One thing I've sort of been ignoring lately is the weekly releases on DVD. Part of it is because I've usually already said how I feel about certain movies when they are out in theatres and don't feel like repeating myself. Another reason is that many weeks see no truly noteworthy releases. But I'll try and talk about these a little more often. This week is a particular rarity in that now you can enjoy the latest (or in some cases first) dvd release of four of the funniest shows on TV in the last decade or so (with video evidence of why they are so great).
First up is the most obvious and easy choice, the brilliant third season of The Office. It's amazing how this went from a lazy retread of the British series it was based on to its own brilliant animal. Just goes to show what can happen when you actually give shows a chance to develop.
There's also the wildly off-the-wall 2nd season of Robot Chicken. Somehow it's managed to do what SNL hasn't been able to do for 20 years: Make sketch comedy funny again. Granted, it's probably easier getting great comedic performances out of plastic dolls than it is to get them out of people like Kenan Thompson, but it's still quite an accomplishment given all the failed attempts at re-launching sketch comedy over the years.
If there is one show that might be more insane that Robot Chicken, it's the chaotic genius that is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It's sort of like a Seinfeld for our generation, with characters so self-centered and flawed they create truly cringe-worthy moments of comedy without ever really verging into just truly tasteless territory. Double kudos for giving Danny Devito his best and most despicable role since his Taxi years.
And the last big release is a series I was incredibly slow to warm to, but has quickly turned into a show I genuinely look forward to every Thursday night. 30 Rock started off bad. REALLY bad. It didn't help that I had a fairly low opinion of Tracy Morgan from his "work" on SNL. But magically, the elements somehow began to gel. Morgan is still arguably the weak link of this cast, but they play to what few strengths he has, and Alec Baldwin shows some true comedic genius, with both Tina Fey & Jane Krakowski providing brilliant backup.
All of these are well worth your money. If your wallet feels a little tight afterwords, just remember it's going to a good cause: KEEPING STUFF THAT'S ACTUALLY FUNNY ON TV!