To be a fan of The League, you don’t need to know much about fantasy football, or sports at all. You just need to have friends that you hate. The ensemble comedy follows a group of old friends in a fantasy football league who care very deeply… about beating each other for bragging rights. The League was created by the husband-and-wife team of Jeff Schaffer (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld) and Jackie Marcus Schaffer (Disturbia, Eurotrip) who serve as executive producers and directors. The series lasted for seven seasons on FX (and eventually FXX) and this DVD set features its final hours.
As described above, The League revolves around a group of friends (Mark Duplass, Stephen Rannazzisi, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Jon Lajoie and Katie Aselton) in Chicago who all participate in a fantasy football league together. There are some jokes that involve sports, but this is really just the basis for an ensemble comedy. As usual, there is an arc for the season, but this final season actually makes some definitive movies for where things end up for the gang.
This Release Contains Every Episode From Season 7:
“The Other Draft”
“The Draft of Innocence”*
“The Blind Spot”
“The Beer Mile”
“The Last Temptation of Andre”
“The Yank Banker”
“Adios Y Bienvenidos”
“The 13 Stages of Grief”
“The Great Night of Shiva”
* = Extended Episode
There was a time (seasons 2-4) when The League was among the best comedies on television. The great ensemble cast, their chemistry and the wide array of comedic guest stars had this FX comedy raising the bar as far as what kinds of laughs could come from the hijinks seen on this series. It generally stemmed from the improvisational nature of the series.
Much like Curb Your Enthusiasm, The League generally provided a skeleton for each episode’s plot, with the actors making up dialogue for all of their scenes. It was frequently funny, clever and usually enjoyable for the way in which comedic irony would encapsulate each episode. The show also had one the best comedic weapons out there – Jason Mantzoukas, who portrayed the depraved Rafi.
Of course, as time went on, the show somewhat lost its luster. Episodes were never awful (although some would debate that when it came to episodes devoted to Rafi and guest star Seth Rogen’s Dirty Randy), but it seemed hard for the series to keep breaking new ground. This became especially notable when you started to realize certain characters would not appear as often or in the same scenes as other characters, due to busy schedules (I’m looking at you Nick Kroll).
That’s not to say this season did not deliver. Season seven has plenty of great moments, the return of great characters, some topical matters when it comes to “Deflategate” and plenty more for everyone to have been entertained by. I would also argue the final episode is classic League, with an ending that was perfectly fitting, even if some of the episodes leading up to it held some of the characters back.
I used to be a much bigger fan of The League, but this final season was certainly a good one and enough to keep me from forgetting about the good times that were had or feel the show just turned completely bad (ahem…Dexter). The cast chemistry is what always made this show a joy and that remained, which helped things for the better. Cue the theme music.
Encoding: MPEG-2 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Clarity/Detail: It would have been great to get a Blu-ray review copy, but so be it. The picture may not be HD, but it is still quite good. You have a bright and colorful series that does plenty to impress, given its goofy scenarios on various sets and locations.
Depth: Average. Some decent moments in episodes that are a bit more ambitious.
Black Levels: Black levels are deep and inky for a series that really only has darkness when it heads indoors or finds some scenes set at night.
Color Reproduction: The colors pop here. They are nice and bold when necessary.
Flesh Tones: It’s a very natural-looking show, which does enough to provide an okay level of detail in this regard.
Noise/Artifacts: Clean enough for a DVD.
Audio Format(s): English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Dynamics: This dolby digital track does what it needs to give this series the audible life it deserves. For a standard definition disc, you get plenty of bang in the form of dialogue.
Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel gets a chance to thump during some of the more audacious comedy moments and whenever the music kicks in.
Surround Sound Presentation: This is a pretty front-heavy show, with the dialogue obviously hitting towards the center. The rear channels do get a chance to play up the ambiance, but not much.
Dialogue Reproduction: There’s plenty of dialogue and you will hear it loud and clear.
It is a shame FX does not spring for more extras on these discs, especially when it comes to having so many potentially hilarious commentary tracks. By the way, all features are uncensored when it comes to language.
- Disc One –
- Deleted Scenes (SD, 3:26)
- Disc Two –
- Deleted Scenes (SD, 4:46)
- Gag Reel (SD, 14:40)
- Alt Nation (SD, 14:10) – A compilation of all the alternate takes for various scenes.
- Taco Tones (SD) – A presentation of all the musical moments of this season.
- Taco Making Tacos (0:53)
- Down By Lakeshore Drive (1:38)
- Pete’s Your Papa (0:48)
The League is an easy hangout show that will satisfy anyone who also enjoys the various FX and Comedy Central comedies that have become popular in the past ten years. This final season is satisfying, as it continues to keep the great chemistry between the main cast and guests alive. The DVD presentation is good enough, though it would have been great to hear more about what went into the making of and ending of this show. As it stands, this is a fun series to watch and you can complete you collection with this set if so desired.