• Hey Dude! – The Complete Series

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: February, 2015.
    Director: Various
    Cast: David Lascher, Christine Taylor, David Brisbin
    Year: 1989 - 1990
    Purchase from Amazon

    The Series:

    Hey Dude!, which ran for two years between 1989 and 1991, was Nickelodeon's first original non-animated series, starring real kids in the real West. With the exceptions of David Lascher who played "Ted" and Christine Taylor (aka Mrs. Ben Stiller) who played "Melody" all the rest of the kids in Hey Dude! never acted before or after the series. That being the case, there was real potential for terrible kid over-acting but surprisingly enough, everyone in the show was believable most of the time even if the cheese-factor of the storylines was unavoidable.

    Hey Dude! Also starred David Brisbin as Benjamin Ernst, a New York accountant who decides to do something wild in life and buys up the Bar None Dude Ranch smack in the middle of the Arizona Desert. "Fitting" the part in his western shirts, cowboy boots and enormous belt buckles he meets the young staff that works at the Bar None over the summer. "Danny", played by Joe Torres, as well as Ted and Melody are former staff members and obvious friends. "Lucy", played by Debrah Kalman, an adult ranch hand and friend to all, is also on board to meet the new owner of the ranch along with his pre-teen son, "Buddy" played by Josh Tygiel, and his dog, Cassie. New to the ranch is "Brad", the new riding instructor, played by Kelly Brown.

    Later seasons introduced some new characters - Jonathan Galkin as Mr. Ernst’s drummer nephew Jake and Geoffrey Coy as the true American cowboy Kyle. Jake arrived in place of Ted who left earlier in the show to go back home for summer school. Not as loveable and sneaky as Ted, but his character adds some laughs to the show and overall he was a decent replacement. Kyle showed up for the last episode as the son of an old flame of Lucy’s - a rodeo star who’s moved his son around all his life. Kyle just wants a place to call home and the Bar None has become just that. Both characters continued into the fourth season.

    Since the releases of the individual seasons, I’ve hoped the complete series of Hey Dude! would be released at some point. Who needs that much Hey Dude!?... probably nobody but it’s fun to reminisce with and it’s still funny enough. It's amazing how well I remember the episode plots, the theme song (yippie-kai-aie-ay...), and so many specifics of the show overall. What made Hey Dude! unique, other than being an innovator in children's programming at the time, was the setting of the series which was all shot in the real Arizona desert at a real dude ranch. It definitely adds charm.

    Take this all with a grain of salt of course, as I was a fan of the series when it originally aired, so maybe I'm letting a lot slide. I may have been at the older end of the demographic for Hey Dude! but enjoyed the show immensely all the same maybe because I was the same age as the main characters which made it okay! It was a nice escape from the real world which, at the time, kind of sucked. I liked stories I could immerse myself in and characters I could depend on. As someone who’s grown out of very little that I once loved and having enjoyed the individual season releases, I was pretty psyched when I found out that Shout! Factory was putting out the entire run. Will I re-watch these ever? Who knows, but I’m sure getting a kick out of watching them now! As a "grown-up", I love to give in to nostalgia and re-watch shows I loved as a child. Sometimes I dig them as much as I did then, and sometimes, of course, I wonder what the hell I was thinking liking certain programs ever.

    Hey Dude! – The Complete Series contains all five season of the series spread across ten discs. These discs are exactly the same as those contained in the individual season releases that Shout! Factory has previously released in years past.


    Video quality is what you'd expect from a 20-year-old series that was shot on video. The picture is soft at times, though generally clear. If you've bought a show like this, you're probably not looking for awesome picture quality. It is what it is and for the most part it's fine. There is one episode in season three set, episode 11 – “Melody’s Brother,” which “was mastered from the only known video source at the time of this release.” The original master tape must have been destroyed or lost and although this episode is fluttery, dark and fuzzy it’s necessary for the set to be complete. Despite the inferior quality, to have left it out would have been unacceptable.

    Audio quality on this set is pretty much what you'd expect. Levels seem pretty balanced and there is no noticeable distortion. Audio is English only with no subtitles.

    The only extra on this set is a new interview with the Bar None's own lifeguard Melody, Christine Taylor. She talks about how the show affected her teenage years, her schooling and the camaraderie of the actors. She discusses how the show was a real long shot for Nickelodeon at the time and it being a predecessor for later shows like Fifteen and Welcome Freshmen. She remembers the times since the show ended that she's been recognized as Melody and the show's impact on her acting career. She seems to have fond memories of that time of her life, but doesn't take it too seriously. She can definitely laugh at the show's corniness. For one extra, it's a good one.

    The Final Word:

    So Hey Dude! The Complete Series is now available in one massive ten DVD boxed set. Cheesy?... definitely. But SO worth it! This is a great set for someone who watched this show when it originally aired or caught the reruns a few years later. It's doubtful someone who had never seen the show would appreciate it much now. Some of the language is a bit dated, but maybe younger kids might get some campy enjoyment from this show now. It's unlikely though that it would appeal to its original target audience but that's okay. Hopefully there are enough stuck-in-their-childhood dorks like me out there that will snatch this set up.