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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect sitcom available complete at long last
If you've any interest in comedy you need this set. Bilko is the granddaddy of American television comedy and set the template which has been followed ever since. You've heard the superlatives before - they're all true. The series itself is 5 stars and then some. Get this.
That's the show itself out of the way. Now to look at the set itself as a product. All four...
Published 2 months ago by Mr. A. J. Smith

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13 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Five star programmes, three star presentation
There is no doubt that Bilko is one of the funniest and cleverest comedy shows of all time, so I don't need to tell you about it as you already know. Bilko is without question a five star show.

This review is principally for the presentation on the new set of DVDs produced with MediumRare Entertainment. We waited a long time for them and although there was...
Published 2 months ago by Serious Reviewer


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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect sitcom available complete at long last, 24 Sep 2014
By 
Mr. A. J. Smith (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
If you've any interest in comedy you need this set. Bilko is the granddaddy of American television comedy and set the template which has been followed ever since. You've heard the superlatives before - they're all true. The series itself is 5 stars and then some. Get this.
That's the show itself out of the way. Now to look at the set itself as a product. All four seasons are included in seperate cases, five discs per case. An episode list with guest stars and brief synopses is included on the reverse of each sleeve. The text is obscured by the discs so the sleeves need to be removed for this info to be read which is a little annoying.
A nicely illustrated booklet is included in the season one case with a history of the show and biographies of Silvers and Nat Hiken. I'd have liked the episode list to be included in this booklet as well to solve the problem with the sleeves.
The menus are nicely designed, simply laid out by episode. Extras are thoughfully also directly accessible from the main menu. An option for subtitles is also included. Unfortunately the planned "play all" feature was vetoed by CBS; it's not really an issue as this isn't a show to be left running, half-watched while doing something else. I won't detail the extras as others have done so; most of the major items from previous releases seem to be included, plus some new material (the BBC documentary "Bilko on Parade" is of note).

Now to look at the already contentious issue of the quality of the episodes themselves. Disagreements are already evident in other reviews and their comments about whether these are better or worse than the episodes previously released on DVD (the anniversary set and the standalone season one). I've been running a side-by-side comparison of the S1 episode "The Horse" for reference, although I've watched about a dozen from different seasons so far.
What immediately struck me with this new set is that the episodes are conversions from NTSC film transfers and not transfered from film to PAL. As the episodes were supplied by CBS to Mediumrare this isn't really surprising. However, those of us used to having watched Bilko on the BBC may find this disappointing (they transmitted directly from film until the late eighties, then from VT transfers of those film prints; as a result the quality was generally very good indeed). The NTSC transfer here results in the rather soft and unstable image which is a signature of the NTSC standard, lacking the finer detail evident on the Season One release. It can be most easily seen in the title sequence, where the flat grey of the background shifts constantly in tone.

On the other hand...the actual quality of the originating prints is much better (or at least the transfers have been cleaned up at some point). The 2010 Season One release prints are very dirty and quite scratchy, clearly not well looked after. There's also heavy grain which some have complained about (a matter of taste I think, but it does seem to be heavier than one would expect).

So picture-wise this is a swings-and-roundabouts situation; nice clean prints unfortunately mastered in an inferior broadcast standard. In an ideal world this series would have received the same love and attention from CBS that The Twilight Zone did; beautifully restored prints transferred in high definition and released on blu-ray; they almost look like they were made yesterday. Unfortunately CBS have never valued this wonderful series; the mere fact that they could have released a set like this themselves at any time since DVD arrived (about 14 years ago) and declined to do so speaks volumes.

I was tempted to give four stars to take the quality issue into account but in my heart I couldn't give this wonderful series anything less than the full five. Whatever your view of the picture quality (and despite my criticisms many won't notice a problem) this is the complete Bilko and for that we must be immensely grateful to the British Phil Silvers Appreciation Society for lobbying for this for so long. Time to start the campaign for a 4k blu-ray release.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF CIVILIZATION, and a Darn Good Sitcom, too!, 11 Aug 2014
By 
Mike Fontanelli (Sherman Oaks, California USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
I almost cried when I saw this was being released. More to the point, my faith in humanity was restored! The PHIL SILVERS SHOW (also known as YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH, also also known as SGT. BILKO -- or just plain BILKO to fans) was voted the greatest sitcom of all time by the Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy in 2003, and no less an authority than Larry David (creator of SEINFELD and HBO's CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM) named it his #1 favorite TV show ever.

BILKO ran for 4 glorious seasons (from 1955 to 1959), garnered 3 consecutive Emmy Awards for Best Comedy Series, and had a healthy life in syndication for decades. It transformed Phil Silvers and Nat Hiken into household names and TV icons, and made overnight celebrities of Paul Ford, Joe E. Ross and Maurice Gosfield to boot. It showcased American sports legends like Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Red Barber, and was one of television's very first shows to feature an integrated, multi-racial cast. Among the stellar writing staff were Leonard Stern, whose impressive TV credits include The JACKIE GLEASON SHOW and GET SMART, and a certain promising future playwright named Neil Simon. BILKO would give TV audiences their first taste of up-and-coming performers like Dick Van Dyke, Paul Lynde, Harvey Lembeck, Allan Melvin, Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis, Charlotte Rae, Alan Alda, Bea Arthur, Irwin Corey and George Kennedy, and later served as inspiration for a host of copycat shows, from TOP CAT (aka BOSS CAT in the UK) to McHALE'S NAVY. President Eisenhower numbered himself among the millions of fans who never missed an episode. (Ike reportedly had prints of BILKO delivered from the studio to the White House whenever pressing national business deprived him of catching the broadcast!) In its heyday it was a merchandising bonanza in the US: Bilko's famous dimpled smile adorned comic books, LP records, board games, joke books, coloring books, slide puzzles, holster sets and more, and spawned a truly memorable series of print ads for the show's American sponsors, Camel cigarettes and Amana refrigerators. It was a very big deal, indeed.

There seems to be a consensus across the pond that this series is virtually forgotten in America and only appreciated elsewhere, particularly in the UK. That's not entirely accurate, however; certainly not among us culturally literate-type Yanks. (We also love vintage Brit classics like The GOON SHOW and STEPTOE & SON!) There may be a few dullards with short memories (and even shorter attention spans) who turn up their noses at it, and many young people have either never seen it or are more familiar with the sorry 1996 Steve Martin reboot. But I've never heard any knowledgeable person deny its status as a classic, occupying the same Golden Age pantheon as Sid Caesar's YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, The JACK BENNY PROGRAM, The HONEYMOONERS and I LOVE LUCY. BILKO has even returned to local airwaves recently, most notably on MeTV, and Silvers has always been revered as a legendary Burlesque and Broadway stage comedian. His iconic voice and mannerisms are still imitated in animated cartoons to this day. (Silvers was well aware of his popularity in the UK and took great pride in the fact, according to his daughters. As a tip-of-the-hat to his British fans, he would occasionally ad-lib little "Britishisms" into Bilko's dialogue. A self-described Anglophile, Silvers was reportedly delighted that his official Appreciation Society was based in the UK.)

Personally, I've been waiting for this one for a long time. (My own favorite episode is #44, a gem from Season 2 called DOBERMAN'S SISTER. Fair warning: you'll never forget the ending - no matter how hard you try!) Thank you, Mediumrare Entertainment and Shout! Factory, for making this permanently available to longtime fans, and to a whole new generation to discover and savor. There IS hope for Mankind after all!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whew, at last!, 27 May 2014
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This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
At last, after several years of our waiting, someone is taking up the loose reins! Hooray. Thought I would be dead before all of the Bilko series was released on DVD. OK, a bit pricey at approximately £4.50 per disc, as compared with about £2.60 per disc for the existing Series 1 box release, but who cares? At least we will have every one of these glorious shows! Well done, Mediumrare Studios, good on you! - hope you don't go out of business between now and September 2014.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent restoration of this Classic, 25 Sep 2014
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent restoration of this Classic! Huge Phil Silvers fan, this is the most complete set of Bilko available and having bought this, as well as previous box sets, I have to say that this is the must have set! Better quality by far!
Excellent Buy!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Top Banana of a box set!, 3 April 2014
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
Some people seem to have wanted this classic US army comedy released with all bells jingling and reveille being trumpeted in the background.... They wanted this sublime show restored and looking as though it had been made in the year 2000 and not 1955. This was never going to be possible..... personally I'm just thankful, Mediumrare productions, took up the baton and finally got it on to the UK market.

I could not wait for my box set, indeed it arrived on the day of release 22 of September 2014, 59 years and two days on from the first ever broadcast on American telly...... I couldn't wait to get straight to the extras, first up the colour Bilko section. Now I have some experiences in colorizing photos and it really is an arduous task. I cannot complement the expert tinters enough.... the colour Bilko snippets are a rare treat! I then had a look at all the photo galleries, truly some amazing images here especially the ones featuring the great comic genius that was, Lucille Ball.

Settling down to watch the shows, what immediately struck me was the option to turn on the subtitles. A few years back 'Car 54 Where Are You?' was released, but, disappointingly, there was no sign of any aid for those people unfortunate not to have perfect hearing. My very own brother in law, who is partially deaf from years working on a coal face, was ecstatic ....in his own words he wanted to give whoever was responsible a "huge bear hug'. Being a bit of a connoisseur of 'Bilko' I proceeded to watch each show with the subtitles on and check them myself..... needless to say I was so surprised. The FANTASTIC work that has gone into this added dialogue is indeed unique in itself.... with the different dialects it could have been very difficult for anyone to decipher the dulcet and sometimes harsh tones of this crackerjack 'Bilko' cast. If the good old BBC every decide to repeat the old Sarge and his motley crew they'd do everyone a great service by including these subtitles in the broadcasts.

If I was asked to give marks out of 10 for the entire box set....I'd give it a mighty 9.9999999 recurring and that's only because the picture isn't quite as good as I'd like.... but hey you should be grateful it's here at last and I love everyone responsible for making it so!

PS look out for the hidden 'easter egg' ...... any true fan of the show will be amazed when unearthing it!
Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD]
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth every penny!!!, 24 Sep 2014
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
Finally! Someone has released this comedy classic as a complete box set - and very nice it is too.
Quality is great and there are some really interesting extras. Overall a nice box set, a bit more expensive than your usual collections but for over 140 episodes that works out at less than 65p an episode.
Well Worth every penny!!!!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ENJOY THE BEST COMEDY EVER !!!!!!!!, 23 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
WHAT A FANTASTIC SUPERB OUTSTANDING AND BEAUTIFULLY PUT TOGETHER SET THIS IS,
I'VE WAITED SINCE THE 1980's FOR THIS PERFECT SERIES TO APPEAR AS A PERFECT COMPLETE BOX SET
AND NOW THE WAIT IS OVER ,
ENJOY THIS MAGNIFICENT BOX SET IN IT'S COMPLETE FORM. AND ENJOY EVERY SINGLE EPISODE,
THANK YOU SO MUCH MEDIUMRARE,,
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barracking From Bilko, 23 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
one of americas greatest shows. Fast talking Phil Silvers and the boys are a joy to watch. Timeless.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a nice 32 page booklet too, 22 Sep 2014
By 
J. Daly - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
Congratulations to those who have reviewed this before it was released. Then again, you kind of know what you are getting in terms of quality of content. Mine arrived yesterday. 20 discs covering four seasons and bonus extras which, though I haven't yet watched include: Keep in Step (The Lost Footage), Phil Silvers' last interview with Sonny Fox (extended version), PS on the Paul Ryan Show, Bilko on Parade (BBC Documentary) etc. There's a nice 32 page booklet too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent to have the complete collection- the only downside is ..., 24 Oct 2014
This review is from: Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Complete Collection (20 disc set) [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent to have the complete collection- the only downside is that I feel the picture quality (while perfectly watchable) could have been improved if they had invested in having them all restored.
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