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Mash TV Season 1 [DVD] [Import]
Like the TV incarnation of The Odd Couple, the M*A*S*H series has supplanted the original film in the public's consciousness. Legendary comedy writer Larry Gelbart (Your Show of Shows) deserves a medal for developing Robert Altman's bloody, funny 1970 classic for television with much of its anti-establishment spirit intact. These 24 first-season episodes--bracingly less politically correct than the shows in the final seasons--chart the program's sometimes bumpy evolution as it tried to remain true to the film's anarchic spirit while finding its own voice. The most memorable episodes include "The Pilot," which establishes the characters in broad strokes; "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet," in which a friend of Hawkeye's (Alan Alda) dies on the operating table (look for "Ronny" Howard as an underage soldier); "Cowboy," in which someone is trying to kill clueless commander Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson); and the pivotal "Dear Dad," the first of what would be a series of multistory episodes in which Hawkeye writes to his father about life at the 4077th. It is interesting to note film characters who made early exits from the series, including Timothy Brown's Spearchucker and Karen Philipp's Lt. Dish (George Morgan, who plays Father Mulcahy in the pilot, we hardly knew ye). Klinger (Jamie Farr), bucking for his Section 8 discharge, doesn't appear until the fifth episode, "Chief Surgeon Who?" And Gary Burghoff's Radar is a much more wily and savvy partner in crime to "Yankee Doodle Doctors" Hawkeye and Trapper John (Wayne Rogers) than in later seasons. In its 11-year run, M*A*S*H earned 14 Emmy Awards, and it remains one of TV's most beloved series. Though it is a staple of syndication, the episodes are presented here uncut, probably for the first time since their original broadcast. For M*A*S*H devotees, this three-disc set is just what the doctor ordered. --Donald Liebenson
The first season is fresh and funny, even though it's on 8 times a day in some regions. The advantage to having your own copies is being able to avoid commmercials. No extras here unfortunately, but the show itself still stands the test of time.
Favorite episodes are:
To Market, To Market - Hawkeye and Trapper trade Henry's antique desk for medicine without him knowing it.
Requiem For A Lightweight - When Hot Lips vows to transfer a new and attractive nurse, Henry agrees to cancel the transfer only if Trapper emerges victorious in a mismatched boxing match.
The Moose - The surgeons set out to convince a Korean girl that she is free and not required to be anyone's servant or "Moose".
Yankee Doodle Doctor - Pierce and McIntire remake a visiting film producer's film with their own Marx Brothers touches.
Bananas, Crackers and Nuts - Hawkeye pretends to be nuts after he is refused R&R.
Cowboy - A seriously fatigued chopper pilot begins making life uncomfortable for Henry after being denied leave.
Dear Dad - The first of many letters home episodes.
Edwina - Hawkeye is elected to romance a klutz of a nurse.
Love Story - Radar falls for a new nurse and is coached by Hawkeye and Trapper on how to win her affections. "Ahhh Bach"!
Tuttle - The staff at the 4077th are honored to have the patriotic and charitable Captain Tuttle in the midst. The trouble is that Tuttle doesn't exist except on paper. "You might say that together we all made up Tuttle."
The Longjohn Flap - During an especially cold period, a pair of longjohns is passed from one person to another at the 4077th
The Army Navy Game - The Army-Navy game on the radio is interupted by shelling but the main interuption is the unexploded bomb in the compoound.
Sticky Wicket - Hawkeye slugs Frank resulting in Hawkeye being confined to quarters.
Major Fred C. Dobbs - Frank requests a transfer to another unit. Hawkeye and Trapper fear that they might get stuck with someone even worse than so they decide to trick Frank into staying.
Ceasefire - Everyone except Trapper is convinced that the unconfirmed rumor of a ceasefire means the war will soon be over.
Showtime - A visiting USO troop in Korea addition to Henry's wife giving birth in Indiana are the highlights of the final episode. The final episode takes the time at the end to re-introduce us to the cast, so we don't forget until next year.