DVD Review: ‘Reno 911: The Complete Sixth Season’ an Above-Average Set

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CHICAGO – The sixth season of Comedy Central’s cult hit “Reno 911!” actually bucks the trend and presents a funnier series of episodes than many of the seasons that preceded it. To see a show hit its creative stride this late into its legacy is incredibly rare, but with some hysterical guest stars and a few excellent cast changes, this is arguably the best “Reno” season yet.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0
DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0

For the uninitiated to the hit-and-miss comedy of “Reno 911!,” former members of “The State” - Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney-Silver - created the moderate hit that satirizes police reality shows like “COPS” with a series of loosely scripted, mostly improvised sketches about horrible law enforcement in Reno, Nevada. Niecy Nash and Cedric Yarbrough co-star.

Reno 911!: The Complete Sixth Season was released on DVD on July 7th, 2009.
Reno 911!: The Complete Sixth Season was released on DVD on July 7th, 2009.
Photo credit: Paramount Home Video

After five seasons on the air, the largely improvised “Reno 911!” needed a shake-up and they got one by replacing Carlos Alazraqui, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Mary Birdsong with Ian Roberts (the original Upright Citizens Brigade) and the great Joe Lo Truglio (“Superbad,” “Role Models”). The new cast members give the show a much-needed shot of creative adrenalin.

It doesn’t hurt that many famous friends stop by the Reno Police Department in season six including hilarious turns from Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Rainn Wilson, Patton Oswalt, and George Lopez. Clearly loving the chance to improvise with some talented comedians, both the guest stars and the regular cast always seem a bit more creative when someone new is around.

Like most improvised comedy, “Reno 911!” can fluctuate wildly in quality not just from episode to episode but from sketch to sketch. Surprisingly, the ratio of hits to misses has arguably never been higher than in season six. I was moderately pessimistic about the sixth season of a show that I thought was probably headed out the door. Now I think that the show could be on for another decade if the creators can find a way to give it the occasional creative jolt like they did in 2009.

The biggest draw of the Paramount-released season set is the fact that the episodes themselves are uncensored. It almost feels like the creative team behind the show are “playing” to the DVD audience as much if not more than the TV one - an episode even ends with the repetition of a word that the officers acknowledge that they can’t say on TV. Most HBO shows don’t have this extreme an amount of profanity, making for a show that truly feels more complete in its uncensored form.

The season set is presented in widescreen with a Dolby Digital track. Video and audio on a show like “Reno 911!” are not a priority, but the episodes look and sound as expected. Bonus materials include extended and never-before-seen outtakes, “Profiles in Valor - Deputy Frank Rizzo & Sergeant Jack Declan,” and audio commentary from cast.

‘Reno 911!: The Complete Sixth Season’ was released by Paramount Home Video and stars Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Niecy Nash, Cedric Yarbrough, Joe Lo Truglio, and Ian Roberts. It was created by Lennon, Garant, and Kenney-Silver. The show was released on July 7th, 2009. It is not rated but is uncensored.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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