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Newsradio - The Complete Fourth Season
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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2006
The 1990s were a notoriously bad decade for sitcoms. Hundreds of Seinfeld- and Wayans-wannabes flooded the airwaves and, in general, aside from Seinfeld and Sports Night, few had any originality or staying power. NewsRadio is a glorious exception, a bright and occasionally very biting comedy about the workplace which is kindred to Mary Tyler Moore and Newhart more so than to Just Shoot Me. NewsRadio's laughs came from brilliant observations, recurring gags, well-defined characters and logical but wacky plotlines. It was close in vein to Seinfeld's unsentimentality, but far more vicious: one example is in season 3's Daydream episode, for those who saw it, has all the characters experiencing revealing daydreams. It features a vendor whose dream is to be one of the "gang" at WNYX, but as it turns out is hardly known and barely tolerated. NewsRadio invests more in its characters than do most dramas, and never settles for the half-assed laugh-track banality of its contemporaries. This is why it developed such a following, even if it was a very small percentage of the population.

The fourth season of NewsRadio is once again a triumph. With every season, the show kept building upon itself and getting better. There were notable guest appearances: Jon Lovitz has another guest appearance, this time as a suicide jumper exactly one year before joining the cast. Additionally, a pre-Gilmore Girls Lauren Graham begins a stint in this season as an efficiency expert. There were some departures as well: first, Khandi Alexander left the show, despite the fact that her initially poorly-written character had improved a great deal; and, of course, Phil Hartman was murdered by his wife after this season. The knowledge of this invariably tints the experience of watching this season. Nevertheless, these episodes show Hartman at his imperious best: taking over the office (in Who's the Boss?), getting a butler (in The Secret of Management), and becoming a Bob Roberts-type performer (in The Public Domain). Other highlights: Matthew (Andy Dick) gets fired, Dave (Dave Foley) and Lisa (Maura Tierney) split again and then switch jobs, and then switch again. This doesn't stop Lisa from trying to pick the brain of the station's owner, Mr. James (Stephen Root), with hilarious results. I could go on, but ultimately, this is a sitcom that is better enjoyed the less you know going in. Even so, it rewards multiple viewings, which is surprising since many sitcoms don't even reward single viewings. With the release of this show on DVD, it will likely become more popular than ever, and hopefully take its rightful place in the pantheon of great comedy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2006
Newsradio is a prime example of a great cast having a great time on a great show.

In a word?

Great.

Its also a fitting tribute to the genius of Phil Hartman, an

amazing actor, comedian & allround good guy who met a tragic end.

Buy them for the memories, remember how funny every cast member was & pay your respects to the unforgettable Phil.

10 Stars out of 5.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2006
Just my favorite show of all time. Unfortunately overlooked by audiences, but it's comedic genious is in every episode which is just so rare in today's comedy arena. Sometimes you miss jokes because you are still laughing from the last joke, which means the episodes have multiple watches. I hope you enjoy!

I just wanted to add to the one's review who did not have information on episode 63.

Episode 63. Look Who's Talking. Dave and Lisa are surprised to learn that Bill is looking into adopting a baby.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2006
Warning: Viewing "NewsRadio" can be addicting. Even watching a few episodes can cause you rush out and by ever available season. Season 3 was one of the best seasons ever (few sitcoms ever have seasons that great) and Season 4 picks up where S3 left off.

The episodes dealing with Matthew getting fired and then asked back is hysterical. If you liked the Space Spoof at the end of Season 3, then you're in luck because Season 4 ends with a Titanic spoof.

Do yourself a favor and own one of the most original, well cast, masterfully written shows to ever air on television. NewsRadio is a must own!
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2006
This season is one of the best I've ever seen. I've started watching the show on a regular basis starting with this season premiere's episode, "Jumper". It's sad to also see that this was the last season for Catherine Duke (Khandi Alexander) and at the end of the season Bill McNeill (Phil Hartman) died. However, I really like this season and hopefully it will include some featurette on the 4th season and the 5th season, the reflection on Bill McNeill's life (Phil Hartman) of course.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It is satisfying to read about the "Newsradio" fourth season, and to see many of one's hunches confirmed. The third season, which I really believed was better than the first two, was the lowest rated season of its five season run, and one can see in season 4 exactly the kind of changes, giving things I found missing in previous seasons. The most obvious is the addition of two to four episode arcs in the plot. The first was when an efficiency expert had Matthew (Andy Dick) fired to eliminate wasteful expenses. The second arc was when Lisa (Maura Tierney) replaced Dave (Dave Foley) as News Director. It may not be surprising if none of these arcs worked very well, since they were done at the urging of the network, against the wishes of the principle writers. None came even within shouting distance of the great arc in the relationship between Diane and Sam on "Cheers", which had us going for the better part of two seasons, with enough bumps in the road to make the genuine attraction between the two that much more engaging. I suggest the writers knew what they were doing, since the most memorable episodes were "standalone", such as episode 17 "Balloon" and "President", episode 1 of season 3, both highlighting Jimmy James (Stephen Root). The last episode, of which I will avoid giving away any spoilers, was possibly a classic example of what has been described as "jumping the shark", where a series is in trouble, and it tries something gimmicky to recoup viewers. One thing from which the show did not recover is the loss of Khandi Alexander, about a third of the way through the season. She never played a big role, but her character was a great contrast to the assortment of misfits and inept managers.That loss removed the basis for about four or five good lines per episode.

Unlike some other reviewers, I believe the show was very good, but not great, in the same class as other ensemble cast comedies such as "Taxi", "Cheers", "Frazier", "Seinfeld", and "Friends". It seems as if it delivered all it best stuff early, and it never made good use of the characters of Joe, Beth, and Catherine. But then, its differences are what make it so much fun to watch, especially with the relatively low price of the complete season sets.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2006
After Seinfeld this is the funniest American sitcom of all time.
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VINE VOICEon March 20, 2015
This was Phil Hartman's last season with Newsradio before he was murdered by his own wife, Brynn, who later committed suicide. Phil Hartman was perhaps one of the most talented comedians ever and well-remembered for his impersonations on Saturday Night Live. He was truly a gifted comic and actor. I still sorely miss Phil Hartman more than 17 years later. His tragic death was a great loss to everybody in the entertainment industry and to his fans. He was finally awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame posthumously for television.

The fourth season featured the cast in memorable episodes like the Titanic episode; Phil's Bill adopting a baby; Jimmy James in the balloon; and others. This season begins with Andy Dick's character, Matthew, fired from the radio show and the efficiency expert (played by Lauren Graham) in a few episodes. The cast was always first rate and worked as an ensemble with Phil leading the way. Everybody in the cast was able to shine. Kandi Alexander left the show midseason but they send her off on a high note. She returned for Bill's funeral in the next season. Vicki Lewis was a Broadway musical actress before she came on Newsradio. I always thought she and Kathy Griffin (who was playing Vicki on Suddenly Susan) could have played sisters. The other cast members include Maura Tierney,Stephen Root, Dave Foley, and Joe Rogan who rounded up the cast.

Newsradio never recovered from the loss of Phil Hartman. His friend and former Saturday Night Live co-star Jon Lovitz joined the series. Lovitz also appears in the fourth season opener as the man on the ledge. You can see how Hartman and Lovitz got along in the gag reels. The show would sadly end eventually. This three DVD disc set displayed great comedy with an ensemble cast as an AM Radio station in New York City with an eccentric billionaire Jimmy James and his eccentric group lead by level headed Dave.

Through all of it, I laughed and I wanted to cry because I still miss Phil Hartman after all these years. If he had lived, he would have been a bigger star. I only wished this DVD featured a tribute to the late great Phil Hartman though but I still enjoyed the season and miss watching it in syndication.
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on July 8, 2007
I loved this 4th season of the underappreciated sitcom, Newsradio. If you like to laugh, you'll enjoy this show. Of course, I would recommend that you start at the very beginning and watch the first 3 seasons before this one--but it's really a very simple show to follow. And what a great cast--Dave Foley, Andy Dick, Maura Tierney (who needs to return to TV sitcom land after she finishes all of her drama on ER), the late Phil Hartman and Vicki Lewis! They're all wonderful. My favorite episodes of the 4th season: "Super Karate Monkey Death Car", in which a translation of Jimmy's book makes him a celebrity in Japan; "French Diplomacy", in which Matthew reopens his dormant dental practice; "Catherine Moves On", in which Catherine resigns and, unfortunately, the terrific Khandi Alexander leaves the show; "Security Door", in which a security door is installed; "Big Brother", in which Matthew gets a big brother; "Beep, Beep", in which Matthew tools around the office in a toy car (hysterical); "Balloon", in which Jimmy's round-the-world balloon flight is discovered to be a hoax; and "Copy Machine", in which a copy machine causes an employee's death. As for DVD extras, there's a gag reel, a bizarre short film and cast/crew commentaries (which are fun and interesting to listen to). I highly recommend this show and this DVD. Buy it right now! You won't regret it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2007
I love every season of NewsRadio, but some things make this one stand out:

- It lost Khandi Alexander. Her character never really added much to the show.

- Lauren Graham was on for a partial season arc. She was great as Andrea "Plan B," and the other characters played off her beautifully. Matthew's interactions with her and the staff's attempts to conceal Matthew's incompetence from her are comic genius.

- Super Karate Monkey Death Car, my favorite episode, is in this season. Jimmy's readings from his book, Jimmy James, Capitalist Lion Tamer -- after it was translated into Japanese and back to English to become Jimmy James, Macho Business Donkey Wrestler -- are some of the funniest stuff I have ever seen in my life.

I could go on about various aspects of the show and different episodes, but why waste your time? If you're looking at season four, you've seen NewsRadio. If I could only own one season of NewsRadio, this would be it. If you don't have it, get it.
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