Welcome to New York's WNYX radio station. Join news director Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) and his staff as they strive to report the news. Office politics and wacky characters will keep you laughing for hours in these 29 episodes from the first two seasons of the show.
I think you should know upfront that I love this show. Oh yeah, I love it. I love the actors, I love the writing, and I love the way the lines are delivered. I started watching the show because Dave Foley was in Kids in the Hall, but the quality of the show kept me tuning in week after week. This cast was brilliant. Phil Hartman (just typing his name makes me teary-eyed) was perfect as "anchor with an ego." I loved Khandi Alexander ("Catherine") who wouldn't put up with Bill's BS. You can't find a better spaz on television than Andy Dick ("Matthew"). I loved the scenes with Andy and Joe Rogan ("Joe") because they played off each other so well. Stephen Root ("Mr. James") was brilliant as the slightly insane station owner, and Vicki Lewis and Maura Tierney were great as Beth, the secretary, and Lisa. Yup, this was a great show.
I first heard of this set nearly 2 years ago when it was talked about at the Video Software Dealer's Association event in Las Vegas. I was excited because I had been waiting for the show to hit DVD. It was officially announced a short time later, and then postponed. The creator, Paul Simms, decided to get involved in producing extras for the set (those would be the commentaries). It was a long delay, but was it worth it?
Sony has packaged this three disc set, containing 29 episodes, in two slim cases (1 is a double), housed in a slipcase:
Disc 1 (3:47:17)
The Crisis (22:45)
Big Day (22:44)
Luncheon at The Waldorf (22:43)
Sweeps Week (22:43)
No, This Is Not Based Entirely on Julie's Life (22:41)
Goofy Ball (22:36)
Rat Funeral (22:39)
Disc 2 (3:24:15)
The Breakup (22:41)
The Shrink (22:42)
Bill's Autobiography (22:41)
The Cane (22:41)
Xmas Story (22:41)
Station Sale (22:43)
Bitch Session (22:40)
Disc 3 (3:46:48)
In Through the Out Door (22:41)
The Song Remains the Same (22:45)
Houses of the Holy (22:42)
Physical Graffiti (22:42)
Led Zeppelin (22:42)
Led Zeppelin II (22:42)
The Injury (22:33)
This really, really, really should have been a 4 disc set. I don't know why Sony insists on cramming so many episodes onto a disc. I always picture a little car (the DVD) with clowns being crammed into it (the episodes) when I get a disc like this. The episodes on the first and last discs look slightly compressed, but sticking 10 episodes on a single disc will do that. When the set was first announced, back in 2003, it was a 3 disc set, and though they've added content to it, they didn't increase the disc count. I just finished watching The Job where Shout! Factory used 4 discs for 19 episodes and fewer extras. Go figure. Wait, I know why Sony insists on cramming their discs; it's cheaper for them.
The first 7 episodes are a bit dark (as well as being compressed), but the quality improves later in the run. There's noise in almost all the episodes, and it can be a bit distracting at times. Each disc contains a "play all" feature, and there's a chapter set after the opening credits.
The English stereo track works for this release, but it didn't blow me away. There aren't any problems, but there isn't anything exciting either. The voices, laughter and music sound fine. The release is closed captioned, and also contains Portuguese subtitles. I have no idea why Portuguese is the only subtitle language, but it is. Weird.
These are freakin' amazing! Listening to these 20 commentary tracks was an experience almost as good as the episodes themselves. I thought the participants would run out of things to say, but they rarely repeated anything. They shared a lot of their personal lives in the tracks, and I was surprised by how candid some of the people were. Andy Dick told everyone how he became upset when everything thought he was stoned when he was sober, but didn't seem to notice when he was actually stoned. Vicki Lewis talks about her affair with a crew member, and Joe Rogan says he would be a kickboxer if he wasn't on TV (he was the World Tae Kwon Do Champion in 1986). If I could give a gold medal for a collection of commentary tracks then this would be in the running. I'm rarely blown away by these things, but NewsRadio managed to hold my interest through every single commentary track. If you buy this set then please listen to these.
Pilot - Paul Simms (creator/executive producer), Dave Foley ("Dave"), Stephen Root ("Jimmy") and Kent Zbornak (producer)
Inappropriate - Paul Simms, Maura Tierney ("Lisa"), Joe Furey (co-producer) and Josh Lieb (co-producer)
Smoking - Paul Simms, Dave Foley, Stephen Root and Joe Furey
The Crisis - Paul Simms, Warren Littlefield (former president of NBC), Brad Grey (executive producer) and Julie Bean (co-producer)
The Big Day - Paul Simms, Khandi Alexander ("Catherine"), Dave Foley and Stephen Root
Luncheon at The Waldorf - Paul Simms, Vicki Lewis ("Beth") and Brad Isaacs (co-executive producer/writer)
No, This Is Not Based Entirely on Julie's Life - Paul Simms, Vicki Lewis, Brad Isaacs and Julie Bean
Goofy Ball - Paul Simms, Andy Dick ("Matthew"), Dave Foley and Joe Rogan ("Joe")
The Breakup - Paul Simms, Maura Tierney, Joe Furey and Josh Lieb
Friends - Paul Simms, Vicki Lewis, Brad Isaacs and Joe Furey
Xmas Story - Paul Simms, Andy Dick, Joe Rogan and Lewis Morton (writer)
Station Sale - Paul Simms, Dave Foley, Stephen Root and Tom Cherones (director)
Bitch Session - Paul Simms, Brad Issacs, Josh Lieb and Brian Kelley (writer)
In Through the Out Door - Andy Dick, Dave Foley, Joe Rogan and Stephen Root
The Song Remains the Same - Paul Simms, Khandi Alexander, Stephen Root and Tom Cherones
Zoso - Paul Simms, Vicki Lewis, Joe Furey and Brian Kelley
Physical Graffiti - Paul Simms, Dave Foley, Stephen Root and Joe Furey
Presence - Paul Simms, Maura Tierney, Joe Furey and Josh Lieb
Coda - Andy Dick, Joe Rogan, Lewis Morton and Josh Lieb
Led Zeppelin II - Paul Simms, Dave Foley, Stephen Root and Joe Furey
Season 2 Gag Reel (11:37)
This was longer than I thought it would be, and had a lot of funny moments in it.
A disclaimer at the start of this piece states that it's created using early interviews with the cast originally shot by NBC during the first season. The copyright on this is 2003, which was when we first heard about the show coming to DVD.
Filmographies (7 screens)
Each cast member has a single screen with their films and TV appearances.
Trailers for other Sony releases: Hitch (2:27), The Partridge Family (1:02) and Contemporary TV (2:06).
Yes, this set was worth the wait. I would rather have the set I'm holding in my hands now than the set which would have been released in early 2004. This would have been an average set without the commentary tracks. It should have been a 4 disc set, and I'm never going to back down from thinking that. Add another $2 to the SRP for the extra disc and everyone can be happy. I wanted to see some of this deleted material they mentioned on the commentary tracks, but the footage could have been lost.
My problems with the disc count aside; this is a good set.