Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day Blog DVD Review: Flight of the Conchords - The Complete Collection

Happy Labor Day everyone! We hope you enjoy the day off and are enjoying the TV marathons we listed yesterday.Today we will have a special blog review of HBO Home Video's Flight of the Conchords - The Complete Collection. Flight of the Conchords is the Emmy nominated comedy starring Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement as a folk singing duet from New Zealand making their way across a couple of continents and into New York City. See Seth Thrasher's Blog DVD Review of Flight of the Conchords - The Complete Collection:

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

Sally: 27:40
Bret Gives Up the Dream: 27:43
Mugged: 27:18
Yoko: 25:20
Sally Returns: 27:25
Bowie: 27:19

Drive By 25:46
Girlfriends: 28:05
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
NewZealandTown: 24:59
Wingmen: 26:57
Evicted: 27:46

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
(4.5/5 stars)

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Related links: Full DVD Reviews Page
Flight of the Conchords Page

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, March 20

The Middle - "Hecks vs. Glossners: The Final Battle" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s the Orson showdown of the century when the Hecks – along with the Donahues and Bill Norwood – wage a war against the Glossners after they steal Sue’s car.

Fresh Off the Boat - "King in the North" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Honey plans a relaxing vacation before the baby comes, but Jessica turns the trip into a crazy quest to get Stephen King’s endorsement for her novel. When Grandma Huang decides to move out, Louis panics and does everything he can to make sure she knows how welcome she is. Meanwhile, Eddie, Nicole and their friends plan to wear matching suits to the school dance until a dress code demands that the girls must wear dresses, leading Eddie and Nicole to rebel.

black-ish - "Things Were Different Then" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre reluctantly helps Junior plan Pops’ 65th birthday party and starts to see his dad’s past in a new light. Meanwhile, Bow decides to say “yes” to everything for a whole year and Jack & Diane take advantage of her.

Modern Family - "The Long Goodbye" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Phil and Claire realize that Alex may be more self-sufficient in college than they give her credit for when they drop in for a quick visit. Meanwhile, Manny is determined to avoid a long tearful goodbye after Gloria and Jay move him into his college dorm. Finally, Mitch may have accidentally accelerated a planned renovation, and Hayley gets an unexpected opportunity when she befriends a wealthy female member at the country club.

LA to Vegas - "Overbooked" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The crew is forced to figure out how to get the passengers to give up their seats when the flight is overbooked; Nichole makes good money selling snacks while the flight is kept on hold; Artem has an argument with an surprise seatmate.

The Mick - "The Car" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jimmy and Mickey mistakenly lock Ben inside an old car Jimmy purchased at a police auction; Alba discovers that Chip has been assuming the identity of Sabrina's online crush in secret, but Alba decides to actively encourage his actions.

Baskets - "Basque-ets" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Chip laments becoming a fake Christmas tree person.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Tuesday, March 20

  • Bob Saget (Fuller House/How I Met Your Mother/Surviving Suburbia/Full House) - Catch Bob on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also talks about Santa Clarita Diet on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour with Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo.
  • Bryton James (Family Matters) - Bryton and the cast of The Young and the Restless are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Patti Labelle (Out All Night) - Patti drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Carly Chaikin (Subrgatory) - Carly is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) - Tisha visits The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry stops by Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Sam Lerner (The Goldbergs) - Sam visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Sex and the City) - John talks about his movie God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam talks about Game Over, Man on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Nia Long (Uncle Buck/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Nia talks about Roxanne Roxanne on the BUILD Series at 10am.
  • The Cast of You Me Her - Greg Pohler, Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia are guests on the BUILD Series at 12:30pm.