The world of DVD releases have never made the most sense, so when a four year gap in-between the second season release of Tracey Takes On and the third and fourth (final) seasons, eyebrows are raised. Not to mention that eyebrows lift even higher when the first two seasons were released by HBO and these final two are issued by….Eagle Rock Entertainment? You know them best for issuing concert Blu-ray’s over the past couple years and this is the first time I’ve ever seen something from them that wasn’t…well, music related. Definitely a strange occurrence, especially considering the rather amateur look of the DVD packaging and menus…but, hey. All that matters is another TV series is finally complete on DVD.
This 3-DVD set contains the final two seasons of the HBO comedy series “Tracey Takes On…” based on characters created and performed by Tracey Ullman. Each episode focuses on a particular subject (Sports, Love, Agents, Loss, etc.) in a sequence of hilarious scenes involving a number of Ullman-created characters.
I remember hearing of this show, but I’d never seen it. I didn’t even realize it was on DVD, so that shows how interested I was. Still, with taunts of guests like Hugh Laurie, Cheech Marin, and Helen Mirren right on the cover, it’s hard to not want to pop the discs in and watch them from start to finish. Which is really easy to do when the show is as humorous and smartly written as this one was. It’s clear to see why this show was an Emmy winner, as Ullman’s range of characters is absolutely astonishing. There were times it was almost difficult to tell it was her under the makeup, which in of itself is a remarkable feat considering the age of the series.
While the seasons included here don’t actually contain Hugh Laurie (he’s in one of the bonus episodes, in case you’re wondering), there are plenty of other guest stars to take in. Which is actually slightly disorienting at times, simply because you’re so used to seeing Ullman take up the characters on screen, that when a genuine celebrity pops up it’s a bit of a shock. Still, it’s a fantastic sketch show, with introductions to the skits from Ullman in a not-so-obvious manner. It’s a bit difficult to explain if you’ve never seen the show, but the whole way it’s presented isn’t your usual sketch comedy routine.
The entire third and fourth seasons are included here. Episodes include:
Disc 1 – Season 3
Man’s Best Friend
Disc 2 – Season 4
The End of the World
Disc 3 – Season 4
Overall this is a solid batch of episodes and a fair way to send off the series on DVD…although the lack of any real bonus features is kind of a let down. Fans of the series can now complete their collections now, however, so that’s really all that matters in the end, I suppose.
The aforementioned cheesy packaging deserves another mention here as it is…really, really quite bad. It’s worse than something homemade and the menu system for the discs is equally hokey. But, again, I guess it must’ve been a budget release, what with HBO not putting it out for whatever reason. The disc art matches the exterior art, as does the insert denoting the contents of each disc. Also for some reason the shows noted as being rated TV-14, which can’t be right as there are quite a few F-bombs throughout this entire series. I’m pretty sure this aired when there were no TV ratings either, which makes it all the stranger.
Video is actually quite nice for such an old show. The in-studio recorded segments look best, with a kind of angelic hue cast about them for whatever reason. The on-street type material is a bit rougher around the edges and shows its age a bit more freely, but all in all it’s a solid transfer for the series. The 2.0 audio brings the series to life adequately, so don’t expect anything popping out of your surrounds on this series.
These are three “never before seen” episodes. I know nothing about this series and this set doesn’t tell me anything about it either (hence the overly short review—no commentaries, no insert to explain it), so I don’t know how accurate that statement is, but the episodes are all just as funny as the other ones included on the set.
Overall a nearly barebones set, but still worth adding to the collection if you have the previous seasons already (which do have extras like commentaries and such…not many, but there are a few). Recommended.
Tracey Takes On…The Complete and Final Seasons is now available on DVD.