SCTV Vol. 3

The third set of Network 90 shows from the SCTV days on NBC is the most significant of the lot yet. Not for what it contains but for the period in the show's evolution it represents. Over the five discs, we get the final nine episodes of the fourth season of what stands as one of the most inventive, smartest, daring and simply best television shows ever. It was during this period that the success of individual players and certain characters started taking its toll on the cast. The Bob and Doug McKenzie movie had become a hit and station manager Guy Cabellero decided to exploit that by creating a Vegas-style variety show around them with Tony Bennett as the guest star. In what became a case of life imitating art, Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis would leave the show at the end of this season to seek greener pastures. It was also around this time that John Candy was making a name for himself in feature films and was itching to get out. By the end of this season, Martin Short had finally entered the picture, having been badgered into joining by his Second City stage alums Thomas and Catherine O'Hara. Short's contributions as Jerry Lewis and later Ed Grimley would become the stuff of legend. But still in the 90-minute format, the writers and stars were able to continue doing those large arcing episodes that wrapped around the full show. In this set it's the hilarious Dr. Tongue tribute to One From the Heart, A 3-D Stake Through the Heart, and the Josh and Stan Shmengie variety show. Short's Jerry Lewis on the Champs-Elysees bit stands out as a comedy classic. But sadly, this set also hints at the downward slide the series would experience in its final two seasons. Still, television has rarely been as consistently funny as SCTV in its prime. Plus: star commentary on select episodes, cast and crew interviews and a John Candy profile. (Shout Factory/SMV)