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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The King of Queens: The Complete First Season (1998)

Carrie: Hasn't anyone said you look like someone?
Doug: Oh, you mean like every famous fat guy in every movie ever?

- Leah Remini, Kevin James

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: December 30, 2003

Stars: Kevin James, Leah Remini, Jerry Stiller
Other Stars: Patton Oswalt, Victor Williams, Larry Romano
Director: various

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for nothing offensive
Run Time: 05h:21m:03s
Release Date: November 18, 2003
UPC: 043396016057
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B A-B+B B-

DVD Review

Sitcoms concerned with the day to day dealings of married life generally fall into two categories: either they represent the heartbreak and touching side of real life couplings or they simply fall into crazy and unbelievable situations in an effort to achieve quick laughs. Thankfully, The King of Queens falls into the former category and stands as one of the best comedies on television today.

A self-proclaimed spin off of Everybody Loves Raymond—largely because star Kevin James was an occasional guest on the immensely popular show—King of Queens follows Doug (James) and Carrie (Remini) Heffernan and the sudden inclusion of Carrie's father, Arthur (Stiller), in both their lives and their home. After the death of his wife, Arthur moves into the basement of the Heffernan home and comedic situations arise, including the loss of Doug's giant television in an effort to make Arthur feel more at home in the basement.

The situations that are present in the first season of the now popular series deal with everything from Doug's fear that Carrie will be overweight in the future after seeing a picture of his late mother-in-law to Doug helping his friend Spence (Oswalt) find a girl, Doug and Carrie contemplate children, to even Arthur believing that Charles Schultz used his likeness as inspiration for Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang.

While these subplots represent only a small portion of the overall arc of the first season, they are a nice indicator as to just how broad the humor is. Only on a handful of occasions do the writers fall into the trappings that make so many other sitcoms seem unoriginal and dull; thankfully, even the moments of familiarity feel fresh and are hysterically funny.

The series is often compared to The Honeymooners and in some ways that is a very fitting comparison. In both series, blue collar characters deal with life, love, and generally typical situations with very funny results, but in my opinion, King of Queens represents the best of this sort of humor. Each joke hits with accuracy and the comedy never works too hard. Too often, sitcoms feel forced with a laugh track that is relied upon too heavily, but for King of Queens, every time the laughs on the track come they are well deserved.

Another of the numerous reasons why the show works so very well is simply because of the chemistry between its lead actors. Both James and Remini fill their rolls with brilliant comedic timing, and, together, they're often electric. Stiller, who is no stranger to the role of cantankerous father on popular sitcoms, brings his level of humor to the series and offers something to chuckle at every time he is on screen.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in a full-frame aspect ratio that is the same as in the original broadcast, King of Queens looks fine, but there certainly is room for improvement. Colors are done well but throughout there seems to be some smearing and bleeding. I noticed some slight pixelation and minor artifacting on occasion. Overall, the set provides a nice collection of transfers for the numerous episodes that do service to the original broadcasts.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround tracks on each episode provide crisp and clear dialogue with nice use of the remaining speakers for the laughter that litters each episode. Overall the mixes are very basic in their construction but they get the job done.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by actor Kevin James, and creator/producer Michaek Weithorn
Packaging: Tri-Fold Amaray with slipcase
Picture Disc
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Two Bonus Episodes
  2. Laughs Montage
Extras Review: The meat of the extra features are two bonus episodes from the show's second season and both are funnier than anything on the first disc. One involves an unfortunate staple gun incident at Doug's work, and his desperate attempts to keep it from Carrie. The second features Lou Ferrigno moving in next door and Arthur's attempts at pushing his screenplay on the former TV superhero.

A commentary by James and creator Michael Weithorn is included for the pilot episode and it is a very funny track. James discusses how the show began and his involvement from the start as well as his cast members and the writers. Unfortunately, the track is almost a carbon copy of the included documentary.

A 25-minute documentary is offered and, for the most part, it is very informative, especially when James discusses how NBC originally balked at the production of the show. There are interviews with nearly everyone involved in the creation and production of the series, and it is a nice way to spend half an hour. Next, and finally, there's a four-minute laugh montage featuring the funniest moments from the first season. Very funny stuff.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

The first season of King of Queens is highly recommended to even the most casual fan. With two bonus episodes from the second season and other exciting special features, a purchase of this set is a no-brainer.


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