"Don’t be ridiculous" was the series catch phrase synonymous with the 80s-90s sitcom PERFECT STRANGERS, which was kind of ironic, since the characters almost always found themselves in ridiculous situations. Featuring plenty of slapstick, culture clash and fish out of water shenanigans- PERFECT STRANGERS is the kind of series that really appealed to the kiddies who were the target demographic of the ABC TGIF lineup.
The premise of PERFECT STRANGERS tells of American Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker), who has his quiet Chicago existence thrown off kilter by the arrival of his very distant cousin Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot), who hails from the tiny Mediterranean island nation of Mypos. A goat herder by trade, Balki makes the transition to the American way of life with as many comic misunderstandings as the writers could squeeze into a typical half hour episode. The formula proved successful enough to keep PERFECT STRANGERS on the air for a total of eight seasons.
PERFECT STRANGERS: THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS ($30) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features the following twenty-eight episodes that were aired during the show’s freshman and sophomore years: Knock Knock, Who's There?, Picture This, First Date, Baby, You Can Drive My Car, Check This, Happy Birthday, Hello Baby, Hunks Like Us, The Unnatural, Ladies And Germs, Lifesavers, Babes In Babylon, Falling In Love Is..., Two Men And A Cradle, Can I Get A Witness?, The Rent Strike, A Christmas Story, Dog Gone Blues, Since I Lost My Baby, Trouble In Paradise, Beautiful Dreamer, Tux For Two, Ten Speed And A Soft Touch, Snow Way To Treat A Lady Part 1, Snow Way To Treat A Lady Part 2, Up On A Roof, Get A Job and Hello Elaine.
Warner Home Video has made all twenty-eight episodes that comprise PERFECT STRANGERS: THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. For the most part, the episodes look better than a syndicated rebroadcast, but the image quality does not impress in any way. PERFECT STRANGERS was shot on film, but the presentations looks as though they were taken off existing broadcast masters. The image is slightly soft and offers decent definition. Colors are kind of bland. Blacks appear accurate, as do the whites. PERFECT STRANGERS features sitcom lighting, so the contrast is unremarkable and the picture appears flat. The film elements from which the episodes are taken are reasonably clean, but there are occasional hiccups. There is some appreciable grain. Digital compression artifacts are never a problem.
PERFECT STRANGERS comes with a perfectly acceptable Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. Fidelity is sufficient for a dialogue driven sitcom with a laugh track. There are no significant distortions on the individual tracks. Dialogue is fairly clean sounding, plus it is always intelligible. No other language tracks are provided, but English and French subtitles have been included.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene/episode selection and set up features, as well as the Dance Of Joy clip montage.
If you were a fan of PERFECT STRANGERS, then this DVD set is just what the doctor ordered.
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