Back in the days when crap was good.

Over twenty years ago now the sketch comedy series SCTV (Second City Television) was doing huge business in Canada. As far as I can remember it didn’t really make it out of the 10.30pm Sunday night time-slot in Australia (after the movie of the week). No Australian channels picked up Saturday Night Live (until Cable came along), and this was the closest that we came to it.

It is a little surprising that this huge 5 disc / 13 hours set received a local release, and I hope that there are enough viewers out there that remember the show to make this a popular seller. A great appeal of this set is it’s nostalgia value. With the wit of local boys like Shaun Micallef and John Clark as well as imports like Britains Chris Morris and Americas Mr Show, to compete with, this show looks so dated. The premise of the show is a community television station and the recurring characters in front and behind the cameras. It sends up then current shows like Fantasy Island, as well as personalities and a few good fake ads (Spray-On Socks). Not a long way from Fast Forward really.


With a cast of comedians that went on to varying degrees of fame, John Candy (Uncle Buck), Eugene Levy (American Pie & A Mighty Wind), Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters) and Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice & Home Alone) the show is rooted firmly in the 80’s (though it seems even older than that now).

There is something that this show can boast about, and that is it’s political incorrectness. My all time favourite characters are Bob & Doug McKenzie and their Great White North segment, which the two brothers (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) drunkenly argue their way through – they have long been roll models for me (if you like them, check out Strange Brew, eh?). Other standouts include Dr. Tongue & Bruno (John Candy & Eugene Levy) presenting the likes of Dr. Tongue’s 3-D House of Stewardesses. Add to this lost audition tapes for Bob Hope in Raging Bull. Most episodes have a musical guest, who is integrated into the episode to varying degrees.


This set picks up 4 years into the shows 6 year run, so there are other classics that are missing, including Martin Short and his bizarre Ed Grimley character, now popular director Harold Ramis (Bedazzled, Analyse This and That) as well as the long running Taxi Driver auditions tapes with Bob Hope and Woody Allen trying their hand at being intense.

Added to this mammoth collection of episodes are four half hour documentaries covering the origins of the show including a tribute to John Candy and a one-hour reunion.

I would love to highly recommend this show, but I know that for a lot of people this humour will fall short, and they would probably prefer a best of disc. Not me, and am so glad that Umbrella helped me go back 20 years, and I hope that we will get a local release of more episodes.