Newsradio: The Complete 1st & 2nd Season

DVD Reviews | Jun 5th, 2005

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Starring Dave Foley, Stephen Root, Phil Hartman, Andy Dick, Maura Tierney, Khandi Alexander, Joe Rogan
Written By: Paul Simms
Directed By:
Studio: Sony
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Newsradio is one of the TV shows I’ve been waiting for years to come on DVD and it’s finally here. The DVD originally was supposed to come out last year but got delayed. The creator of the show wanted to personally overlook the production of the DVD & extras and I’m glad he did that!

Newsradio is about a Wisconsin News Director named Dave Nelson (Dave Foley), taking a job at New York City’s WNYX. Immediately getting there, he discovers the boss of the station, Mr. James (Stephen Root) is wacky, very rich & powerful guy. He’s a very likable character and gets goofier as the season goes along. Mr. James tells Dave he has to fire the current News Director and that takes the whole first episode. Everyone that works there doesn’t know he’s taking over as the News Director job yet and think he’s the new Sports guy. The rest of the staff contains a bunch of eclectic & nutty people. There’s the egomaniac and head anchor of the station, Bill McNeil (Phil Hartman). Lisa (Maura Tierney), I don’t know exactly what she does, but she wants to be the next News Director but Dave ends up getting the job instead. Eventually Dave and Lisa have a relationship a few episodes in, which goes on and off the entire series. There’s the airhead redhead assistant/ secretary Beth (Vicki Lewis). The loser, nerd guy Matthew (Andy Dick) who’s just OUT THERE and quite clumsy. The station also has a high-tech, jack of all trades fix-it man named Joe (Joe Rogan). He doesn’t show up til the second episode though. Some other non-funny guy was in his place. Rounding out the cast is the sexy co-anchor of Bill McNeil, Catherine (Khandi Alexander). The actress playing Catherine didn’t appear til the second episode either The show has a perfect mix of office politics & antics, relationships, and just funny circumstances like a Charity Santa threatening to kill Bill McNeil.

Newsradio has to be one of my favorite sitcoms for me because it’s a such a hilarious show. Well it’s definitely in the top ten. Phil Hartman as Bill McNeil is brilliant and is the highlight of the show for me. I’m still upset over his tragic death. Stupid crazy wife! But what works best is all the cast members interacting with each other. One of the best ensemble casts I’ve seen on TV. Each one is good in their own way. Stephen Root wasn’t as wacky as he was in later seasons, and Andy Dick was just annoying throughout the series. Not so much in the first season, but the later the seasons went on, he seemed to get dumber and dumber. I still think he’s funny on the show but I don’t really like other stuff Andy Dick has done. Andy Dick’s character, Matthew, kind of reminds me of me at work haha. I seem to be the ditsy comic relief of the group and I don’t mind because that’s pretty much how I am anyway. Back to the show, Catherine seemed to pick up the sex appeal along the way too. It seems she flaunts her breasts more and more as the episodes progress and hey, I’m all for that!

Another reason why the show was great was the quick dialogue & jokes. Sometimes they’d come out of no where, or they fly right by and you would miss them. Other times is the way they are delivered. One instance that’s just a freakin’ scream is when Dave and Bill are trying to quit smoking & coffee and are a bit jittery. Matthew comes into the office to ask something and Bill McNeil screams his head off at him and it’s hysterical! I still laugh out loud (no, I’m not using LOL) when watching this show and I’ve seen each episode several times. It hasn’t been on TV for awhile now, or not that I know of. It used to be on A&E and it was the only reason why I turned that station on. Then they moved it to Biography and I didn’t get that station. Now I do, but of course, Newsradio isn’t on the station now! FIGURES! Hopefully TV Land will pick up the show like they have for some other favorites likes Wings & MacGyver. Yeah, another thing, where the hell is Wings on DVD??? I LOVE that show and I haven’t seen any rumors of it coming to DVD yet. Hopefully they will start to release those on DVD soon because there’s a lot of seasons to release.

The Newsradio episodes look great on DVD because they were digitally remastered. Well the first few episodes look mediocre but not too bad. But as the show goes on, the video quality gets better. Paul Simms delayed the release of the DVD to include a bunch of audio commentaries and it’s well worth the wait! There’s commentaries on 20 out of 29 episodes and I think that’s awesome. Seeing someone so into the DVD process and trying to make them worthy is a good example of how TV shows on DVD should be made. I listened to two commentaries so far and was really entertained with them. I listened to an episode commentary with Dave Foley, Stephen Root, Andy Dick and Joe Rogan. They talked about Phil Hartman and how some felt it was weird that he was dead and some seemed like he was still alive. They also talked about their favorite guest stars and a lot of them said John Ritter. Other guest stars on the show include Bebe Neuwirth, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Dennis Miller, George Hamilton and Tone Loc. Other extras on the DVD set is a hilarious 12 minute gag reel and a featurette with pieces of old interviews. I watched the gag reel and seen some of these before (probably on that Blooper Show with Dick Clark) but I haven’t seen some before. It’s worth watching if you like the series.

Newsradio is finally here on DVD and I’m beyond happy! The only negative thing I have is I now have to wait for the next few seasons to come out on DVD. But releasing these DVDs is a start and the extras on DVDs are sufficient. I hope they include more commentary and some new featurettes on the next DVDs.

Season Two Gag Reel
Commentaries on 20 episodes from the Cast and Creators

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo CC

Standard 1.33:1 Color


Favorite Scenes: Smoking, Big Day, Goofy Ball, The Shrink, Bill’s Autobiography, The Cane, Xmas Story, Bitch Session, Physical Graffiti
Rating: NR
Running Time: 659 minutes
Extras Rating:
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