Tuesday, July 21, 2009


PARKER LEWIS CAN’T LOSE, the 1990 Fox Network cult teen comedy series, has finally made its debut on DVD, courtesy of the good folks from Shout! Factory, and a lot of people of a certain age are going to be very happy about that.

The series, intended as a rip-off of the popular 1986 John Hughes movie FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF – and much better than the official FERRIS BUELLER TV series that premiered the same year on another network – revolved around the day-to-day escapades of a popular teenager named Parker Lewis (Corin Nemec) and his two best friends (Billy Jayne, Troy Slaten), as they attempt to bend high school to their will and subvert the authority of MILFy principal Grace Musso (Melanie Chartoff).

Colorful, cartoonish, reasonably smart and generally inoffensive, PARKER LEWIS CAN’T LOSE ended up running for three seasons on Fox, and its unusual camera work, quick cutting, creative sound design and lack of a laugh track helped pave the way for later offbeat filmed comedies like MALCOM IN THE MIDDLE and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

Shout! Factory presents all 26 half-hour episodes of the first season on four DVDs, packed into two double slimcases. The episodes are presented in 1.33:1 full-frame and are very inconsistent in quality. In general, they look okay, but sometimes the image is soft and lacks detail. Colors are vibrant, though. I’m guessing that the series was shot on 16mm film, and that this is the best that digital remastering could do. Audio is Dolby 2.0 stereo. All the original music appears to be intact. The only bonus feature is a lively retrospective documentary featuring interviews with creators Clyde Phillips and Lon Diamond, several directors and virtually the entire cast.

If you grew up with the show in the early 90s, then you’ll most certainly enjoy revisiting it now. It’s fun, the characters are likeable, and the fashions, hairstyles and music will no doubt remind you of your own high school years. Recommended.

BUY: Parker Lewis Can't Lose: The Complete First Season