A series that launched Robin Williams into the spotlight, "Mork and Mindy" was a hit for ABC from 1978-1982. The series - which originally started on creator Garry Marshall's "Happy Days" - starred Williams as Mork, an alien being from the planet Ork, who came to Earth in a giant ship shaped like an egg. Befriended by Mindy (Pam Dauber) - who promised to keep his identity a secret - the series chronicled Mork's adventures trying to fit in with humans. At the end of every episode, Mork would send communications back to Orson, his supervisor on the planet of Ork, talking about what he's learned about the humans.
The concept was taken to greater, grander levels years later in "Third Rock From the Sun" (which was lead by John Lithgow's tremendous performance), but "Mork and Mindy"'s surreal slapstick still holds up reasonably well, although the look of the show is as painfully dated as Mork's rainbow suspenders. I think the most interesting thing about the series is to watch Williams, who is allowed to improv throughout the series, and delivers some hysterical lines. The Robin Williams of today has been criticized for his choice of roles in recent years, but I think you still see glimpses of the old Robin Williams when he's just riffing on the world around him, such as his appearances on "The Today Show", where one can even hear the camera people breaking up with laughter. Overall though, "Mork" really reminds one how hysterical Williams is capable of being.
The series went through some major changes over the years, as the studio attempted to rework a successful formula, which only ended up dismaying the show's following during the second season. The third season tries to "Put the Ork Back in Mork" (which is the title of the hour-long season opener) and manages some entertaining episodes throughout the season, including: "Putting the Ork Back in Mork" (Mork finds out that he has to return to Ork due to picking up too many Earthly ways), "Dueling Skates" (Mork takes to skates for the first time to race a cheating champ skated down a Rocky Mountain peak into Bounder to save the day care center where he works), "Mindy Gets Her Job" (Mindy, hired by a small TV station, has a disasterous on-camera debut until Mork leaps to the rescue) and "Mork Meets Robin Williams" (Mork meets Robin Williams, who Mindy has to interview to keep his job.)
3rd Season 1980
3- 1 13 Nov 80 Putting the Ork Back in Mork (1)
3- 2 13 Nov 80 Putting the Ork Back in Mork (2)
3- 3 20 Nov 80 Mork in Never Never Land
3- 4 27 Nov 80 Dueling Skates
3- 5 4 Dec 80 Mork the Prankster
3- 6 11 Dec 80 Mork, the Monkey's Uncle
3- 7 18 Dec 80 Gunfight at the Mork-Kay Corral
3- 8 1 Jan 81 Mork's New Look
3- 9 8 Jan 81 Alas, Poor Mork, We Knew Him Well
3-10 15 Jan 81 Mork and the Bum Rap
3-11 22 Jan 81 Mindy Gets Her Job
3-12 5 Feb 81 Twelve Angry Appliances
3-13 12 Feb 81 There's a New Mork in Town
3-14 19 Feb 81 Mork Meets Robin Williams
3-15 26 Feb 81 Mindy, Mindy, Mindy
3-16 12 Mar 81 Mork, the Swinging Single
3-17 26 Mar 81 Mork and Mindy Meet Rick and Ruby
3-18 9 Apr 81 Mork and the Family Reunion
3-19 16 Apr 81 Old Muggable Mork
3-20 30 Apr 81 I Heard It Through the Morkvine
3-21 7 May 81 Mindy and Mork
3-22 14 May 81 Reflections and Regrets
VIDEO: "Mork and Mindy" is presented by Paramount in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. Given that most shows from the era appear soft and worn, the reasonably fine appearance of "Mork and Mindy" episodes here was a pleasant surprise. Sharpness and detail aren't remarkable, but the picture looked at least moderately crisp throughout. Some minor specks, marks and other instances of wear were visible on the elements, but these were few-and-far-between. Colors remained natural and accurate, with nice saturation and no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The show's mono soundtrack meets expectations, sounding clear and undistorted, although a little thin.
Final Thoughts: "Mork and Mindy" may look a little dated, but the series is a solid reminder of the kind of laughs Robin Williams used to be able to generate. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality, but disappoints in the extras department, with no supplements. Recommended for fans.