The State: The Complete Series

Almost 15 years after it was prematurely yanked off of MTV, The State finally hits DVD. Though only a modest success at the time, the subsequent careers of the obscenely talented cast have earned the series an almost legendary cult status. Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black, Robert Ben Garant, Todd Holoubek, Michael Patrick Jann, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Michael Showalter and David Wain initially formed the State while they were in university, finding their way onto MTV shortly after graduation. Subsequent projects that various factions have done, like Reno 911! and Wet Hot American Summer, have gone on to become bigger successes but the groundwork for the surreal character humour of the former show and the satirical and almost anti-comedy tone of the latter film were laid out in this sadly underrated series. The Kids In The Hall and Mr. Show may have gotten all the attention for being the alternative sketch comedy shows in the '90s but The State holds up just as well. While early seasons were slowed by commercial and music parodies that were clearly forced upon the troupe by MTV (although a few of these bits, such as an appearance by Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen on The $7,000 Pyramid, are classics), by seasons three and four The State found a groove, producing a very strange and unique brand of comedy. The show featured everything from sketches about leisure suit-sporting '70s throwbacks with pudding fetishes to odd parodies of bad prank comedy and cheesy opening credit sequences. Because most of the sketches are surreal non-sequiturs, there isn't much topical humour and as a result, the show has barely aged a day. Unfortunately times have changed since The State originally aired on MTV and the network couldn't afford to clear the show's wall-to-wall pop music soundtrack for DVD. But other than that, fans should have nothing to complain about with this DVD package, which contains commentaries by the cast on every episode, hours of deleted scenes, outtakes and TV appearances, as well as vintage interviews. Fans of The State should be thrilled that the show is finally appearing on DVD in a stacked special edition. Hopefully the fancy package will attract new fans because if you've never seen The State, you're about to discover one of your new favourite shows. (Paramount)