Newsradio was a comedy series that nobody but me seemed to watch when it was on. Now it seems like everywhere I go, I get somebody hooked.
Perhaps the DVDs are made of the same stuff that got everyone but Wesley Crusher and guest love interest Ashley Judd hooked on video games on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Perhaps Newsradio’s sharp writing and its unbeatable ensemble cast made it one of the greatest comedies of all time.
On the surface, the show seems fairly innocuous: Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) is a boyish radio station manager dealing with an eccentric staff ranging from the avuncular and possibly insane station owner Mr. James (Stephen Root) to the cheerfully callous Bill McNeil (Phil Hartman). Somehow the series balanced subtle, character-driven humor with a propensity for bizarre storylines. Personal highlights include Bill giving up smoking to take up tobacco-chewing, or the station getting the “Y2k bug” early because its computer system was based around Christ’s true birth date.
All 97 episodes are collected in four volumes and each offers commentaries, bloopers and more. For those new to the show, the fourth season is probably the sitcom’s funniest, but each set is worth a look.
— Adam Clarke