The Show (4/5)
I think Shout Factory Has created a time machine to my childhood summer vacations with their release of Parker Lewis Can't Lose Season 2 on DVD. Parker Lewis Can't Lose is a show that ran 3 years on Fox during it's infancy before it was canceled. It wasn't the most successful of shows during it's run, but it had it's audience, and it managed to keep going for a few years. I did not see the show during it's initial run. I saw it as reruns on USA during the summers after it's cancellation.
I can actually remember getting up every weekday during the summer just in time for Parker Lewis. I ate up every episode. Over the years I've held pretty fond memories of the show, and when Shout offered this set to review I agreed without hesitation. I did wonder as I popped the first disc in if it would hold up to my quite large expectations, and while high school has long passed for me, I am happy to report that it did hold up for the most part.
Parker Lewis Can't Lose tells the story of Parker Lewis(Corin Nemec) a Ferris Bueller like high school teenager, and his 2 best buds Jerry Steiner(Troy Slater) and Mikey Randall(Billy Jayne). Parker is quite possibly the coolest most liked teenagers at Santo Domingo High. The only people that seem to have anything against him are Santo Domingo Principal Grace Musso, her assistant the evil Frank, and his sister Shelley.
The DVD release of Parker Lewis Can't Lose Season 2 contains all 22 episodes of the 2nd season. The episodes deal with typical coming-of-age issues such as Parker falling in love, and dealing with it's repercussions (Boy Meets Girl), peer pressure (A Walk on the Dark Side), and the possibility of dropping out(Stormy Mikey). While many of these issues have been covered by other shows and movies over the years, Parker Lewis handles them with a great sense of style.
Some of the greatest revelations that this show offered to me on this go around involved the more surrealistic elements that I did not pay attention to during my childhood viewings of the show. Most shows that deal with high school have certain dramatic or comedic flourishes to make their respective shows more cinematic, Parker Lewis Can't Lose uses certain stylistic touches to give an exaggerated appearance to even background characters. There are characters in the show who disappear after a conversation, or most notably Principal Grace Musso's shattering of the glass panel to her door when she slams it shut.
That being said the look of the show is very late 80's/early 90's, and everything from the clothes to the technology Parker uses to execute his schemes is very dated. This may put many viewers who did not live through the period off on the show. That is the only negative I can really find with the show, and if you can get past that you will be rewarded with a fun sitcom experience.
Shout Factory has presented Parker Lewis Can't Lose in it's original 1:33:1 aspect ratio. This transfer is the absolute weak point of this set, it ranges from solid to very bad. There is a lot of dirt and grain throughout the episodes, and the darker scenes suffer from serious noise issues.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 in English. The audio track is fairly clear of any distortion or background noise. The dialogue is quite audible, as is the music, and sound effects work.
Shout Factory has given us a series of episode specific cast and crew commentaries on this release. Only a handful of episodes (about 1 a disc), have a commentary on them. I didn't expect much on this release, as it seems that all the meaningful extras were included on the set for Series 1.
Dated to some, an unearthed time capsule for others, Parker Lewis is a great example of an early 90's high school sitcom. If you, like me, spent your childhood with Parker and his buds than this set is a no-brainer. If you haven't seen Parker Lewis Can't Lose before this is your chance to check out one of the best high school sitcoms of the last 20 years. The A/V on the set is not so hot, but the show is 20 years old, and probably hasn't seen much attention since USA took the reruns out of syndication. The extras are light, but if you need more of those check out the great retrospective doc on the Series 1 DVD set.