HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Reno 911!: The Complete Series
HTS Overall Score:79
I can’t believe that it’s been over 10 years since “Reno 911!” first aired on Comedy Central. Back then it was a huge deal, as many of the cast members from the comedy troupe “The State” were making an appearance as the cast for a new cop show that was going to lampoon the successful TV show “Cops”. “Cops” itself was almost a comedy for the viewers would stare in rapt attention as different police officers from around the country were filmed taking down criminals, many of which who were so amazingly dumb that you could help but giggle when the poor cops had to take them into custody. It was a three ring circus without the clowns. Now Comedy Central had the bright idea of taking the same format of “Cops” and blending in a healthy dose of “Super Troopers” for good measuring, effectively putting the clowns back into the three ring circus.
“Reno 911!” mimics the same format as cops, showing a pairing or group of officers being sent into hairy (and downright hysterical” situations and trying to take down the criminals. Shot with handicam video, the creators did an amazing job at making the show look like a perfect knockoff of “Cops”, just with complete lunatics at the helm. This time we have officer Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) running a rag tag and inept group of police officers whose sole purpose in life is to make themselves into the biggest idiots possible, whether that be snorting an entire case of cocaine in order to get rid of it, or go skeet shooting with a batch of stuffed bunnies.
There is an INCREDIBLE array of actors in the show, ranging from former showgirl turned cop Clementine (Wendy McLendon-Covey), Goofball nerd Weigel (Kerri Kenney), Racist cop James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), African queen Raineesha (Niecy Nash), and Thomas Lennon himself as the boom boom shorts wearing Lt. Dangle and everyone in-between. What makes the show work so incredibly well is the insane amounts of talent on screen and the endlessly possible pairings of characters for a myriad of situations. While each show revolves around one base plotline (like Lt. Dangle and Weigel breaking up a counterfeit ring, or Raineesha converting to Islam in order to take a vacation), the show is littered with short incidental skits that involve the other officers, even if they only last a few minutes. Thus there is pretty much limitless chances for hysterics to ensue. The show is mostly improve, with a base script that was used and then the creators just let the comedians go off on their own and create pure magic.
The show is not serialized in the least and pretty much revolves around the skits themselves as making any cohesive sense. Each episode is a standalone episode and really doesn’t need to pull from the episodes or seasons before it except to make a quick joke from a previously done episode at random. Season one was a bit rocky in getting the characters personalities in order, but once underway the show just skyrocketed to the top at incredible speeds.
Season two hits the ground running and pulls from all acts of life. The show is about as politically incorrect as they come, with episodes ranging from Weigel dating a supposed serial killer, to Raineesha converting to Islam in order to get an all-expense paid vacation. They don’t even try to handle the political or racial issues with any sort of delicacy, but put everything under the spotlight with excruciatingly gleeful tongue in cheek humor. The Plotlines are usually funny, but it’s the side sketches with the oddball parings of officers that really get the tears rolling down the face. Sometimes I was waiting for the main plotline scenes to end just to see what shenanigans the cops would cook up in the random side skits. After viewing a couple of the commentaries it becomes VERY obvious that the crew just basically had a blast on set and would make up some of the most un politically correct and off the wall skits out of the blue and roll with them.
What makes the show such an incredible effort is the reason for having cliffhangers for each season in the first place. Just like the officers never knowing if they were going to be employed for much longer due to their gross incompetence, the show never knew if it was going to be renewed for a subsequent season. Thusly the actors had to work and do their jobs as if this was the last time they were every going to come together on camera again. Basically acting as if every day was their last and having to put the amount of effort that would go into such an endeavor. Season 2 was the first cliffhanger and had some of them thrown into the Sherriff’s department for being bad officers. Season 3 starts out with them in the clank and actually uses that situation for the first few episodes before they are (of course) put back into active duty. From there it’s all pure skit magic to the end.
Season 3 also had the introduction of a new and this kick starts into the next couple seasons which pretty much run the status quo. The cops are bad at their jobs, but somehow manage to keep their badges, but have us lose our lunches howling on the floor over their antics. Season 5 though changes things up a lot as several characters meet their demise during the final few episodes. This leaves season six devoid of appealing Clementine as well as Officers Garcia and Kimball. Clementine is the real loss here as she was instrumental in having me constantly running for my inhaler over the series. Thankfully we have a new addition in the form of Deputy Rizzo (played by another former “The State” alumni Joe Lo Truglio) and readily fills the shoes of the missing cast member with glee. Joe has been a comedian of epic proportions and you may recognize him from his new rising as a main character in Andy Samberg’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.
Season 6 is a little bit weaker than some of the previous seasons, as there’s a couple misses along the way. Still there’s plenty of laughs to be had as the show is one that thrives off of being random and the amazing array of talented comedians pretty much guarantees you’re going to have a fun ride, even with a few hiccups. The show was starting to show it’s age this season, and thankfully the creators decided to end the show while they were still riding high on the hog instead of trying to stretch it out where it would overstay it’s welcome. As a result they created one of the funniest and most random sketch comedy shows in the early 2000s.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32593[/img]“Reno 911!” was shot on traditional digital cameras at 30 fps in an effort to give the show a documentary “Cops” feel and doesn’t look like traditional film or most television shows. There is a lot of shaky camera work as the hand held cameras follow the actors around as they goof off on set. Still, the show has never looked better, and looks much better than I ever remember it on air. The show has a nice natural look to it, slightly blown contrasts at times, but full of detail and more pop than I have ever seen on the show. Facial detail can be a bit soft some times, but nothing that’s too distracting for a DVD. Black level are good, showing no major flaws that I could detect and the series is devoid of any digital manipulation or major compression artifacts (besides mild macroblockng). Excellent Job Paramount.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32601[/img]Given a 2.0 Dolby Digital track, the show maintains its original stereo track from the TV broadcasts. Dialogue is the main thing here and is replicated quite nicely. It’s well balanced with the rest of the sound effects and shows some nice directionality at times. There’s not much the show can do with a 2.0 track in terms of raising itself to epic proportions, but the show does a very good job with the 2 channels it’s been given. I heard to distortion and all the dialogue was easily distinguishable. The show focused more on practical effects (one of the shows where the guns ACTUALLY sound like guns instead of hand cannons), and all the effects come through nice and clean. The show is uncensored so there are no longer the beeps and bleeps in place for the more rough language that you couldn’t show on TV so be warned, it’s a bit on the mature side language wise.
• 35 Feature Commentary's for select episodes across all seasons
• Alternate Scenes
• Comedy Central Previews
• Alternate Takes and Deleted Scenes
• 42-minute live performance at HBO's 2004 Comedy Arts Festival
• "Cop Psychology: Inside the Minds of Reno's Deputies"
• "Tupperware for Tampa"
• "Profiles in Valor"
“Reno 911!” is rude, crude and just plain insensitive, but it’s beyond funny in many ways. The show revels in not leaving anything sacred and you can tell that the actors just had a blast while doing the show. Paramount has pretty much packaged the same discs for the individual seasons here into a really unique plastic “coffin” that houses all 14 discs and even leaves room for the “Reno 911!: Miami” in case fans want to add that in to the box set. Full of Hilarity and well worth the cheap price, the show is available as one big chunk for new fans, or fans who are wanting to save a little space from the previous boxes. There’s really not much new in the way of extras, but the incredible array of commentaries are worth every penny and highlights the love the cast had for the show. Definitely a must watch in my opinon.
Starring: Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash, Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney
Created By: Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 MPEG2 (1.78:1 for Season 6)
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 1945 Minutes
DVD Release Date: Nov 4th, 2014
Buy Reno 911!: The Complete Series DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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