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During the 1980s, NIGHT COURT was always one of my favorite sitcoms. The show had a goofy, very likable quality and the sometimes-surreal exploits of the characters usually added up to some really hilarious moments. The basic premise of NIGHT COURT center around the somewhat shabby courtroom, filled with colorful characters that is presided over by Judge Harry T. Stone (Harry Anderson), an oddball judge that loves magic tricks and Mel Torme- who somehow managed to get appointed to the bench. Week after week, the courtroom setting allowed for a series even odder defendants to be brought before said oddball judge. Season one regulars on the NIGHT COURT included John Larroquette as Dan Fielding, Richard Moll as Bull Shannon, Selma Diamond as Selma Hacker, Karen Austin as Lana Wagner and Paula Kelly as Liz Williams.

NIGHT COURT: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($30) comes in a two-disc set that features the following thirteen episodes: All You Need Is Love, Santa Goes Downtown, The Former Harry Stone, Welcome Back, Momma, The Eye Of The Beholder, Death Threat, Once In Love With Harry, Quadrangle Of Love, Wonder Drugs, Some Like It Hot, Harry And The Rock Star, Bull's Baby and Hi Honey, I'm Home.

Warner Home Video has made has made all the episodes that comprise NIGHT COURT: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Shot on NTSC broadcast caliber video in the mid 1980s, NIGHT COURT isnt the prettiest sitcom to ever hit DVD, but it always remains perfectly watchable and the picture quality always seems a hair better than a syndicated rebroadcast. The image can be a little soft and fuzzy, but NIGHT COURT pretty much looks the way it has always looked. Colors are perfectly acceptable, and are rendered at a decent level of stability. Blacks seem accurate; whites are fairly crisp and contrast looks about as good as one is likely to get from a mid-1980s NTSC broadcast level video source. An occasion drop out crops up here and there, but it is nothing that ever becomes distracting. Digital compression artifacts usually remain in check.

NIGHT COURT: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON comes with a perfectly acceptable Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. Fidelity is adequate for a dialogue driven sitcom with a laugh track; however, the shows jazzy theme music always sounds fine. There are no significant distortions on the individual tracks, although a mild hiss creeps in here and there. Dialogue is fairly clean sounding, plus it is always intelligible. No other language tracks are provided, but English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene/episode selection and set up features, as well as a few nice extra features. Series creator/executive producer Reinhold Weege is on hand to provide a running audio commentary on the pilot episode All You Need Is Love. Night Court: Comedy's Swing Shift is an eighteen minute program featuring Reinhold Weege and Harry Anderson talking about the series and various members of the cast.

As I stated above, NIGHT COURT was one of my favorite sitcoms of the 1980s. Warner has done a nice job with the DVD set; offering presentations as good as the videotape source materials will allow. If you are a fan, you will definitely want to add NIGHT COURT: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON to your DVD library. Recommended.



Night Court - The Complete First Season (1984)


DVD reviews are Copyright 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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