The complete first season of the TV series King Of The Hill. Tell you what: Whether King of the Hill
can usurp the throne occupied by The Simpsons
as TV's royal animated family is something for the Hank vs. Homer contingents to duke out. But with this fit-for-a-king DVD set, the Hills of Arlen, Texas, can emerge from the shadows of their Springfield brethren. Co-created by Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-Head
, the cult classic Office Space
) and Simpsons
veteran Greg Daniels, this brilliant series boasts an impeccable voice cast, bull's-eye writing, and the most rollicking theme music on television.
Unlike The Simpsons, which got a running start on The Tracey Ullman Show, the Hills may take a little warming up to. In the pilot episode, Hank Hill (voiced by Judge) is more a quick-to-temper redneck than good ol' boy. But as this inaugural season unfolds, he empathetically struggles to be the voice of reason in an ever-changing world where his substitute teacher wife, Peggy (Kathy Najimy), is forced to teach sex ed (Hank's spit take when the repressed Peg blurts out the word "vagina" is worthy of Danny Thomas), his son Bobby (Pamela Segall) wants to be a prop comic, and his neighbor, Dale (Johnny Hardwick), finds government conspiracies under every grassy knoll. But Hank is that sitcom rarity: A good man and father who is devoted to his job (selling propane and propane accessories) and his family, which includes Peggy's niece, nubile aspiring beautician Luanne (Brittany Murphy). For the uninitiated, disc 2 of this three-disc set may make a more favorable first impression. It contains three of the season's best episodes, among them "Shins of the Father," which pits Peggy against Hank's incorrigibly sexist father (when Peggy tells him that Bobby is a good helper in the kitchen, he responds, "Whatever you say, Hillary"). The set is loaded with features, from deleted scenes to episode commentaries by the series' creators and the characters themselves. Welcome to home video, Hills. We'll get the barbecue started. --Donald Liebenson