Judge Harry T. Stone presides over the New York City night court. The cases that come before Judge Stone are always a little bit silly, but it's up for debate whether his motley crew of staff or the criminals for whom he dispenses justice are more bizarre. Enjoy the chaos that made this hilarious 80s sitcom one of the top shows of its time.
This "Television Favorites" compilation offers a sampling of Night Court, one of the zaniest and bawdiest shows to hit network primetime in the 1980s. In the pilot, we meet the Mel Tormé-loving, joke-playing, too-young judge Harry Stone (Harry Anderson) presiding over the night beat of New York. Joining him are lecherous assistant district attorney Dan (John Larroquette), bald Bunyanesque bailiff Bull (Richard Moll), and uptight court clerk Lana (Karen Austin). The other five episodes are all from later seasons (4-6) when the series was at its peak. The cast solidified with court clerk Mac (Charles Robinson), sexy public defender Christine (Markie Post), and dry-as-a-martini-wit bailiff Roz (Marsha Warfield). In "Her Honor," Harry is removed from the bench and replaced by Christine, leading to the memorable image of him riding roller skates wearing a jet pack. Unfortunately, the two episodes included here ended season 4, but not included are the two episodes that opened season 5 and finished the story line. Bull is struck by lightning in "Death of a Bailiff," Dan is tempted by a young Teri Hatcher in "Who Was That Mashed Man?" (both from season 5), and a disaster threatens both the courtroom and Dan's political campaign in "Fire" (season 6).
While most of Warner's "Television Favorites" releases have been single-disc samplers to gauge the market for a full-season release, Night Court is different because the complete first season was previously released on DVD (the pilot is on both releases, but with a commentary track only on the full-season release). Presumably, slow sales on the initial DVD set prompted this release as a test case for the viability of future seasons. It's a bit like apples and oranges, however, as the later seasons were much better than the first. Fans want those seasons in full, of course. Unfortunately, if they decide to boycott the Television Favorites disc on principle, the slow sales might mean the last eight seasons of Night Court will never make it to DVD at all. --David Horiuchi