Roseanne: Halloween Edition

It is often irritating when a series puts out supplementary editions on top of individual seasons, especially when those episodes are already included in the previous releases. It seems like an obvious attempt to suck fans’ bank accounts dry (a recent example would be Sex and the City’s release of themed "special DVDs,” i.e., break-ups). But if there was ever a reason to do so, it would be for the Halloween episodes of Roseanne. Even with no extras (except a video commentary recycled from the season three box set), this seven-episode set is well worth it. Along with The Simpsons, Roseanne pioneered annual theme episodes for this holiday. So, if a fan can’t afford all the seasons, they can just pick up these classics. Wisely excluding the final season’s episode (though it might have been interesting to watch, as if memory serves, it had a "so bad its good" quality), the set also allows viewers to watch the interesting evolution of the show. Roseanne goes through quite the physical transformation and it becomes difficult to keep track of the Beckys. The fifth season entry, in which a depressed Roseanne is visited by the ghosts of Halloween past, present and future, is arguably the best bet, but all of the first six episodes are worthy of multiple viewings (if only for the costumes: DJ as Hannibal Lector and Darlene as a victim from The Birds). The final entry, dubbed "The Final Chapter,” even though one more did actually follow, shows approximately the moment the show jumped shark. It is difficult to watch, especially when Jerry Garcia’s ghost steps in, but it luckily does not take away from what came before and the set remains a gem. (Anchor Bay)