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 (October/November/December)

2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - TARGET="_blank">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
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
11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
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Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 23

Bad Judge - "Knife to a Gunfight" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Tedward (Tone Bell) is concerned for Rebecca's (Kate Walsh) safety after a convict who's case she tried is released. She contemplates getting a gun and handles the case of a dim and unaware thief. When the ex-con thanks Rebecca for giving him a chance, Tom (John Ducey) is persuaded to push for lighter charges on the mentally unstable criminal.

A to Z - "D Is for Debbie" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Zelda's (Cristin Milioti) aunt suddenly dies, she struggles with the decision to invite Andrew (Ben Feldman) to the funeral. Andrew tries to support Zelda through her grieving process and has convinced himself that she wants him there, but is afraid to ask. Meanwhile, Stu (Henry Zebrowski) and Stephie (Lenora Crichlow) vie for the attention of a musician (guest star Tyler Ward) at the funeral and Big Bird (Christina Kirk) looks to trim the fat at Wallflower in her own special way.

Instant Mom
- "Children of the Candy Corn" (Nick at Nite, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Stephanie feels unneeded when all of the kids have their own plans and ditch her on Halloween. Meanwhile, Charlie tries to maintain his perfect rating as the best house in the neighborhood. Guest Star: BJ Mitchell.

See Dad Run - "See Dad Run Halloween" (Nick at Nite, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
David hopes to get the kids in the Halloween spirit, so he takes them with him to "exorcise" the Ghost of Stage 19. The kids aren't impressed until crazy things start happening at home, and the whole family is freaked out.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 20) (All times ET unless noted)

Thursday, October 23

  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Catch Neil on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jack McGee (The McCarthys/Players) - Jack stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Encore! Encore!/Charlie Lawrence) - Nathan appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Garry Marshall (Creator of Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley/Mork & Mindy) - Garry is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Bill Cosby (The Cosby Show/Cosby/The Bill Cosby Show) - Bill appears on a repeat of The Colbert Report at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at LargE) - Wanda chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Sean visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jennie Garth (Mystery Girls/What I Like About You) - Jennie stops by ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso and dancer Witney Carson discuss how they plan on winning Dancing with the Stars on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Michael Cera (Arrested Development) - Michael talks about This Is Our Youth on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Kristin Davis (Sex and the City/Bad Teacher) - Kristin talks about the rumors of a third Sex and the City movie on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Casey Wilson (Marry Me/Happy Endings) and Ken Marino (Marry Me/Party Down) - Casey and Ken are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings. Casey will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Roseanne appears on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.