In its early days of existence, I was a big fan of The Daily Show. I assumed that when Craig Kilborn left the show, it would die off (in much the same way that Talk Soup tanked after Jon Hensen left). Boy, was I wrong. Instead of fading away, the show took off beyond my wildest expectations. No longer a funny little show on cable, The Daily Show became a cultural and critical phenomenon. What was really surprising, however, is the political importance of the show, as guests went from the People M…gazine star of the week to such newsworthy personalities as Senator John McCain and Bob Dole.
In 2004, the show hit an even greater height with its coverage of the 2004 presidential campaign, cleverly titled Indecision 2004. It was this coverage that helped the program win a Peabody Award, as well as several Emmys. This hilarious DVD set includes the complete Daily Showcoverage of the election, including the Republican Convention, the Democratic Convention and live Election Night coverage, as well as some truly hilarious bonus features. For fans of politics and wry, daring humor, this is the DVD set for you.
The point of this show is the dialog. There are no sound effects and little in the way of music. Dialog is really all you have here, which makes the 2.0 setup perfect. 5.1 would be total overkill, and would probably be distracting. The soundtrack on these discs is clean and clear, with no artificial outside elements creeping in to the speakers. It is everything it should be, and nothing extraneous. This is a perfect case of less is more.
Obviously, this set is not going to come fully equipped with a Widescreen video presentation. Its original intention was for single-broadcast television, and so full screen is completely satisfactory. In fact, widescreen would actually look silly. No, full screen is the perfect format for this show.
The transfer itself turned out quite well, however. Colors are sharp, and bleed-over is kept to a minimum. I was also pleased to see that there were no instances of grain or film artifacts to speak of. The color does seem to be a bit overblown, however, which is probably something that works well over a television broadcast, but doesn’t transfer so well on to the home disc format.
This set has a slew of special features, including a DVD Introduction, a featurette produced exclusively for this set, coverage of the first Presidential Debate, tons of bonus special reports, and even John Edwards’ actual announcement of his candacy for President! Not only that, but there is also a lot more to see here, including some simply hilarious joke commentaries by the correspondents. This set is simply packed with quality extras.
One of my favorite all-time quotes comes from one of the Monty Python bunch (I believe it was John Cleese), who, when asked what made Monty Python’s Flying Circus so fantastic, said that it was “equal parts silliness and brilliance”. Such is the case with The Daily Show. The thought of a reporter giving Senator Dick Gephart a copy of his “demo tape” 8 Mile-style is downright absurd. However, daring to get involved in serious political debate with Rudi Giulliani, and then following up your rant with, “but I’m not a real reporter… what do I know?” is just about brilliant. This set is proof that smart comedy can be basic in its silliness, and vice versa.
Special Features List
- A DVD introduction by Jon Stewart
- Original segments featuring Jon Stewart and the correspondents
- Stephen Colbert’s award-not-winning featurette: Requiem for a Show That Was Daily
- Voice-over commentary by Rob Corddry, Ed Helms, and Samantha Bee
- Our National Anthem sung in 4-correspondent harmony
- The First Presidential Debate: The Squabble in Coral Gables
- Election Night ’04: Prelude to a Recount
- Daily Show Rock! Presents: Midterm Elections
- John Edwards Campaign Announcement
- Stephen Colbert
- Rob Corddry: Democratic debates in NY and Detroit; The Secretaries’ Tour
- Ed Helms: Original Introduction; Principle Spinner
- …and much more!