television series and movie DVD reviews and previews from - curled up with a good dvd
television series and movie DVD reviews and previews from - curled up with a good dvd
DVD reviews, previews and info - television series and tv movies
  action movies on DVD
  animation on DVD
  art house and international / foreign language films on DVD
  comedies on DVD
  documentaries on DVD
  dramas on DVD
  children's and family DVDs
  horror and sci-fi on DVD
  suspense on DVD
  television series on DVD
  Blu-ray DVD reviews


Reno 911 - The Complete Fifth Season - action adventure DVD / television series DVD / family and children DVD review
RENO 911 -
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash, Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon, Carlos Alazraqui
  Studio: Comedy Central
DVD release: 15 July 2008   Runtime: 352 minutes
(3 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Stereo - English), Closed captioned, Commentary, Cop Psychology: Inside the Minds of Reno's Deputies, Additional/extended scenes, The Daily Show - Marines in Berkeley, The Colbert Report - Tip/Wag Afghanistan, Dangle and Wiegel at the Mr. McHuggle's Warehouse, Clown Car Tragedy, South Park - It's Just Gone, Lil' Bush - Spring Break, Garcia and Junior Join a Militia, Jackie's Last Will and Testament

Reno 911! parodies the long-running Fox show COPS, only with eight supposed Reno, Nevada, police officers with all the smarts and cunning of The Three Stooges.

While there are eight main characters, three of the officers get the majority of the screentime: Dep. Junior (Robert Ben Garant), Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon) and Dep. Wiegel (Kerri-Kearney Silver). That's fine with me - Dep. Wiegel is one of the funniest characters on TV today. Her na´ve, borderline bizarre actions are good for a laugh almost every episode.

Season 5 basically follows the successful premise of the previous seasons. Each episode is built around one main storyline from which a series of rapid-fire skits and jokes spring. The jokes typically involve either the cops encountering a bizarre situation, an officer doing something extremely stupid, or both.

What is unique about the show is that the episodes are created without a script, and nearly every scene is improvised (one clue to this improvisation is how close the actors come to cracking each other up; it brings back fond memories of the old Carol Burnett Show where Tim Conway and Harvey Korman constantly made each other laugh). This "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" method doesn't always work, as many jokes fall flat. However, I have to admit that there are moments in nearly every episode where I laughed out loud. Instead of a rehash of every episode, I'll point out some highlights:

  • Episode 2 features the cops teaming up with TV bounty hunter Tommy Hawk (The Drew Carey Show veteran Diedrich Bader) to track down fugitive drug smugglers. Hawk is a hilarious mix between Dog the Bounty Hunter and Rock of Love's Bret Michaels.
  • Episodes 1-3 start with Dangle trying to "jump the shark" at a charity event, a funny nod and wink to the pop culture phrase referring to a show that is in decline.
  • In Episode 3, the women officers receive new supposed bulletproof vests that are worthless at stopping a bullet but are remarkably flattering to their cleavage (to the chagrin of the already well endowed Dep. Johnson).
  • In Episode 5, Jones and Kimball try to go door to door selling Coconut Nut Clusters candy bars to benefit the sheriff's athletic league, with nightmarish but hilarious results.
  • Episode 10 shows Dangle and Wiegel attempting to dispose of cocaine hidden inside a warehouse full of creepy talking bunny dolls.
  • In Episode 12, the officers have to enforce a six-foot rule for lap dances in strip clubs. The highlight: Wiegel, trying to go undercover as a stripper, is forced to try to strip on the main stage.
  • In Episode 15, an LAPD officer (Ryan Stiles, another Drew Carey Show veteran) gives the cops acting lessons so they can be more convincing undercover. While not part of the main story, this episode features what I think is the funniest scene of the entire season, when Junior, Dangle and Jones encounter a horrific clown car accident at a local circus.

Again, not every skit works. It is clearly not a "politically correct" show, and almost no subject (even 9/11 or animal cruelty) is off limits. For instance, there are not one but two gay stereotypes as recurring characters (not including the barely closeted Lt. Dangle). While these characters are funny in a few skits, they grow tiresome after awhile (a funnier recurring character to me is the "Theoretical Criminal," played by Keegan Michael Key, who is constantly being caught red-handed yet still thinks he can talk himself out of any situation). Many viewers might also find the humor too crude, sophomoric and repetitive at times (Junior is constantly being beaten up by women and too many people fall off a particular section of interstate bridge, for example).

Still, I think there is a laugh to be found in nearly every episode. If one is in the mood for some silly but oftentimes clever comedy, this season is worth a look.

NOTE: This DVD set is stamped "Uncensored" and means it. Words that were bleeped out on TV are heard in full here. Also, some scenes in a strip club feature topless nudity.

Like COPS, Reno 911! is filmed by showing a mix of fixed camera shots and shaky handheld video. The picture is crisp and clear, and the Dolby Digital stereo sound works fine.

Six of the features receive funny audio commentary from selected cast members. I just wish more of my favorite episodes on the disc received a commentary.

"Cop Psychology: Inside the Minds of Reno's Deputies" (23:26) is featured on Disc 3 and is a collection of psychological interviews of the eight officers.

Also on Disc 3 are four extended scenes showing unused content (including the hilarious clown car tragedy). The scenes offer insight as to how long the cast might improvise a scene in order to strike gold.

Disc 1 also holds four "Comedy Central Quickies" from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, South Park and Lil' Bush, as well as promos for other Comedy Central DVDs.

Regular Cast: Cedric Yarbrough (Dep. S. Jones), Niecy Nash (Dep. Raineesha Williams), Robert Ben Garant (Dep. Travis Junior), Thomas Lennon (Lt. Jim Dangle), Carlos Alazraqui (Dep. James Garcia), Kerri Kenney-Silver (Dep. Trudy Wiegel), Wendy McLendon-Covey (Dep. Clementine Johnson), Mary Birdsong (Dep. Cheresea Kimball)

  buy this DVD now or browse millions of other great products at
reviewed by Trent Daniel
    action | animation | art house/international | comedy | documentary | drama | family | horror/sci-fi | suspense | television    
    browse DVDs alphabetical by title    
    contact | home