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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10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series / Read Our Review
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
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12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
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12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
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Thursday, November 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Thanksgiving Coupling" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon protests when the gang drags him to Mrs. Wolowitz’s house for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Penny and Leonard must deal with a mistake from her past.

Mom - "Kimchi and a Monkey Playing Harmonica" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Christy has mixed feelings about Baxter's new relationship with Candace. Meanwhile, things between Bonnie and Alvin heat up. Sara Rue guest stars as Candace; Edward Asner guest stars as Christy and Bonnie’s neighbor, Jack. Kevin Pollak returns as Alvin.

Two and a Half Men - "Oontz Oontz Oontz" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Walden decides to foster a 6-year-old boy, but begins to doubt himself when they don’t bond like he expected. Edan Alexander joins the cast as Louis, the foster child.

The McCarthys - "Thanks a Lot, Ronny" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
During Thanksgiving dinner, the McCarthy family works together to manipulate Gerard into breaking up with his offensive girlfriend. Jessica St. Clair guest stars as Gerard’s girlfriend, Katrina.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 24) (All times ET unless noted)

Thursday, November 27

  • Ted Danson (Cheers/Becker) - Catch Ted on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation/The Office) - Rashida visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Reed Between the Lines/Girlfriends) - Tracee is a guest on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show/Newhart/Bob) - Bob is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on a repeat The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristin chats on Tavis Smiley, so check your local listings.
  • Jennie Garth (Mystery Girls/What I Like About You) and Tori Spelling (Mystery Girls) - Jennie and Tori are guests on a repeat of the Better Show, so check your local listings.
Friday, November 28
  • Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls) - Watch Kat on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig visits LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your local listings.
  • Shia LaBeouf (Even Stevens) - Shia is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) - Kim shares why she's having the best sex of her life now and being happily single in the city on a repeat of The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Laurence Fisbburne (black-ish) - Laurence is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
  • Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny appears on a repeat of the Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril gives great ideas for your Thanksgiving leftovers on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Norman Lear (Producer of All in the Family/Sanford and Son/The Jeffersons/Good Times) - Norman chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • John Ratzenberger (Cheers) - John will be on Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel.