I originally bought The Beverly Hillbillies Collection by Pop Flix because it had the most episodes of any bargain-bin set. I don't regret that purchase. The video quality [was] terrible and the theme song was replaced by generic music, but I enjoyed all 54 episodes. Nevertheless, it left me wanting more.
So I then purchased [both] the official two season pack and seasons two and three, individually. For those who are wondering, there's no difference between these other than price. As for quality, the "official" sets are the best to date. The sound and video [during the episodes] is crystal clear -- almost as good as the restoration on the I Love Lucy sets. However, for some unknown reason, they chose not to restore the title theme or the sponsorship ads, which makes absolutely no sense!
The theme sequence is the same in every episode, so restoring it should have been fairly easy. You do get the original opening and closing sequences with the product plugs, but the video and sound quality is about on par with the bargain-bin releases. Unlike the crystal clear episode footage, the video in these segments is washed-out and grainy.
They also didn't try very hard on the DVD menus. They simply used a static, low-resolution picture of the characters -- nothing exciting here. It feels like a menu you'd find on a bargain-bin set. The labels on the discs are again pretty basic -- gray with some etched silver text -- but not tacky or cheap-looking.
The cases, on the other hand, are among the best of any set I own. They're quite sturdy flip-cases, and they do a good job protecting the discs. I know this seems like such minor thing to praise, but many manufacturers are cheaping-out these days with flimsy cases that end up scratching the discs. It's nice to see sturdy, high-quality cases for a change.
Overall, my impression is these sets are a half-hearted attempt by a major studio... probably because they expected sales to be low due to the bargain-bin competition. These official sets are still worth every penny, but the show deserves more respect. A little more effort should have gone into this project, and certainly a full release of all seasons is in order!
If you're on the fence about purchasing these official sets, I hope you'll do so. I don't think you'll be disappointed overall. Firstly, they're the best option out there as far as quality goes... and the quality of the episodes themselves is superb. Secondly, the bargain-bin sets only give you the episodes from season one and about half of season two. Whereas, this includes all of season two and all of season three. Finally, the only chance we fans have of seeing any more seasons released is if CBS sees a demand for this product. Right now, there doesn't seem to be a lot of demand for it. However, if people start ordering these sets, the studio will hopefully take notice.
IHMO, this classic show got better and better as it went along. I'd really love to see the remaining color seasons released.