Kids in the Hall complete series megaset - DVD review
The "look" isn't particularly sleek and modern, says the pretentious graphic designer in me. It's very '90s, but else can we expect from a '90s sketch comedy group? Bright colors aside, the actual physical packaging is effective. Each of the 20 DVDs are individually packed in slim cases, four per season. The megaset is surprisingly compact for a full five season collection; it's just small enough for me to tuck under my arm and easily flaunt in front of those who love the show more than I do but can't afford to buy the $200-ish set. I understand that's a bit cruel, but I'm almost certain that's why they made the cases so light and easy to carry.
The menus are really straightforward. It's a list. There is theme music. You select what you want. You get it.
The extras are contained on the fourth disc of every season, and include season-specific "best of" episodes with audio commentary from all of the Kids. There are also slideshows, trailers, and, my personal favorites, footage of stage performances from the group's pre-TV show days. It's inspiring to see the guys make their comedy magic on a dingy, dimly-lit stage, completely unaware of the insane cult following they would gain just a few years later. Also, there are a few clips from when famously skinny Mr. Kevin McDonald wasn't so skinny, which were fun and bizarre to watch. The talking head interviews about the Kids' history serves as a nice starter for any beginning fan, although I'm not sure why a beginning fan would start off this love affair by buying the $200 megaset.
As I've mentioned, there is commentary available for all the Best Of episodes. Sometimes the Kids completely stop commenting and simply sit through the sketches and laugh with us. But when they do talk, the stories are interesting and informative, covering everything from characters' backstory to anecdotes from filming. Although the guys managed to surprise each other with facts a few times here and there, I'm not sure if it's all stuff that hardcore fans don't already know. Well, no matter, It's fun to listen to them giggle like schoolboys over dirty jokes anyway.
One nitpicky bit though: The sound quality seems to vary from commentary to commentary. On one Best Of, I could barely hear anything apart from an incoherent mumble. I ended up having to plug in some other speakers to my laptop to make any sense of it.
The episodes are fantastic. Know why? Because it's a megaset! It has all the episodes. Each and every glorious moment is included. But in case you don't have the time or a mad obsession with specific recurring sketches, the Best Of episodes do a pretty good job of picking the most popular pieces from each season. There is a hell of a lot of Buddy Cole, though.
An absolutely perfect set for the hardcore Kids in the Hall fan, but perhaps too big of a jump for a beginner.