"Human Giant" seems like a return to the low-fi comedy of shows like "The State" and "United Citizens Brigade", which seems sort of fitting, given the rise of low budget comedy on sites like Youtube, where average people are trying to broadcast their own laughs. While comedy on Youtube can be rather hit-and-miss, the comparison is fitting: the series was started after its members had their web videos found. Despite the move to the network, the series still has the "we pulled this together in a week" feel of something you might find on the web.
A cult comedy similar to "The State" may just be what MTV needs. Stuck between a music industry that's still in turmoil and an over-reliance on reality shows (ok, "The Hills" is kind of entertaining, but no more "My Super Sweet 16"), "Human Giant" seems like a step in a fresh direction for the network. The series stars Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel and consists of several smaller skits in every episode.
The skits are generally surreal, fairly fast-paced (this is no "SNL" or "Mad TV", the jokes are get in, get out) doses of smart laughs, with the occasional light pop-culture references. It's edgy without being smug about it. Some of the most hysterical bits are the simplest, such as one where Ansari tries to turn NASA spacesuits into a fashion statement, catching everyone's attention as he walks down the NYC streets. However, when he tries to use the outfit to pick up chicks, he's challenged by an actual astronaut, who wants to fight him - in space.
Another has Scheer deciding to use his time machine while Ansari watches a news footage of an archeological dig where Scheer's remains have been found - and apparently his time in the far past wasn't exactly pleasant. I also got a few good laughs from a quick skit about a mosh pit from a metal concert that became a solid entity and escaped from the concert, swallowing up random people across the country. "The mosh pit's gone rogue", says one character.
Overall, I thought this series was a really pleasant surprise - the bits are riotously funny at best and able to generate a few chuckles at worst - and hopefully will be a start of a greater variety of MTV programing.
This set offers all 8 episodes from the first season - uncensored.
VIDEO: Paramount presents "Human Giant" in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Despite the low-budget production, the picture quality still remains solid, with satisfactory sharpness/detail. A little bit of shimmering and a trace or two of artifacting is seen, but the majority of the presentation looked crisp, clean and smooth. Colors looked natural and accurate, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack offered clear, well-recorded dialogue, music and effects. Overall, just fine for a low-budget TV series.
EXTRAS: All episodes feature audio commentaries from the cast, director Jason Woliner and executive producer Tom Gianas. The commentaries also offer a series of different guests, such as Patton Oswalt, Bill Hader and Bob Odenkirk. There's a lot more on the second disc, starting with about an hour's worth of highlights and lowlights from the "Human Giant" 24-hour marathon, where the group took over the network. There's also 27 deleted scenes, which include deleted/alternate scenes as well as outtakes.
Rounding things out are 2 deleted Shutterbugs sketches, 2 early sketches, a very funny "Crew Dedications" text/clips, 3 clips from Season 2 and a trailer for season 1.
Final Thoughts:Overall, I thought this series was a really pleasant surprise - the bits are riotously funny at best and able to generate a few chuckles at worst - and hopefully will be a start of a greater variety of MTV programing. The DVD set offers tons of extras and fine audio/video quality. Recommended.