Stella: Season One

Delivering the kind of witty irreverence that shows like Family Guy aim for but never quite achieve, Stella’s first ten-episode season is an exercise in non-sequiturs and over-the-top ridiculousness that somehow never gets old. Based around the comedic talents of Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain, the trio play exaggerated versions of themselves, living together in an apartment, dressing only in suits and not holding any discernable jobs. Instead, each episode finds them coming across a different method of filling their time, making friends or, occasionally, making money. In one of the season’s cleverest episodes, Michael, Michael and David each open their own competing coffee shops, driving them apart and leading to a hilarious guest appearance by Alan Ruck. The real gem is a "lost in the woods” scenario that leads to a run-in with Tim Blake Nelson, who pulls double-duty as a wise forest-dweller and well-meaning park ranger. Beyond the excellent comedic writing on display in every episode, this release includes commentary for all ten, which is oftentimes just as funny as the actual episodes. A blooper reel holds all the giddy playfulness you would expect to see on a show like this and several deleted scenes provide ample laughs. While the show’s website recently posted the fatefully inevitable announcement of its cancellation, this DVD includes enough meat to make its existence somewhat comforting beyond simply pulling together the solitary episodes of the show. Whether it’s having their first novel stolen by Janeane Garofalo or helping a young Topher Grace with the bullies on his paper route, Michael, Michael and David put together a solid series of off-kilter comedy with Stella (Comedy Central/Paramount)