pilot for a spin-off for Kim, but it wasn't picked up.)
If you look at the list of episode names, you will also get a sense of déjà vu. Lucy Visits Jack Benny, Lucy and Miss Shelley Winters, Lucy and Eva Gabor, Lucy Sells Craig to Wayne Newton, Lucy and Carol Burnett, Lucy and Tennessee Ernie's Fun Farm, and those are just in the first season and just the episodes where the guest star has billing in the title. There are a few others that are not announced in the title of the episode. The rest of the seasons don't rely quite as much on stunt-casting as the first season did, while the overall story-lines did move beyond that as the seasons progressed. Other changes include Desi Arnaz, Jr. leaving at the end of the third season, while Lucie Arnaz was only a recurring character by the final two seasons. There was also far less broad comedy by the end of the show for reasons that are not hard to understand. Lucille Ball was in her 60s when the show finally ended in 1974 and between seasons four and five she broke her leg skiing, which obviously put an end to slapstick while it healed, but even after her recovery, the comedy moved on.
Overall, I think Here's Lucy is a little weaker than The Lucy Show, but overall if you like one enough to buy it on DVD, you will likely want to buy the other.
This is a 24-disc set, but for most of those discs, the extras are the same: Intros by Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. Each season also has extras on the fourth disc. These extras start with...
- Meet the Carter: A 14-minute look at how the show came to be.
Let's Talk to Lucy: An 11-minute audio interview of Gale Gordon by Lucille Ball.
Making the Main Title: A two-minute behind-the-scenes look at the stop-motion animation that went into the main title.
Screen Tests: Screen tests for Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. done for Yours, Mine, and Ours.
Slide Show: 3-minute slide show.
- Here's Lucy on Location: A 15-minute featurette on all of the times the show shot on location.
Let's Talk to Lucy: An 11-minute audio interview of Carol Burnett by Lucille Ball.
Lucy Sings: a short clip of Lucille Ball singing.
Lucie and Wayne Newton: Four-minute clip of Lucie Arnaz on the Wayne Newton show.
- Lucy Meets the Burtons: A Comedic Gem: A 24-minute long featurette about the episode Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had a guest appearance on. It's a bigger deal than it sounds like today. They were two of the biggest movie stars around and there was a bigger difference between movie stars and TV stars. However, Lucille Ball has a history of getting major stars on her show, even if they didn't usually do TV.
Let's Talk to Lucy: An 10-minute audio interview of Doris Day by Lucille Ball.
Make Room for Granddaddy with Lucy: Marjorie Lord introduces an episode of this sitcom in which Lucille Ball had a guest appearance.
Lucy with Jack Benny: Lucille Ball making an appearance on Jack Benny's 1970 special that has a name that's too long for me to bother typing. Once a title is a dozen or more words long, no one can be expected to type it out.
- Here's Harry: Remembering Gale Gordon: A 15-minute retrospective of Gale Gordon.
Let's Talk to Lucy: An 26-minute audio interview of Dinah Shore by Lucille Ball.
Lucy on the Pearl Bailey Show: Lucille Ball doing a bit on the Pearl Bailey Show.
Australian Promo: A 30-sec promo for the show.
Slide Show: a 3-minute slide show.
- Here's Lucy Spotlight: Desi Arnaz, Jr.: An 18-minute look at Desi Arnaz, Jr.'s career.
Let's Talk to Lucy: A 26-minute audio interview of Frank Sinatra by Lucille Ball.
Lucy on the Donny and Marie Show: A 6-minute clip of Lucille Ball on the Donny and Marie Show.
Slide Show: Another 3-minute slide show.
Production Files: four 2-minute looks at select episodes.
Syndication Promos: 15 minutes of promos for the show.
- Here's Lucy Spotlight: Lucie Arnaz: An 18-minute look at Lucie Arnaz's career.
Let's Talk to Lucy: A 19-minute audio interview of Andy Griffith by Lucille Ball.
Lucy on the Tennessee Ernie Ford Special: A 9-minute clip of Lucille Ball on the 1968 TV special Tennessee Ernie Ford Special.
Lucy and Vivian Vance on Dinah!: A 20-minute clip with Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance on the Dinah Shore talk show.
U.S. Savings Bond Episode: A 12-minute short film made by the show to support U.S. Savings Bonds.
Film Short: For A Wonderful Life!: A 13-minute short film about uterine cancer prevention and detection.
Syndication Promos: 15-minutes of more promos.
Skip it! Yes, Here's Lucy is a great show for fans of Lucille Ball and most will want to own The Complete Series. However, you can buy the individual series for about $20 each, more or less, for a combined total of or just over $110 for all six, which is substantially less than the $144 price tag for this box set. Additionally, Amazon.com has a package deal for just over $100, saving you a little bit more.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge