» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

December 17, 2004
TIM SMITH // The Best TV on DVD Releases of 2004

To make a long story short, last year that little disc of digital format we call the DVD saw some exceptional releases. With storylines involving everything from vampire detectives seeing redemption to a certain legendary redhead, ranking them was hell. The darkest, hottest of hells. In the end I told Satan to piss-off and decided to rank them in alphabetical order. You know A-Z. So here they are then, the top 11 T.V. DVD's released in 2004, alphabetized for my convenience.


Angel: Season 4
Coming at a time when Joss Whedon was juggling three shows at once, Buffy, Angel and Firefly, active as a writer on each, one of the shows had to take a nosedive to mediocrity. And it thankfully wasn't Angel. The fourth season is ideal for DVD watching (if you've never watched the show before, you can get caught up on the web rather easily.) as it essentially crafts a single complex story from episode six to the season finale with lots of cliffhangers and some of the best battle sequences put to video. It even features an episode directed by Sean "Samwise" Astin. And the series' best season, and perhaps even Whedon's, is yet to come. Also: Check out Angel's dark third season, it's just full of moral dilemmas.

Arrested Development: Season 1
Seeing as how you probably didn't watch it during its initial run last year, why not pick the seemingly unanimously acclaimed (It even won a few Emmy's, arguably the most uninformed awards show) first season of Arrested Development. In addition to the brilliant episodes (my favorite being "Key Decisions"), you also get revealing commentary from Davis Cross (the ambiguous and oblivious Tobias) on the inherent awkwardness of working with James Lipton, whom he frequently bashed in his stand-up routine. There's a lot to love here, and just as much to love with Arrested's second season currently airing on FOX Sunday's.

Chappelle's Show: Season 1 Uncensored

Now the best selling single TV DVD set of all time, the first season of Chappelle's Show is really just as good, if not better, than it's more attention grabbing second season. Sure it doesn't have Prince playing basketball or the "I'm Rick James Bitch!" catch phrase, but it does serve up the hilarious, if not controversial, blind white supremacist who happens to unknowingly be black himself sketch. You also get crack addict Tyronne Bigguns appearing in front of a class room of elementary school children in an effort to keep them off drugs. This is the funniest thing Comedy Central's cooked up in quite sometime. And at less than 30 dollars, it's really a bargain.

Freaks and Geeks: Complete Series

Sure, the soundtrack was kinda suspect (Styx?), but the show itself was hilarious and emotionally viable at the same time. No, these don't have the Friends' good looks, and they're not exactly the most popular guys at school. And they rarely had a good time, but then that's probably the case for 80% of America. Also: For the diehard fans, pick up the limited 'Yearbook Edition' with extra features galore. If you've got the coin that is.

Futurama: Volume 3

More inventive and yes, smarter than anything airing concurrently, Futurama was a real gem. Volume 3 compiles many of the best episodes from the best comedic show of the new millennium including: The superb "God Fellas," with perhaps the best interpretation of god seen in pop culture, the borderline ludicrous "Insane in the Mainframe" and the Emmy winning "Roswell that Ends Well," an episode so uproarious it even manages to make incest funny. You also get Fry trying to save the world from flying brains in "The Day the Earth Stood Stupid" and great commentary tracks. And no, you don't have to be into Sci-Fi to laugh at this fantastic series, you just have to have a sense of humor.

Greg the Bunny: Complete Series

I know what you're thinking, "Greg the what?? Wasn't that the stupid show about puppets that was on FOX that nobody ever watched?" And yes, it was. It was quite stupid, in the Monty Python so dumb it's smart kind of way. And sadly yes, nobody ever watched, which is why FOX axed its felt-covered ass. But why no one watched is still some what of a mystery to me. It was funny with nice writing and a great cast that included Sarah Silverman, the always hysterical Eugene Levy and slacker icon Seth Green. But that's all in the past now, and the DVD is out right now. So why not go and pick it up, it's awesome and usually sells for under 30$.

I Love Lucy: Season 2

What can I possibly say about this series that hasn't been said before? Probably nothing at all. The set is surprisingly consistent in the features department, even without the now standard commentaries from the stars (for obvious reasons). But the episodes truly stand alone. Who among you could resist the anarchic glory of Lucy and cohort Ethel in the famous chocolate factory scene in the, for lack of a better word, brilliant episode "Job Switching." Or the masterful slapstick of "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" (Friends certainly never did childbirth this well). Also, the show is still amazingly relevant 50 years later and, to this day, no man, living or dead, does physical comedy quite like Lucille Ball. The only true logical comedic rival the show had when it ran was The Honeymooners, and the only one's since have been either a cartoon or focused around 'nothing'. Classic T.V. begins here.

The Office: Complete Collection

Mixing the painful to watch irksomeness of Curb Your Enthusiasm with the workplace drudgery of Mike Judges film Office Space (perhaps a little Drew Carey Show as well?), The Office crafted 12 near-perfect episodes (probably why it won so many Timmy awards), and one Christmas special, full of moments of sheer humiliation and some of the most awkward exchanges in history. Not for the faint of heart.

Seinfeld: Re-Gift Set (seasons 1-3)

Somewhere along the line people started admirably declaring Seinfeld a show about nothing. This concept boggles my mind. How could a show so stunningly close to real life, be merely about nothing? Isn't that like declaring human life itself void of substance? Who hasn't been forced to wait for what seems a lifetime at a restaurant or gotten lost in a parking garage? Seinfeld was genius then and only slightly less now, some of the gags don't age as well as its peers (i.e., The Simpsons), but its creative apex is still a season or two away.

The Simpsons: Seasons 4

Few shows, if any, have ever attained the brilliance of The Simpsons. Season 3 hinted at things to come, but the 4th was really when the show became an undeniable classic. Containing such flawlessly executed episodes like "Mr. Plow" (Best. Jingle. Ever.), the surreal "Marge Vs. The Monorail" (Escalator to nowhere anyone?), the heartfelt "I Love Lisa" ("It says 'I choo-choo chose you' and it's got a picture of a train") and perhaps the series' best 22 minutes in the form of "Last Exit to Springfield." Still yet, the most surprising thing of all is that, despite having spent the greater portion of my life watching these episodes, they still remain as funny as ever. As for features, the set offers often hilarious commentary on every episode (focus on the ones with Conan O'Brien) and you can also play the "Family Guy totally ripped this off" drinking game. You'll be completely incoherent in two episodes, guaranteed! Also: The Simpsons recently released 5th season, which is arguably on par with its predecessor. On a personal note, it contains my favorite episode, the O'Brien penned "Homer Goes to College."

Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 1

The first season of Star Trek was perhaps the crowning moment of genre, certainly of sci-fi, television. This could possibly even be the best debut season of a series ever to air. Mostly due to the innovative ideas (possibly the most ethnically diverse shows in T.V. history, in the 1960's no less) in addition to the overall wonderfully constructed episodes. Most notably being the perfect-in-every-single-way-possible classic "City on the Edge of Forever." You might laugh at the cheesy effects (graphically, it's certainly no Firefly), but if you watch long enough, you'll be captivated by the well-written and intelligent scripts. And those actors aren't half bad either.


.: Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 1
.: The Kids in the Hall: Season 1
.: Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 6
.: Space Ghost: Coast to Coast: Volume 2
.: The Wire: Season 1

.: Friends: The Series Finale
The Friends finale was/is so lame that I have had to come up with a new word to describe it. And that word is: Lametacular. No wait, that sounds like a good thing. Make that
abysamareffic. There, that's to some degree, minor as it may be, better.

Tim Smith
LAS' resident television expert.

See other articles by Tim Smith.



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