Saturday, July 17, 2010

Digital Digest: Saturday Night Live - The Best of Will Ferrell, Volume 3 DVD Review (8/3)

Welcome to another edition of Digital Digest! Our normal Digital Digest blogger (skees53) as you know is off for the summer and is missed. As always, we have the latest news, upcoming releases for Tuesday, and our DVD review this week is of Universal Home Entertainment's Saturday Night Live - The Best of Will Ferrell, Volume 3. So, grab your sports vest and enjoy this week's Digital Digest!

DIGITAL NEWS

We have quite a bit of news this week. Lionsgate has announced that Spike TV's original comedy Blue Mountain State will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 5 a 2-disc set. Pre-ordering for both versions will be available shortly. For now, read info and sexy packaging on the sets. Meanwhile, Comedy Central has announced a best-of South Park release coming out on Sept. 28 titled South Park - A Little Box of Butters, a two-disc set featuring the character Butters. Pre-ordering for this set is also not available yet. Last week we gave you an update on Rules of Engagement - The Complete Third Season, now Sony has revised the packaging. View the new packaging. And don't forget to pre-order Rules of Engagement - The Complete Third Season. The set streets on September 14. Last week we had an update on Ally McBeal - The Complete Third Season, that it was originally supposed to be released by 20th Century Fox this week (July 13) and no new date has been announced. But now we have a date for that and also seasons four and five! All three sets will be out on October 5. View the sexy packaging (especially for season five)! Pre-order Ally McBeal - The Complete Fourth Season and Ally McBeal - The Complete Fifth Season.

20th Century Fox has officially announced Modern Family - The Complete First Season coming out on Blu-ray and DVD on Sept. 21. View the press release that we posted first. Pre-order the DVD and Blu-ray. Warner Home Video has similarly officially announced Two and a Half Men - The Complete Seventh Season. View the press release. The set also streets Sept. 21. Pre-order Two and a Half Men - The Complete Seventh Season today.

CBS Home Entertainment is celebrating the 50th anniversary for The Andy Griffith Show! The series is already complete on DVD, but fans will get a 50th anniversary edition best-of set on Sept. 28. The Andy Griffith Show - 50th Anniversary: The Best of Mayberry has an MSRP of $24.99. It hasn't been officially announced yet, so stay tuned for details and packaging.

For more information on titles that we won't cover with full or blog DVD reviews, you can head on over to the news section of TVShowsOnDVD.com for all of the latest details.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (July 20) will only a few sitcom releases. Canada's VEI is releasing Gimme A Break! - The Complete Series and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing My Boys - The Complete Second and Third Seasons. Look for our reviews of both in the next couple of days. Also of note, Matlock - The Fifth Season is out. A few weeks ago we did a blog review for that, so check it out.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

This week's review is Saturday Night Live - The Best of Will Ferrell, Volume 3. The set is not out until Tuesday, Aug. 3, but we thought you might want to know about the laughs ahead of time. Get ready for Will Ferrell's funniest and best sketches from Saturday Night Live, including the fan-favorite skits Inside the Actors Studio, Celebrity Jeopardy, and Cheerleader-Chess.

DVD Review: Saturday Night Live - The Best of Will Ferrell, Volume 3
by Seth Thrasher

Saturday Night Live - The Best of Will Ferrell, Volume 3 (Universal, $19.98) arrives on DVD on August 3, 2010, and features 61 minutes of admittedly funny skits, commercials, and segments from the classic late night series Saturday Night Live. Normally I would begin this review by talking about the (admittedly hysterical) segments included in this DVD, but something right at the beginning really, REALLY grinds my gears. You see, you did indeed read the first sentence correctly. This DVD set is a mere 61 minutes in length yet if you pay the MSRP - that's right, it is 61 minutes and the SRP is $20. That's $20 for the equivalent of ONE FULL EPISODE of the show. I could understand if perhaps they were including a small compilation of episodes for that price, or even a significantly higher number of episodes for that price, but Universal honestly expects people to shell out anywhere from $10 to $20 for what amounts to essentially one (funnier than usual) episode? Are you kidding me?

For that price range you could buy a full season of some series on DVD (M*A*S*H and Perfect Strangers jump immediately to mind), or alternately you could do up to two months of subscriptions to Netflix which currently offers seasons 1-5 and 31-35 online for full streaming. Several of the sketches from this DVD set come from his hosting stints in recent years, so you'd be getting to see a large portion of the same content anyway, plus you'd get access to a wide array of OTHER content (not the least of which are the complete series of a plethora of quality sitcoms and dramas, including Coach, Murder She Wrote, Dragnet, Miami Vice, Leave it to Beaver, and much MUCH more). Also keep in mind that if you search around on sites such as NBC.com and Hulu.com you're likely to find many of these same clips for free.

Since we're at Volume Three, clearly SOME sucker is buying these sets, so let's do a quick rundown of what's included on this single disc (61 minutes in length):

* George W. Bush Endorsement (Cold Open) (Weekend Update Thursday: 10/23/2008)
* Will Ferrell Monologue: Theater (SNL: 05/16/2009)
* Goulet Ring Tones (SNL: 05/14/2005)
* Celebrity Jeopardy #13 (Sean Connery/Sharon Osbourne/Bill Cosby) (SNL: 05/14/2005)
* The Lawrence Welk Show #2 (SNL: 05/16/2009)
* Spartans Cheerleaders: Chess Tournament (SNL: 01/20/1996)
* Dysfunctional Family Dinner (SNL: 01/17/1998)
* Inside the NBA (SNL: 05/16/2009)
* Inside the Actors Studio (Kate Hudson as Drew Barrymore) (SNL: 10/14/2000)
* Oracle Conclave 2005 (SNL: 05/14/2005)
* Luxury (SNL: 05/14/2005)
* Get off the Shed #1 (SNL: 09/30/1995)

Three quarters of the sketches are from after Ferrell left the show. Admittedly, all of the bits included are quality bits. Celebrity Jeopardy never disappoints, and I could listen to Ferrell scream to GET OFF THE SHED! all day. The only sketch that really disappoints is the Luxury sketch, which has that familiar stench that most end-of-show filler has. Given the limited nature of this set surely they could have found SOMETHING else for that slot.

Package art, disc art, and slimcase all follow a consistent design scheme. The random paint splatters have been used before – for example, the design scheme also appeared on the Best of Amy Poehler set I reviewed a while back. The disc comes boxed in a single black case. Sketch list is included on the rear. Front cover, the disc, and the main menu all use virtually identical designs. The ability to select the main feature, individual skits, or the bonus features is available from the main menu. A full version of the current main theme plays in the background, start-to-finish, uninterrupted. People interested in possessing a clean copy of the current theme would be well advised to track down this DVD somewhere and do a quick pull of the menu music on the DVD. Given the availability of nearly everything else on this DVD elsewhere, the presence of a clean, full copy of the current instrumentation of the theme may be one of the most interesting aspects of this DVD. Various transitional music used on the show plays in the background of the sub-menus and this also is nice to have.

Video quality varies *wildly* depending on the age of the clips. The newest clips, ca. 2009, appear absolutely amazing as they were originally filmed in HD. The 2005 clips aren't widescreen but are otherwise nice. The stuff from the mid-late 90s looks to have aged somewhat poorly, and while not overtly bad clearly shows its age in comparison to other material on the set. Audio is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but except for when the modern-era clips are playing it's wasted...a Spartan Cheerleaders sketch from early '96 just isn't going to make the use of 5.1 that a sketch from 2009 would make of it. Stops are available between each sketch.

There ARE bonus features, which is amazing given the much larger and expansive sets that DON'T have them. In addition to an animated minute-long photo gallery featuring various Will-related snapshots, there's three very interesting sketches also included – two unaired spots from dress rehearsal and an off-air performance by Green Day featuring Mr. Ferrell. The Dress sketch is from the mid-2000 and is a version of the familiar "Lovers" sketch that never made it to air – featuring the familiar couple out camping with another such couple. The other dress sketch is also from the mid-2000s and features Will Ferrell supposedly haunting a creepy old house. Both sketches run about five minutes. The Green Day performance is them playing their song East Jesus Nowhere from 2009 with Will providing the song with some much needed cowbell and this is also five minutes. Total runtime of special features is approx. 16 minutes.

So, should you buy this set? If you're slavishly collecting every last bit of Will Ferrell or SNL memorabilia? Sure, why not. Otherwise? Are you kidding me?! It's $10-$20 for a glorified clip show lasting as long as one single episode normally runs (61 minutes). Most of the sketches in the set are viewable online, and while the bonus bits are certainly neat they don't come anywhere near justifying spending very real money on a set like this. If you want to pick it up for a quickie rental it's certainly an entertaining way to spend an hour, but it only has a moderate amount of replay value, and by-and-large these aren't the A-tier Ferrell sketches of the late 90s but their slightly downgraded 2000s-knockoffs. At the end of the day, much as I enjoy Will's crazy antics there's no way I could actually recommend buying this. No way. I'll give it a half star more than I have the similar Amy Poehler set, but only because Will Ferrell IS quite a bit funnier. Otherwise, the reasons I had for hating THAT set apply here too.

(3/5 stars)

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Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
SNL TV.com Page


LOOKING AHEAD

Come on back right here next week for more news and reviews. We will have a DVD review of Heroes - Season 4 up next week. And don't forget to read our full DVD reviews, as we will put up reviews for Gimme A Break! - The Complete Series and My Boys - The Complete Second and Third Seasons hopefully this week. And you know what we say at the end of each Digital Digest - until next time, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, February 24

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Re-Rack" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
One year after the Johnsons moved next door to the Butlers, Dave is eager to take on a bigger role in Calvin’s annual Yardecue and prove how much a part of the community he’s become. But Calvin’s reaction makes it clear that, while the relationship between the two families has grown, the friendship between Calvin and Dave still has a way to go.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "There's My Nigerians" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
While Bob and Abishola struggle to pull Dottie out of her depression, Auntie Olu and Uncle Tunde come over to lift her spirits. Wendie Malick and Marilu Henner guest star as Jen and Trish, Dottie’s friends.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 24)

Monday, February 24

  • Tony Rock (Living Biblically/All of Us) - Tony is a panelist on Lights Out with David Spade at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
  • Raven-SymonĂ© (Raven's Home/That's Ro Raven/Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/The Cosby Show) - Raven-SymonĂ© chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Juliette Lewis (Camping/I Married Dora) - Juliette talks about Sacred Lies on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) - Josh visits LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Lauren Ash (Superstore/Super Fun Night) - Lauren is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Corey Feldman (The Bad News Bears/Madame's Place) - Corey says he's finally ready to reveal who he claims abused his best friend, the late Corey Haim, on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Nia Long (Uncle Buck/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Nia appears on the BUILD Series at 3pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January/February)

Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One Martin - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series

12/03 - The Simpsons - The Nineteenth Season
12/03 - The Simpsons - Seasons 1-20: Limited Collector's Set
12/06 - 9JKL - The Complete Series
12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
12/17 - Atlanta - Season 2 - Robbin' Season
12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
12/17 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (2019 Release)
12/17 - The Other Two - Season 1
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume Two
01/14 - Veep - The Final (Seventh) Season (Blu-ray)
01/14 - Veep - The Complete Series (DVD)
01/21 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Third Season (WBShop.com)
01/21 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Series
01/28 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (DVD)
02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series
02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
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