Monday, September 06, 2010
Flight of the Conchords - The Complete Collection (HBO, $49.98) is now on DVD, and we have a problem. I don't get the show. I'll crack at a bit now and then, but time and time through each episode, I just sit there scratching my head wondering why I'm still watching this. I know, there are quite a few fans of this show sitting at your computers right now reading this, expecting me to be able to talk about the show, which episodes I liked best, etc...but I just didn't like it. I've spent most of the weekend watching the show and trying to get into it...I just can't do it. Normally, here at Sitcoms Online, we attempt to match up DVD reviews with reviewers who like the show in question. Due to scheduling conflicts, that was impossible in this case. It's a shame, too, as in the hands of someone who loves, or even likes, this show - this could have been a great review indeed. Instead, you get me for the next five minutes.
Since I'm remarkably unqualified to tell you which episodes are my preference, let's skip ahead a bit. Guest stars over the course of the series include Judah Friedlander (30 Rock), John Hodgman ("PC" in the long-running Mac vs. PC ad campaign), Kate Pierson of The B-52s, Will Forte (MacGruber, Saturday Night Live), actor John Turturro, Kristen Wiig (MacGruber, Saturday Night Live), musician Art Garfunkel, actress Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe on 24), and Lucy Lawless (Xena, Battlestar Galactica). Quite the lineup for a series that only ran two years on HBO. Episodes run in the neighborhood of 27 minutes and don't appear to be edited in any way, shape, or form. See runtimes:
Flight of the Conchords: One Night Stand: 29:54
Bret Gives Up the Dream: 27:43
Sally Returns: 27:25
Drive By 25:46
What Goes On Tour: 25:26
New Fans: 26:35
The Actor: 28:27
The Third Conchord: 27:06
A Good Opportunity: 26:22
The New Cup: 26:55
The Tough Brets: 27:36
Murray Takes It to the Next Level: 27:24
Unnatural Love: 26:07
Love is the Weapon of Choice: 27:17
Prime Minister: 27:52
Packaging is...well-layered. First is the outer box. If you've bought any sort of DVD in the last several years, you're likely familiar with them. They're made of a paper-like cardboard and often feature images and/or words on them that have some association with the set itself. The back side of this "box" has many words indeed – and even a few pictures. The front cover features the show's scruffy-haired protagonists walking with enlarged heads in front of a NYC skyline drawn like a scratchy cartoon.
But wait! When you buy this set, you also get smaller cases inside the box--three of them. Two are those mean little thick plastic cases that I've complained about 431 times now. One is a slim case. Package I like + Packages I don't like = Confusion. I mean, the thick cases ARE awful, so I should probably waste 75 characters complaining about that. Yet, I face a conundrum, for the Conchords 2005 HBO special is included in a slim case, and I'm supposed to waste 75 characters talking about how I love said cases. Let's compromise – I'll waste 200 characters and not talk about anything at all. Also, the two season cases feature plastic sleeves with portions of the artwork on them. That's different and unique. Discs are largely in a similar style as their respective packages. Menus are well-done and feature a style similar to that of the packaging. I genuinely do appreciate a well-done menu since it takes a whole lot of time and effort on the part of the creative personnel involved.
Video quality is quite good, but then again if you screw up the video quality on a set from three years ago, you're patently incompetent. Seriously, what am I going to say, that the video was converted to black and white for your annoyance and that because of compression issues, the video is upside-down? Yeah, older sets occasionally have issues, but they ARE older and video in an analog medium does degrade over time. Audio is also fine – again, expected, given the age of the show. There are chapter stops at the end of each act within the episode. Not scene, act. If the difference escapes you, look up the definitions for each. The season sets are straight prints of the previous season sets, so all details from those sets still apply. I'm not going to waste time writing about the special features from the second season set given that another reviewer did a much better job writing about them in the review of that set.
The third set is more interesting to me, and for some reason I actually found it slightly more appealing – it's the Conchords' 2005 HBO special. They joke, they sing, they do all sorts of crazy things. And since they're not trying to make a half-hour television episode, their shtick is slightly more appealing. They're still not my cup of tea there, but for someone who didn't like the show they just spent 750 words reviewing; it's a somewhat nicer change of pace. Simple menu. Video quality is a step down since it's older and filmed in good old fashioned standard definition, but it's still quite good.
So, should you buy this complete collection? Well, number one, why are you taking the advice of a man who has admitted on no fewer than three occasions that I don't like this show. Still, in an attempt to provide a useful service for those of you who've made it to the end:
* If you have the money, like the show, and don't have the individual sets: Buy this.
* If you have the money, like the show, and have the individual sets: Don't
* If you have the money, and don't like the show: Why are you even reading this.
* If you don't have the money: Well, then, I guess it's a moot point right now. When you do, consult above guide.
I didn't like the show, but you may very well. For those who do, this set is RECOMMENDED.
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
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