While more cautious fans may want to pick and choose among the previously released individual volumes of Monty Python
for their collection, true Pythonites will want to own this definitive, 14-volume DVD-only boxed set that contains all 45 episodes (in chronological order) of Monty Python's Flying Circus
. This "persistently silly" collection encompasses three-and-a-half seasons of dead parrots, cross-dressing lumberjacks, loonies, upper class twits, and spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, and spam. Click past the occasional clunker and go directly to such signature sketches as the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Spanish Inquisition, the Fish-Slapping Dance, the Dead Parrot Sketch, the Lumberjack Song, the Cheese Shop, the Argument Clinic, and Nudge, Nudge. Taken as a whole, one marvels at how Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam thoroughly subverted television convention with "something completely different," like sketches with no punch lines ("Your average TV viewer isn't going to understand this").
A warning to the uninitiated: there is much "material that some may find offensive, but which is really smashing." Violations of something called the "Strange Sketch Act" are the least of the troupe's offenses, as witness the Oscar Wilde Sketch, the Dirty Vicar Sketch, and the Most Awful Family in Britain Sketch, all of which achieve "the really gross awfulness" all Python fans are looking for. Say no more. --Donald Liebenson
Talk about the full monty"Monty Python's Flying Circus", that is: A boxed set of 14 DVDs containing all the cerebral wit, slapstick, silly walks, and naughty bits that have made this series a comic classic. Making the deal even sweeter are these DVD extras: Meet the Chaps, a Pythonisms Glossary, Gillianimations Art Gallery, Troupe Career Highlights, trivia, web links, and more. About 24 hours 40 min. on 14 DVDs or 21 cassettes. Also available: "Seasons I-IV." Each is 13 episodes, 6-1/2 hours on 4 DVDs or 6 cassettes. Web Extra: If "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" had been a failure, the Pythons were prepared to split up. Though disputed by the group, it's said that Michael Palin is the "nice Python"Eric Idle is the "sixth nicest Python.".