Andy Barker, P.I. –The Complete Series (DVD)

If you needed any further proof that TV executives are little more than sadistic puppet masters who like little more than to tease us with what might have been, look at the career of Andy Richter. After leaving Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Richter made the bizarre, but extremely funny Andy Richter Controls the Universe. The show was smart and original, so obviously it was cancelled after one season.

Richter got a second chance with Andy Barker, P.I. – again quirky, original and very funny (everything most sitcoms currently on the air aren’t), so naturally it was axed after only six episodes. Created by O’Brien and Jonathan Groff (How I Met Your Mother), the pilot introduces milquetoast accountant Andy Barker who begins moonlighting as a private eye after he moves into the office of a former investigator and starts getting mistaken for the office’s old occupant. The writing is sharp, but it’s Richter and the supporting cast – including Arrested Development’s Tony Hale and Fargo’s Harve Presnell that made the show so unforgettable. The just-released DVD includes the complete series – the six episodes that aired, along with a gag reel and a behind-the-scenes look at the show. Richter is now back with O’Brien, as sidekick on The Tonight Show and we are left with a slew of mediocre, by-the-numbers sitcoms like Two and a Half Men. Thanks Hollywood.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Andy Barker, P.I. – The Complete Series/2 DVDs/2009/Shout Factory/132 mins.

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