PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE:
I remember watching PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE back in 1990; it was a cool and funny show that had me tuning in week after week. PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE was a somewhat stylized and surprisingly intelligent comedy aimed at a teen audience, which seemed ahead of the curve, when compared to most other sitcoms airing at the time. The series ultimately lasted for three seasons on the Fox Network… then pretty much disappeared from my consciousness. Fortunately, the good folks from Shout! Factory have rescued the series from the oblivion of the sitcom graveyard and issued the first season on DVD.
For those of you who don’t remember PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE, the series was the epitome of 1990’s high school coolness. Corin Nemec stars as the title character Parker Lewis, who attends Santo Domingo High School along with his best buds: rock-n-roll rebel Mikey Randall (Billy Jayne) and subservient Jerry Steiner (Troy Slaten). No matter what obstacle is thrown in front of him by his nemesis high school principal Grace Musso (Melanie Chartoff), her toady Frank Lemmer (Taj Johnson) or even his own bad seed sister Shelly Ann Lewis (Maia Brewton), Parker always seems to come out on top… hence, the show’s title. The cast of PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE also features Timothy Stack, Anne Bloom and Abraham Benrubi.
PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($50) comes to DVD in a four-disc that features all twenty-six episodes that were aired during year one. The twenty-six featured episodes are as follows: Pilot, Operation Kubiak, Power Play, Parker Lewis Must Lose, Close, But No Guitar, G.A.G. Dance, Love's A Beast, Saving Grace, Musso & Frank, Deja Dudes, Radio Free Flamingo, Science Fair, Teacher, Teacher, Rent-A-Kube, Heather The Class, Jerry: Portrait Of A Video Junkie, Splendor In The Class, The Human Grace, Citizen Kube, Randall Without A Cause, Jerry's First Date, Against The Norm, King Kube, Teens From A Mall, My Fair Shelly and Parker Lewis Can't Win.
Shout! Factory (in association with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) has made all the episodes that comprise PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The presentations look pretty good for a twenty-year-old sitcom, which appear to have been taken from broadcast masters. Things can look a little soft and fuzzy, but there isn’t too much to complain about here, with everything coming across in a watchable fashion. Colors are bright and generally stable. Blacks and whites are just fine, as is the flat sitcom lighting contrast. Some blemishes show up on the episodes, but they are never excessive. Digital compression artifacts are not a problem.
All the episodes featured on PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel stereo surround soundtracks. There is a very prominent In Stereo logo at the beginning of each episode, but it doesn’t really mean much. This is sitcom sound, pure and simple. As such, the sound is very much front-loaded, but some sounds do manage to bleed into the rear channels. Music and sound effects sound good with a bit of amplification. Dialogue is clean and understandable. No other language tracks have been included on the DVDs, nor have subtitles been provided.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a few nice extra features. Running Audio Commentaries are provided for the following seven episodes: Pilot, Close, But No Guitar, Saving Grace, Deja Dudes, Jerry: Portrait Of A Video Junkie, The Human Grace and My Fair Shelly. The History Of Coolness: A Look Back At Parker Lewis Can't Lose is a nearly thirty minute retrospective with members of the cast & crew.
PARKER LEWIS CAN'T LOSE is a fun show that has been rescued form the obscurity of the sitcom graveyard by the folks at Shout! Factory. The presentations are nothing spectacular, but fans should still be pleased. Recommended… and please keep the coolness coming.
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