Picks and Pans Review: DVD View

UPDATED 07/26/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/26/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

RENO 911!: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

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(Paramount, $26.99) Watching this improv-based Comedy Central series about seven dumb cops on the beat, you wonder if it isn't time for the traditional set-bound sitcom to be toe-tagged in the morgue. The on-the-street sketches are fast, vulgar and deadpan ridiculous, and every characterization is sharp as a badge pin—right down to that blowsy showgirl with eyeglasses and a crutch. Extras: Deleted scenes and alternate takes, none as good as those that made it onto the air, and four episodes with commentary, also pretty ho-hum. (Critically speaking, a misdemeanor.) But I did like actor-producer Robert Ben Garant's description of implosively angry Officer Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui): "Like Barney Fife—if Barney Fife [had] shot several men." That's the tone, right there.

SIX FEET UNDER THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON

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(HBO, $99.98) Proving its wondrous debut season was no fluke, this wickedly dark series about a family of funeral directors perfected its mix of dysfunction, pathos and pitch-black humor for its 2002 sophomore year. Extras: Five illuminating writer and director commentaries, highlighted by a terrifically sardonic track from writer Jill Soloway; a lively look at how the prosthetic-effects team creates the show's chillingly realistic corpses (lots and lots of silicone).

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