Saturday, June 06, 2009

Blog DVD Review: The Best of Whose Line is it Anyway (6/9)

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for our weekly Blog DVD Review! Today we take a look at Warner Home Video's improv series The Best of Whose Line is it Anyway. Whose Line is it Anyway was a improv comedy show presented by Drew Carey and starred Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie! See Seth Thrasher's Blog DVD review of The Best of Whose Line is it Anyway:

The Best of Whose Line is it Anyway (Warner, $24.98) hits store shelves this Tuesday, and contained within you are going to find 10 of the funniest episodes of television imaginable. Whose Line is it Anyway ran from 1998 through 2004 on ABC, before jumping to ABC Family for its final two years of new episodes from 2005-06. Due to the nature of the show, sales of season sets just didn't make financial sense -- but the show was popular enough that some sort of DVD release was still warranted. Here we have what I hope will the first in a great many volumes of "best of" sets.

If you want to know that this truly is the best of the show, you needn't look any further than the first episode on the set. The episode that -- at least in my opinion -- is not only the series' best show but one of the funniest half hours in TV history leads off, the Richard Simmons episode. I have *never* seen a funnier single episode. The episode is in fact a theme show. We start off with people pretending to be different people/things and having to switch off every now and then. One of the assigned things to pretend to be? Richard Simmons. Later on we have fun with the green screen, with Colin (Mochrie) anchoring a news report live from the scene of Richard's workout videos! But the highlight of the episode is a segment called "Living Scenery." In it, two people act out a scene, while two others actually act as the assortment of props. Drew then calls in Richard, who comes out to wild applause. What transpires next is the funniest 5 minutes in television history -- there are thousands of copies of the video online, just search for it. If you've never seen it you may well wind up bowled over in laughter, while those of you who HAVE seen it will still find it hysterical. Other episodes on the set feature fluffing your Garfield, Wayne Brady as that annoying singing fish you used to see in novelty stores everywhere, and a multitude of guest stars including David Hasselhoff, Jerry Springer, and Florence Henderson. The episodes are cherry-picked from the run, with the earliest show being from June 2001 and the oldest being from August 2004.

As this is only a 10 episode set, packaging is rather minimalist. Black plastic keepcase, with two discs inside. The first disc is housed on a plastic tray affixed to the spine, while the second disc is housed on a hub affixed to the packaging itself. There is also an insert detailing the 10 episodes. Disc art is very, very green -- following the theme set by the main package itself. Disc 1 features Drew solo, while disc 2 features Colin, Ryan, and of course Wayne Brady. Menu art features a strip of cast headshots -- six in total. Featured is Drew, Ryan, Colin, and Wayne -- plus semi-regular Greg Proops and show musician Laura Hall. It's interesting -- and extremely nice -- to see Laura Hall included in the menu. She was there just as often as anyone else affiliated with the show, and her music played an integral role in some of the show's classic bits, but she's usually overlooked. Anyway, the menu features their headshots in a strip across the top, while across the center are six chalk-outlined bodies not necessarily matching the cast photo. For example, the body under Ryan is a doctor, while the one under Colin is of a bikini-clad woman.

I should mention, as I head into the audio and video, that this is Whose Line "Uncensored." Any bleeps or such things that might have occurred in the original airings for the benefit of ABC viewers have been removed. You're going to hear what was actually said. As such, this may not be ideal for the extremely young viewer -- but realistically once a child reaches their double digits, they've already been exposed to any words or content mentioned here, so I wouldn't worry about kids 13 and over. The episodes themselves run in the neighborhood of 21:30 with few deviations. For an early 2000's TV series, this is largely consistent with what you should expect. Video quality looks good, keeping in mind that this show was intended as a live-feeling comedy show, and as such may not have been shot on the highest grade tape stock. It's also from the standard-def era, so obviously that's going to knick the video a bit too. Still, what is presented by and large looks great. Audio sounds good and you hear what is most important -- the vocals -- loud and clear. The stereo track does its job well.

As the episodes on the set itself doesn't start until 2001 -- a couple of seasons into the set, there's a special feature included to recap the highlights of seasons 1 and 2. It also includes some uncensored highlights and outtakes (43:59). Still, for a 10 episode collection-style release to have a bonus included is a rare and nice thing to behold. That's how well-done this set is. As it's 10 extremely funny half-hours (and a bonus funny hour), I wholeheartedly recommend this set. This is a good solid several hours of nonstop entertainment, and is worthy of dollars from your entertainment budget.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(4.5/5 stars)

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Related links: Full DVD Reviews Page
Whose Line is it Anyway Page

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, March 22

Superstore - "Target" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Jeff (Michael Bunin) leaves Cloud 9 to work at Target, Garrett (Colton Dunn) leads Glenn (Mark McKinney) to believe that he's poaching other employees to go with him. In return Glenn tries to poach employees from Target. Amy (America Ferrera) goes on a double date with Dina (Lauren Ash), and Kelly (Kelly Stables) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) discuss moving in together.

A.P. Bio - "Selling Out" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jack (Glenn Howerton) receives an offer from Miles' (Tom Bennett) publisher to write a book of feel-good philosophy that could be his ticket out of Toledo. Durbin accidentally sets off an emotional firestorm when he reveals that while Stef (Lyric Lewis) chose Mary (Mary Sohn) as her emergency contact, Mary chose Michelle (Jean Villepique).

Atlanta - "Money Bag Shawty" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
People act differently outside the city.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Thursday, March 22

  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) and John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - Catch Roseanne and John on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Will is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Rob Riggle (Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) - Rob appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Eddie Kaye Thomas ('Til Death/How to Make It in America) - Eddie drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Natasha Leggero (Dice/Another Period/Free Agents) - Natasha is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jussie Smollett (On Our Own) - Jussie stops by Desus & Mero at 11pm on Viceland.
  • Mark Hamill (The Texas Wheelers) - Mark chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Nia Long (Uncle Buck/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Nia appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jason George (Eve) - Jason drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan and The Real, so check your listings. He opens up about Station 19 on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Lamorne Morris (New Girl) - Lamorne is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh appears on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher (Take My Wife) - Cameron and Rhea are guests on Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link on YouTube.
  • Keith Carradine (Complete Savages) - Keith is at the kitchen table on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Sex and the City) - John joins Clinton Kelly in the kitchen on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. He talks about his movie God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani talks about Netflix's Alexa & Katie on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella talks about Midnight Sun on the BUILD Series at 1:30pm.
  • Jim Jefferies (Legit) - Jim talks about Comedy Central's The Jim Jefferies Show on the BUILD Series at 2:30pm.