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NewsRadio: Season 5

4.3 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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(Mar 20, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tune in for another sidesplitting look behind the scenes at radio station WNYX. In the final season of the series, on-air newsman Max Louis joins the staff after the unexpected death of beloved anchor Bill McNeal. Regulars Dave Foley, Stephen Root, Andy Dick, Maura Tierney, Vicki Lewis and Joe Rogan welcome Jon Lovitz to the wackiest news team in New York and deliver all the on-the-air/off-the-wall hilarity you've come to expect! Includes every episode from the hysterical fifth and final season, featuring very special guest appearances by Patrick Warburton (TV's "Seinfeld"), Adam West (TV's "Batman") and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (TV's "Beverly Hills 90210").

"We're not going be here forever together," billionaire and WNYX station owner Jimmy James (Stephen Root) says at one point to the cracked NewsRadio team. "Eventually, we're going to have to move on with our lives." That time came too soon for this endearingly goofy series, which could not overcome the shocking and tragic murder of perhaps its most beloved ensemble member, nor network indifference and low ratings. The fifth was News Radio's last and least season, but only by this series' own high loopy standards. In fact, many years on, these episodes have aged surprisingly well. The heartbreaking season opener, which takes place following the funeral of news anchor Bill McNeal (said to be felled by a heart attack), honors the memory of the irreplaceable Phil Hartman with genuine affection and humor. Andy Dick, in particular, is movingly understated as Matthew, who idolized Bill and is in denial about his death. The second episode introduces Jon Lovitz, who costarred with Hartman on Saturday Night Live, as the hapless Max Lewis, who has been fired from 37 different stations, but was a friend of McNeal's. "It's not about qualifications, it's about chemistry," James advises news director Dave (Dave Foley). "Maybe hiring a friend of [Bill's] will help us ease over this rough patch." It's true, as one character states, that "no one can replace Bill," but after a few episodes, Lovitz becomes a seamless member of the ensemble.

Some of this season's most memorable episodes subvert these singularly weird characters. In "Flowers for Matthew," a new "smart drink" transforms Matthew, the office's "silly little monkey," into "Smart Matthew" (or "Smathhew"). In "Noise," high-strung Dave mellows out after Joe (Joe Rogan) builds him a white-noise machine. A story arc that will reverberate throughout the season finds Jimmy James on the lam after the FBI accuses him of being the legendary hijacker D.B. Cooper. Patrick Warburton, who like Lovitz simply sounds funny, guest stars as James' arch nemesis, Johnny Johnson, who has designs on his business empire, and later, on reporter Lisa (Maura Tierney). Another memorable guest star is Tiffani-Amber Thiessen as Lisa's bombshell new assistant, who devastates brainy Dave and brawny Joe. NewsRadio deftly melded physical comedy, out-of-left-field situations, sparkling dialogue, and bizarre grace notes (the wacky outfits of Vicki Lewis's "red-haired temptress," Beth). What makes this set especially News-worthy are the extras, including 10 entertaining commentaries with cast and crew members and a generous gag reel. To quote Bill McNeal: "Salut!" --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • 22 episodes on five discs
  • Gag reel
  • Deleted scenes

Product Details

  • Actors: Joe Rogan, Jon Lovitz, Andy Dick, Vicki Lewis, Stephen Root
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 482 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MGTQ6Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,989 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "NewsRadio: Season 5" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John S Harris VINE VOICE on March 23, 2007
Format: DVD
Season 5: worth buying if you are a fan of the show? Of course. Hartman was a hard act to follow. Lovitz is a very funny man but probably was not the best fit for this show. He doesn't really have a full character other than just being "Jon Lovitz". Is that the writers' fault, Lovitz' fault, or both?

Is is at funny as previous seasons? No. But many of the faults with Season 5 have nothing to do with Lovitz, so we can't place all the blame on him. As with most sitcoms, there are going to be some seasons that are better than the others. Season 5 of "NewsRadio" featured some new writers and producers, and they don't really do much worse than the original writers did in the early years.

As with any long-running sitcom, not every episode is a classic, and not every season is the show's best. It just happens that Season 5 of "NewsRadio" happened to be the show's last. Even at its worst it was far better than many of the shows that DIDN'T get cancelled at the end of that year, and shows usually get renewals based on profitability and ratings, not quality. And we already know that even during its best seasons "NewsRadio" was never a ratings juggernaut. So again, we probably shouldn't blame the show's demise on Lovitz or a sub-par (but still very funny) season.

Had "Frasier" been cancelled after its 8th or 9th season, seasons generally regarded as the weakest of the series, we might not look back so fondly on it. Or we might remember it for having gone out with a whimper. It had a chance to rebound and ended on a high note. The powers-that-be killed "NewsRadio", not the writers and not Lovitz.
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Format: DVD
While S5 of NEWSRADIO is still better than most sitcoms, it falls well short of the standard set by previous seasons. Obviously, the loss of Phil Hartman was a big reason for that, but the show could've survived without him and S5 gets off to a good start. The farewell to Bill/Phil found the right mix of humor and sentiment. It was hilarious while still getting you choked up. The following ep was also a treat, with Joe's Year 2000 mishaps(he claims to have a birth certificate with Jesus' real birthdate).

NEWSRADIO was always weird, but S5 crossed over into the realm of ridiculous and absurd. Jimmy's irrational fear of hippies leading to Joe hypnotizing him; Matthew turning 30 and going punk; redecorating the men's room; Jimmy's imposter security expert; the "Freaky Friday" parody; everyone nonsensically moving to New Hampshire; Lisa's wedding to homeless Johnny(ugh!); and the 3-part D.B. Cooper saga...this was either the "Jump the Shark" moment, or it was the ramp and the actual jump was Johnny Johnson returning to marry Lisa. The whole story was crazy, and lazy when you consider how it's resolved(it's like the writer's got tired and used the first insane thing that came to mind), but it also suffered from too much Johnny Johnson and the story went on too long(since when does this show need a 3-parter?).

Johnny Johnson wasn't a bad character so much as he was overdone...unlike Andrea the efficiency expert and Jimmy's nephew Walt, who were around for multiple episodes but weren't featured too much. Also, the first 2 parts exemplified the way almost everyone was written out-of-character...these aren't the same characters that made the show so great.

Jon Lovitz wasn't a good choice to replace Phil Hartman because Lovitz can't act...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
NewsRadio's fifth and final season features Jon Lovitz as Max Louis. He was a replacement, NOT A RECAST, for Phil Hartman. Developing his character's weirdness was the forefront of the beginning of a season that just wilted out.

The characters changed, but failed to fully evolve. Beth's look and attitude changed, but only on the surface. They could have grown her further and turned her into what Catherine had been, but they didn't. Lisa inexplicably fell for Johnny Johnson while Jimmy was on the lam, and far too much of the midseason focused on his character. The end of the season came near the series' original stride (perhaps just by comparison with the disappointing earlier episodes), but ended mid-air as the series waited to be cancelled. No finality, no closure, no revamp.

In short, I'll be buying this DVD on release day because I love NewsRadio, and I want to complete my collexion. It has some excellent episodes and the touching send-off for Bill McNeal. However, if you are a casual NewsRadio fan, or haven't heard of the show or seen the DVDs, you should pick up Season 3 or 4 first.

As a hardcore NewsRadio fan, this was a disappointing package overall. There was no commentary for "Bill Moves On," and it seemed as though the producers and writers had run out of things to say. I actually stopped listening to the commentaries, which had been extremely informative and funny for the first, second, and third seasons.

In short-the Season is 4 Stars, the extras are 1 star. Overall: 3 stars, still worth the buy if you've enjoyed any earlier seasons.
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