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NewsRadio: Season Three

For its third of five seasons, NewsRadio hit its stride. As the makers noted on the DVDs for the first and second seasons, initially the writers were concerned with trying to portray some of the work that goes into maintaining the show's faux newsradio station WNYX, whereas by Season Three all pretensions about following the day-to-day life of news reporting fell into the peripherals and the show focused on mundane office life and the family atmosphere that evolves from having a group of people work in close quarters for the majority of their day. The ringleader and voice of reason is Dave Nelson (Dave Foley), who dates coworker Lisa Miller (Maura Tierney). Their boss is the eccentric billionaire Jimmy James (Stephen Root), who in the premiere episode of the season decides to run for president to meet prospective wives, and who's helped immeasurably by the slightly slutty redheaded secretary Beth (Vicki Lewis). Constantly rabble-rousing is Bill McNeil (Phil Hartman), who's got a sycophant in office klutz Matthew Brock (Andy Dick), while for this season the attraction between handyman Joe Garelli (Joe Rogan) and reporter Catherine Duke (Khandi Alexander) is an ongoing subplot. What marks NewsRadio is some very sharp writing and amusing non sequiturs, such as in the episode "Halloween," where Foley dresses up like a woman (a throwback to his "Kids in the Hall" days) and it's decided he's prettier than his girlfriend. Or in "The Trainer," when the staff find out that Dave is actually a Canadian, while Bill is hustled by a fitness center employee (Ben Stiller). Of course, like all comedy shows, there's an abundance of cameos, with the best coming from an exasperated Jerry Seinfeld (playing himself), who gets cornered by Bill and Lisa in hopes of an interview. Also of note is something that would become a tradition with the show, as in one episode, "Space," the characters are moved hundreds of years into the future but have the exact same problems. Oddly, the final episode of the season, "The Injury," was included on the first and second season DVD collection. Sony presents the 25-episode run of NewsRadio: Season Three in solid full-frame transfers (1.33:1) with Dolby 2.0 Stereo audio. Extras include ten audio commentaries featuring creator Paul Simms, actors Foley, Root, Dick, Lewis, and Tierney, writers Al Higgins, Sam Johnson, and Lew Morton, writer/producers Joe Furey and Josh Lieb, post-production assistant Todd Chambers, and script supervisor Robert Spina. Also included are Season Three's gag reel (17 min.), and four featurettes, all with optional commentary: "Space from Table-Read to Film" (15 min.), "Filming Episode #323 Mistake" (10 min.), "A Visit to Andy's Trailer" (14 min.), and "One Man NewsRadio" (5 min.). Previews, two slim keep-cases (one double-disc, one single-disc) inside a paperboard sleeve.

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