Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, need we say more?
Even though it has 8 discs, I could have done with a few more extras.
Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season gives us 24, 90 minutes episodes, that feature the famed cast of this groundbreaking show. We are treated to stars like Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtain, and others as they skewer the political, social, entertainment, economic, and any other landscape of the day. Filled with skits we also get guest hosts like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, Elliot Gould, Rob Reiner, as well as musical guests such as Carly Simon, Simon & Garfunkel, ABBA and others. In addition to this, all of these episodes contain the original music from the episodes. As this was the first year, one could forgive things if they weren't up to the their comic par, but Saturday Night Live ad it, and sadly maybe this first year set the bar too high for the talent that followed.
If you are in the mood for a lot of good laughs and you want to see SNL when it was really cutting edge, Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season is a mandatory addition to your DVD catalogue.
Cast Member Screen Tests
These are a must see. I don't usually feel that way but who doesn't want to see a young Chevy Chase or Dan Aykroyd in this early footage? Normally, audition tapes don't excite me at all but look who we're talking about? While there isn't anything groundbreaking happening here, I think it was very apparent that the world was dealing with some very interesting intellectual and comic minds. Making this footage even more interesting is that it makes you wonder how someone like Chevy Chase, or even Dan Aykroyd, can become so homogenized?
Archival footage from the Today Show with Tom Snyder
Okay, I am a huge fan of Tom Snyder. I happen to love his interviewing style, I think he always took his subjects seriously regardless of how the subjects took themselves, and I just think that he is one of the great talk show hosts. This archival footage was a lot of fun to go through because I feel that it really highlights everything that was great about Saturday Night Live.
Full Screen - Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1. Hailing from 1975, I could have seen these shows giving off a little wear and tear from having resided in the Universal Vault for so long. I have seen some shows from the late 1970s that look positively dreadful. That said, the episodes in this set seem like they have been given the treatment. They weren't simply thrown on here and then put on DVD. A great deal of time and compression care has gone into making the 24 shows in this 8 disc set shine.
English - Dolby Dolby Digital 2.0. The audio on these discs was solid but at the same time, other than being assets in the vault for so long, I don't think there were many things that could have hurt them. Things sound extremely solid in this set and while I am sure that getting the audio together wasn't an easy process, the quality on display here sure makes it sound like it was.
The front cover of this 8 disc set features the cast doing some sort of pose that I guess is funny, I just wasn't in on the joke. The dark motif of this front cover is continued on the back portion of this set where we are given a description of this show, a Special Features listing, and technical specs. All of the discs are neatly stored inside this case, however I found the overall packaging to be somewhat bulky and space consuming. Also inside is a 32 page booklet that features pictures of the cast. All in all, they have given this long awaited release a very respectful DVD debut.
My first thought when I got this set to review was if they release every season of this show on DVD, people are going to need many cases if they wish to house the entire collection. What I think was so great about this set is that they have made everything easy to negotiate. It was quite simple navigating around all the episodes, and a child could access the Special Features. The content itself is really something else. Who doesn't love the "Samurai Hotel" skit, the "Weekend Updates," and all the other unpolitically correct humor? While I think this show might face a hard go trying to be on TV in this form today, something tells me that the Saturday Night Live of 2006 could benefit heavily if they started getting a bit edgier, and weren't so scared to only offend certain groups of people.