Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blog DVD Review: Saturday Night Live - The Best of Amy Poehler (10/20)

It is Saturday so it must mean it is time for the weekly "Blog DVD Review." Today we we take a look at Universal Home Entertainment's Saturday Night Live - The Best of Amy Poehler. SNL of course is the long running Saturday late night sketch comedy series. This set features Amy Poehler themed episodes. See Seth Thrasher's blog DVD review of Saturday Night Live - The Best of Amy Poehler and:

Saturday Night Live - The Best of Amy Poehler (Universal, $19.98) is now on DVD with a best of special featuring Amy Poehler. This has aired on NBC already this past April. If you're a fan of the work of SNL alumnus and star of NBC's Parks and Recreation, then Universal has a new DVD set coming out you might well be interested in - it's a "best of" compilation from her years at SNL. Classic bits such as the Clinton & Palin opening gag from last year's election segment to the various recurring original characters and one-off bits (such as "Adventures of a Dollar," an underrated bit from the show's recent past). Highlights of her SNL career spanning much of this decade (2001-2008) are featured.

The set includes miscellaneous sketches from Poehler's run on the show, spread fairly well across the run. This presents an interesting scenario when you get into the technical nuts and bolts of the set, as the show switched from 4:3 SD to 16:9 HD roughly halfway into her tenure on the show. This causes a bit of a problem with regards to the video if you're watching this set on some older television sets (more on that in a bit). If you noticed earlier, I was a bit light on details of the sketches. This is for a decent reason...unfortunately, I'm not that big a fan of much of Amy's work on SNL. While I can appreciate that others find her funny, her humor style doesn't mesh well with what I consider funny. It's just an issue of personal tastes, but as a consequence there's not much on this set to hold my interest.

In addition to the two sketches I mentioned earlier, there's also a Live with Regis & Kelly parody, with guest Queen Latifah that was fairly decent. Other sketches included include a Kaitlin sketch, one staging of the recurring "Dakota Fanning Show" bit, two miscellaneous compilations of short bits - one from Weekend Update, one from sketches, plus more. With regards to guests, aside from the myriad of regular cast members you also get the various guest hosts from those episodes, including Alec Baldwin, Drew Barrymore, Justin Timberlake, Hugh Jackman, Josh Brolin, and Christopher Walken, plus more.

There is one disc in the set - the full feature is a single one hour twenty minute compilation episode. The artwork is a white background, with miscellaneous green splotches and dark scribbles. The disc has the same artwork. With regards to the content on the set, earlier I mentioned the video early in the review because of an important problem this WILL cause for some buyers: For this set, the show is presented in anamorphic widescreen, with the non-widescreen segments being pillarboxed into the native widescreen of the DVD. If you're watching this set on an older square television set with your DVD player in Letterbox, this will mean the unenviable presence of twin boxes - both letterboxed (horizontal bars) and pillarboxed (vertical bars) on some sketches. You poor, poor souls.

The video quality itself falls into two categories. The HD-era video is flawless, with absolutely no deterioration or noise. The SD-era video shows slight color issues. One sketch in the set is made to look deliberately poor - a video designed to parody 1980s workout tapes. The video is deliberately set up to look like a 3rd-generation VHS tape. This is part of the gag, and as such isn't an issue. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, with the extra channels getting used more on the more recent skits. Chapter stops are placed at the end of EVERY sketch, as you can select individual sketches from the main menu and it's important to access those easily.

Every now and then, SNL puts out a compilation DVD of various cast members. Given the slow release in season sets, I suppose it's better than nothing. I suppose here that's my opinion of this set - it's better than nothing. Of the *primary* cast members from SNL from the 2000s, there are quite a few I'd rather see DVD sets of - but again, that's really personal taste at work. What bothers me, those tastes aside, is the price point for this set. $20 for what amounts to a single episode of SNL and no bonus material? Really? That's absolutely ridiculous - I wouldn't pay for a 90 minute compilation set for ANY cast member at that price - luckily they eventually come down.
If you're an Amy Poehler fan, go ahead and pick this set up. Otherwise, there are other ways to spend your $10-$20 than this. A $20 MSRP for 90 minutes of a TV show is just ridiculous. Recommendation to avoid.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(2.5/5 stars)

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New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, October 24

Kevin Can Wait - "Beat the Parents" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Kevin and Donna are thrilled when their son, Jack, makes friends with a boy from school, Grayden (Graydon Peter Yosowitz), however, when Donna and Kevin don’t hit it off with Grayden’s arrogant father, Vic (Ray Romano), and his pushy wife, Brandi (Lindsay Broad), they set out to sabotage the boys’ new friendship. Matt Romano guest stars as Vic’s second son, Braden.

Man with a Plan - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Golden Globe Award winner Matt LeBlanc stars as Adam, a contractor who starts spending more time with his three kids when his wife, Andi, goes back to work and discovers the truth all parents eventually realize—their little angels are maniacs.

2 Broke Girls - "And the Godmama Drama" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Oleg and Sophie’s plan to have Max and Caroline as Barbara’s godparents is derailed when Oleg’s domineering mother, Olga (Mercedes Ruehl), arrives from the Ukraine for the baby’s baptism and fires Max and Caroline from their godparent duties.

The Odd Couple - "Food Fight" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Oscar learns that his favorite hangout, Langford’s, is in financial trouble, he impulsively asks Felix to help save it, without considering the disastrous consequences. Also, Felix tries to make his mark on the restaurant when the owner, Fred Langford (Fred Willard), puts him in charge for a few days.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Monday, October 24

  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Watch Ricky on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kate Micucci (Raising Hope/The Big Bang Theory) - Kate is a guest on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Aya Cash (You're the Worst) - Aya talks about You're the Worst on the AOL Build ShoW at 2pm. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary talks about The Last Man on Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Good Girls Revolt on People Now at 8:30am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Joey/Friends) - Matt appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.