The idea of releasing the Python team's personal favourite (or, in the case of the late Graham Chapman, what the rest imagine might have been his personal favourite) sketches wasn't such a bad idea, I suppose, but who is responsible for the crude editing and occasional butchery? The classic barber sketch - intro to no less than the Lumberjack Song - is incomplete, missing its first few minutes. Elsewhere, jokes have been blatantly snipped out (such as Dr. Tom Jack being the author of 'Hello Sailor' - the audience now laughs for no reason) and in the John Cleese selection, the booklet lists the very gruesome and hilariously sick 'Sam Peckinpah's Salad Days' among the contents, but it's nowhere to be found on the disc. A clue - on my copy, the cardboard box has a 15 sticker, but each disc has only a 12. Perhaps 'Salad Days' had to be cut to make the cert. Pity nobody told the company that did the packaging.
There are also repetitions, notably 'Cheese Shop' and 'Fish Slapping Dance' - both classic moments, I grant you, but both of them are on more than one disc. Couldn't they have co-ordinated with each other to avoid things like that, and made room for other stuff?
What I don't understand is, why don't the Pythons just release the complete Monty Python on DVD, in say four box sets, one for each season? I know that not every sketch was immortal, but who cares? Being able to watch each individual show, we would tend to rediscover some brilliant little moment we'd forgotten about, instead of just watching things we know all too well for the nth time (and incidentally, why no 'Four Yorkshiremen'? Because they didn't have the rights to the Hollywood Bowl footage?)
The Pythons themselves acquired these recordings, I seem to remember reading somewhere that they bought them off the BBC, so I'd like them to give me a decent reason why they don't just publish the entire run of the most brilliantly unpredictable TV comedy show ever. Better than, than chopping up their legacy in this careless fashion, for all the good sportsmanship of their little intros and linking bits (funny, but not necessary).
There is one great disc, the Terry Gilliam one - an hour of nothing but Gilliam's mind-bending animation, surely some of the most radical and alarming cartoons ever created. But that alone isn't worth the price of the whole box.
Please, lads, can't we just have the whole thing?