A side project of Michael Palin’s and Monty Python coconspirator Terry Jones’, the nine 30-minute comedic mini-sagas compiled in The Complete Ripping Yarns originated as a parody of Ripping Tales,a book of boys’ adventure stories. The humor is darker and the episodes move more slowly, but Yarns is nevertheless filthy with the paw prints of Python-style comedy. To wit: In the pilot, ”Tomkinson’s Schooldays,” Palin escapes boarding school only to be captured by the school leopard and awarded three weeks’ detention in the compost heap.

EXTRAS Check out original series scripts on the DVD-ROM, and snigger as Jones and Palin mock their own work in a joint commentary (quips Palin: ”It all contrives to make him look rather ninny, really”). Palin’s mother even shows up in a mini-doc and discloses that his jokester dad was partial to ”fake dog messes.”