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 (January)

The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek) Married with Children - Seasons 7 and 8 (Mill Creek) The Facts of Life - The Complete Series Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season

01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 5 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Girls - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Seven (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Eight (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Seasons Seven and Eight (Mill Creek)
01/13 - The Big House - The Complete Series
01/13 - Episodes - The Third Season
01/13 - The Facts of Life - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory
01/20 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, January 25

The Middle - "Death After Brunch" and "It's All in the Executions" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
"Death After Brunch" - Thinking about being in a relationship, Isabella wants Galavant to try to impress her parents with attentive small talk, but he’s confident that breaking everyone out of prison will impress them and save them from certain death. Galavant gets his opportunity for a hero moment when King Richard challenges his brother to a duel and needs a champion to fight for him.

"It's All in the Executions" - Galavant enlists King Richard in a plot to kill Kingsley before the duel… but ends with a drunken whimper. Will Gareth kill King Richard in the duel? Will Galavant rescue everyone? Will Madalena find a new “boy toy?” The answers are very different from what you expect.

Mulaney - "Power Moves" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT)
John takes Lou’s advice about how to gain the upper hand with his roommates. Meanwhile, Motif shows Jane how to get her new cat to like her.

The Simpsons - "Blazed and Confused" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bart faces a tough test at school when he gets a new teacher, Mr. Lassen (guest voice Willem Dafoe), who vows to crush his spirit .

The Simpsons - "The Musk Who Fell to Earth" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When inventor Elon Musk lands in Springfield, he and Homer become fast friends and revolutionize the town’s nuclear plant. But when Musk goes overboard and Mr. Burns wants him removed, Homer must figure out a way to break up with him.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Defense Rests" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Sophia’s (guest star Eva Longoria) job gets in the way of her relationship with Jake, Jake tries to smooth things over with her boss (guest star Chris Parnell). Meanwhile, Wuntch (guest star Kyra Sedgwick) needs Holt’s help for a job recommendation.

Family Guy - "This Little Piggy" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Meg is thrilled to be recruited as a model, but it turns out to be for a very specific type of modeling: the foot-fetish industry. Meanwhile, Brian accompanies Stewie on an open-road adventure when Stewie decides he wants to experience life outside of preschool.

Bob's Burgers - "Late Afternoon in the Garden of Bob and Louise" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
In order to become an accepted member of the Community Garden, Bob must make a deal that results in giving Louise's enemy a job at the restaurant. Father and daughter are at odds and a choice must be made.

Austin & Ally - "Mattress Stores & Music Factories" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Drifting Austin has to work in his parents' mattress store; Ally struggles to keep up with music students; Trish and Dez try to help.

K.C. Undercover - "My Sister From Another Mother...Board" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
K.C. insists that her smart but clumsy brother is ready for the spy world; Craig and Kira introduce a robot disguised as a 10-year-old.

Liv and Maddie - "Upcycle-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Maddie loses her twin charm bracelet; when Liv tries to make her feel guilty, Maddie teaches her a lesson; Parker gets a new older brother and Joey is not pleased.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 26) (All times ET unless noted)

Monday, January 26

  • Louis CK (Louie) - Watch Louis on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin appears on The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tony Danza (Taxi/Who's the Boss?) - Tony is a guest on The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) - Alan visits The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Maya Rudolph (Up All Night) - Maya appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ken Marino (Marry Me/Party Down), John Gemberling (Broad City/Marry Me) and Tymberlee Hill (Marry Me/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Ken, John and Tymberlee are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Amanda Peet (Togetherness/Bent) - Amanda stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristin chats on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Bob Saget (Full House/How I Met Your Mother) - Bob is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly visits The Real, so check your local listings. She also guest-hosts Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The New Class) - Mario and his wife Courtney are guests on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York between 7-10am.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal - NeNe talks about the highlights of the SAG Awards on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.