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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New on DVD/Blu-ray (May)

Mad About You - The Complete Series The Jim Gaffigan Show Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season The Wonder Years - Season Five

05/03 - Mad About You - The Complete Series
05/03 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season One
05/10 - Newhart - The Complete Fifth Season
05/17 - Angie Tribeca - The Complete First Season
05/17 - The Facts of Life - The Final (Ninth) Season
05/24 - The Wonder Years - Season Five
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Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, May 26

Modern Family - "Clean Out Your Junk Drawer" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Gloria won a bid at the school auction for a family seminar with famed doctor and author Debra Radcliffe, whose self-help book ‘Clean Out Your Junk Drawer’ encourages people get out all their emotional junk to become healthier people and in turn better partners and spouses. Jay is resistant to the whole experience and can’t get away fast enough; Mitch and Cam decide to keep it very surface level so they can come off as super stable; and Phil and Claire also make it competitive and strive to be the best and strongest couple of the group. Things quickly escalate, though, as junk starts flying. Elsewhere, Haley and Alex meet up and counsel each other on their boy problems.

black-ish - "Sink or Swim" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Dre notices that his neighbor Janine has never invited his family to any of her pool parties, he assumes she is racially stereotyping them as a family that doesn’t swim. The kids are shocked to find out that, in fact, Dre doesn’t know how to swim. At work, Dre shares the story with his colleagues, and Daphne Lido is not convinced it’s a race thing, so Dre confronts Janine directly. Meanwhile, Jack and Diane are a part of the Girls’ and Boys’ Rovers Organization, and they envy each other’s activities.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Empathy Optimization" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After having to deal with a sick Sheldon, Leonard, Penny and the gang try to treat themselves to a Sheldon-free weekend.

Life in Pieces - "Sleepy Email Brunch Tree" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Matt invites Colleen to brunch with the family, he coaches her through the difficult task of connecting with them. Also, John, Matt and Greg try to prove their masculinity by cutting down a tree in Greg's backyard, Tim has an adverse reaction to espresso, and a sleep-deprived Greg has a run-in with the cops.

Mom - "Terrorists and Gingerbread" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Christy and Bonnie have different ideas about forgiveness when Bonnie's mother, Shirley, who abandoned her as a small child, suddenly wants to be a part of their lives. Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn guest stars as Bonnie’s mother, Shirley. June Squibb guest stars as Dottie.

The Odd Couple - "All About Eavesdropping" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Oscar and Felix become obsessed with eavesdropping on their bickering neighbors, they try to subtly intervene and help them save their marriage. Also, Emily and Dani’s friendship is tested when they train together to race to the top of the Empire State Building.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 23)

Thursday, May 26

  • Lizzy Caplan (The Class/Party Down) - Catch Lizzy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Mike Epps (Uncle Buck/Survivor's Remorse) - Mike is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • David Alan Grier (The Carmichael Show/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - David stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Rebel Wilson (Super Fun Night) - Rebel is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • David Schwimmer (Friends) - David drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS. He also talks about Netflix's The Do-Over on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Natasha Leggero (Dice/Another Period/Free Agents) - Natasha visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Megan Fox (Hope & Faith) - Megan previews the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Dave Coulier (Fuller House/Full House) - Dave appears on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Urie (Partners) - Michael is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Brandy (Zoe Ever After/The Game/Moesha) - Brandy opens up about her private health battle and how she fought her way back on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - Jennifer and the cast of X-Men: Apocalypse will be interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jerrod Carmichael (The Carmichael Show) - Jerrod is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Janet Hubert (The Real) - Janet appears on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.