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

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

Friday, October 21

Last Man Standing - "Trick or Treat" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s Halloween and the Baxter family is excited for their annual party, except for Mike who’s reluctantly tasked with choosing the theme. In hopes of turning everyone against the holiday, Mike decides that maybe if the whole family has to dress up like each other they’ll end up making fun of one another. Eve dresses up like Mandy and Mandy dresses down like Eve, Kristin and Ryan swap roles, and Mike shows up to the party as… Donald Trump!? The impersonating turns into bickering but in the end, the Baxters come together to support Vanessa as she learns that she’s being laid off.

Dr. Ken - "D.K.'s Korean Ghost Story" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
On Halloween, Allison is disappointed the holiday doesn’t seem to scare Dave anymore, meaning her little boy is growing up, perhaps too fast. But that might change after D.K. tells a scary Korean gwishin (ghost) story. The Park family, as well as the gang at Welltopia, bring the story to life playing the various gwishins.

Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "Jack" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Marcus deals with the loss of one of his former teammates.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 17)

Friday, October 21

  • Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine) - Watch Matthew on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Joey/Friends) - Matt is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah talks about Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1:15pm.
  • Lindsay Sloane (The Odd Couple/The Stones/Mr. Rhodes) - Lindsay visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) and Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Tom and Ron will be on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian talks about King Cobra on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Netflix's Good Girls Revolt on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Jennifer Grey (Red Oaks/It's Like, You Know...) - Jennifer joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) and Jason Biggs (Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Thomas and Jason are guests on Chelsea on Netflix.
  • Marisa Tomei (A Different World) - Marisa appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Paul Reiser (Red Oaks/Mad About You/The Paul Reiser Show) - Paul is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.