Thursday, December 7, 2006

Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season

Posted on Thu, Dec 7, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season
Studio: Universal
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season
In just the first 24 episodes of SNL, you can see the evolution from a shapeless, scattershot variety program to the fine-tuned comedy juggernaut that would experience its still-unparalleled golden years in the late '70s and early '80s. The free-form nature of the early shows occasionally seems to lack focus, but the malleable structure just as often works to fit the host's preference. (The Paul Simon-hosted episode is almost entirely music, for instance.) Even if only half the gags are successful (Jim Henson's recurring 'Gorkâ?� puppet sketches are some of the genius' lamest efforts), this is Jon Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and especially Chevy Chase at their most inspired. Better yet, the short films by Albert Brooks are hysterical early experiments in the pseudo-documentary/candid-camera techniques that would define his first feature, Real Life, four years later. Most importantly, this box set is a reminder of how clever, irreverent and sociopolitically conscious the now-flaccid series was. The DVDs are packaged extravagantly in time for Christmas and include a photobook and early actor screen tests.

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