Melrose Place: The Complete Series DVD review
Oct 04, 2022- Permalink
For seven seasons, from July 8, 1992 to May 24, 1999, viewers tuned in to watch the steamy, crazy and explosive antics of a group of twentysomethings living in Melrose Place, an apartment complex on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Though some characters left and others joined, for the meat of the series the main characters were the cheating Dr. Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro), Jane Mancini (Josie Bissett), his fashion designer wife, Billy Campbell (Andrew Shue), a writer, Alison Parker (Courtney Thorne-Smith), climbing the ladder in the ad world, Jake Hanson (Grant Show), a carpenter who found time to sleep with most of the female characters over the years, Matt Fielding (Doug Savant), a gay social worker (at a time in society where TV execs felt they had to point that out), and Jo Reynolds (Daphne Zuniga), a photographer escaping an abusive husband. The series started off with two other characters played by Vanessa A. Williams and Amy Locane, but Locane was written off after 13 episodes and Williams exited after season one. Ratings and reviews were middling, but then Melrose Place producer Aaron Spelling hired his secret weapon, Heather Locklear, who had worked with Spelling on T.J. Hooker. Locklear played Amanda Woodward, Alison’s ruthless boss. With Amanda in the show, the stories became crazier, the relationships steamier, and the business skirts shorter. Ratings shot up. Paramount Home Entertainment has now released Melrose Place: The Complete Series on DVD. I had a chance to look at it.
The benefit of the Melrose Place set is that, with 226 episodes spread over 54 discs, it’s hefty enough to be used a piece of home gym equipment. Get those arm curls in! If you’re used to watching shows in widescreen HD, be aware that this series was made and aired before HDTV was in use. The show’s 480p transfer is in a 4:3 aspect ratio and the video transfer, though it improves in later seasons, lacks extremely sharp details and bold colours. There is also crushing in the black levels. Compression artifacts aren’t as bad as they could have been had Paramount stuffed more episodes on less discs. If you realize that broadcast TV didn’t look all that great in the NTSC days, then you’ll realize that DVD physical media still looks better than that. It’s always hard trying to soften expectations from people used to a Blu-ray and 4K world. It’s a good video presentation for the DVD format.
On the audio side of things, Melrose Place comes with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. English subtitles are not available for all the seasons. Being a 2.0 track, your surrounds and subwoofer have the night off, so make some room on the couch so that they can watch the show with you. Dialogue and music are generally clear.
The 54 disc set does not come with a digital code. There are audio commentaries by show creator Darren Star on a couple of episodes and the first three seasons each have a few short featurettes with the cast and creative team.
Shows like Melrose Place don’t always show up on streaming services, so physical media is a great way to see the show whenever you want. If you spent seven years in the 1990s glued to the antics of these Melrose Place residents then you’ll want to add Melrose Place: The Complete Series DVD to your home entertainment library.