TV On DVD: The Wonder Years: Complete Series (DVD)

In fairly high demand since its release years ago, Time Life has begun to re-release the Complete series of “The Wonder Years,” the immensely popular nineties drama that introduced a decade to the sixties. One of the underdogs of the decade, “The Wonder Years” premiered with small fanfare, and ended up becoming one of the most celebrated primetime dramas ever made. I originally reviewed the Deluxe Locker Edition, and now I review the blue box set that features mostly the collection of the entire series on DVD. The series has been restored and featured uncut after almost twenty years out of print and without a proper release.

Time Life are at their best here, featuring mostly all of the original music from the series, along with a ton of new extras. Although the series is set in the sixties, it’s aged very little, reaching a timelessness that is remarkable. The appeal of the show is obviously universal, touching on a time in everyone’s life where they were growing up, making mistakes, learning about love, life, and mortality, and just realizing that life often is unfair. “The Wonder Years” mixes a wonderful ensemble cast with a series that’s funny, weird, awkward, sweet, heartbreaking, inspiring, and downright memorable until the very end.

You won’t get the full amount of extras as you would in the initial release with the locker, but there’s a wide, exhaustive list of extras here for fans, nonetheless. For season one there’s “Highlights from the Wonder Years Cast Reunion” from 2014, where the remaining cast have discussions on a soundstage. “With a Little Help From My Friends” is about the show’s inception with cast and creators, all of which run at twenty minutes total. “School Days” is a round table conversation/reminiscing with Fred Savage, Danica McKellar, and Josh Savanio.

“The Times They Are A-Changin’” discusses the late sixties, and how the show relates and correlates to it, which memories from cast and crew that were alive during that period. “A Family Affair” is another round table with the trio of cast members, discussing the family in depth, and an interview with McKellar who mainly discusses season three on the Season Three Disc.

There are also interviews with McKellar’s sister, Olivia d’Abo, and Jason Hervey. The Season Four disc has a lengthy segment called “Teachers that Made a Difference” discussing junior high school teachers, and the actors that played them. Along with another interview with Savage, there’s a sit down with Robert Picardo, Ben Stein, and Wendel Meldrum. Season Four has a rather long, at 35 minutes, piece called “Teachers That Made a Difference”, focusing on the junior high school teachers and the actors who played them, as well as another Fred Savage interview along with actors Robert Picardo, Ben Stein (who plays the same type of teacher he did in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and Wendel Meldrum.

For season five’s extras, there’s “That’s a Wrap!” with home footage by co producers Mark B Perry who gives us one last look at the set before leaving the series. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” is a look at the love stories of the show with an interview with Olivia d’Abo and David Schwimmer. The final season features a piece on the last episode, “From the Vault” features Alley Mills reading an apology letter to a producer. Finally the series finale is presented as an extra, since the selection from the main menu presents the finale as two half hour episodes. The show originally aired as an hour long finale in its day, and we’re given it in its uncut hour long format. Each season garners a booklet with liner notes, descriptions of every episode, and their original air dates.