Do Not Adjust Your Set, a British television show from the late 1960s, is what children's programming should look like: A show that the family can appreciate together, with clean material and laughs for kids and adults alike.
The five member cast of Do Not Adjust Your Set is a pretty incredible group of talent – Pythons-to-be Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin team up with David Jason and Denise Coffey. The Pythons wrote all of the material, which was good training since Monty Python's Flying Circus premiered five months after the conclusion of Do Not Adjust Your Set.
There are shades of what would eventually become the Python aesthetic in Do Not Adjust Your Set. The "Concorde" sketch, along with some excellent French-bashing, looks like a prototype for any of a number of Python sketches involving a boss, a subordinate and an office (think "Crunchy Frog"). Meanwhile, take the "Lumberjack Song" and put it in the forest with British soldiers and you get the "British Food Song" that closes out episode six.
A sketch listing for each show is both difficult and lengthy; one of the few nods to its intended audience is in sketch length. Some sketches on the show are less than 30 seconds long, an excellent reminded that brevity is the soul of wits (or puns, as the case may be). Each episode features a musical performance by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and a recurring serial called "Mr. Fantastic," which is silly and, by today's standards, doesn't hold up as well as some of the other material. But with Do Not Adjust Your Set, all you have to do is wait a minute – the crew will be on to a new concept shortly. In one thirty-minute episode there is an average of more than 13 sketches or segments.
Idle ends up as the most valuable player of the five. He does much of the stand-alone material, including the very silly "Science for Sixth Forms" in the first episode. Palin also excels in that "British everyman" role that led to so many memorable Python characters.
Jason, meanwhile, went on to be one of Britain's most respectable television actors, while Coffey had a solid career as well. But the Python boys are the main attractions here, and they shine over the course of the nine episodes on this two DVD set.
It should be noted that Do Not Adjust Your Set actually aired for 28 episodes. These seem to be the only ones that Tango, the DVD manufacturers, could round up.