HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Key & Peele: The Complete Series
HTS Overall Score:76
“Key & Peele”, like many comedy shows, started off as skit on one of the two great sketch comedy shows. However, instead of the usual “SNL” they were first introduced as a skit on the goofy “MadTV” and skyrocketed up in popularity. Enough so that they were able to start their own sketch comedy show that has lasted a fantastic 5 seasons. They’ve done well enough that they Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele are both starring in feature films as well as stand up acts across the country. I was originally a skeptic of the show as most sketch comedy shows tend to crash and burn within a year or so, and the first couple seasons were something that had to grow on me (honestly I’d up my rating for the first couple of seasons after I’ve had some time to gestate, but I keep my original ratings as that is how I felt at the time). By the end of the third season I was having a blast with the pair and was glad to see they got a license for two more seasons.
While I really enjoy the series as a whole, and have not be disappointed in the individual seasons, I AM a little disappointed over how the show has been treated on home video. The first season of the show was released as a DVD only, and then to get season two we were forced to buy the season 1 and 2 as one single unit (this time on both DVD AND Blu-ray), forcing buyers who already have the first season to get that season again. Season 3 was given a standard standalone release on both Blu-ray and DVD, but season 4 and 5 didn’t get a release at all, meaning that the only way to get seasons 4 and 5 is on this complete series set, which is sadly on DVD only, meaning no HD for those who already bought the Blu-ray releases of seasons 1-3. Confused yet? Yeah, it’s been that crazy. So long and the short of it is, if you’ve already dipped and double dipped on the first couple seasons then the only way to get the last couple is to buy this complete series set. Whew, there we go.
I’ve reviewed all three of the previous seasons HEREand HERE, so you can go back and see what my thoughts were on the first 3/5 of the series (although I would have to rate seasons 1 and 2 as a 3.5 star rating instead of my original 3 stars) before delving into this set. However, don’t worry about spoilers as this is really a sketch comedy show with no recurring themes or plot points, but rather recurring skits and jokes. Seasons 4 and 5 is where I’ll focus the bulk of my description on here, and if you’re a fan of the previous three seasons you know EXACTLY what to expect. In fact it’s really just more of the same with new skits and old skits blended seamlessly with some very solid results.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=27385[/img]With any sketch comedy show there are some caveats. The major one being the fact that some skits will being INCREDIBLY funny, while others will miss the boat entirely. However there usually is way more hits than misses in the show. Who can’t laugh hysterically at Luther the angry translator for Obama (and now we have a Hillary translator too, which is funny as all get out), or we can watch a pint sized Forrest Whittaker baby terrorizing the duo in their babysitters sketch. I’m still dying laughing just thinking of that skit. Then of course we have a pair old church goers LITERALLY fighting Satan. Not to mention Jordan Peele’s absolutely spot on impression of Obama (whether you’re for or against the political figure, Jordan’s impersonation will have you rolling on the floor).
What really makes the show work so well is the chemistry between the two artists. They play off of each other incredibly well, and you can tell they know each other inside and out. That allows for the skits to flow smoothly and organically without feeling forced. Sure there’s a few skits that aren’t up to snuff, but the motor mouthed Key plays fantastically well with the more deadpan role that Peele plays throughout the show. However, while this is labeled as the complete series, I was a little disappointed that the 2015 super bowl special they did a year back or so wasn’t included in the set. I’m assuming it has something to do with the rights to the show, but still, it would have been nice to have it included.
Not Rated by the MPAA/Canada PG
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=27393[/img]The 1.78:1 MPEG2transfer for all 5 seasons is impressively sharp for a DVD. Shot digitally it the image looks crystal clear from sketch to sketch, whether it be in the audience room, or the actual shorts themselves. There are a couple of times when we see a few different aspect ratios during skits and some of them were digital made to look like they were from the 80's, however those are brief and most certainly intentional. Lighting is very natural and skin tones look amazing throughout and, as you can guess from comment about the clarity, detail is through the roof. All the wigs and bald head prosthetic lines show up easily (and are used as part of the gags I might add), black levels are appropriately deep and inky throughout. I noticed some digital noise and a little bit of macroblocking here and ther, but nothing that really wildly affected the overall quality. I will say that the first season looks a bit rougher than later releases (especially seasons 3-5), but it's not a huge jump in quality and just shows more fine tuning in their filming style.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=15123[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks for the series sounds quite pleasing and actually rather nice for a front heavy sketch comedy show. I actually rated the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD tracks on the Blu-rays a 3.5/5, but that was more because they sounded good but not great, almost identical to the DVD tracks in reality (thus the reason I’m rating the Dolby Digital lossy tracks a 4/5). Dialog is strong and crisp, a decidedly nice but definitely front heavy mix overall. There’s a few moments of ambient noise and some audience laughter to fill out the back channels, but this is a comedy show and mixed as one would expect for the genre.
• The Van and Mike Show
• The Super Episodes: The Best of Seasons 1 and 2
• More from Luthor, Obama's Anger Translator
• Vandaveon and Mike: Critiquer's Corner
• Audio Commentaries
• Live at the South Beach Comedy Festival
“Key & Peele” has lasted a very solid 5 seasons and I’m rather sad to watch it go. While the DVD complete series is a great way to make sure that you have all of the seasons in one set, I am a bit disappointed that there is no new extras for seasons 4 and 5 (the same extras that were on the first 3 seasons are just ported over as they are the same discs) and that we get no Blu-ray release. Still, having the complete series in ANY format will satiate me after having owned the first 3 seasons on Blu-ray. Audio and video look good for a non HD presentation and if you’ve never owned the series at ALL this is a must buy. However if you’ve bought the previous seasons (and maybe had to double dip on season 1) then rebuying it once more just to get the final 2 seasons may be a tougher sell (although not impossible as that’s the ONLY way to get seasons 4 and 5).
Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele
Created by: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English: DD Stereo
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Runtime: 1144 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Buy Key & Peele: The Complete Series On DVD at Amazon
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