So here we are for the third season of the farcical political adventures of NYC Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty (Michael J. Fox) and his crew. We follow them work to keep the buffoonish mayor (Barry Bostwick) in power and out of trouble, while finding plenty of time to get themselves into all sorts of predicaments. This is one of those shows that, back when it aired, struck me as clever, but not as clever as it could be, and that impression remains. The cast is a crack team of wits, and they bounce off each other with great energy and snap. There are numerous situations and plenty of lines that are funny indeed. And yet, there is a certain laziness to the humour, too. This is a comedy set in a the world of politicos and spin doctors, for crying out loud. The terrain is rich, so why do so many episodes revolve around time-worn sitcom scenarios (office hijinks, romantic pratfalls, punctured pride) that could show up in any context, and make little use of the show’s particular world. There’s a certain smugness to the sexual humour as well, like that of a seventh-grader who has just discovered the joys of talking dirty. Still, the show is fun, simply too easily satisfied with itself.
The colours are very strong indeed, and the blacks are terrific. The sharpness of the image does leave some room for improvement, as the picture is noticeably soft at times. There’s nothing exceptional about the picture, but nothing really exceptionable, either. It’s a solid TV transfer, and we’ll leave it at that.
And ditto for the sound. The surround is generally nicely handled, with audience reactions in the rear speakers, where we would expect them to be, thus placing the viewers in the position of that studio audience. Nice touch. The dialogue is always clear, but there are a couple of moments where the voices reverberate in surround when they have no business doing so.
A bare-bones package, but one that gets the job done.