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<I>SCTV</I> Is Finally Coming to DVD

8 Aug, 2003 By: Fred Topel

The first DVD set of the classic “SCTV” show, based on the Second City comedy group, is in production for a January release, Video Store Magazine has learned. There's no word yet on a distributor.

The only reason it has taken so long to hit DVD is because of music clearance issues, said Second City veteran Eugene Levy, who is probably better known as the pie-proffering dad in the “American Pie” movies.

“Every tune that we used over eight years had to be re-tossed a lot of money just for clearance, to re-license these things,” Levy said.

The DVD release will not be a “complete first-season” package, Levy said. “SCTV” began as a series of half-hour shows but eventually moved to a 90-minute format when the program began airing on NBC. The DVD collection starts with those 90-minute shows.

“Those really are, I think, the best shows,” Levy said. “The show reached its creative peak in those 90-minute shows on NBC.

“If they started with season one, I'd go, ‘Boy, we'll never make season two. It's not going to work.’

Levy said the decision was made to start the DVD collection with the 90-minute shows because it's always smart to “start with your strongest stuff.”

Not that the earlier programming was bad.

“There were some great shows in the first [season],” Levy said. “The first couple of seasons are funny, but they're raw. We didn't have a lot of money so the sets look a little chintzy.

“I have a soft spot for them because it was the very beginning, but it's hard to look at some of the stuff now only because everybody was still fumbling around a little bit.”

Still, Levy has fond memories of those growing pains.

“We just got out of theater and we're now doing a television show,” he said. “It took a while before we developed our writing styles.

“We started writing a half-hour television show the way we did Second City theater, which was we'd all get in a room and try to improvise stuff.

“Then you realize it's just not a very efficient way of writing a weekly television show.

“So, by the time we learned to break up into groups and actually start writing, we went through some bumpy times.”

Looking back at the old shows, Levy feels they hold up well.

“We created our own universe with ‘SCTV,’ he said. “The brilliance of the idea was that you're creating a television station in your own town, so you develop all these characters at the station and you eventually got into characters in the town, like Mayor Tommy Shanks.

“We had Melonville elections, with continuing news coverage, election central and all that stuff. These ads would come on for local aldermen who were running for Melonville that you'd show throughout the programming. We got so into the underbelly of this world we created that it's almost completely insular from being dated.”

DVD producers are in the process of putting together bonus content for the “SCTV” set, and Levy is ready to play a part in the extras.

“They're doing that stuff now and finding whatever footage that they can muster, off-camera stuff or anything else,” he said. “There will be commentary. They're trying to organize that.”

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