13 June 2008 | KUAlum26
Maybe not as "dated" as I once feared
I recall this show quite fondly. It could be said that this was HBO's first true foray into the kind of programming it is now so routinely associated(i.e. edgy,go-for-broke programming,freed of commercial constraints). An American treatment of England's "Not the Nine O'Clock News",this show premiered as a one hour special in late 1982,and then was trimmed to a half hour show that premiered monthly the following year,running routinely through much of the decade before dipping ratings,writer defections and massive cast changes(by 1989,the show had been re-configured and re-cast with less-than positive results)put the show down,first temporarily--running sporadically from 1988 on--to permanently by decade's end.
The summary line stems from the fact that this show,which weighed VERY heavily on current events of the day,would come off as too native to the era it was from,hence making this a negligible sell as a DVD and probably inspire blank looks from video store clerks not yet born or too young to remember the Reagan/Yuppie era. But upon reading the comment I saw on its IMDb site,it jogged my memory as to not only the events it covered but the conventions it parodied. And yes,when I come to think about it,it actually WAS an ancestor to "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report",picking on media conventions with great accuracy. So,with that in mind,I suppose it's got some timeless elements to it.
A collection of veteran character actors with great comic timing(Stuart Pankin,Audrie Neenan,DAnny Breen,Mitchell Laurence,Anne Bloom and Lucy Webb)along with a stand-up(Rich Hall)made a good "transparent" news team/stream of talking heads to fill up various news and faux ad segments. Toss in such once-rarely-used devices as doctored news reel B-roll and the invention of a lost nugget of pop culture known as the Sniglet(words for things that had previously no word for them),and you had the recipe for a show that took welcome--if sometimes somewhat tiresome--gags at targets that so richly deserve it.
If I run across this show on a DVD shelf,I may just have to buy it. Given the low demand,or even memory,of this show,that may not be all that likely.