Kids in the Hall: The Complete Collection

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment

Mar 05, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

This box set yields a big ol' bindle of mixed emotions. Of course, it should be a given to anyone with any taste in comedy that having all of the Kids in the Hall TV work in one place is a very good thing: the original seasons haven't been reissued in well over a decade, and their reunion series Death Comes To Town also fell out of print some time ago. Yes, it's great to have it all in one's mitts again, along with the pilot and season compilations.

If I have to explain just why it's essential for this stuff to be at hand, well, you're living in a fully different reality than my own. As a performing unit, the Kids in the Hall (Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, Kevin McDonald, Scott Thompson, and Dave Foley, and yes, that's my favorite-to-least list, though I truly love them all) were not just Canada's greatest comedy export: they were a cornerstone of post-punk sketch comedy (and I hate the term "post-punk", so if I use it, ya know I mean it), and the most essential link between Monty Python and Tim & Eric. They were boundary-busters and high-minded absurdist freaks, but most importantly, they were (and most often remain) hilarious. Some jokes fall flat in our current social circumstances, admittedly, and some of the taboo-smashing seems a little corny with the intrusion of Papa Time, but overall, the work holds up splendidly. Though Kids in the Hall is highly influential, there's nothing quite like it.

So why the mixed emotions, you ask? Well, frankly, the new box set currently in question is just... kinda cheap. It doesn't appear that any restoration work has been done since the previous box sets, the menus look like they were designed in 1999, and the DVDs come packaged in scratch-trap generic envelopes. In terms of presentation, it's a real fly-by-night hack job. Don't get me wrong, now: I usually love hack jobs! I get giddy finding dollar store DVDs of lapsed-copyright gems like The Boy in the Plastic Bubble or Van Nuys. Kids in the Hall, however, deserves Criterion Collection-level prestige, not the tossed-together nonsense usually reserved for third-rate 1950s cartoons, and it bums me out that fate has yielded otherwise.

That said, it doesn't appear that there's a line out the door to get this stuff out there again, so credit to Mill Creek for doing the work at all. Here's hoping that Kids in the Hall will one day get the treatment it deserves; in the interim, at least it's available again, and that's a damn sight better than the alternative.


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