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Anchor Bay presents
Roseanne: The Complete Sixth Season (1994)

Becky: For once we can have a Thanksgiving where you don't have to yell and scream at everybody.
Roseanne: Well, gee, you might as well take the carols right out of Christmas.

- Sarah Chalke, Roseanne

Review By: Ross Johnson   
Published: January 09, 2007

Stars: Roseanne, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sarah Gilbert
Other Stars: Michael Fishman, Sarah Chalke, Estelle Parsons
Director: Philip Charles MacKenzie

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 09h:35m:00s
Release Date: December 05, 2006
UPC: 013131455199
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

So, a funny thing happened in my catching up with Roseanne: I got hooked. This sixth season has been the first I've seen of the show in about a decade. While I watched the series occasionally back in the day, I wasn't really expecting all that much. It was certainly groundbreaking in the early '90s, with its warts-and-all portrayal of lower-middle-class family life and its sometimes abrasive leading lady. I just didn't really expect it to hold up, figuring that it was good for its time but locked in that era. I needn't have doubted. (It doesn't hurt that the Conners were never particularly fashion conscious, so the style of the show isn't jarring.) It's quite rare that a sitcom will actually make me laugh out loud, but Roseanne had me chuckling throughout. There's some inevitable silliness, but the surprising intelligence of the show made it hard for me to pull away.

This season sees Roseanne's sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) unexpectedly pregnant. Darlene and David move out, Becky and Mark move back in (this is Sarah Chalke, aka Becky #2, for those of you keeping track of your Beckys), and DJ hits puberty. Several of these plotlines run throughout the season, giving the show an almost soap opera quality that fuels its addictiveness. I imagine that it would have been much less noticeable on a weekly basis, but watching the episodes back-to-back revealed a sense of continuity unique for the time. A minor riff in one episode will become a major plotline later down the road. Remember that most sitcoms before that time had resolved all of their problems within 30 minutes, and it's easier to understand why the show plays well. Stand-out episodes include a couple that were pretty controversial in 1993: in A Stash from the Past, Roseanne, Dan, and Jackie discover that even old pot can still be pretty good. That 70s Show owes Roseanne for broaching that subject, even if they do all decide it was a pretty bad idea before it's over. Don't Ask Don't Tell, which was actually pre-empted in many areas during its initial airing, features an only slightly steamy kiss between Roseanne and Mariel Hemingway.

The show won itself some acting Emmys during its run, and deservedly so. As individuals, the leads are all great, but their chemistry is what makes the show great, and a lot of mileage comes from throwing the characters together in different combinations and watching the sparks fly: Roseanne and Sarah Gilbert's Darlene have a combative, loving, and very believable relationship, and in this season they move past a purely mother-daughter relationship into more of a friendship that confuses them both. The main cast and the recurring stars like Sandra Bernhard, Martin Mull, Shelley Winters, Estelle Parsons, and the sadly late Glenn Quinn are uniformly good. I may be gushing a little bit, but I grew up on sitcoms, and these days it seems like a dying art form. This is a treat to revisit.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio4:3 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Picture quality throughout is decent, if inconsistent. There's a bit of artifacting here and there, as well as some graininess. The defects are noticeable at times if you're looking, but not particularly distracting.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: This is a flat Dolby 2.0 track that pretty well matches what you would have heard on TV originally. The audio is clear, and the dialogue is distinct.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Packaging: custom cardboard cover with sl
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Unlike previous seasons, not a one. The episodes are spread out over four discs, about six to a disc. There are no chapter menus, but the opening credits are skippable. The episodes are uncut as originally broadcast. Apparently the first season box includes syndicated episode cuts, but subsequent seasons have been full.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

In spite of my expectations, Roseanne makes it into the 21st century with its wit and smarts intact. The series was firing on all cylinders this season, making it a great year for one of TVs all-time best. Though some extras would have been nice, all of the episodes are uncut as originally broadcast. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but if you enjoyed the show back in the day, don't be afraid to check it out now. It holds up.


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