Andy Barker, P.I. The Complete Series

Andy Barker, P.I. The Complete Series
In a featurette included with this two-DVD set, Andy Barker, P.I. co-creator and executive producer Conan O'Brien claims that he originally conceived the single-cam detective sitcom as a six-episode mini-series. Given the curse that seems to hang over its pudgy, effortlessly amiable star Andy Richter, it's hard to believe him. Airing on NBC in March and April of 2007, Andy Barker, P.I. had Richter playing an unassuming chartered accountant who winds up embroiled in investigative intrigue when he inherits the office of an aging private dick (Fargo's Harve Presnell). Along for the ride are Arrested Development's Tony Hale as a video store manager who uses his immense knowledge of Hollywood gangster films to help crack cases, and Marshall Manesh as an overzealously patriotic Afghani restaurateur who chips in with his tech savvy. Unlike similar gumshoe comedies, like HBO's soft-boiled Jason Schwartzman vehicle Bored to Death, Barker holds its own as a detective show. Sure, it's hard to develop intricately layered mysteries in the half-hour format but Andy's juggling of his CPA duties and detective work generally proves fairly gripping and always funny (like when he has a meeting with a client while on the run from the Russian mob). Presnell also shines as the cigar-chomping, terminally cantankerous mentor suspicious of kebabs and iced coffee. A handful of one-off cameos by the likes of Traci Lords, Amy Sedaris and Ed Asner further lend cult cache to the series. It's by no means an adored, martyred sitcom of Arrested Development calibre and it's not as consistently funny as Richter's short-lived Fox series Andy Richter Controls the Universe but Andy Barker, P.I. remains a genuinely funny and often clever watch. Features include a series retrospective, a gag reel and some funny commentaries by cast and crew, including Richter, O'Brien, Hale and co-creator Jonathan Groff. (Shout! Factory)