First the me say to those who already have the 5 previously released specials on DVD, you may want to think twice about buying this just to get "WHAT A NIGHTMARE, CHARLIE BROWN".
"Nightmare" is the first real CLUNKER in the Peanuts specials. It is not really a Peanuts special as it only features Snoopy, with a guest appearance by Charlie Brown. None of the other kids are there. You basically have to sit through 20 minutes of Snoopy growling at sled-dogs who are trying to take things away from him. There is almost no dialog for the middle 20 minutes as the sled-dog owner is an adult who only talks with the sound of a muted trumpet. "Nightmare" would have worked as a brief throw-away segment of another special, much like the Snoopy v.s. Red Baron segment in "Its The Great Pumpkin". There is just not enough to carry an entire 25 minute special.
That said, I will point out the highlights.
"BE MY VALENTINE,CHARLIE BROWN (1975)" is a true "classic", you will never tire of seeing it. The only thing I find odd about it is that by this time we already know that Peppermint Patty has a crush on Charlie Brown, the very next special continues that one-way romance. So why does Charlie Brown not receive a Valentine Card from her? This story seems to happen as if it were earlier in the series.
"YOU'RE A GOOD SPORT, CHARLIE BROWN (1975)" introduces a new sport to the kids, motocross. This may be the first attempt to update the series for modern kids. It is still a lot of fun, but lacks that classic quality.
"ITS ARBOR DAY, CHARLIE BROWN (1976)" is sadly the last special to be scored by the great Vince Guaraldi, his compositions continue to carry you along in this humorous tale of baseball season colliding with tree-planting season.
Is it just a coincidence that the quality of the Peanuts specials take a nosedive with the passing of Vince Guaraldi? I know he was not the director or producer of these specials, but could he have had that much influence on the productions?
"WHAT A NIGHTMARE, CHARLIE BROWN (1977)" is what you will be saying after watching this mess. Some of Vince's compositions are repeated here, but most of this poorly conceived film is brandished with synthesizer music (popular in the 1970's). Is the new composer's name really Ed Bogus?
"ITS YOUR FIRST KISS, CHARLIE BROWN (1978)" suffers from an all-too-serious football game story line & synthesized non-Guaraldi music. It is still fun to watch, but does not feel like a classic Peanuts Special. There is just not enough time devoted to fun in this one, the competition is serious.
"YOU'RE THE GREATEST, CHARLIE BROWN (1979)" continues the sports theme of this set (3 of 6 are sports related) as the gang tries for the Junior Olympics. This one is much more fun to watch & gives hope for the continuing series. You even start to get used to Ed Bogus' music compositions.
The bonus material about the comic strips in the 1970's tells us nothing new, but it is fun to watch the old home-movies of "Sparky" Schulz. A better bonus would have been a discussion of how to handle the series with the passing of Vince Guaraldi. There was no mention of his passing in this set.
The series really starts to fall apart with disc #2. And the 1980s would bring about more misses than hits. The series would turn to doing musicals & celebration specials, many are not on DVD. If these sets continue, there would be two from the 1980's with 7 specials in each set (2 of which are hour long specials). And none of these, with the possible exception of 1986's HAPPY NEW YEAR, CHARLIE BROWN, is of classic quality. I could be wrong as I have not seen many of the 1980's specials since their original broadcast, but there may be a reason they are not repeated on TV. So this 1970's set is the last of the "classics".
Oh, and somebody goofed on the disc images of this set, the picture of disc #2 is for "YOU'RE A GOOD SPORT, CHARLIE BROWN" which is on disc 1. And the image on disc 1, while a generic shot of Charlie Brown & Snoopy on his doghouse, is for "ITS A NIGHTMARE, CHARLIE BROWN" which is on disc 2.