AfterMASH Episode Spotlight Reviews Begin Wednesday

Starting this week, I’ll be reviewing an episode of AfterMASH every Wednesday in original broadcast order. Why Wednesday? Because September 26th marks the 35th anniversary of the premiere of AfterMASH on CBS back in 1983. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to launch a weekly AfterMASH Episode Spotlight review.

My AfterMASH reviews will be a bit more structured than my M*A*S*H reviews. What they won’t have are summaries. I hate writing summaries. I know most fans haven’t seen AfterMASH but I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write a summary and a review. However, each review will include the brief summaries published in TV Guide and The Hartford Courant. You can also find full summaries for every episode at Rob Kelly’s M*A*S*H blog.

As most M*A*S*H fans know, AfterMASH isn’t commercially available in any format. I’ve managed to cobble together complete set of the 31 episodes but unfortunately the quality is quite bad. One is dubbed in a foreign language. I only have three episodes transferred directly from VHS, including the first half of the hour-long series premiere (“September of ’53”). Two of them are in decent shape. The third is pretty rough. Most of the other episodes are even worse. I don’t know the original source but I think someone downloaded them from YouTube years ago and then burned them to DVD.

Here are some comparison images, taken from my VHS transfer of “September of ’53” and a copy of the episode likely from YouTube:

Still from the series premiere of AfterMASH.
The AfterMASH title card from the opening credits of “September of ’53”, transferred from VHS.
Still from the series premiere of AfterMASH.
Here’s the same image from a copy of the episode likely downloaded from YouTube.
Still from the series premiere of AfterMASH.
A still featuring Rosalind Chao as Soon-Lee from “September of ’53”, taken directly from VHS.
Still from the series premiere of AfterMASH.
The same image from a copy of the episode likely downloaded from YouTube.

The images from VHS aren’t great but they’re much better than the YouTube episodes, which are heavily compressed. I tried to find a complete set of episodes transferred from VHS but wasn’t able to. If anyone has a good set of episodes taken directly from VHS, please contact me.

A brief scene from the end of “September of ’53” was included in a 2003 A&E documentary titled “M*A*S*H: Television’s Serious Sitcom” and the quality is very good:

Still from a 2003 documentary about M*A*S*H.
A still from an excerpt taken from a 2003 A&E documentary about M*A*S*H. The quality is very good.

It’s too bad AfterMASH isn’t on DVD. It may not have lived up to M*A*S*H but I think it still deserves to be seen and there are many people, like myself, who would jump at the chance to own the show on DVD.


Check back on Wednesday for my review of the hour-long series premiere of AfterMASH.

3 Replies to “AfterMASH Episode Spotlight Reviews Begin Wednesday”

  1. Did anyone connected with AfterMASH ever say if Larry Linville was ever offered a chance to cameo in an episode as Lt Col F. D. Burns? And if not is there any indications that he might have accepted if offered?

  2. I’ve got the answer to your first question: I asked that very same thing to Ken Levine — who wrote for both of the series — when he was on Stu Shostack’s internet “Stu’s Show” not too many years ago (and you can obtain that particular interview through the show’s website at http://www.stusshow.com). Ken Levine’s answer is very brief, though: He said the idea of bringing back Frank … as a REGULAR … -was- indeed brought up by the new show’s creative staff between the 1st and 2nd seasons, when the production had decided to chuck the show’s new hospital administrator character for a new one. (Yes, the idea was that Frank would’ve become Potter’s boss!)

    And, for your question #2: I’ve got an answer directly from Linville himself in a letter he wrote to me when I brought up this same idea to him shortly after “AfterMASH” had ended its first season. He wrote back to me that he felt the same creative people who had been involved in “M*A*S*H” were not involved in the new program … then he added: “as can be seen in the sequal.” (Yes, he mistyped that last word!)

  3. Thank you David G for your quick and informative reply. I remember both the TVGuide series previews of AfterMASH And ” Trapper John MD” descibed the hospital administrators as “Frank Burns types”, that would have been interesting having Linville in ether role (I know TJMD wasn’t a legal sequel and all that,) If nothing else it would have stretched his acting chops to play a 20 year older version of Burns in TJ.

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