Parks and Recreation: Seasons One, Two, Three & Four DVD review

The brainchild of the same people responsible for the US version of The Office, Parks and Recreation takes a similar faux-documentary sitcom approach to another work environment. Only this time the focus is the parks and recreation department of the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee.

While this allows the show to mine smalltown bureaucracy for laughs (and plenty of them), what makes it really unique is its lack of cynicism. In any other sitcom, ambitious deputy director Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) would be a figure of ridicule, but here she's the unabashed star of the show, a battering ram of optimism whose belief in local government is both contagious and refreshing.

Picture: All four seasons of Parks and Recreation hold up perfectly well on DVD, being easily on a par with the original broadcast versions.

The 68 anamorphic 1.78:1 transfers (plus the smattering of alternate cuts included as extras) spread across the set's 12 discs share a warmly saturated, crisply rendered aesthetic that appears wholly authentic to the source material. Better yet, there's a distinct lack of noticeable edge enhancement or image noise.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Every episode features a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack – although it's worth remembering that this is a documentary-style sitcom, not an action-packed drama.

The main focus of the tracks is the front of the soundstage, which excels at reproducing and prioritising the all-important dialogue. That said, the use of Foley effects and performances by Andy (Chris Pratt)'s band Mouse Rat give the 5.1 tracks the chance to stretch their legs a little in terms of dynamic range, if not surround effects.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: The single-disc Season One finds space for an extended episode, 23 minutes of deleted scenes, two music videos and six episode commentaries.

Running to 24 episodes, Season Two is spread across four discs. Extras include over 160 minutes of deleted scenes; three extended episodes; six episode commentaries; a promo for Season Three; a blooper reel; five behind-the-scenes webisodes; footage of Mouse Rat playing the wrap party; a performance of the theme song by composer Gabby Moreno; an explanation of why the show is 'the Wu-Tang of comedy' by Roots drummer Questlove; and five fun Winter Olympics promos.

Season Three splits its 16 episodes across three discs. They also include three extended episodes, 48 minutes of deleted scenes, a gag reel, four promo spots, six episode commentaries, three in-show commercials in full and a tribute to L'il Sebastian.

The fourth season bulks back up to 20 episodes across four discs. Sadly there are no commentaries, but you do get four 'Road Trip' webisodes, a gag reel, 93 minutes of deleted scenes, three campaign ads, a music video, four extended episodes, outtakes, promo videos and more.

So, plenty of extras for fans to get through!
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: A bumper DVD boxset of sitcom brilliance. Simply unmissable.

Parks and Recreations: Seasons One, Two, Three & Four, Fabulous Films, R2 DVD, £85 Approx