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M*A*S*H: Season 6 [3 Discs] [DVD]

SKU:6602615
Release Date:11/11/2008
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Your price for this item is $13.99

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Description

Season six of M*A*S*H was noteworthy for yet another defection from its regular-cast ranks. Long dissatisfied with the artistic limitations of the role of obnoxious Major Frank Burns, actor Larry Linville followed the lead of his former M*A*S*H colleagues Wayne Rogers and Maclean Stevenson by leaving the series to pursue new projects. It was explained in the sixth season opener that Frank Burns had gone AWOL in reaction to marriage of his longtime paramour Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan (Loretta Swit) to the dashing (but seldom-seen) Lt. Col. Donald Penobscott, and had been transferred to a stateside hospital. The series' producers were anxious to replace Frank Burns with a character who would remain an antagonist to the nominal "heroes," irreverent Army surgeons Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and B.J. (Mike Farrell). At the same time, it was acknowledged that the series' writers had painted themselves into a creative corner by depicting Burns as stupid and incompetent. His replacement would have to be an eminently qualified and undeniably brilliant surgeon, while at the same time boasting a prickly personality that would drive Hawk and BJ up a wall--and vice versa. Thus was born the character of Major Charles Emerson Winchester II (played by David Ogden Stiers), an aristocratic Boston Brahmin of vast knowledge and expertise, whose surgical skill approached genius, and whose arrogance and disdain for his colleagues would provide an amusing contrast to the casual, carefree slovenliness of the 4077th. Also avoiding the series' previous scripting boondoggle of making Frank Burns thoroughly unlovable, it was established early on that Charles Winchester had his compassionate, humane and even warm moments, despite his haughty, overbearing demeanor. Still in its winning Tuesday-night timeslot, M*A*S*H continued to rank highly in the ratings, though it would slip from fourth to eighth place during its sixth season. Also, this would be the first year since 1973 that M*A*S*H would not win at least one Emmy award, though it was honored with eight nominations.~Hal Erickson

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