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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Talk Show > Satire > Not Just The Best Of The Larry Sanders Show (DVD-Video)

Not Just The Best Of The Larry Sanders Show (DVD-Video)


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



It was so hard for so many to say goodbye to Johnny Carson.  After so many tied to compete and all failed in the short and long term, Carson never lost his King of Late Night crown.  At about this time, it was Garry Shandling who decided to do the one take only Martin Scorsese came vaguely close with in his The King Of Comedy: a behind-the-scenes version of a Carson-like talk show and six hit seasons of The Larry Sanders Show resulted.  Running from 1992 to 1998, Shandling filled the Carson fix about as much as possible with an obvious carbon copy of the show in many ways and Not Just The Best Of The Larry Sanders Show is a nice compilation of those years.


There is the set that was designed to show off color TV when that was first introduced, then slowly backpedaling.  There are the usual conventions that Carson set duplicated here almost as obviously as Dreamgirls imitated the Motown Years.  The ever-durable Jeffrey Tambor is a sort of Ed McMahon minus the alcohol or charity work.  The great Rip Torn is also great as regular Arthur (the advisor) and that they get name stars to play themselves as name guest stars finishes the joke nicely.


With 23 half-hour shows on three discs and so many bonus features that a fourth DVD is included, this will please those who want the show, but not the entire series.  Highlights of the guests include Carol Burnett in a surreal appearance, Alec Baldwin, David Letterman, Tom Snyder, Sharon Stone, Henry Winkler, a pre-Daily Show Jon Stewart that has aged in interesting ways, David Duchovny, Elvis Costello, Charles Nelson Reilly (for only one scene, sadly), Dave Chappelle, Colin Hay, Bruno Kirby and Drew Barrymore are here just for starters.  But it was more than the stars, but the wit of the teleplays and comic timing of the extensive cast really hold up and that is why the show is always worth rewatching.


The 1.33 X 1 image is trying to be somewhere between film and TV, wanting to show the phony sets and studio set-up, but be a sitcom too.  Unfortunately, these copies are far more soft and flat than expected, despite being clean copies.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is simple stereo at best and pulls through adequately for a dialogue-based show.  Extras are plenty, including an interview, commentary or clip for each show.  The bonus disc features Flip-Parts I & II with a making of documentary, audio commentary, a few more personal visit/interview pieces and deleted scenes.  That makes it one of the most loaded value-added compilations we have seen.


If the humor of the show stays with you, you’ll enjoy the extras and that might just be enough for some.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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