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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Sketches > TV > SCTV - Volume 4

SCTV – Volume 4 (Season 5)


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



SCTV was in the fifth and last season of its original, classical configuration and had more than held its own against and along with Saturday Night Live.  Along with outlasting Fridays, ABC’s answer to both with a then-unknown Michael Richards, all of its stars just about went on to big screen motion picture success.  It was 1982 and even SNL was about to go through some changes.  However, Second City Television did not go on the same way, with Eugene Levy at this moment over twenty years later having a whole new big screen life.


The talent was still there and in full force, including Levy, the late John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Martin Short and the underrated Andrea Martin.  Some key cats members (Dave Thomas, Rick Morantis, et al) had gone, but there was still plenty of life left here and these last 12 shows are loaded with hilarious moments.  The cast had pretty much seen the concept through as the decline of the Big Three networks was about to begin as cable, satellite and home video were about to break that illusory bubble that made the running joke of an alternative TV world more viable and the freedom to be so wacky feasible in a amusing, even subversive way.


The six DVDs offer the following episodes:


1)     Sammy Maudlin’s 23rd Anniversary*

2)     Indecent Exposure

3)     Melonvote

4)     Jane Eyrehead

5)     Towering Inferno

6)     Christmas*

7)     A Star Is Born

8)     SCTV Classifieds

9)     Bobby Bittman’s Retirement

10)  Sweeps Week

11)  South Sea Sinner

12)  Midnight Cowboy II



These are episodes 106 – 117.  Some skits work better than others, but they hold together well and keep their comic feel and element throughout.  The cast had their own original characters they portrayed (Mrs. Falbo, Ed Grimley, Edith Prickley, Count Floyd) and endless star send-ups (Linda Lavin and Neil Sedaka alone here are a hoot).  There are real guest stars on occasion (John Cougar, Crystal Gaye, Ben Vereen), but the bulk of the performances and show rests on the cast.  Some of this was getting repetitive by this season and they wisely pulled the plug, though SCTV/Network 90 would be a revised reprise.


What likely made the show work so well and distinguish it from other such shows is simply that it was a mostly Canadian production and they had the right writing team, the right cast and a great chemistry seeing things in a way most productions in the U.S. would not about U.S. television.  Especially in a market probably somewhat dominated by U.S. product, it was enjoyable revenge both markets could appreciate, as the same things often equally annoyed many in The States.


The 1.33 x 1 image is a bit harsh and has a slight micro-digital haze throughout, which seems to happen on more Canadian productions on DVD from all the DVD labels that you would think.  Color fares better, but it doesn’t make sense.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is better, clean, clear and just fine for its age.  Extras include featurettes on all 6 discs, a descriptive booklet about the whole series with great detail and even trading cards.  Hinterland’s Who’s Who and Goin’ Down The Road on DVD 1 show sources of Canadian-based nature spoofs.  SCTV At Play, SCTV Remembers – Part 4, Sammy Maudlin At Second City, SCTV - The Producers – Part 2 and The Red Fisher Show are all new featurettes with more information and behind the scenes of the series, while two episodes marked with an * above have audio commentary tracks by Joe Flaherty/Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara/Martin Short respectively.  That is rather loaded and a key comedy series like this deserves the treatment.  Add the high quality packaging from Shout! Factory and SCTV – Volume 4 completes a high-quality series of collectible sets worth every penny.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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