Similar to the way that musician Beck manages to blend together the familiar into the abstract, comedian Demetri Martin often takes parts and pieces (some a bit old and rusty) and mash them up into a stand-up act that often seems fresh and more than a little unusual at times - while some of Martin's bits are often haha funny, many of them work (and seem to be meant for) a thought-provoking inner chuckle.
Martin's Comedy Central series, "Important Things With Demetri Martin" is an oddball affair that both frustrates and entertains. The series couldn't be more simple: each episode has Martin focusing on one particular thing - power, timing, etc. etc. etc. - and riffing on it/illustrating it for the majority of the episode. It's sort of like a bizarr-o world "Sesame Street" for adults, with Martin's sketches (which consist of animated bits, stand-up in front of a studio audience and filmed sketches) going over multiple definitions of the word of the episode.
While this does result in some very funny bits, the frustration comes from the fact that the comedian generally limits the sketches to the one topic, which results in some hits and misses - as well as repetition starting to set in not long before the end credits roll. The series should have been allowed to roam free and simply announce the term before each sketch rather than trying to figure out how to riff on "timing" for half an hour.
Still, while "Important Things" is sometimes more strange than it is funny and it does get a little repetitive at times, the series is an often amusing and clever take on elements of everyday life. While season one may be a bit inconsistent, the show has potential and a few minor tweaks could improve it further.
Episodes: Timing, Power, Brains, Chairs, Safety, Coolness, Games.
VIDEO: "Important Things With Demetri Martin" is presented by Paramount in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The presentation certainly was equal to broadcast quality, as while sharpness and detail were not exceptional, the image remained consistently crisp and offered fine definition. Some slight shimmering occasionally was spotted, but otherwise, no faults were noticed. Colors looked bright and spot-on, with good saturation and no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack captures background audio, audience sounds and dialogue perfectly fine.
EXTRAS: Commentary from Demetri Martin is offered on the episodes, "Timing", "Games", "Power" and "Coolness". While I wasn't sure how much could be said by the star of the series about the minimal sketches, the group (Martin is joined by a pair of writers from the show) actually manages to deliver, with enjoyable tracks that not only offer further dry humor, but also a fine discussion of their difficulties (Martin admits his lack of experience on TV and worries about whether or not the concept would work) trying to pull the production together. There's also a fine discussion of other issues, such as the inspiration behind sketches, filming on location, music and more.
Also included are deleted sketches, outtakes and both an early production graph and line-up.
Final Thoughts: "Important Things" is a little uneven or repetitive at times, but Martin's dry, surreal style of humor is clever and gets a laugh more often than not. The DVD set provides a solid set of extras along with fine audio/video quality. Recommended.