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 Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
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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 - The Exes - Seasons 1 & 2
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
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11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series / Read Our Review
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11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
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11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
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Friday, December 19

Last Man Standing - "War Games" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
hen Boyd gets sent home early from a birthday party for starting a game of “war,” Ryan insists Mike stop exposing his son to action movies and video games. Meanwhile, Vanessa hopes budding fashion designer, Mandy, can help her look awesome when she meets with her still hot-looking college roommates.

Cristela - "Pilot" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Cristela’s dream of becoming a lawyer is something her traditional Mexican-American family doesn't quite understand. She’s entering her sixth year of law school after juggling home obligations and working multiple jobs to pay her way. Cristela lives in cramped quarters with her sister Daniela, her long-suffering brother-in-law Felix and their two young kids. The senior member of this extended family, all living under one roof in Dallas, is Cristela’s old school mom, Natalia. After six years of setbacks, her mom Natalia worries that becoming a lawyer might not be in the cards for her and doesn't want Cristela to be hurt by a dream that might not come true. Then, Cristela’s life begins to look up. Lawyer Trent Culpepper, who is unapologetically politically incorrect about Latinos and just about everyone else, offers her an internship at his prestigious firm. She’ll be working – unpaid – with Culpepper’s pampered daughter Maddie and good-natured fellow intern Josh.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 15) (All times ET unless noted)

Friday, December 19

  • Jay Thomas (Cheers/Love & War/Murphy Brown) - Watch Jay on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Damon Wayans (Damon) - Damon appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Brie Larson (United States of Tara/Raising Dad) - Brie is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) - Josh appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Chris Rock (Everybody Hates Chris) - Chris talks about raising two daughters and the controversy surrounding his SNL appearance on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Kevin dishes on behind the scenes antics on Celebrity Apprentice on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tom Arnold (Roseanne/Tom/The Tom Show) - Tom appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
  • Freddie Prinze Jr. (Freddie) - Freddie is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat/Veep/Supah Ninjas) - Randall talks about The Interview on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Donald Faison (The Exes/Scrubs) - Donald appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Krysten Ritter (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - Krysten is a guest on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 9am.