Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Action: The Complete Series
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on December 19, 2005
I am so glad this cruelly under-watched show is coming to DVD; my treasured third-generation VCR copy of the complete series is showing signs of wear from my having watched it so many times. This show was way too smart for its own good and maybe a few years ahead of its time.

Jay Mohr was absolutely perfect as producer Peter Dragon. The rest of the regular cast (including Ileana Douglas, R. Lee Ermey, and even the late Buddy Hackett) were uniformly marvelous. Even the more minor characters were brilliantly cast: nobody who saw characters like Asher, the supercilious maitre 'd, or the Chinese-American liposuctionist, or the fearsome PR fixer Connie Hunt, or terrifyingly well-endowed studio head Bobby Z, or closeted action hero Cole Riccardi will ever forget them. The guest stars (Salma Hayek, Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Tony Hawk, etc.) were fearless participants in sly send-ups of the Hollywood that they are themselves such a large part of.

But the real stars were the writers. The show seems like it's all about Peter Dragon, but it's just as much the story of nebbish writer Adam Rafkin (or was it Alan Rifkin?...). Fighting to retain every sensitive allegorical scene in his magnum opus, BEVERLY HILLS GUN CLUB (like the ritual slaughter of the pandas), Rafkin is the perfect counterpart to Dragon's consummate amoral Hollywood insider. While Rafkin is trying desperately to become an insider and starts to lose his moral compass, Dragon (to his considerable surprise) starts to find that he actually *has* a moral compass, even if it doesn't always point true north.

This show is hilarious, knowing, occasionally vicious, brilliantly written, superbly acted, and a real treat for anyone who loved THE PLAYER or DAY OF THE LOCUSTS. Having it on DVD is going to be great. If you love CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, or ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, ACTION! is likely to be right up your alley. If, on the other hand, you loved EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND...um....have a nice life.
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More than 5 years after its short-lived run on Fox, "Action" has come to DVD! I never liked American sitcoms. Never found them funny. Can't stand laugh tracks. But this raunchy no-holds-barred showbiz satire had me hooked on the first episode. "Action" was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I rearranged my schedule to watch this show in 1999. And it doesn't have a laugh track! It doesn't need one. It's actually funny. "Action" was cancelled after only eight episodes. Fox had put it up against "Frasier", "Chicago Hope" and WWF (now WWE) wrestling on Thursday nights. The stiffest competition on television. "Action" apparently did ok in urban markets but no where else. That's not surprising, since half of its audience was watching the WWF. Now all 13 episodes, including some never shown on network television, are on these 2 DVDs. The order of the episodes is different than it was on television, and it's not clear to me what the intended order was. Expletives that were bleeped out on television have been restored, although they were funnier when they were bleeped, truthfully. The "beep"s became part of the joke.

"Action" follows the outrageous antics of Hollywood producer Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr) as he tries to produce "Beverly Hills Gun Club", his latest action-comedy and hopeful hit. Peter's production company Dragonfire Films specializes in "event films", meaning ultra-violent action, and Peter needs to redeem himself after an expensive flop. Peter's boss at the studio is domineering, gay billionaire Bobby G (Lee Arenberg) -who is married to Peter's ex-wife Jane (Cindy Ambuehl). His Vice President of Production is blunt, savvy Wendy Ward (Illeana Douglas), a former child-star-turned-high-priced-hooker. Stuart Glazer (Jack Plotnick) is his much-abused Head of Production. Peter's driver and security man is his Uncle Lonnie (Buddy Hackett). His leading man (Fabrizio Filippo) is a junkie. But Peter will stop at nothing to make his movie -in a culture that is socially deterministic, to put it mildly. Exhausted, put-upon screenwriter Adam Rafkin (Jarrad Paul) is caught in the middle of it all.

"Action" has been called the "filthiest" and "meanest" television show ever, but I never thought of it that way. I just think it's hilariously blunt. It's not dirty for dirty's sake; it's dirty for funny's sake. In spite of their faults, these are characters that people in the audience would want to know in real life. They talk the way people really talk and think like people really think. And they enjoy it. For all of it's cynicism and lewdness, "Action" might be the least neurotic sitcom in recent decades. The characters have a certain joie de vivre that is infectious. That was a big part of the show's appeal for me. The writing is so economical that there is no filler. It's non-stop smart comedy. I found myself convinced of the writers' brilliance while watching an episode that revolves around a frog-up-the-butt joke. Now, I don't like scatological humor. But I couldn't stop laughing. Anybody who can make a crude anal joke funny for a half an hour is a genius. Warren Zevon was the perfect choice to write and perform the theme song. (Too bad his first proposal was rejected by the network.) There are cameos by Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Salma Hayek, Scott Wolf, Tony Hawk, David Leisure, and David Hasselhoff. Jay Mohr plays Peter Dragon to sharp, hilarious perfection. Jack Plotnick performs to near-equal brilliance as Peter's used and abused lackey. These guys have a surprising ability to evoke real emotions in the midst of an orgy of brutal satire and dirty jokes.

When I first saw "Action", I thought that the blunt, horny producer of over-the-top action films might have been inspired by notorious producer Don Simpson. But apparently the incidents in the series were based on stories that producer Joel Silver told the writers as well as on the experiences of the writers themselves. I've heard a lot of speculation on why "Action" had so little audience, even though the writing is among the best ever on television. Some say the show was "too hip for the room", too "insider", or "too edgy". I don't buy that. "Action" is jam-packed with insider jokes. So is "The Producers". But the behavior in is so hilarious that the audience doesn't need to get all the jokes. I think the problem was simply the time slot. The perfect spot for "Action" would have been Monday nights after "That 70s Show", the spot that "Titus" -which has a similar audience- succeeded in as a mid-season replacement. On Thursday nights, half of "Action"'s audience was watching the WWF, a well-established show that never has re-runs. It's disappointing and a little puzzling that Fox was not willing to move the show to save it at least for one season. There is very little I wouldn't have given to see "Beverly Hills Gun Club" through to its premiere.

The DVDs (Sony Pictures 2006): All episodes are about 23 minutes long. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8 and an audio commentary for Episode 8 ("Love Sucks"). The audio commentary is by writers Jim Vallely, Matt Silverstein, Dave Jesser, producer/sometime director Don Reo, actor Jarrad Paul, and writer/co-executive producer Ron Zimmerman. Unfortunately, there isn't much information offered. It's clear that these guys think the show's jokes still hold up, but I'd rather have had more commentary and less chuckling. We know it's funny. Tell us something we don't know. Disc 2 includes episodes 9-13 and more bonus features: audio commentaries of the "Dead Man Floating" and "One Easy Piece" episodes, featuring the same group of writers and producers, plus writer/story editor Will Forte. "Getting Into the Action" (26 min) is the bonus feature you really want to watch. It examines the life cycle of "Action", from genesis to cancellation, through interviews with executive producers Joel Silver and Chris Thompson, producer Don Reo, the writers, and Jay Mohr. "Trust Me: Useful Words and Phrases" presents about a dozen movie industry terms with accompanying clips from "Action" either illustrating or spoofing them. No subtitles.
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on December 15, 2005
Full of swearing, sex, drugs and insider jokes about Hollywood, this was doomed from minute one, but remains some of the funniest television I've seen. Jay Mohr plays a delicious monster and the supporting cast all give very good value. The humour never strays out of the deep black, so possibly not for easily offended.
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on April 28, 2006
This needs way more than 5 stars becuase it is absolutely the funniest thing I have ever seen on television. The ironic thing is that the basis of the show is that the entertainment biz is full of shallow, shortsighted, greedy zeros. And to prove the point, this show was moved from timeslot to timeslot and killed before it's time. Like the movie 'This is Spinal Tap', this is parody that is so dead on and so focused, it was too 'left coast' to have caught on in a big way. It's pure genius. If you own Spinal Tap or Curb Your Enthusiasm, you MUST own this. And the price is just silly. This will be your best entertainment value for the dollar.
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on August 14, 2007
I worked on this show when it was in post-production and in "dailies telecine" every night we would talk about the funniest line from that day's shooting and how that line would never make it to broadcast!

Well, many of those lines didn't make it to broadcast, they were bleeped out... but they're back and all of them are every bit as funny as they were the nights I first heard them.

I can also remember that we kept working on the show even after it was canceled and at the time it seemed strange to me that we were finishing episodes that would never be broadcast. I'm glad to see them included here so that everyone who is a fan of this show can see them all.

It's incredible how "inside" the show is. By far and away, it is the most no-holds-barred look at the industry I have seen or heard of.

But one of my favorite things about the way the show is constructed is in the use of inside snippets for all the bumpers to commercial. The use of "stix" (the marker board that syncs sound to picture at the beginning of each take) or the insertion of a theatre snack bar placard are true genius as a device to move us from content to commercial.

If you love movies and love to laugh, don't miss this show...
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on January 29, 2006
It's about time! Excellent Comedy with jay Mohr! Crass, profane, All you need! --- I had resulted to buying bootleg VHS copied on Ebay years ago( as Jay Mohr once sugested)....nice to clean dvd quality with out the bleeeeeps.CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PREORDER NOW BEFORE AMAZON RAISES THE PRICE.....AND THEY WILL.

Hey Jay -- you once told me this would never make it to dvd beacuse of the two studios fighting over $$$$ ---glad you were wrong my friend!!!!
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May NOT be everyone's cup-of-tea... coffee... carrot juice... (stay away from that cob salad!)...
but it was over before many of us ever HEARD about...
and I happen to KNOW some of Jay Mohr's RELATIVES!
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on July 12, 2015
Hilarious, yet short-lived Fox series and probably one of the best parts I've seen Jay Mohr play - though keep in mind this series is from the 90's when humor wasn't so politically correct, so if you're easily offended by crass/crude humor, save yourself the grief and look for something a little more tame. Though, like Ozzy Osborne's reality show, a lot of the fun watching the original airings was deciphering what was bleeped out by the network censors, the DVD version is uncensored.
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on May 25, 2015
If you haven't seen this, you should, unless you are sensitive to extremely foul language (and I mean over the top here). This absolutely hilarious series offers an absurd parody of Hollywood -- personalities, vanity, egos, perversions and production difficulties. Jay Mohr is brilliant as the absolutely loathsome Peter Dragon. Supporting cast is perfect. Watch this, it is side-splittingly funny.
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on April 28, 2016
A great classic comedy, what on earth possessed the TV company to cancel this very funny dark comedy - Jay Mohr is excellent. Comedies like this are taken off air, but we have to tolerate series after series of very poor unfunny comedies on TV.
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