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NewsRadio - The Complete Fourth Season



DVD Release Date: June 20, 2006 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 480 Minutes
Total Runtime of Special Features: Approx 220 Minutes
Audio: English
Subtitles: Portuguese; Closed Captioned
Special Features:
* Cast and Crew Commentary
* Gag Reel
* One Man NewsRadio


New York City’s WNYX is on the air --­ and off the wall! Tune into New York City radio station WNYX if you like your news straight…and your comedy utterly off-the-wall! In its fourth season, NewsRadio captures the screwball absurdity of office politics with one of the funniest ensemble casts ever assembled. Dave Foley (TV’s “Kids in the Hall”) plays the overworked news director of WNYX who has to rein in a team of misfits. But office clown Matthew (Andy Dick) won’t act normally, ambitious producer Lisa (Maura Tierney) won’t back down, duct-tape obsessed handyman Joe (Joe Rogan) won’t stop “fixing” thing…and irrepressible anchorman Bill McNeal (Phil Hartman)…continues to talk just a bit too much. (It’s just too bad Phil Hartman would be permanently silenced during the offseason after season 4).

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

I love this season. To me, there are no really bad episodes to be found. Personally I love the Who’s the Boss two-part episode where they put Bill in charge of the station. I admit, I wasn’t a fan of the “efficiency expert,” but it did bring about some interesting plots. You really can’t go wrong with any episodes in the season. Sinking Ship is notable, as the fourth season finale and Phil Hartman’s last show. As far as guest stars go, Jon Lovitz guest stars as a suicidal man in the season premiere, Jumper. We’re, at this point, only one year shy of Lovitz joining the cast himself. Lauren Graham, who would go on to take the role of Lorelai in Gilmore Girls, in the episodes “Planbee,” “The Public Domain,” “Super Karate Monkey Death Car,” and “French Diplomacy.” 24 fans, take note, Mary Lynn Rajskub ­ Chloe ­ is in the episode The Secret of Management. That’s about it.


This is almost routine by now--outer box, two slim cases and three discs. Discs 1 and 2 in case A and disc 3 in case B. The front box art for this set features the main cast standing in front of a New York City skyline. Back cover has a white-to-blue-to-black gradient, with Dave hanging his head around from the side. There are a few small pictures below his head from the season. The two slim cases feature similar pictures as the front cover…yet not quite. On both slim cases, most of the characters change poses and locations, relative to the main menu. On disc 1, the character in the foreground being Dave, again peeking his head around the side. On disc two, Matthew has his head peeking up from the bottom of the art, with the rest of the cast in various states of happiness/boredom behind him. Disc 1, featuring the first nine episodes, has Matthew on the front cover, up to his nose in paperwork. Disc 2, has Joe on the disc, standing next to an old-fashioned radio. This disc has episodes 10-18. Finally is disc 3, housing episodes 19-22. The character on the front cover? Phil Hartman. It is fitting, if you ask me.

Menu Design and Navigation:

At this point, it’s hard to find anything new or exciting to say about the menus, as the menus are identical (some would call it “consistent”) from the previous two releases. The first disc uses a blue color scheme, the second uses yellow, and the third uses red. The main menu features an older-style radio microphone in the foreground. Menu options are to the top left of the microphone. NewsRadio logo straddles the middle. The Complete Fourth Season and the disc number are to the bottom right of the microphone. Episode selections features still images of each episode, with episode titles below them. This is in front of a headphone/soundboard background. The background for the subtitles menu is an old-fashioned small radio complete with an old-style station logo. The background for commentaries is a soundboard without headphones. There is no music during any of the menus.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video is…decent…the video is a bit blurry. The colors? They seem a bit off. The colors seem a bit too bright. Chapter stops at the start of each scene. Other than the glitches I mentioned, the video is nice. The audio is a good Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. The voice, music, and sound effects are at normal levels and don’t overpower or under-power one another. The runtimes seem strangely short, but I can’t prove anything without original broadcast or syndication copies to compare against. I guess just under 22 minutes that was normal for 1997-98. Subtitles in Portuguese on the set are available.

Disc 1
1)Jumper - 22:24
2)Planbee ­ 21:54
3)The Public Domain ­ 21:54
4)Super Karate Monkey Death Car ­ 21:53
5)French Diplomacy ­ 21:24
6)Pure Evil ­ 21:54
7)Catherine Moves On ­ 21:59
8)Stupid Holiday Charity Talent Show ­ 21:54
9)The Secret of Management ­ 21:54

Disc 2
10)Look Who’s Talking ­ 21:55
11)Chock ­ 21:55
12)Who’s the Boss? ­ 21:55
13) Who’s the Boss Part II? ­ 21:54
14) Security Door ­ 21:46
15) Big Brother ­ 21:54
16) Beep, Beep ­ 21:45
17) Balloon ­ 21:34
18)Copy Machine ­ 21:44

Disc 3:
19)Monster Rancher ­ 21:46
20)4:20 ­ 21:44
21)Jackass Junior High ­ 21:45
22)Sinking Ship ­ 21:46

Special Features:

Commentary: At this point, I’m sacrificing commentary details for getting the review out a bit faster. NewsRadio commentaries are always good; go out and buy the set NOW to find out for yourself.

Jumper: Executive Producer/Creator Paul Simms, Script Supervisor Robert Spina, Post-Production Coordinator Todd “Spider” Chambers, Writer/Producer Joe Furey, Maura Tierney, and Second Assistant Director Michael Risner. 22:24

Planbee: Paul Simms, Todd “Spider” Chambers, Joe Furey. 21:54

The Public Domain: Paul Simms, Writers/Producers Joe Furey, Al Higgins, and Lew Morton, and Actor Stephen Root. 21:54

Super Karate Monkey Death Car: Same crew as above. 21:53

Catherine Moves On: Paul Simms, Robert Spina, Todd “Spider” Chambers, Joe Furey, and Vicki Lewis. 21:59

Chock: Paul Simms, Robert Spina, Todd “Spider” Chambers, Joe Furey, Dave Foley, and Vicki Lewis 21:55

Who’s the Boss Part II: Paul Simms, Associate Producer Julie Bean, and Writers/Producers Joe Furey, Al Higgins, and Josh Lieb. 21:54

Copy Machine: Paul Simms, Todd “Spider” Chambers, Joe Furey, Vicki Lewis. 21:44

Sinking Ship: Paul Simms, Robert Spina, Todd “Spider” Chambers, Joe Furey, Vicki Lewis, and Michal Risner. 21:46

Gag reel is…well…a gag reel. There’s 20 minutes even of bloopers.

One Man NewsRadio: Here we go again. Joe Furey playing every role in a scene. Interesting to say the least. 4:26

Running time for Special Features: Approximately 220 Minutes

Final Comments:

I miss Phil Hartman. Any-who, overall, this is a fairly decently produced set. The VQ is good not great. The audio is as well. The menus are recycled yet consistent, and the special features are, depending on your opinion of commentary, either bountiful or sparse. Personally, I love commentaries so I consider it the former. If the commentaries for season 5 haven’t been recorded yet, is there any way to pull Jon Lovitz away from his Subway commercials and have him do a few commentary tracks. They’re only going to get one shot to have him on commentary, and I’m guessing he’ll probably be receptive. Otherwise, at this point, the only other thing I can suggest is to put the NewsRadio theme behind the main menu. That’s really all that can be done now.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 06/20/06

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