in the Hall: Complete Season Two (1990 - 1991)
Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Episodes: B
I became a fan of The Kids in the Hall after it had
already expired, never having seen an episode prior to its cancellation. The only actual memory of the troupe that I
can call up before witnessing the show itself would be seeing the trailer for
the ill-fated Kids in the Hall movie, Brain Candy before it's debut. While it would be a few years before I finally
managed to acquire the movie, after seeing it, I found that it's a part of the
group's history that could safely have been left forgotten. That's not to say that the group's humor
can't translate well to a lengthier piece; the treasured Christmas special,
"Snowden 2000" happens to be a favorite of mine. It seems that someone, somehow just dropped
the ball when it came time to produce a movie experience and make it more
accessible to a wider audience.
With the second season of the show, the Kids expanded
their routines and improved on some ideas seen in the first season. A lot of great sketches were born in this
era, and several recurring characters came to be from 1990 to 1991. A surprise to me was that there were so many
other sketches that simply don't get aired anymore, and if they do, their
scheduling is rather sparse. So even if
you've watching the show in reruns on TV throughout the past few years, there's
a lot of ground that this set uncovers for the casual fan. Even if you just want a quick watch-through
now and then, there are two "best-of" compilations included on the
fourth disc. Before watching through
the entire box, I thought that the feature was fairly useless, considering that
you're able to view any episode from the season at will anyway. But if you have company over and don't feel
like wading through and guessing where some of the best material is stashed,
chances are good that what you're after is on one best-of or the other, and
sitting through them makes for a good time killer.
As we noted in the prior review for season one, the full
frame image originated on NTSC professional analog and shows its age, with the
kind of softness expected from a production of its time. However, I feel that some aspects of the
picture were improved by the time shooting was started for the second season,
and the style in which the shows were shot had improved somewhat. To further quote his review, The Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo has no Pro Logic surround information, but is good for what
it is. It is good for its time and
considering it was from TV.
The extra features are okay, but nothing that hits it out
of the park for me. "An Oral
History: Season 2" lasts only 15 minutes, but includes all of the
troupe, plus Paul Bellini and producer Lorne Michaels. There are two audio commentaries included,
with all of the Kids speaking at once.
Sometimes it's coherent, at other times it can be hard to cull an idea
of what one is saying over the other - but at least it's always enthusiastic
and pretty funny throughout. You have
the option of playing these commentary tracks over either of the two best-of
compilations on disc four.
Returning for this DVD are the Rivoli Theater
performances. There's a half-hour of them, but the video and sound quality is
inconsistent, and there doesn't seem to be the option of playing all of the
performances together - you must instead navigate them one by one.
This is a good set to pick up, and while it may seem
pricey, and the fourth disc largely unnecessary, die-hards will be grabbing all
of them up, no doubt. For casual fans,
however, perhaps some single best-of DVDs are in order.
- David Milchick