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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Skits > Sketches > TV > Kids In The Hall: The Complete Series Mega Set + Kids In The Hall: Death Comes to Town (A&E DVDs)

Kids In The Hall: The Complete Series Mega Set + Kids In The Hall: Death Comes to Town (A&E DVDs)


Picture: C+/B-     Sound: C+/B-     Extras: B-     Episodes: B/B-



It is funny to say it now (over 25 years after their formation), but Kids in the Hall would be the modern day Monty Python’s Flying Circus; full of outlandish, innovative, and crude (for the time) comedy sketches.


The Kids in the Hall comedy group formed in 1984 and have been making daring comedy since; though the individuals’ personal projects have taken priority in recent years.  Though the group got their stage start in 1984 it wasn’t until a comedic entrepreneur named Lorne Michaels (of Saturday Night Live fame) discovered them in 1988 that their first big chance a television occurred.  Michael’s put out the money for the pilot and the rest is history.  Though starting out with only a small following the crew quickly grew to cult status with five televised seasons of hilarity and insanity that made the quirky crew stars.  As previously mentioned the group eventually disbanded (circa 1994), but reunited a few times here and there.  Most recently the group made the 2010 Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town miniseries that wasn’t wildly recognized, but embodied the same comedic enthusiasm as the original.


The DVD set being discussed here is Kids in the Hall: The Complete Series Mega Set, which also includes the new Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town miniseries.  It should be noted that Death Comes to Town can also be purchased separately as a single disc DVD release.


The set DOES NOT include the original 1988 Pilot Episode (apparently rights issues exist).


The First Season holds the first 20 episodes and it is more than apparent that the comedy troupe had not quite found their groove at this point.  The episodes feature the beginnings of the groups genius, but is a far cry from the greatness they would later achieve.  We get to experience in inception of characters/acts like Blues Man, Head Crusher, Buddy, and many more.  The problem, however, is that the series still feels like a improv ‘stage act’ still looking for its stride.  As the first season progresses the insane comedic stylings shine through, as the group forgets the stage and playing it safe and transitions into become the Kids in the Hall we all remember and love.


Season Two gets strange, strange, strange! But oh so good.  Kids in the Hall becomes daring with over the top sketches including dogs that sodomize, crossing gender roles, foul language, child abuse, nudism, alcoholism, and many more “isms” that managed to set the troupe apart.  The great characters from Season One carry over, but we are introduced to a host of other wonders such as Simon and his man servant Hecubus (masters of evil and servants of eternal darkness).  The following seasons would continue in the same manner, getting progressively better.


Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, and Scott Thompson are the stars that made the series outrageously creative and fun to watch.  In this reviewer’s opinion Season Three was Kids in the Hall at their best, but that is not to say Seasons Four & Five were bad.  Season Three was just the moment that the gang had refined their comedy to its best.  The subsequent seasons would hold true to all the elements that Kids in the Hall established, but it seems like more of the same…though still great.


The new Death Comes to Town miniseries is reminiscent of the ‘old’ Kids in the Hall, but more so feels like a good reunion and less like something new or memorable.  The miniseries is compromised of 8 episodes and centers on a small Canadian town that is vying for the 2028 Olympics, after losing the bid more sadness hits the town as their mayor is tragically murdered.  Oddly enough comedy ensues as the towns’ people (distrusting the police’s abilities) set out on their own investigation.  Death (played by Mark McKinney) makes an appearance as he stays in a nearby hotel as the investigation rages on.  To make matters worse other members of the town end up dead clouding the original issues at hand.


Death Comes to Town is not so much like The Kids in the Hall series, but more like their failed 1996 film (though I liked it) Brain Candy.  It is a mixed bag of “serious plot” and odd creativity as the original comedic troupe put together their latest adventure.  I would have preferred some reenactments of their classics, but this short series was fun, even if a bit different than expected.


The technical features on this complete series are the same as those on the previously released DVD sets.  The picture on Seasons One – Five is presented in its original Full Frame analog image; the picture has some softness issues and edge enhancement, but is creatively filmed and boasts of bright/brilliant colors.  The sound is a Dolby 2.0 Stereo that has no surrounds (not that they are necessary for this series) as sound comes completely from the front.  The sound is crisp, clean and clear with little issues though not overly thrilling.


Death Comes to Town is much improved over the older seasons, which is no surprise, as it is presented in a 1.78 X 1 anamorphic widescreen with clean image and bright, solid colors.  The sound is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track that once again is nothing impressive and comes mainly from the front speakers, once again sliding by and getting the job done.


The extras are exactly the same as the ones on the previous Season Set releases; full of documentaries, commentary tracks and other peripherals.  Season One holds the longest/largest extra entitled “Kids in the Hall: An Oral History,” which goes through the evolution of the troupe through the eyes and words of the original cast and the man who brought them to America, Lorne Michaels.  There is a lot of interesting insight given in this segment that any fan would love to see.  The other seasons go on to offer a plethora of commentary tracks on select episodes/sketches, as well as many ‘Best Of’ segments featuring some of the creators/actors/fans favorite skits.


For more on the seasons and extras please follow the links below:


Season One



Season Two



Season Three



Season Four




Death Comes to Town’s extras include three commentary tracks (episodes 1, 4, and 8), which is a ton of fun since the age old friends are open and honest. All while having some fun.  Eighteen deleted scenes are included that aren’t all to great, but nice to see.


In the end, Kids in the Hall are pop culture icons that remain relevant and humorous as they inspire new generations to be free to explore different kinds of comedy.  Like that of Saturday Night Live, not every sketch is comedy gold, but the ones that hit are pure genius.



-  Michael P. Dougherty II


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