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BECKER
The First Season

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Ted Danson, Terry Farrell, Hattie Winston, Shawnee Smith, Alex Desert
Creator: Dave Hackel
Audio: Dolby Surround
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 370 Minutes
Release Date: April 1, 2008

“Don't worry about your baby, in a few months you'll be on your back with your legs up in the air, screaming like a banshee…pretty much what got you there in the first place.

Shows ***1/2

Before Dr. Gregory House gave uptight doctors a good name…there was John Becker.

In my mind, one is lucky enough to have played one memorable character in a television series, but Ted Danson managed to play two. For eleven seasons, he was serving up drinks and wooing women as bartender Sam Malone one of TV’s classics, Cheers. Five years later, Danson returned to prime time television as crotchety doctor John Becker in the ferociously funny sitcom, Becker.

You’ve never met a doctor quite like John Becker, and many would consider that a good thing. He’s not a bad doctor by any means, but his genius at his profession is always overshadowed by his personality. He’s angry, very opinionated and constantly annoyed by everything and everyone.

But since he runs a small practice in the Bronx, Becker has to put up with the many patients who can’t afford medical help in the big city. Patients do get their money’s worth of doctor-ly advice. But Becker doesn’t discriminate; all the sick and injured have to put up with his big mouth.

And yet, Becker does have a number of friends, or rather a few people who can stand him at just the perfect tolerable level. Everyday before heading to work, he makes stops by the local diner to share what’s driving him mad with owner Reggie (Terry Farrell) and blind newsstand worker Jake (Alex Desert). While at his office, his assistants Margaret (Hattie Winston) and newcomer Linda (Shawnee Smith) are the ones who must put up with the disgruntled doc.

Becker is never a happy camper, and Ted Danson’s dead on portrayal is what made the series the hysterical romp it was. Though I didn’t catch up with the series until it went into syndication, I was astonished to find out that Danson never received a single Emmy nomination during the show’s six-year run. The show itself never got nominated either, and I can’t see why. After all, a sitcom involving an irritable doctor making life hell for friends and patients alike is quite innovative.

Great sitcoms are hard to come by nowadays, and Becker represents one of the last great sitcoms to ever grace television. Despite the presence of a laugh track, the laughs never do feel forced and there is hardly a moment when the comedy isn’t razor sharp. And Ted Danson’s one of a kind performance of this one of a kind character speaks for itself, and if never seen a single episode before then you should make an appointment with Becker today.

Video ***

The series is presented in its original full screen format, and it looks as good as ever in this presentation. The image is that of a crisp and clear quality, and colors appear in superb form as well.

Audio ***

The 2.0 mix does an exceptional job with the traditionally formatted sit com. The guitar-fueled theme music sounds better than ever, and the dialogue delivery is top notch in every episode.

Features (Zero Stars)

Nothing. We at DMC would like to prescribe a dosage of extras on the releases of the remaining seasons.

Summary:

The arrival of Becker on DVD is one I’ve anticipated for some time now. It’s a hilarious show that remains as funny now as it did when it premiered on TV in the late 90s.

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