What is the best DVD for quiz show fans?
Loves: Jeopardy, game shows
Likes: Alex Trebek
Dislikes: The super geeks
This DVD contains five episodes, chosen from a few different points along the show's timeline, though it is very heavy with recent episodes, with four featuring Jeopardy! cult hero Ken Jennings. But it all starts with the first Trebek episode, from 1984. Naturally, the clothes are dated, but it's interesting to see how the show has changed over the years. There are some definite differences in terms of the pace and the feel of the game, which have helped improve the game.
The 75th episode of Jenning's legendary run as champion is up next, which, in my opinion, is a bit too big a leap in time. Seeing something else along the way would be nice, like maybe a particularly entertaining episode of "Celebrity Jeopardy!" But instead, it's a Ken Jennings love-fest. The 75th was an easy choice, as the mythology was well established and the game actually meant something.
The final three episodes are the final round of the show's Ultimate Tournament of Champions, a best of the best competition, featuring Jennings, Brad Rutter and Jerome Vered. While it's interesting to see the biggest "Jeopardy!" game ever, with some of the hardest clues ever, there's nothing that really separates it from your average game in terms of how it is played. In that respect, unless you have some sort of emotional connection to one of the players, its essentially one more episode of "Jeopardy!", that's three times the length.
While I'll always welcome the chance to watch a new episode of "Jeopardy!", five of them is not enough to warrant a DVD purchase. Especially when four of them are so similar. There's enough variation within the show over the years to provide something different. But the disc provides Ken Jennings, Ken Jennings and more Ken Jennings. For even the most ardent Jeopardy! supporter, that's too much Ken Jennings.
Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, the track is straightforward stereo, matching the show's TV presentation, depending on the timeframe of the episode. The show doesn't exactly have a dynamic sound to it, but what is here is nice and clear.
"Jeopardy! Behind the Answers" is almost 22 minutes long, and reveals about everything you could want to know about the production of the show, including the writers' research library and all the technical components of the set. So much goes into putting together an episode of this show, and fans will want to know everything about the effort.
The 20-minute "What Does it Take to Get a Clue?" focuses on the contestants. From how to get on the show, to how to win the game, the featurette reveals much about the life of the contestants, and puts the spotlight on some of the series' standout players, like Jennings, Frank Spangenberg and Eddie Timanus. Again, this material will be fascinating to fans of "Jeopardy!", as the production tells the story of the players quite well.
An edited episode of "Jeopardy!", which runs less than seven minutes, is provided in a multi-angle format that allows you to choose the camera you want to watch from. Fans will appreciate the chance to see the show in a different way, even if it's somewhat hard to navigate, as is the case with nearly every multi-angle feature.
The on-disc extras finish with Potpourri, two screens of text trivia about the show, and three TV previews. In a DVD-ROM drive, there's also access to a video of one of the Clue Crew, and an online game of "Jeopardy!" that's enjoyable.
The Bottom Line