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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07/07 - Archie Bunker's Place - Season One (Mill Creek)
07/07 - Barney Miller - The Final (Eighth) Season
07/07 - Married with Children - Season Eleven (Mill Creek)
07/07 - Married with Children - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
07/07 - The Michael J. Fox Show - The Complete First Season
07/07 - Playing House - Season 1
07/14 - Growing Pains - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
07/14 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Third Season
07/28 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites - Season 7
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Thursday, July 30


The Big Bang Theory - "The Fortification Implementation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Sheldon and Amy build a blanket fort, they come to major crossroads in their relationship. Also, Wolowitz meets the half-brother he never knew he had, and when Penny is invited to appear on Wil Wheaton’s podcast, she and Leonard have a huge, on-air argument.

Mom - "Nudes and a Six-Day Cleanse" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After realizing she's been a waitress longer than she planned, Christy takes steps towards a new career. Also, Bonnie and Alvin try to recapture their youth.


Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll - "Lust for Life" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Johnny dies. On the internet. And decides to stay dead for financial reasons. Which leads to a big break for Gigi.

Married - "The Sandwich" (FX, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Russ and Lina go on separate dates.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 27) (All times ET unless noted)

Thursday, July 30

  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/It's Your Move/Silver Spoons) - Catch Jason on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Christine Baranski (Cybill/Welcome to New York/Happy Family) - Christine stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Christina Applegate (Up All Night/Samantha Who?/Jesse/Married with Children) - Christina drops The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Seth Morris (The Hotwives of Orlando/Go On/Happy Endings) - Seth appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Ed Helms (The Office) - Ed visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) and Niecy Nash (The Soul Man/Getting On/Reno 911!) - Cedric and Niecy dish about The Soul Man on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Roseanne appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tamela and David Mann (Mann & Wife/Meet the Browns) - Tamela and David are guests on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril cooks on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Tahj Mowry (Baby Daddy/Smart Guy) - Tahj appears on The Boris and Nicole Show on select Fox-owned stations, so check your local listings.
  • Bobcat Goldthwait (Unhappily Ever After) - Bobcat is a guest on the AOL Build Show.
  • Casey Wilson (Marry Me/Happy Endings) - Casey appears on a repeat of Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi talks about her new single and participation in the upcoming iHeartRadio Music Festival on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Vivica A. Fox (Out All Night/Arsenio) - Vivica talks about her new movie Ways to Die on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Jessie T. Usher (Survivor's Remorse) - Jessie will be on Essence Live.
  • Damon Wayans, Jr. (New Girl/Happy Endings) - Damon is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.