The Good

A very funny, ensemble show from the 1990s.

The Bad

Packaging is misleading, doesn't list out all the Special Features. Hard to find all the extras on all the discs.

In News Radio: The Complete Fifth Season we see the final 22 episodes unfold with laughs, sadness, and miscommunication that can only occur in a communications setting. Dave Foley stars as Dave Nelson the lame duck leader of this group of radio folk that includes the likes of Jimmy James (Stephen Root), Matthew Brock (Andy Dick), Lisa Miller (Maura Tierney) and Joe Garrelli (Joe Rogan) among others.

Throughout this three disc set we see moral delimmas in which Dave is being pressured to higher a radio host that nobody wants ("Meet Max Louis"), questions of seniority surrounding an apartment ("Apartment"), and lessons in office motivation... or you'll be fired ("Padded Suit"). What makes this show work is the fact that there are so many comic personalities but everybody knows their place. They aren't trying to step on each other's toes or try and outfunny one another. Also, each character's storyline is given just enough time so that right when we grasp what's happening they change things up to a different character.

Features

Commentary Tracks

There are a bevy of commentary tracks on this three disc set. I chose to listen to the one for "Bill Moves On" simply because these things came as such a shock to me (based on the packaging I had no idea they were on here), I just chose the first one they offered. This features creator Paul Simms, Stephen Root, writer Josh Lieb and script supervisor Robert Spina. As there are so many people on here this track couldn't help but feel a little awkward at first as they talked about the episode, who was and wasn't an extra on the show, how bad their hair looked back then, and Maura Tierney's bra. The funniest part in my opinion came when Simms talked about leaving the show, and the new pilot he created scored a 4 out of a 100 with a test audience. Ouch!

Deleted Scenes

Gag Reel

I have to admit that this was one of the more interesting gag reels I had ever watched because they actually made a skit for it. Sure, there were shots of people messing up their lines and what not, but there is a whole "One Man News Radio" skit that's pretty darn top notch. Basically, one character plays all the roles and eventually they even go to New Hampshire (just like the show itself). Out of all the gag reels I have ever seen, I really enjoyed this because it seems like they put some honest to goodness thought behind it.

Video

Full Screen - 1.33:1. As these shows are from 1998 and 1999, I really don't think we can expect that there would be any real problems with the picture. The colors were sharp and the images look well compressed. It appears that Sony has done a good job here preserving these episodes in their vault. In fat, with these shows being recorded so close to the year 2000 the hair styles and the way people dress don't even look that dated.

Audio

Dolby Digital. English - Dolby Digital. Portuguese. Close Captioned. The audio on this show had to be good because there's so many comedians on this show, and the dialogue between everybody moves back and forth in such a way that 10 seconds could go by and you would have missed a lot of the show's jokes and plot. As this is a Sony release, I pretty much assumed that things would be good here and they were. Also, the shows felt really tight as if they had been put through their paces in the writing stage before they were shot.

Package

The front cover of this slipcase displays all the main characters from this show with a sweeping shot of New York City behind them. The back of this cover continues this motif and they probably even debated using this picture since it is basically the same as the front cover. There is a description of what News Radio: The Complete Fifth Season is about, a Special Features listing, and a technical specs list. All three discs are stored in two slim cases which feature more shots of this cast as well as episode listings and descriptions. Once again, Sony gets kudos for putting almost 500 minutes of content into some very economical packaging.

Final Word

My biggest problem with this release has almost nothing to do with the content. I found News Radio: The Complete Fifth Season to be enjoyable, filled with witty banter, and jokes that are a cut above most situation comedies. I just can't believe that there are so many commentary tracks on this release and they didn't make that clear on the packaging. They only thing they listed out were the "Season Five Gag Reel" and "Deleted Scenes." As I was trying to review all the extras, I found myself bombarded by commentary tracks and I had to search through the discs to get to the aforementioned supplemental features. I know this isn't the end of the world but I think that fans and curious consumers would like to know about these things.

All in all, if you are a fan of this show or you've been collecting it on DVD then you will want to own News Radio: The Complete Fifth Season.

NewsRadio was released .