The Complete Series
Studio: Buena Vista
Film Length: 1260 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
Let's get this out of the way. I don't watch
sports and I generally do not enjoy shows about
sports -- but send me an entire television series
on DVD for free and I'll review anything.
With that out of the way, let me firmly state
that I was quite surprised by this television series
created by Aaron Sorkin, who serves as the show's
principal writer. This show does for Sports News
as what Larry Sanders did for talk shows -- and
it's no wonder -- Thomas Schlamme, who directed
episodes of The Larry Sanders Show contributes to
this series bringing with him his experience with
unconventional TV comedies about TV.
The show takes place behind the scenes of a cable
program that greatly resembles ESPN's SportsCenter.
The lead characters are the co-hosts of the fictional
Sports Night: Casey McCall (Peter Krause) and
an junior anchor Dan Rydell (Josh Charles). Casey is
in love with producer Dana Whitaker (Felicity Huffman),
who is the most remarkable presence on this show.
Robert Guillaume is his usual feisty self as the
show's executive producer, Isaac.
The show offers a humorous, and often engaging view
of intelligent, human and witty career professionals
working in a high-pressure environment. Every week
characters are confronted with challenges to their
professional and personal integrity. The banter
flows out of the actors mouths in a rat-a-tat rhythm
that ultimately puts a smile on your face as you
soak it all in. Though this isn't a show filled
with rapid-fire jokes, there are plenty of moments
that merit a chuckle.
Sadly, despite huge critical acclaim, Sports Night
failed to attract the mass audience ABC were seeking.
The show was abruptly cancelled after only two seasons.
Sports Night arrives in a 6-disc set that
contains all 45 episodes from the first and
second season, including the show's original
pilot. Each show runs about 22 minutes. I was
surprised that Buena Vista decided to skimp a
little on this set, putting a total 6 discs in
3 standard cases. The shows are presented without
any sort of chapter stop breakdowns. In addition,
other than the fact that brief episode descriptions
appear on the back of each case, there's really
no descriptive program guide here that lists guest
stars or air dates.
How is the transfer?
Presented in its original 1.33:1 broadcast ratio,
the picture looks very clear and detailed. The
only problem I found was that there was a little
too much redness exhibited in the facial tones
from time to time. Otherwise, the transfer
probably looks somewhat better than what you would
see on cable or satellite television.
The Dolby Digital surround track is very effective
in that the show's music is evenly distributed across
the front and rear channels with dialogue remaining
firmly in the center. You never quite know where
the next laugh is going to come from as these tracks
get thrown randomly into either the center or rear
channels. Otherwise, sound is very clean and strong
with no noticeable background hiss.
Surprisingly, there are none.
I learned something very valuable here today.
You don't have to know a damn thing about sports
to enjoy Sports Night. With its more-universal
subject matter, this show actually gives you a
little something to chew on. I am happy I had the
chance to view something original like this.
Release Date: November 5, 2002