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Get Smart - Retail Release Announced for Classic Get Smart - Season 1 DVDs **MAJOR UPDATE: Box Art, Questions Answered**

Is it the same as Time Life's online version? Early info indicates that they missed it by that much.

Posted by David Lambert
    Maxwell Smart is back...And Loving It!

    And so is Agent 99, The Chief, Fang and the rest of the fearless Get Smart gang. Here is the legendary, Emmy Award-Winning spy-spoof series inspired by the comic genius of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, digitally restored, remastered and brought to you by HBO Video.

    Now its easier than ever to out-smart the world's "least-secret" secret agent, in this cunningly funny 4-DVD collection, featuring all 30 episodes of Get Smart's first hit season, including the hilarious pilot, "Mr. Big," and the award-winning classic double-episode, "Ship of Spies." So if the object of your mission is timeless family comedy...grab your shoe phone and get ready for Get Smart!
Get Smart - Season 1 finally comes to retail separately on August 5th, after being available exclusively from Time Life since late 2006 both individually and as part of an award-winning Complete Series package.

HBO Video produced that release for Time Life, and HBO is bringing the retail version to stores as distributed by Warner Home Video. HBO/Warner's announcement this morning was thin on certain details. For example, no price was given so far. Note, though, that the Time Life release of Get Smart - Season 1, separate from the other four seasons, sold for $39.99 (barring any coupons the customer had, which are easily found online).

However, the retail release, as noted in the studio description above, is a 4-disc set. The Time Life first season had 5 DVDs, including a disc dedicated to bonus material. Extras aren't mentioned in the retail announcement this morning, so we can't be sure...but it looks like the disc dedicated to bonus material (containing an interview with Buck Henry, a History of Get Smart featurette, a gallery of videos with TV spots and appearances, Bloopers, a Get Smart Reunion seminar, and an interactive tour of The Chief's office) is probably NOT going to be included on the retail release.

Also noteworthy is that the feature running time (which ought to include only the episodes, and not extras) on the Time Life set is listed at 870 minutes, while the announcement this morning for the retail release is showing 834 minutes. That really makes no sense, and HBO Video is unlikely to use different DVD masters than the ones already made for the online release. So, needless to say, we'll be following up with the studio and trying to look into all of these matters.

Packaging pictures of the retail release for Get Smart - Season 1 aren't available yet this morning, but we also expect that to look different than Time Life's online release, which you can see in some detail here. For more information about the contents of Time Life's online release of Season 1, we have details available. For the best classic Get Smart experience, though, Gord and I can personally recommend Time Life's Get Smart - The Complete Series collection. That package won the Best-in-Show award at Home Media Magazine's 4th Annual TV DVD Awards last year.

We know some of you don't have the money to buy that big set all at once, though, and that some of you aren't interested in owning all of the seasons. So we'll get to the bottom of this caper, and try to get all the questions answered and update you soon. We'd like to have the info right away, of course, but we'll have to look into it. Sorry about that, Chief! Stay tuned...

UPDATE: Thank goodness, that didn't take long. Our thanks to the folks at HBO Video's PR department for being so good as to respond to our questions so quickly! Here is what we found out:
  • The disc count of "4 DVDs" is correct. We are told that there will be no extra content material on the retail release of Get Smart - Season 1, meaning there's no fifth disc full of extras (and, we assume, that also means that the commentary tracks found on the Time Life version will be omitted from this version of the release, too).
  • The running time of "834" in this morning's info was not correct. The runtime of "870" on Time Life's package was also not correct. 870 was probably arrived at by calculating 29 episodes (since the pilot, "Mr. Big," was technically an extra) times 30 minutes per episode. When the Time Life set first arrived, we calculated that the first season's episode run time was 12 hours 40 minutes, or 760 minutes. HBO has told us today that the correct run time info should have said "Approximately 750 minutes." That pretty closely matches our own calculations.
  • As stated before, the Time Life version of Season 1, sold exclusively online, costs $39.99 if purchased separately from the other seasons. HBO Video's "bare-bones" retail release will cost $24.98 SRP.
A formal press release is being worked on, containing the final details. In the meantime, HBO Video kindly sent over package art, which you can see below. As you see, it turns out to look a LOT like the Time Life version, except on the spine (see insert). The front is virtually the same, with minor differences (for instance, we perhaps see a little bit more of the top of Don Adams' forehead):

Get Smart - Season 1 box art for HBO Get Smart - Season 1 box art insert for Time Life

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