Reno 911!: The Complete Series (DVD Review)

reno 911 whysoblu coverI recall being a very young lad and watching MTV trying to figure out what ‘good’ music was, by chance I stayed up late enough to watch a group of young up and coming sketch comedy actors on the show, The State.  I had no real idea of what I was watching but I was riveted.  It was odd and I didn’t get all of the jokes, but I still laughed because I was that guy all the way back then. Eventually the show was cancelled, this was back before the internet and I had no idea why or where these young actors went.  I was upset but eventually time went on and I saw Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney, and Michael Ian Black pop up on their own new show Viva Variety on Comedy Central a number of years later. I was stoked!  I was older so I understood more of the jokes and I was just happy to see some talented and deserving comedians on TV again.  And like the The State, Viva Variety was cancelled.  A chubby, nerdy, and Latino Jr High school child cried out, “IS THERE NOTHING JUST IN THIS WORLD?!?!?!”  Luckily, there would be another chance for Lennon and company to bring me more comedic joy.  In 2003, Comedy Central premiered Reno 911! and it was a critically and commercially successful show, and most importantly, I got more than just a season or two of it.  It was created by three The State alums, Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver, and Robert Ben Garant.  While the show had 6 seasons, not all episodes were on the same level of hilarity, but they were all consistently funny.  Follow me and we go through each season together… Ladies and gentlemen, let’s visit Reno!


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For the uninitiated, Reno 911! is basically a satire based around the, iconic I believe is the best word for it, COPS.  It follows Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) and his inept misfits at his police station.  All of the characters on the force are very different and stand out in their own way.  Dangle made Jhorts cool before hipsters.  Deputy Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney- Silver) is so out there that the idea that she is a police officer is terrifying.  Deputy Sergeant Class I Clementine ‘ Clemmy’ Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covery) lived a past life as a Showgirl who hasn’t let go of her ways.  Deputy Sergeant Class III James Oswaldo Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui {Trivia: He was the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua}) has been referred to as almost too blatantly racist for a Hispanic character… but clearly those people haven’t been around too many Hispanics.  The rest of the crew is rounded out with stereotypical ‘redneck’ cop Deputy Travis Junior (Robert Ben Garant), Playboy Deputy Sergeant Class II Sven Jones ‘Jonesy’ (Cedric Yarbrough), and a real standout Deputy Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash).

Through the course of the series, it is almost insane how many hijinks and insane situations these police officers are put through, and how terrible they are at their jobs.

Season 1:

Lt. Dangle: [performing an anti-crystal meth song for a class of kids] You can monkey with a gibbon, You can fiddle with a bow / But before you snort that crystal meth, there’s some things that you should know / Meth is made from antihistamines, in basement labs it’s cooked / And possession is a felony, which means that you’ll get booked / With a snort it zips right up your nose, and eats away your brain / It kills your sense of good and evil, and it makes you go insane / Here we go… / So don’t meth with meth, Beth / Don’t meth with meth, Seth / Don’t meth with meth… Gwyneth / Don’t meth with crystal meth!
Lt. Dangle: Any questions? We do have about 45 minutes left… any requests? I know some Rush… a little bit of Floyd.

One of the strongest first seasons for any comedy. The first season is a great set up for all of the members of the force and some recurring criminals (i.e. Nick Swardson).   You get a strong sense for the world the creators are building and you get a great sense of realism with the amount of improvising in the show.  The cast has amazing chemistry and the number of jokes in succession is impressive. (Buy the DVD set just to re-watch it and catch all the ones you missed when they first aired).  The dynamic of the characters is perfect, you can have any two of them in a room and some hilarity will ensue.

Season 2:

[Wiegel may be dating a serial killer]
Deputy Jones: Do I think Craig is the Truckie River Killer… yeah.
Deputy Johnson: Yeah… and it’s the best she’s gonna do.
Deputy Jones: Yeah.

The second season didn’t lose any steam, it was still running on all cylinders with comedic fire.  One of the few comedies I have seen where it didn’t suffer from a sophomore slump and reached higher levels of comedy.  Some of the best episodes of the series are from this season.  The State Alumni Michael Ian Black portrays a dying cancer patient.  Just watch it.   It had a few long storylines throughout the season, Weigel dates a ‘maybe’ serial killer and the DIA is investigating the Department and it leads to a huge 3 part season finale.

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Season 3: 

Deputy Junior: To me it doesn’t make sense if you gotta pray facin’ a certain way… if God’s everywhere shouldn’t you be able to face any which way when you pray? Like is his receiver somewhere in the Middle East and he’s listening to the receiver or somethin’?
Deputy Garcia: Yeah, it’s like, I have a plan with God but it’s like a bad cell plan, doesn’t work in certain areas.
Deputy Junior: Five calls a day.
Deputy Garcia: See I got anytime minutes with my God.

The beginning of the season picks up the storyline of where season 2 left off, so it’s nice to see the consistency.  But eventually our heroes are back to policing the streets of Reno, in the terrible fashion that we are accustomed to.

The show also added a new cast member with Deputy Cherisha Kimball (Mary Birdsong) who is a no nonsense, almost pious, member of the force.  But like most of these types of people, she is eventually brought down to everyone else’s level, and it’s amazing.  She also opens the show to a whole slew of lesbian jokes.  Never a bad thing.

Also, Zach Galifianakis is a guest star as an insane militia man who resides in a school bus, named Frisbee.

Season 4:

Deputy Williams: A healthy baby is worth $10-20,000 on the internet, even if it’s Chinese.

This season is one of the shows strongest, no new characters and just beginning to end some of the best comedic storytelling for TV.  Weigel is mysteriously pregnant this season and the jokes from the department are nonstop and always pretty funny.  Two standout episodes for this season are, when the department gets sponsored by a local Breastrant (Like Hooters, Twin Peaks, Tilted Kilt, etc.) and the finale.  The finale is the strongest from a comedic standpoint from the rest of the series.

Season 5:

Reverend LeCarp: Okay, Officer Garcia. God has asked me to speak to you because you are lost. You are lost.
Deputy Williams: He is evil.
Reverend LeCarp: We’re hearing it even from the choir! You are lost and evil.
Deputy Johnson: And he’s a loser!
Reverend LeCarp: You are lost, evil, and a loser. Come on, everyone, what are thing that we just don’t like about Officer Garcia?
Deputy Weigel He’s a Mexican!

This is the season that Reno 911! starts to lose some steam. While it isn’t terrible by any means, it just had such an impressive season 4 that if season 5 wasn’t even better it would be deemed a lesser effort. Still some great stand out episodes like the season opener. As well as episode 12 which focuses heavily on Raineesha. Then the big explosion at the end of the season was a shocker and a big cliffhanger for the series.

Season 6:

Lt. Dangle: Terry, when was the last time you used the fax machine? And, supplemental question, did you fax a picture of your wiener to the state’s attorney’s office?

Here it is, the final season of a comedy classic, and sadly we don’t have 3 integral members of the cast. Garcia, Clementine, and Kimball all perished at the end of season 5 with the explosion.   The show added two new cast members Sergeant Jack Declan (UCB great Ian Roberts) and Deputy Frank Rizzo (State Alum Joe Lo Truglio). Both are great actors and did great with the little time they had with those characters.

While season 6 is funny, it isn’t the strongest out of the bunch. It’s a step up from season 5, but it still drags at times. But there are some great guest stars, Nick Kroll is a standout as El Chupacabra, it’s so on point with Spanish language radio DJs it’s scary. A classic show should have had a better send off. But it still is a fitting end.



Encoding: MPEG-2
Resolution: N/A
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Clarity/Detail:  Clear enough, there are grainy scenes but those are intended that way.
Depth:  Decent, nothing special.
Black Levels:  Blacks are nice.
Color Reproduction:  Colors are nice. The reds really stand out.
Flesh Tones:  Good,
Noise/Artifacts: Nothing of note.

The DVDs for the seasons were essentially just ports from the previous releases. Not much of a difference is seen between the releases of season 1 on DVD in 2004 and the complete series.   But the video is leaps and bounds better than what was viewed on TV.   Season 6 is the only season that were switched on anamorphic widescreen. So as expected they look quite stellar compared to the rest of the series.   This is set isn’t going to be a demo disc at all. But I have been so spoiled with Blu Ray, that DVDs just don’t impress me anymore.



Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English.
Dynamics:  There is no distortion, very clear and crisp.
Low Frequency Extension:  N/A
Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A
Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and clear.

The best part is that from season 2 onward the season is uncensored. Which makes it a lot funnier than it was on the original broadcast. At least for me, I love profanity.



I highlighted on each season that there are numerous commentary track0 and tons of deleted and raw footage for your to sink into. As well as a few random pieces of profiling, but nothing otherwise. No new footage with cast and crew. No retrospective feature, just the same extras content from the individual releases. But the commentaries are enough to warrant a good score.

Season  1 Extras:

  • There are four commentaries for season one on Episode 1, 3, 9 and 13.  Very insightful from in front and behind the camera, great commentaries throughout the set.
  • 10 Alternate scenes, which can get tiresome since they don’t show them in context of the episode but still funny.
  • Comedy Central quickies, which are just snippets of Comedy Central shows that were airing at the time of the first season.

Season 2 Extras:

  • Four Commentaries on episodes 10, 11, 14, and the season finale.  Great listens, informative and funny.  Set wise, the commentaries are the best feature.
  • Close to 90 minutes of alternate takes from season 2.   So much content, so many unused jokes, that you can use on your friends and they won’t know.
  • A live performance from HBO’s 2004 Comedy Arts festival.  A really fun watch, the cast comes out in character does a “Drug Arrest Prevention Seminar”, it’s so amazing!  Then there is a Q and A after the performance.

Season 3 Extras:

  • Five more commentaries on episodes 5, 6, 7, 10, and the finale.  These are the most consistently entertaining commentary tracks I have ever heard for a series.  Funny and just great stuff all around, the episode 7 commentary with Alazraqui and Yardbrough is the highlight this season.
  • Disc 1: Outtakes, it runs 22 minutes, and focuses on one scene in episode 7.  It’s funny, but mostly impressive that they can riff that much.
  • Disc 2: Outtakes, is longer than disc one’s, it clocks in at 30 minutes, focuses on more than one scene and just really funny, these outtakes are a great way for someone to be in awe of how impressive these actors are with improvising.

Season 4 Extras:

  • 5 audio commentaries on episodes 4, 8, 9, 11, 14.
  • Profiles in Valor: split over two discs, are just profiles of the main cast.  Fun watch but not necessary.  Just interviews mixed with old show footage.
  • One extended scene. And that’s it.

Season 5 Extras:

  • 6(!) commentaries for this season on episodes 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 16. Yarbrough is on all of the commentaries and is excellent as always.
  • Cop Psychology: Inside the Minds of Reno’s Deputies; 23 minutes of 10 clips of actor Andrew Daly doing examinations on the characters. It’s funny but isn’t necessary.
  • Deleted Footage: 40 minutes of footage from only a handful of scenes. But it’s great improv as always.

Season 6 Extras:

  • 8 (!) audio commentaries for season 6. The best one for information would be the Ian Roberts and Joe Lo Truglio pairing, since the newcomers talk about their experience with the rest of the cast and crew.
  • Profiles in Valor: Just adding two more clips to focus on the new cast members.
  • Tupperware for Tampa: Extended version of a scene with the Human Giant chaps. Its 13 minutes in length and kind of drags.


The packing isn’t very special. It has a paper slip on cover, then the inside is a Tupperware like container holding the 14 discs. It’s easy enough to open, and the discs are easy to pop in and out of the case. They even leave you an extra spot for you die hards to put the Reno 911!: The Movie dvd there.

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Style: "70's look"

I have heard that the way real doctors love the show Scrubs for its humor, real lawmen love Reno 911!, because it’s funny and different than the other cop shows on TV. The series is great, it’s available now for a really great price. But, if you own all of the seasons on DVD already. I wouldn’t recommend it. But if you don’t… buy this now. It’s one of the best TV comedies ever and will no doubt make you laugh.

Order Your Copy Here:

reno 911 whysoblu cover


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