Kids In The Hall: The Complete
Series Mega Set + Kids In The Hall: Death Comes to Town (A&E DVDs)
C+/B- Sound: C+/B- Extras: B- Episodes: B/B-
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)
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
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.
DOES NOT include the original 1988 Pilot Episode (apparently rights issues
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
on the seasons and extras please follow the links below:
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.
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