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...one 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:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Whose Line is it Anyway TV.com Page


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, August 17

The Big Bang Theory - "The Allowance Evaporation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon and Amy have their first fight since moving in together, and Koothrappali is shocked at the realities of financial independence when he stops receiving support from his father.

Kevin Can Wait - "Kenny Can Wait" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Kevin strikes up an unlikely friendship with Harry Connick Jr., but gets caught in a web of lies trying to impress his new friend. Harry Connick Jr. guest stars as himself.

Great News - "Snowmageddon of the Century" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After organizing a poorly attended staff karaoke night, Carol (Andrea Martin) is convinced that everyone at "The Breakdown" needs some office bonding time. When Greg (Adam Campbell) refuses to help, Carol enlists the help of God, causing a huge snowstorm to trap everyone in the building overnight. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) takes an interest in working with Katie (Briga Heelan), which Portia (Nicole Richie) convinces Katie is romantic.

The Guest Book - "Story Four" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Christy heads up to the mountains to try and bond with her new boyfriend Paul and his 8-year-old daughter, but she self-medicates because of her anxiety and ends up revealing some skeletons in her closet.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 14)

Thursday, August 17

  • Jay Ellis (Insecure/The Game) - Catch Jay on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Rami Malek (The War at Home) - Rami appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Kathryn Hahn (I Love Dick/Happyish/Transparent) - Kathryn is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Michael Rapaport (Atypical/The War at Home) - Michael stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Julia visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Fred Savage (The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Yara Shahidi (black-ish) - Yara shares her thoughts on the Emmy nominations and her new ‘girl power’ campaign on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon discusses his new Netflix show Naked on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Christopher Meloni (Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later/Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) - Aziz makes his Chew debut and cooks with Mario Batali on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Wendi McClendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagmenet/Reno 911!) - Wendi teams up with Clinton Kelly for a delicious bite on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 9:15am.
  • Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) - Drake performs on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Ellie talks about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Tasha Smith (Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse/The Tom Show/Boston Common) - Tasha talks about TV One's When Love Kills on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.