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on February 6, 2014
It took a few shows for Saturday Night Live to hit its stride, but this first groundbreaking episode was a good introduction to comic genius to come. There are some hit and miss moments (in fact, a lot of miss moments by today's standards), but there are some great lessons in sketch comedy from this fearless group that writers and actors alike can appreciate. Three of the performers, Valri Bromfield, George Coe, and Michael O'Donaghue appear, but did not remain as regular cast members. Host George Carlin doesn't perform in the skits but throws in bits of standup throughout and Janis Ian sings twice including a haunting rendition of "At Seventeen." Billy Preston performs two songs, as well, and, like Janis Ian, makes it pretty obvious that live television doesn't require a lot of show and flash when genuine talent takes the stage. As a lesson in television history, this is a must-have. For general comedy purposes, it wasn't their best, but it was a solid start.
5 helpful votes
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Enthusiast: Campingon November 2, 2016
This is the classic, good stuff. Lots of famous sketches in this collection, with some of our favorite lines of all times. These guys were the best. The "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" make their debut. Groundbreaking stuff!
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on January 24, 2008
I never thought entire seasons of "Saturday Night Live" would ever be released on DVD. Never in a million years. Never in my wildest dreams. But lo and behold, here it is. And all I can say is "Wow".

I don't think I began watching SNL on a regular basis until its second season when Bill Murray joined the show and The Coneheads first appeared and Steve Martin began hosting. So it was fascinating for me to watch the show's first season in order to see the transformation of this landmark series. The first few episodes aren't that great or funny. The Not Ready for Prime Time Players weren't allowed to really shine until around the fourth episode when Candice Bergen hosted. And the second show with Paul Simon as host is almost all music--which isn't bad--but it's not the SNL we came to know and love. But slowly as the season evolved, the original cast became stars and the main reason to tune in.

Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner took over SNL and made it their own during the first season. They developed classic characters such as Gilda's Emily Litella and Baba Wawa (Barbara Walters), Chevy's accident-prone President Ford, Land Shark (a spoof of the popular "Jaws") and his smooth Weekend Update newscaster, Dan's Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, and John's Japanese Samurai, plus The Bees. Even The Muppets showed up during the first season, but they were eventually phased out as the cast became more popular--and their humor didn't really fit the show that well (and it was all for the best, since The Muppets then went on to create their own popular show, "The Muppet Show").

I confess I haven't watched SNL much since the days of Eddie Murphy and The Sweeney Sisters (Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks). After they all left, so did I. But I think it's amazing that the show is still on the air after all these years. That's what makes this first season so special--to see the roots of such a legendary show. I loved the eclectic mix of guest hosts--Rob Reiner, Candice Bergen, Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor, Elliott Gould, Buck Henry, Dick Cavett, Desi Arnaz (who is wonderful), Jill Clayburgh, Anthony Perkins, Raquel Welch, Madeline Kahn, Dyan Cannon and Louise Lasser--and the musical guests are just as diverse: Janis Ian, Simon & Garfunkel, Abba, Anne Murray, Neil Sedaka, Patti Smith Group, Carly Simon, Gordon Lightfoot, Loudon Wainwright III (Rufus' father) and Rita Coolidge. Wow. I have to say that again. Wow. And again.

Also, this DVD set includes some interesting extras: the original screen tests for the cast and an interview with the cast and producer Lorne Michaels on NBC's "Tomorrow Show" starring Tom Snyder just before the first episode aired.

If you want to watch a groundbreaking show become a force of nature, here's where it all began. Right here--on this DVD set. And be sure to watch the episodes in order. It's a fascinating journey.
5 helpful votes
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on December 29, 2006
Just a few random thoughts on this memory-provoking set.

In a "complete" set, such as this fine collection, one is obviously going to get plenty of stuff that could be considered weird or offbeat, but that's what I believe made Seventies television--and expecially Saturday Night Live--what it was: An attempt to stretch what was possible on a major network show. I personally like the films by Gary Weis and Albert Brooks, although they might not be to everyone's taste. I never liked the show once it got too slick, somewhere around 1984, and if those collections are released I will not be buying them (despite some awesome musical guests).

Mostly, these 1975-76 shows make me feel nostalgic. I also mourn so many of the talent that are no longer with us: Of course, John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Michael O'Donoghue; but Jim Henson, Andy Kaufman, Richard Pryor, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Billy Preston, Madeline Kahn, Peter Boyle, Desi Arnaz, Anthony Perkins, a few others... The level of talent in front and behind the camera was so very high: Bandleader Howard Shore now composes Academy Award-winning scores; and there's Paul Shaffer leading Murphy Dunne and Lou Marini (to name but two) through their versatile paces in several numbers.

I find it all hugely entertaining and I am looking forward to the rest of the Seventies SNLs in their complete form.
11 helpful votes
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on August 19, 2016
Best of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players, the first episodes are very loose, the stage is not quite set up properly, Chevy Chase is still hitting his rhythm as the news anchor, and there's more music than later seasons, so if you don't mind the lack of polish and really enjoy improv and corny 70's Ford jokes, plus classic music, this is a great season.
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on November 17, 2015
The first and last and best season for SNL. It went downhill from there. Oh there have been moments when they briefly shined (Billy Christal, Martin Short) but all in all, it's lame. Today I tune in, and turn it off after a while. It's inane. I feel that Lorne Michaels has been skating on their reputation for far too long. The writers should have been turned out long ago. Is this the best comedy America can come up with?
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on January 31, 2017
This was when "The Not--Ready-For-Prime-Time Players" still existed as a group: John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, and Lorraine Newman. The Killer Bees and The Blues Brothers are included. These are the craziest of times. Seasons after just got better.
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on July 18, 2016
Love the cast during the first five years. Classic skits, characters, hosts, and music.
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on January 4, 2014
These are the shows that I staying up to watch when I was 6yrs old.
Belushi shines with Pryor, Arnaz & especially Welch!
Chevy Chase; No that's NOT his real name, Never was, Is great as President Ford.
Garret Morris does a phenomenal Rubin "HURRICANE" Carter; Later to give Murphy 'IDEAS".

There is no "BASS 'O MATIC" ads yet, There is "SPUDS", although most others are worse.

Belushi & Aykroyd start to work together as Chase slowly leaves & starts a long heavy takeover of the show at the end of the Season.

I bought every SNL season from 1975-1980 so more reviews on the way!
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VINE VOICEon December 30, 2007
A lot of folks are probably remembering Saturday Night Live from a bit later in its run and may find the episodes on this disc disappointing, particularly the earliest ones. The first half season is more of a historical archive of the time in which the show was aired. While it is peppered with the beginning of the great bits yet to come, it isn't especially funny until around the second half of the season when the "not ready for prime time players" start to see more time to do their characters and skits. Also, you'll notice more repetition of fake commercials than you may recall from the original airing.

The main reason I am giving this 3 stars rather than a higher rating isn't that the show isn't as funny early on as I expected but rather because a booklet was supposed to come with it and was missing from my copy and because the video quality is quite poor (especially from the first show). I'm pretty sure this could have been cleaned up if someone had wanted to go to the trouble. Also, there really should be commentary from Lorne Michaels on at least some of the episodes that provide some history and perspective about the show, but there is nothing.
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