There aren’t a whole lot of exciting new DVD releases this week, but there’s enough new stuff on Friday night alone to keep you busy for a while. HBO is doubling down on comedy programming and the winner is (potentially) us (maybe).
Black Dynamite – Surely to be the most-played DVD in college dorms for the next 3 years, this blaxploitation spoof has gotten pretty mixed notices from critics. Basically, if you saw the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen the film. Or so I’ve heard.
Good Hair – Chris Rock’s amusing but admittedly thin documentary about the African-American hair industry. It’s certainly eye-opening and actually pretty funny; worth a rent for sure, or catch it on cable in a month or two.
The Ricky Gervais Show – HBO is launching their new Friday night comedy lineup with this, which seems like a really weak premise – they’ve taken the old Ricky Gervais podcasts and animated them in Flash with Hanna-Barberra-esque cartoon versions of Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. If you’ve heard those podcasts – and millions of people have – then you’ve seen this material already (and frankly it was funnier when Pilkington's nonsense wasn't visualized Shorties Watchin' Shorties-style). Hopefully there’s some original stuff in here and it isn’t 100 percent rehashed, but we’ll see.
Funny or Die Presents – This is the highlight of the week and is not to be missed by any discerning comedy fan. It’s not clear if this is going to be all original material – the trailers suggest it’s a mix of stuff from the website, with more new stuff than old – but it seems every talented comedian and comic actor is taking part in this sketch show, including most of Human Giant, Zach Galifianakis and more. It’s on at midnight on Friday after Real Time.
The Life and Times of Tim: Season 2 – More of the somewhat-animated comedy series I haven’t seen nearly enough of to comment on. Time to rent season one!
Real Time with Bill Maher – The world’s smuggest (and probably most entertaining and interesting) talk show is back after a long hiatus this week. Last season Maher experimented with his format a lot; sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, and he seemed to be running low on interesting guests (every panel should probably have at least one person whose job it is to be entertaining), but it was certainly more hit than miss.
Small Wonder Season One – Shout! Factory has given unto us many marvelous things on DVD; Mystery Science Theater 3000, Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared and a whole bunch of other great, somewhat obscure shows.
They have decided to abuse this magical power they have and are releasing the first season of one of the worst sitcoms of all time, Small Wonder. Feel free to give this a rent at some point and make sure you have a stopwatch handy so you’ll know exactly how many minutes you were able to tolerate how horribly, embarrassingly bad this show is.