One of TV’s greats, the multi-award winning The Larry Sanders Show. Created by  Garry Shandling  and Dennis Klein, it aired from August 1992 to May 1998 on  HBO . I knew of the show when it first aired, but sadly, I didn’t have cable TV, let alone HBO. So, it wasn’t until The Larry Sanders Show aired on Netflix about 7 years ago did I catch up on all the episodes and it’s been favorite ever since.

The Larry Sanders Show
Photo: Everett Collection

The show follows the production of a fictional late night talk show  The Larry Sanders Show. It chronicles the daily life of host Larry (Garry Shandling), producer Arthur “Artie” (Rip Torn), sidekick Hank Kingsley (Jeffrey  Tambor) and their interaction with celebrity guests, the network and others. Episodes focus on the professional and personal lives of the principal characters, with most focusing on Larry. Ancillary characters are also  featured, among them the writers Phil and Jerry, talent bookers Paula and Mary Lou, and the personal assistants Beverly, Darlene and Brian. Larry’s wife, ex-wife and girlfriends are frequent sources of conflict, and his home is a secondary location for the show. A typical early episode opens to the titles with the sound of Hank’s audience  warm-up routine  in the background. This is followed by the talk show’s titles and an excerpt from Larry’s monologue. Episodes vary after this,  sometimes continuing with the studio recording, but often cutting to a back-stage shot or to the production offices.

After the show ended, it came to be considered one of the finest TV shows of all time. The biggest honor it received was a spot on Time magazine’s  100 Greatest Shows of All Time. 

Today the show only airs on HBO…and it’s a whopping $1.99 an episode when streaming on other outlets. (There are 88 episodes, so feel free to do the math on that one.) To my happy surprise, Mill Creek Entertainment released the series on DVD in 2015 which is still available on Amazon today. The reviews of the quality of the DVDs are generally good with a small percentage saying the transfer to DVD is poor. Although, I’m not sure if they realize the show was taped in the 480i standard television days (yes, there was a time before every show looked crystal clear on your flat screen TV).

So, with DVD now in hand, I will begin my 88 episode binge with low expectation on the DVD quality, but the laughs will certainly outweigh it all. Now, to find that DVD player. It must be somewhere around here.

Binge Alert: The Larry Sanders Show on DVD
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