SRP $49.95 1.33:1 DOLBY STEREO A&E

Some Americans may recall Rowan Atkinson from his brief but hilarious role in the comedy "RAT RACE," but he's been a huge celebrity in Britain due to his comedy sketches as "MR. BEAN," a quiet gentleman in a proper suit and thin tie, with the propensity of getting himself into hilarious situations no matter what the location or time. 

Another great thing about Atkinson and his style of comedy, lies in its wide range of appeal.  Young and old will laugh and appreciate his comic timing, expressions and the character's unwavering determination to do what he sets out to do, in spite of everything going against him.

The complete set features over six hours of sketches, and like Monty Python, they are too much to take in for long periods of time.  However, this set will certainly provide for a great many laughs when viewed over several sittings for an hour or two at a time. 

A&E has preserved the show's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio for this release.  While the image is lacking in detail, it's no worse than the quality of its original television airings.  The colors are subdued, but not entirely muted. Contrast is problematic, as the lack of black/gray discernment causes lack of detail in darker scenes.  Fleshtones are acceptable. 

A&E has presented a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. There is virtually no separation, save for a few rare instances.  However, the comedic payoff for these sketches is entirely due to Atkinson's performance, and doesn't require any enhancement from sound effects, so the limited fidelity and lack of effects, is acceptable. 

A&E has provided a terrific extra in the form of a fairly weighty documentary, "THE STORY OF BEAN."  It's a pretty thorough examination of the development, marketing and overall fanfare for the show worldwide.  There are also several "never previously seen" tv sketches. While one is mediocre, most offer some moments of side-splitting hilarity.