Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mini-DVD Review: Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show (April 17)

Welcome to another Saturday edition of mini-DVD reviews! Today we have we take a look at Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The Larry Sanders Show of course was the cable comedy that took spoof of a talk show. The show is hilarious and had great guest stars. See Seth Thrasher's mini-DVD review of Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show:

Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show (Sony, $49.95) is a "Best of" compilation of 24 of the best episodes of The Larry Sanders Show, plus more special/extra features on the set than I think I have seen in every other Sony set I have ever reviewed, combined. The show stars comedian Garry Shandling as Larry Sanders, the vain and neurotic host of a Tonight Show-esque talk show entitled The Larry Sanders Show. The comedy would run on HBO for 6 years (1992–1998), then would enjoy a few years in syndication – where *I* was first exposed to this wonderful show.
This set is a sort of "appeasement" -- some factor, probably sales figures, caused Sony to decide not to release season sets of the show, so they threw together a couple dozen episodes and features to try to at least give the fans *something*. This is, however, a problem, as the people who this set is targeted toward definitely prefer season sets, and aren't just happy with "best of" releases. I myself used to have this "all or nothing" mentality as well, but I realized one day that I'm probably NEVER going to see complete season/series sets of several of my favorite shows on DVD, ever. While in some cases it's just the studios thinking with their wallets, as is the apparent case with Larry Sanders not getting season sets -- in several cases, including The Price is Right, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, etc., -- there are just too many episodes. Realizing that fact helped me come to appreciate *any* DVD release -– at least of newly-released episodes –- that gets put out, even if it's not the way I want it. It may not be exactly what fans were hoping for, but do you see even a best of set for a show as widely popular as, say, Family Matters? I think not.
Also impressing me with this set is the absolute glut of special features. Most episodes included have deleted scenes. FOUR episodes have audio commentary -- a feature I'm used to only seeing on Seinfeld and NewsRadio. There are video interviews with stacks and stacks of people, including Alec Baldwin, Ellen Degeneres, David Duchovny, and more. The final disc has even MORE, including a feature-length documentary, "The Making of the Larry Sanders Show," more interviews, Rip Torn and Jeffrey Tambor visiting Garry in his living room, etc.
The episodes themselves look fairly nice, if a bit compressed. The colors for the most part are bright and solid, without being overpowering. The audio is fine -- no problems or defects, the vocals are crisp and clear -- it is all good. My one and only problem with this set are the menus. For all the effort that went into every last facet of this release, the menus are abhorrent. The options appear as a text list -- a platinum color in front of a black background -- and that's it. It doesn't fit the style of the rest of the release, and looks remarkably simple. This is the only detraction form the release, though.
There are going to be some folks who are quite displeased the show is not getting a full series set, at least not immediately. Nothing I can say, aside from gushing into next Wednesday's blog entry about the special features, is going to change your minds -- but DO consider this set. What is here is wonderful, truly wonderful, and strong sales numbers -- or some kind-hearted folks at Sony -- could lead us to seeing the rest of the series on DVD down the run after all.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(4/5 stars)

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