NewsRadio: The Complete Fifth Season – DVD Review


Available at Amazon.com.

Created by
Paul Simms

Directed by
Tom Cherones, Skip Collector and others

Cast
Dave Foley ………. Dave Nelson
Stephen Root ………. Jimmy James
Andy Dick ………. Matthew Brock
Maura Tierney ………. Lisa Miller
Joe Rogan ………. Joe Garrelli
Vicki Lewis ………. Beth
Jon Lovitz ………. Max Lewis
Patrick Warburton ………. Johnny Johnson

Running Time: approximately 482 minutes
Unrated
DVD Release date: March 20th. 2007

The Show

NewsRadio was one of the most consistently well-made, and funniest sitcoms of the ’90s. As such, it was on the brink of cancellation at the wrap of each of its 5 seasons, until the axe finally fell at the end of season 5.

The show’s greatest strength was contained in its strong ensemble cast. Despite the wide variety of backgrounds (such as Dave Foley from The Kids in the Hall, Broadway’s Vicki Lewis, martial artist/ stand-up Joe Rogan, and performance artist Andy Dick) each one of the actors seemed to have good chemistry with every other of the show’s regulars.

Season 5 of NewsRadio is the least appreciated of the bunch. Between seasons 4 and 5, Phil Hartman was killed by his crazy girlfriend. The first show afterwards, killed off his character, and provided a touching farewell to both Bill McNeal and Phil Hartman. Subsequently, Jon Lovitz was charged with the unenviable task of filling the rather large whole left by the tragedy. Lovitz had been on NewsRadio twice previously, as two different characters, with season 5’s Max Lewis being his third role on the show. In his two prior roles, however, the only cast member with whom Lovitz shared significant screen time was Hartman.

Though this is often considered the “worst season of the show”, it’s surprisingly strong. Highlights include:

“Bill Moves On” – the aforementioned sendoff of the late Phil Hartman.

“Jail” – which stars the “Doobie Kiebler” storyline and where Jimmy James nemesis, Johnny Johnson.

“Spooky Rapping Crypt” – Where Matthew believes Lisa has abused him in a Satanic ritual.

“Towers” – Where Matthew turns 30 and becomes a “punk”.

“Paddy Suit” – Which completes the 5 season arc where Dave transforms from naive and bright-eyed kid from Wisconsin to cranky and bitter boss who wants to fire the entire staff.

This set contains all 22 episodes of NewsRadio‘s final season.

The DVD
This is the fourth set of NewsRadio DVDs; seasons 1 and 2 were combined in one set.
If you’ve seen the others, you should know what to expect. Like the previous collections:

A. The only available subtitles are, inexplicably, in Portuguese.

B. There are a plethora of entertaining audio commentaries by the show’s creators who rarely remember what’s going on or what episode they are watching. This time around, they also address questions e-mailed to them from die-hard NewsRadio fans with sobriquets like “maximumawesome”. Fewer actors show up in these commentaries than years past, in fact only Stephen Root and Andy Dick.

C. Slim plastic cases that slide into a larger cardboard sheath.

D. A gag reel that lasts nearly half an hour.

E. “One Man NewsRadio” where writer/executive consultant Joe Furey performs a parody episode of the show playing all of the parts. This set has the “One Man NewsRadio from seasons 5 and 2 (which wasn’t included with that collection).

The box professes that Deleted Scenes are included in the special features, but if this is true, they are well hidden.

The DVD Lounge’s Rating for NewsRadio – Season 5
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

8
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

7.5
REPLAY VALUE

7.5
OVERALL
7.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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