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Buy from Amazon

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Paramount Studios presents
Reno 911: The Complete First Season (2003)

"Getting two tickets to an execution is like getting two tickets to NASCAR, except you know that Jeff Gordon is gonna die."
- Dep. Travis Junior (Ben Garant)

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: June 20, 2004

Stars: Cedric Yarrough, Thomas Lennon, Niecy Nash, Ben Garrant, Carlos Alazraqui, Kerri Kenney, Wendi McLendon-Covey
Director: MIchael Patrick Jann

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for language, crude humor, drug references
Run Time: 06:41m:38s
Release Date: June 22, 2004
UPC: 097368776647
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A+A-B+ B

DVD Review

Over the past several years, Comedy Central has introduced original programming that rivals nearly anything else airing on television. Assembled from the ashes of the MTV series The State and Comedy Central's Viva Variety!, Reno 911 offers some of the most brilliant and humorous writing that the network has to offer. In many ways, it is the best thing going on that cable channel at this moment.

"Now, I don't care if you wear mini-skirts. I don't care if you wear dungarees. I don't care if you're good at basketball. I don't care if you're fun to be around. But you can rest assured that every one of you, at some point, is going to be raped."—Dep. Trudy Weigel (Kerri Kenney)<

Reno 911 is presented in much the same style as Cops but with a more direct aim at comedy. The first season introduces us to seven Reno, Nevada police officers and their day to day lives as a film crew follows them from domestic disputes to disturbing the peace and much more. We follow Lt. Jim Dangle (Lennon), and deputies Jones (Yarbrough), Garcia (Alazraqui), Williams (Nash), Johnson (Covey), Weigel (Kenney), and Junior (Garant) from their morning meeting and continue to see them in nearly every aspect of their daily lives on duty and off.

"A healthy baby is worth $10-20,000 on the internet, even if it's Chinese."—Dep. Raneesha Williams (Niecy Nash)

What makes Reno 911 work so well is that the series often goes in an unexpected direction. Whether it be Dep. Junior giving a group of small children a tour of the jail with blunt and detailed descriptions of what occurs inside the cells or Weigel rattling off a slew of racial slurs while speaking to her dead mother, the series is almost always unpredictable. That said, when the jokes fall flat they do so on a grand scale; a subplot late in the season dealing with Jones helping Dangle movie is rather stale and fails to offer the level of humor that is present in so many other moments in the debut season.

"We have two passes to be witnesses at an execution. I know we all want these, so we're gonna do this the way we generally handle these things and we're gonna have a scavenger hunt.—Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon)

The fresh and funny style of comedy is due largely to the fact that nearly every line of dialogue in the series is improvised by the cast. The members of the cast have an easy rapport with each other and some of the sequences during the morning briefings are priceless, including one line by Weigel in the premiere episode that gets me to double over with laughter each and every time I see it.

For all of the positive aspects of the series there are moments where the cast and crew stumble in the debut season. Several of the jokes are repeated over the course of the season many times, and though the situations are different the punchlines and buildups are the same. The show also falters when it introduces guest stars such as the FBI or a Homeland Security task force that visits the officers. These guest stars take away from the sort of borderline offensive and black comedy that makes the series work so very well.

Lt. Jim Dangle: Okay, the FBI agents want one of us to introduce them at the press conference. Who remembers their names?
Dep. James Garcia: Ooh, ooh. Deputy James Garcia.
Still, the actors do such a terrific job, including Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney. These two are without a doubt the driving force of the series, as Dangle acts much like a ring leader of this police circus while Kinney can always be counted on to deliver some of the most priceless lines.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Presented in the original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio as their original television premieres Reno 911 looks better than I ever expected it would. Sharpness and detail are each nearly perfect, which helps with the pseudo documentary style of the series. There is no edge enhancement noticeable at any point while colors are crisp and clear with no apparent problems.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The sound for Reno 911 is Dolby Surround and for the most part the mix is anchored largely in the center channel. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout with no distortion evident. This is a solid sound mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
9 Deleted Scenes
4 Feature/Episode commentaries by Thomas Lennon, Niecy Nash, Michael Patrick Jann, Cedric Yarbrough, Wendy McLendon-Covey, Kerr Kenney, Ben Garant, Carlos Alazraqui
Packaging: 2 disc slip case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: Every member of the cast is present for at least one of the four commentary tracks on assorted episodes of the first season. In the premiere episode, Thomas Lennon and Niecy Nash offer their thoughts; episode 3 offers a track by director Michael Patrick Jann and Wendy McLendon-Covey. Episode 9 features Kerri Kenney and Ben Garant, and episode 13 showcases Cedric Yarbrough and Carlos Alazraqui. Each of the tracks offers humorous banter, though only the Kenney/Garant track have more than just funny behind the scenes stories as it delves into production and how the show is put together after filming has wrapped.

A collection of deleted and extended scenes totaling nine sequences is offered. Several are simply alternate improvisations, including one with Terry the roller-skating prostitute as well as a take of the already humorous sex offender sting featuring Clementine. Many of the scenes inspire huge laughs; some fall flat, including an extension of the sequence from episode 2 featuring Garcia and a prostitute he is trying to get cleaned up.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Though it may be a tad late for someone to finally do a parody of Cops, Reno 911 becomes truly one of the consistently funny shows airing on television right now.

 


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