The Return of Johnny LaRue

I read today that my favorite TV show of all time, SCTV, is finally making it to DVD. This is big news.
SCTV was always funnier than Saturday Night Live, if you ask me. They had a very low budget and no big musical guests (at least in the beginning) so they made up for it in the writing which to this day remains fresh and hilarious. SNL in its golden days relied on drug humor when the creativity ran dry, which was just a cheap way to get out of a hole.
SCTV launched the careers of Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty, John Candy, Harold Ramis, and Martin Short. All of these people have gone on to bigger and better things. In the years the show was aired, I don’t think I ever saw a single episode that wasn’t at least 80% brilliant. I’m a tough customer, and that says a lot.
Here in Chicago the show first aired at midnight, right after SNL. In those days (1976-1981) it was a syndicated half-hour show that ran, among other places, on the NBC-owned TV stations. In 1981, NBC pumped a bunch of money into it, cranked it up to a 90-minute show, and put the show on the network on Friday nights opposite ABC’s Fridays (an SNL ripoff). Saturday Night Live was in a real slump during this time, and I remember hearing Rick Moranis talking about how NBC was thinking of cancelling SNL and putting SCTV on in its place.
This DVD set starts with that first NBC season, when the budgets got bigger and so did the show. The listing of the sketches mentioned on Amazon show that it’s a great collection.
I may get to reclaim closet space from all those VHS tapes of SCTV– finally.