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Larry Sanders Show – Foundational TV on DVD Featured

The Larry Sanders Show was not only one of the best, but one of the most influential TV shows of the '90s. The Larry Sanders Show was not only one of the best, but one of the most influential TV shows of the '90s.

Attention fans of great TV! One of the best and most influential television series of the ‘90s is now available in its entirety on DVD. The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series is on shelves now, and for longtime fans or curious newcomers, this is essential viewing. Garry Shandling’s satirical and "meta" look at show business set the bar for single-camera comedies, and is almost single-handedly responsible for much of the way we view TV these days.

The Larry Sanders show was a sitcom, but it was a sitcom with some serious twists. First of all, it was shot more like a feature film than a multi-camera sitcom. The camera followed the characters around the real world. That was just one of the innovations that have become the hallmark of HBO shows from Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm. The Larry Sanders show wasn’t the first to engage this approach in TV comedy, but it was one of the most successful, and a real oddity at the time.The show also did away with the laugh track, an increasingly common approach, but again, very unusual for a show in 1992.

As for the plot, The Larry Sanders Show centered on Garry Shandling as a talk show host in the Johnny Caron/David Letterman vein, whose life was constantly in shambles, usually due to his self-centeredness and many neuroses.

That talent on The Larry Sanders Show included a supporting cast featuring Entourage’s Emmy-winning Jeremy Piven, hot stand-up Sarah Silverman, The Kids in the Hall’s Scott Thompson, character actor Rip Torn, journeyman comedian Bob Odenkirk, and Jeffrey Tambor, who is probably best known these days as the patriarch on the cult hit Arrested Development (which adopted many of the groundbreaking approaches of The Larry Sanders Show).

Comedy super producer Judd Apatow was on the writing staff, as was Paul Simms, who would go on to create one of the other great sitcoms of the ‘90s – Newsradio.

Another one of the series’ most compelling aspects is the multitude of celebrity guests who appear in exaggerated, self-parodying versions of their public personas. Big names including Robin Williams, Roseanne Barr, Billy Crystal, Jim Carrey, Danny DeVito, Ellen DeGeneres, and most memorably, David Duchovny were among the myriad celebrities to appear over six seasons. Musical guests like Elvis Costello, Beck, and the Wu-Tang Clan also made memorable appearances.

More than its legacy or incredible influence on modern TV, The Larry Sanders Show is worth viewing for its high quality. Episode after episode features compelling, complex, quirky characters driving the story. Garry Shandling and the rest of the cast are top notch, the writing still seems fresh nearly 20 years later, and the blend of comedy and drama is pitch perfect. HBO has gone on to become a heavy hitter when it comes to the best programs on TV, but it owes much of that commercial and critical success to the groundwork laid by The Larry Sanders Show.

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Last modified on Friday, 09 November 2012 07:17

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