One of the most pleasant DVD surprises of the past several months was finding out that "Anything But Love" was coming out on DVD, as I'd had no idea that one of my favorite shows of the late '80's/early '90's was finally arriving. The series appears a bit dated at this point (the fashions are dated and gotta love the soft focus opening credits for the early episodes - the latter episodes have a different credits sequence), but the best elements of this series still shine as strongly as they did back then.
Jamie Lee Curtis stars as Hannah Miller, a teacher who decides to give up a rewarding job in order to persue a career as a journalist. On a plane ride, she runs into writer Marty Gold (Richard Lewis) and he tells her about a job opening. Soon enough, she's working at the office and working her way into Marty's heart.
The series was a workplace romantic comedy, which has certainly been done many times in the past. The difference here was the pairing of Curtis and Lewis, who had a wonderfully old-fashioned chemistry with one another. Despite being totally and completely different from one another, it's remarkable how they seem from the first episode as if they've known each other for years. They effortlessly hit great lines (the show's writing is witty, funny and sweet) back and forth throughout the series. Curtis is greatly amusing in the role and even thought Lewis is toned-down here, he's just as entertaining as he has been on-stage and elsewhere.
They truly don't make sitcoms like this anymore. The dialogue and stories are intelligent, the characters have depth and the overall show is genuinely charming. I think it says a lot that this show still works exceptionally well for a series that's, at this point, not that far from being 20 years old. As good as the first season is, the second season sees the show undergoing some positive changes, with Hannah coming back from vacation to find that the magazine has been bought and her editor is now the uptight, deadpan Catherine Hughes (Ann Magnuson, who is great, edgy fun in the role.) The second season does see a few other additions/substractions from the cast, largely to good effect.
Overall, enough said - "Anything But Love" is a wonderful series that sadly, only lasted a few years. The cast is absolutely fantastic, the writing is terrific and the series is just as sweet, funny and charming today as it was when it started in '89.
1. 1- 1 7 Mar 89 Fear of Flying
2. 1- 2 14 Mar 89 Deadline
3. 1- 3 21 Mar 89 Burning the Toad (a.k.a. The Jack Story)
4. 1- 4 28 Mar 89 Love and Death
5. 1- 5 4 Apr 89 Dorothy Dearest
6. 1- 6 11 Apr 89 This is Not a Date
7. 2- 1 27 Sep 89 Ch-Ch-Changes
8. 2- 2 7 Mar 89 Those Lips, Those Thais
9. 2- 3 11 Oct 89 It's My Party and I'll Schvitz If I Want To
10. 2- 4 18 Oct 89 Scared Straight
11. 2- 5 25 Oct 90 Mr. Mom
12. 2- 6 1 Nov 89 Just the Facts, Ma'am
13. 2- 7 8 Nov 89 Bang You're Dead
14. 2- 8 15 Nov 89 Truth or Consequences
15. 2- 9 22 Nov 89 It's Better to Have Loved and Flossed
16. 2-10 29 Nov 89 Hearts and Bones
17. 2-11 6 Dec 89 Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
18. 2-12 13 Dec 89 Breast of Friends
19. 2-13 10 Jan 90 Hotel of the Damned
20. 2-14 17 Jan 90 All About Allison
21. 2-15 24 Jan 90 Proof It All Night
22. 2-16 7 Feb 90 Three Men on a Match
23. 2-17 14 Feb 90 Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow
24. 2-18 28 Feb 90 The Icewoman Cometh
25. 2-19 7 Mar 90 Hooray for Hollywood
26. 2-20 14 Mar 90 Robin Q. Public
27. 2-21 21 Mar 90 The Days of Whine and...
28. 2-22 28 Mar 90 Thirty... Something
VIDEO: While not flawless, "Anything But Love" looks better here than some sitcoms that have been put on DVD that were produced more recently than this one. Sharpness and detail were reasonably good, considering the material, and the elements used appeared to be clean and in good shape. Some minor shimmering did occur, but wasn't very noticable. Colors remained bright and nicely saturated, with no smearing.
SOUND: Clear, crisp stereo soundtrack.
EXTRAS: We get a commentary for the first episode from actors Richard Lewis and Jamie Lee Curtis, and it stands as one of the funniest commentaries I've heard in recent memory. The two pick up where they left off, sharing a warm chemistry with one another as they bounce comments back-and-forth, joking about the fashions of the series and some of the situations. There are definitely some gaps of silence here-and-there, but these two are great when they do chat. Director Robert Berlinger offers a commentary for "Hotel of the Damned", and while the director (this was his first job) does offer some good insights, the track is a bit dry.
"All About 'Anything But Love'" is a 26-minute documentary about the development and production of the series. The piece includes all-new interviews with the cast and creators, as well as some behind-the-scenes clips (such as a clip from the original pilot.) Clips from the show itself do kind of pad the running time, but there are definitely some wonderful interviews here and it's well worth watching. We also get the shorter 5-minute featurette, "Stories From the Set".
Final Thoughts: Highly, highly recommended. "Anything But Love" is a delight that I still loved just as much watching it now as I did back then.