Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|NewsRadio - The Complete Fifth Season|
Actors: Dave Foley, Stephen Root, Andy Dick, Maura Tierney, Vicki Lewis
Directors: Dave Foley, Alan Myerson, James Burrows, Judi Elterman, Patrick Maloney
Genres: Comedy, Television
Tune in for another sidesplitting look behind the scenes at radio station WNYX. In the final season of the series, on-air newsman Max Louis joins the staff after the unexpected death of beloved anchor Bill McNeal. Regulars... more »
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Let's get to the point
John S. Harris | Memphis, TN | 03/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Season 5: worth buying if you are a fan of the show? Of course. Hartman was a hard act to follow. Lovitz is a very funny man but probably was not the best fit for this show. He doesn't really have a full character other than just being "Jon Lovitz". Is that the writers' fault, Lovitz' fault, or both?
Is is at funny as previous seasons? No. But many of the faults with Season 5 have nothing to do with Lovitz, so we can't place all the blame on him. As with most sitcoms, there are going to be some seasons that are better than the others. Season 5 of "NewsRadio" featured some new writers and producers, and they don't really do much worse than the original writers did in the early years.
As with any long-running sitcom, not every episode is a classic, and not every season is the show's best. It just happens that Season 5 of "NewsRadio" happened to be the show's last. Even at its worst it was far better than many of the shows that DIDN'T get cancelled at the end of that year, and shows usually get renewals based on profitability and ratings, not quality. And we already know that even during its best seasons "NewsRadio" was never a ratings juggernaut. So again, we probably shouldn't blame the show's demise on Lovitz or a sub-par (but still very funny) season.
Had "Frasier" been cancelled after its 8th or 9th season, seasons generally regarded as the weakest of the series, we might not look back so fondly on it. Or we might remember it for having gone out with a whimper. It had a chance to rebound and ended on a high note. The powers-that-be killed "NewsRadio", not the writers and not Lovitz.
I was initially reluctant to buy Season 5 because for a long time I'd allowed myself to believe that the entire season was unfunny because Lovitz stepped in to fill the void Hartman left. Eventually I got over that and bought the DVDs.
Glad I did. The show is still funny in Season 5. And bringing in Patrick Warburton or Tiffany-Amber Thiessen to see if it could add an extra spark to the show is no more egregious a crime than when countless other sitcoms did any one of a number of things late in the show's run -- "Mad About You" and "Family Ties" added a baby, "The Brady Bunch" introduced Oliver, "Moonlighting" saw Maddie and David hook up, "Cheers" diffused the sexual tension between Sam and Diane by allowing them to hook up, "Happy Days" introduced a slew of new characters and got really saccharine and boring, etc etc etc etc etc.
"NewsRadio" tried something new and it didn't always work perfectly. Welcome to the world of network television. No one has a crystal ball."
The Previous Seasons Were Too Good...
ROCKY! | New York, NY United States | 02/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While S5 of NEWSRADIO is still better than most sitcoms, it falls well short of the standard set by previous seasons. Obviously, the loss of Phil Hartman was a big reason for that, but the show could've survived without him and S5 gets off to a good start. The farewell to Bill/Phil found the right mix of humor and sentiment. It was hilarious while still getting you choked up. The following ep was also a treat, with Joe's Year 2000 mishaps(he claims to have a birth certificate with Jesus' real birthdate).
NEWSRADIO was always weird, but S5 crossed over into the realm of ridiculous and absurd. Jimmy's irrational fear of hippies leading to Joe hypnotizing him; Matthew turning 30 and going punk; redecorating the men's room; Jimmy's imposter security expert; the "Freaky Friday" parody; everyone nonsensically moving to New Hampshire; Lisa's wedding to homeless Johnny(ugh!); and the 3-part D.B. Cooper saga...this was either the "Jump the Shark" moment, or it was the ramp and the actual jump was Johnny Johnson returning to marry Lisa. The whole story was crazy, and lazy when you consider how it's resolved(it's like the writer's got tired and used the first insane thing that came to mind), but it also suffered from too much Johnny Johnson and the story went on too long(since when does this show need a 3-parter?).
Johnny Johnson wasn't a bad character so much as he was overdone...unlike Andrea the efficiency expert and Jimmy's nephew Walt, who were around for multiple episodes but weren't featured too much. Also, the first 2 parts exemplified the way almost everyone was written out-of-character...these aren't the same characters that made the show so great.
Jon Lovitz wasn't a good choice to replace Phil Hartman because Lovitz can't act...he just does his "Jon Lovitz" schtick, which is fine for 1 or 2 eps but begins to grate on you. And it doesn't help that Max Lewis is too much like Matthew, and in some cases even weirder.
Other things...Beth stops dressing like The Gap and The Salvation Army had teamed up to create a clothing line, and that's disappointing; there are TWO different "b**ch-slapping" jokes; a litle too much self-awareness on the part of the characters; Tiffany Amber-Thiessen isn't funny; the cinematography is different, with the episodes looking dimmer/darker(although I think this was an NBC thing); and maybe it's just me but there are times where the actors seem ineffectual or exasperated, almost like they realize just how absurd the material is.
Of course there's a lot to like, even eps like "Towers" and "Freaky Friday" that are excessively weird and contrived but have plenty of laughs and tons of energy, but this isn't the same NEWSRADIO as seasons 1-4. I'm sure I'll buy it someday to complete the collection, but it just doesn't seem worth it right now."
Without Phil Hartman, NewsRadio wasn't the same.
P. Burgos | Delano, CA | 01/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In this 5th and what is the somewhat dismal final season of NewsRadio, The season premiere deals with the death of Phil Hartman who died on May 24, 1998 at his Hollywood, CA home in a murder suicide. The season premiere deals with his reflections on his life as well as what he did for the series. The replacement, Max Louis Jon Lovitz, who played as Fred and Mike Johnson in seasons 3 and 4 takes over the duties as newsman. there were some great episodes standout I might say, "Flowers for Matthew",
Max: Well then, Do you forgive me?
Beth: Not a chance in hell you LOSER!
Lisa: So how did that go?
Max: That's OK, Beth doesn't usually stay mad for long so...
Beth: I HATE YOU AND I HOPE YOU GET RUN OVER BY A BUS!
The other episode that was good this last year was Freaky Friday where Matthew and Mr. James switch places for a day and he gets in trouble causing Mr. James to go bankrupt. Bt otherwise, the seasons episodes were so-so at best which included Johnny Johnson, D.B. Cooper (Adam West from Batman). The episodes were really dumbed down from past seasons and that's why it probably lead to the shows premature cancellation on May 4th, 1999. But this seasons episodes still has laughs but not the way it was with Phil Hartman.
An incomplete farewell
Jason D Bennett | Sheboygan, WI USA | 02/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"NewsRadio's fifth and final season features Jon Lovitz as Max Louis. He was a replacement, NOT A RECAST, for Phil Hartman. Developing his character's weirdness was the forefront of the beginning of a season that just wilted out.
The characters changed, but failed to fully evolve. Beth's look and attitude changed, but only on the surface. They could have grown her further and turned her into what Catherine had been, but they didn't. Lisa inexplicably fell for Johnny Johnson while Jimmy was on the lam, and far too much of the midseason focused on his character. The end of the season came near the series' original stride (perhaps just by comparison with the disappointing earlier episodes), but ended mid-air as the series waited to be cancelled. No finality, no closure, no revamp.
In short, I'll be buying this DVD on release day because I love NewsRadio, and I want to complete my collexion. It has some excellent episodes and the touching send-off for Bill McNeal. However, if you are a casual NewsRadio fan, or haven't heard of the show or seen the DVDs, you should pick up Season 3 or 4 first.
As a hardcore NewsRadio fan, this was a disappointing package overall. There was no commentary for "Bill Moves On," and it seemed as though the producers and writers had run out of things to say. I actually stopped listening to the commentaries, which had been extremely informative and funny for the first, second, and third seasons.
In short-the Season is 4 Stars, the extras are 1 star. Overall: 3 stars, still worth the buy if you've enjoyed any earlier seasons."