Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mini-DVD Review: The Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner (March 20)

Welcome to another Saturday edition of mini-DVD reviews! Today we have we take a look at The Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner from Comedy Central/Paramount DVD. This roast salutes the TV legend, who has starred on shows like Star Trek & TJ Hooker and currently stars on the hilarious Boston Legal. See Seth Thrasher's mini-DVD review of The Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner:

The Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner (Paramount/Comedy Central, $19.99) brings us another in a series of roasts that Comedy Central has done over the last several years. These roasts have in the past featured such individuals as Chevy Chase and Denis Leary - this installment is a roast of TV icon William Shatner, best known to most as playing James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek series, and who currently plays Denny Crane on the hit ABC comedic drama Boston Legal.
For those reading this that has had the pleasure to see the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, you know how this SHOULD be done. A group of people, most of whom know the person to be roasted, get together and thoroughly embarrass and humiliate their friend, and all have a good time. Well, the Comedy Central roasts are a lot like that. There is a group of people, and they do their best – at least in theory – to humiliate the person. There is a key difference here, which has especially become apparent in the more recent roasts (Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, etc). Most of the roasters don't even personally know the person they're roasting; they only know them from having at best having played Janitor #3 in an episode of a TV show the other appeared in eons ago. Most – not all- but most of the roasters at these things are simply B and C-list "comedians" who Comedy Central brings in for these things due to HBO no longer returning their phone calls. Why is Andy Dick here?
Admittedly, this roast does have more people that know Shatner than I originally expected, which is a relief. You have Betty White, currently working with Bill on Boston Legal, who is as funny as ever. You have filmed "tributes" from folks like Sandra Bullock and Ben Stiller. Jason Alexander is your roastmaster, and does fairly well – though this wasn't evident in the original version. In addition, most of the living original Star Trek cast was here, including George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. Between Takei’s jokes himself, and jokes directed at him, there is certainly no shortage of gay jokes in this one.
Leonard Nimoy appeared in a pre-taped bit...except it is not here. Either Mr. Nimoy didn’t clear his appearance for DVD initially, or revoked it after seeing what kind of show the rest of the roast turned out to be, or something else happened, but the bit with Leonard is gone. Further slapping the face of the concept of releasing material uncut, several of the musical pieces are gone, as has become the standard for Paramount releases lately.
As far as the technical side, things are dull and expected. Black case with the Shat-man on the front. Video quality is fine, and audio – aside from the music replacement issue – sounds fine. Technically, the only fault with the set is the replacements. There are a couple of features – a quick "Making of the Roast" segment that goes nowhere and does nothing, behind the scenes footage, and red carpet interviews. Also included are three short segments from Reno 911, Drawn Together, and The Colbert Report – easily funnier than 90% of the DVD content.
Folks, I am a huge fan of William Shatner, a huge fan of Boston Legal, a huge fan of Star Trek, and a huge fan of the "roasting" concept – and I honestly had trouble sitting through this. While funny in places, a lot of the show was just painful. If you're THAT much of a fan that you need to own everything Bill has ever done, then by all means buy the set. If you want to see it that badly, rent it. Between the overall quality of the roast itself, and the deletions – one of which is to the severe detriment of the set, the score of the set is simply dragged down. From a technical standpoint the set is fine, but the material is just not that good. There are a few moments, which might warrant a rental, but that is about it. Strong recommendation to avoid.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(3/5 stars)

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Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, July 27

American Dad - "The Longest Distance Relationship" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
A year after Jeff’s (guest voice Jeff Fischer) abduction, Hayley is still heartbroken, until she meets millionaire Matt Davis (guest voice Pete Holmes), who may be able to help her move forward. Things are going great, until Steve and Snot (guest voice Curtis Armstrong) catch a signal on a CB radio – Jeff’s alive in space and trying to make it back to Hayley.

Bob's Burgers - "Two for Tina" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Jimmy Jr. is threatened when Tina starts dating a ballet dancer named Josh and the two boys get into an epic dance-off for her heart.

The Simpsons - "Yellow Badge of Cowardge" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bart is plagued with guilt when he wins the annual “Race Around the School,” with an assist from Nelson, who beats up frontrunner Milhouse. Meanwhile, Homer tries to bring back the annual 4th of July fireworks display after it’s canceled for budget reasons. Guest voice Glenn Close returns as Mona Simpson and Olympian Edwin Moses guest-voices as himself.

The Simpsons - "Labor Pains" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Homer remembers his Lamaze skills when he’s forced to deliver a baby in an elevator. When the mother (guest voice Elizabeth Moss) names the child Homer Jr., he quickly develops a deep emotional bond with the kid. Meanwhile, Lisa is recruited by the cheerleaders of the local pro football team, the Springfield Atoms.

Family Guy - "Chap Stewie" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Peter and Chris interrupt Stewie’s TV time, the angry baby goes back in time to break up Peter and Lois, so he’s never conceived. But instead, he is reborn into a “Downton Abbey”-esque British household.

American Dad - "Poltergasm" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Francine’s “Poltergasm” starts to haunt the Smith household when she is unsatisfied by Stan in the sack, and Roger must conjure a medium named Zelda Rubinstein to help eliminate the ghost. Meanwhile, Hayley introduces her new boy-toy, Mauricio (guest voice Diego Luna), to the family.

Liv & Maddie - "Space-Werewolf-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Liv feels that she has something to prove; she insists on doing her own stunts without knowing how complicated they are.

I Didn't Do It - "Earth Boys Are Icky" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
In an attempt to land herself an alien boyfriend, Delia creates a device to communicate with outer space; Logan's love life becomes complicated when he realizes his new girlfriend, Danica, is the vice principal's daughter.

Austin & Ally - "Eggs & Extraterrestrials" (Disney Channel, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dez, Trish and Austin talk Ally into attending the Zaliens convention in Miami; the fun is over when Trish and Dez run into real Zaliens.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 28) (All times ET unless noted)

Sunday, July 27

  • Fran Drescher (The Nanny/Happily Divorced) - Fran talks about her battle with cancer, meeting the love of her life, and her latest role on Broadway on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 9pm on OWN.
Monday, July 28
  • Will Arnett (The Millers/Up All Night/Arrested Development) - Watch Will on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Rachelle Lefevre (Life on a Stick/Big Wolf on Campus) - Rachelle visits on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/Carpoolers) - T.J. is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Roseanne appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi talks about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke interviews Queen on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly/Love, Sidney) - Swoosie is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Mr. Warmth appears on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony joins the Plugged In panel on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Wendi McClendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement) - Wendi is a guest on a repeat of The Better Show, so check your local listings.