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Sctv:The Best Of The Early

Joe Flaherty , Eugene Levy    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 46.95
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Even the worst of SCTV would be superior to much of what passes for contemporary sketch comedy. This three-disc set collects 15 of the now-legendary 30-minute syndicated episodes from 1978-80 that initially formed the bedrock of SCTV's Network 90 incarnation (now available in its entirety on DVD). There are but three episodes from season 2, which feature SCTV's most popularly known ensemble: John Candy, Joe Flahrety, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, and Dave Thomas. Arguably the best of these is "On the Waterfront Again," with Levy's old school and out of touch comedian Bobby Bittman and O'Hara's B-list entertainer Lola Heatherton appearing on "The Sammy Maudlin Show" to promote their hopeless remake of the Brando classic. The bulk of this collection hails from season 3, which lamentably saw the departure of Candy and O'Hara, but also the auspicious arrival of Rick Moranis. Also joining the cast were the unsung Tony Rosato (who does a wicked Lou Costello in "Midnight Express Special") and Robin Duke. They would later make the jump to Saturday Night Live, which gets an upstart thumping in the episode, "Thursday Night Live." One of the season's running gags is a series of promos for Taxi Driver, recast with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Gregory Peck, and even Bob Hope ("You talkin' to me? Nobody talks to me that way. I didn't let Darryl Zanuck talk to me that way."). Thomas's definitive Hope also pops up to upstage Bittman on "The Sammy Maudlin Show" to promote "I Owe Peking 2000 Dollars," and alongside Moranis' uncanny Woody Allen in the masterpiece, "Play It Again, Bob." Thomas and Moranis make their momentous first appearances throughout this season as bickering, beer-swilling brothers Doug and Bob McKenzie, SCTV's breakout characters. "The Great White North" (a.k.a. "Kanadian Korner"), their sublimely silly improved segments, introduced such Canadian patois as "Take off," "Hoser," and "Beauty, eh?" into the pop culture lexicon.

SCTV mastered the art of cross parody. "My Factory, My Self," one of Martin's finest half hours, somehow combines An Unmarried Woman, Coming Home, Norma Rae, Kramer vs. Kramer, and The China Syndrome. It's unfortunate that The Early Years represented in this collection do not extend to the first season (Harold Ramis fans, arise!). But these gems are dazzling in their--to quote the hilarious "The Trial of Oscar Wilde" sketch--"sparkling wit and unbelievable intelligence." Some of the references are dated (anyone remember gossip columnist Rona Barrett, transformed here into sportscaster Ronny Barrett?). But we agree with SCTV station manager Guy Caballero. This is "the hippest comedy you'll ever see." --Donald Liebenson


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars John Candy fans take note Dec 30 2010
Let's not take away from what's here.
If you loved SCTV, chances are you'll enjoy the episodes they've provided.

But many fans of SCTV's first three seasons will view this as an oddly-slanted collection for what is billed as "The Best of the Early Years."
You get 15 episodes but 12 of them are from the third season which didn't have John Candy and Catherine O'Hara.
There are also no episodes from the first season so there are no skits featuring Harold Ramis.

This collection would have been far more fulfilling to fans of the early years if it offered a more balanced overview of that period.
Five episodes from each of the first three seasons would have been ideal.

Instead, the obvious emphasis on the third season only serves as a nagging reminder that there are some very enjoyable episodes from the first two seasons missing from this collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Early Dec 7 2012
Verified Purchase
I had seen all these shows way back in 1980/81. Also we had the American series #s 1-4. It was absolutely essential to get the early years while the group was still in Edmonton. Thus our SCTV is now almost complete.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic laughs March 18 2014
Verified Purchase
Warning you will watch television like you never had before. I love classic SCTV. It's a but dated but for anyone that grew up loving it it's worth getting
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SCTV - Ya had to be there... Nov. 21 2010
By thedano
I bought Disc 1, 2, Best of early years, both Christmas Specials, and Volume 4 and I STILL couldn't find The Tubes or Ian Thomas. I'm going to buy Vol 1, 2, and 3, and mail the others to my brother. He'll love them (for free is even better!)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wait on the real thing! Jan. 3 2008
By Jeffrey R. Young - Published on Amazon.com
The people that released this DVD make me want to throw my DVD player out my window (my big screen TV is too heavy to lift) and land it on their heads. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Any true fan of SCTV is willing to wait as long as it takes to get all of the original series INCLUDING Harold Ramis in chronological order the way they SHOULD be released.

I bought all of the previous 90-minute volumes, but until you people release this fabulous series the right way, you WILL NOT get any more of my money, you HOSERS!
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great Dec 6 2006
By PianoGuyFromSC - Published on Amazon.com
First of all, the cover of this set is misleading because it lists John Candy and Catherine O'Hara as though they were on equal footing with the rest of the cast. But if you're a big fan of either, you'll be disappointed because there's hardly ANY of their material on these disks. Tony Rosato and Robin Duke are funny. So was Shemp Howard. But we all know how we feel about those Shemp episodes! Not quite what we paid the admission price for.

Secondly, as others have pointed out, this is a random selection of the early half-hour shows, with some overlap of later "best of" shows which are already out on DVD. And not one bit of Harold Ramis. (Some ads for this set even mention Martin Short, who was nowhere near this project!)

But thirdly, this still is a very, very funny set. If you love SCTV, you will laugh your way through these discs, with lots of Bob & Doug, Count Floyd, and movie parodies such as Taxi Driver as done by Dick Cavett, etc. This may be all we ever get of the early years, so if you're a fan, grab them while you can. What's next? SCTV...the Cinemax years??
61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Harold Ramis??? Sept. 12 2006
By David Scott - Published on Amazon.com
How the producers of this set could leave off the star of the show, is beyond fathomable. Any true fan of SCTV knows that the early years, the half hour shows, were the best. When it moved to NBC, it lost it's edginess and never was quite the same. The star that made those early years so great was Ha-Harold Ramis. C'mon! Officer Friendly? Moe Green? It's a crying shame. They wonder why sales tailed off for the later DVD's, and they do something as dumb as this. Sad. Why don't they ask the FANS what they want?
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some great stuff, but where's the rest of the great stuff? May 1 2007
By Valnastar - Published on Amazon.com
I've been waiting for years for the half-hour SCTV shows to be released on DVD as I always felt that their best material was in the half-hour syndicated format. Then, when they finally do release some of the half-hour shows on DVD I discover that the publisher leaves out some of the best material?! I can't believe it. This show was not the same with Duke, Rosato, or even Short. The crew of D. Thomas, J. Candy, H. Ramis, J. Flaherty, E. Levy, C. O'Hara, R. Moranis and A. Martin is what this show was all about. Until I can get ALL the material featuring those specific cast members, I'm going to have to consider very carefully whether or not I'll be buying this or any other set. I'm giving this 3-stars for the good material that is here, I only wish that what was here was all 5 stars worth of material that I wanted.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Cop Out Feb. 15 2008
By thomas e danyluk - Published on Amazon.com
A best-of set? In whose opinion? They short-changed us here, folks. Why not do it right and issue ALL of the 30-minute episodes?; that's what the hardcore SCTV fans really wanted. Instead, we got a sampling, an hors devours tray. Bad job, Shout Factory! Please go back and get this right.
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