Undeniably the hippest show to air on cable in the 1990s, The Larry Sanders Show takes you backstage at a fictional late night talk show with real-life guests from movies, music and television. The Larry Sanders Show was ahead of its time, becoming an immediate critical and audience hit for its satirical, tongue-in-cheek look at Hollywood. The series that combined documentary-like camerawork with a clever blend of fact and fiction set the standard of quality for HBO and influenced the development of shows like Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Office.
Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show features more than 8 hours of newly-produced material including Garry Shandling in personal and intimate visits with friends like Alec Baldwin, Tom Petty, Sharon Stone, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jon Stewart and including the compellingly entertaining, feature-length documentary, "The Making of The Larry Sanders Show."
The Larry Sanders Show was at the forefront of changing the genre of TV comedy, and influenced the development of many shows to follow, like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, and both versions of The Office. The source of that inspiration is on full display here, as talk-show host Larry Sanders (Shandling) along with his producer Artie (Rip Torn) and his "poor deluded bastard" sidekick Hank (Jeffrey Tambor), struggles to keep his late-night talk show on the air despite dropping ratings, absurd notes from the network, and a hilarious tendency to self-sabotage his personal life. His guest stars, including some of the biggest names in show business, seem to enjoy lampooning their images and provide some of the sharpest comic moments. It's great stuff, and it's too bad all six seasons are not scheduled to be released on DVD. Shandling reportedly went this route with the release, rather than continuing with complete seasons, because of a desire to wrap it all up at once after a long legal battle with producer Brad Grey. While many fans might bemoan the fact that there will be no complete-season sets of The Larry Sanders Show released after this, there are episodes from all six seasons here to enjoy, including the first and the double-part finale. With a gem like this, it's better to savor what's available than to lament what might have been. --Daniel Vancini