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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > News Radio - The Complete Fifth Season

News Radio - The Complete Fifth Season


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Episodes: C+



Open your eyes and tune your ears for The Complete Fifth and Final Season of News Radio!  This season of the at times hilarious comedy starts off on a bit of a downer, addressing the unexpected death of the character Bill McNeal.  Bill McNeal was played by Simpsons and Saturday Night Live alum Phil Hartman, who also tragically died in real life as well.  In a way to replace Hartman’s character the series introduced the new character Max Louis, who was played by another Saturday Night Live alum, Jon Lovitz.  Though Jon Lovitz does breathe some new life into the series with his obnoxious kookiness, he just could not fill the shoes of the talented Phil Hartman.  For those new to the series don’t worry it is a simple sitcom with no deep back plot.  The show is from the creator of the HBO hit The Larry Sanders Show, Paul Simms.


The basic premise is that there is an unusually unique group of characters who work in a New York City news station and when you put them all in the same place, chaos is bound to happen.  The show stars Dave Foley (Kids In The Hall, reviewed elsewhere on this site) as the station manager, Maura Tierney (ER) as a news personality but more so Dave Foley’s love interest, Andy Dick (Andy Dick Show) as a news personality but more so a flippin’ weirdo, Joe Rogan (Fear Factor) as the office handyman, and many more.  Besides the cast regulars News Radio was always good for having guest stars and this season is no different with Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld and Venture Bros.) and the classic Adam West (Batman) making appearances.  Overall, this last season was probably the worst season of the series, the death of Phil Hartman most definitely taking a toll on the cast.  Though it is not the best season The Complete Fifth Season of News Radio has it moments of gut-busting humor for fans to enjoy.


The technical aspects of this TV on DVD release are basic and the most common for this type of release.  The picture is presented in a 1.33 X 1 Full Screen format that is slightly better than the syndicated copies of the episodes on television today.  The picture quality does vary from time to time having a slight fuzziness occasionally and some color issues.  The sound is in your basic Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that does contain high/low errors, but overall adequate.  The extras are somewhat disappointing for a final season release.  Extras include a Gag Reel and some deleted scenes that are understandably deleted.  It would have been nice for the DVD to contain an ‘In Memory of Phil Hartman’ segment with cast interviews and such, but sadly there is none.


In the end, if you purchased Seasons 1-4 this is a no brainer, pick it up.  For new comers to the series stick with the older Phil Hartman episodes.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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