Long before "Seinfeld" changed everything, David, with the future Cosmo Kramer, Michael Richards, was a member of the cast of "Fridays," a selection of whose episodes has just been released (with extras) in a box set from Shout Factory. Airing late-night from 1980 to 1982, it was ABC's somewhat belated answer to "Saturday Night Live," down to the makeup of the cast -- four men (one black) and three women -- and the news segment in the middle. (The cast also included Bruce Mahler, who would play Rabbi Glickman on "Seinfeld", echoing a recurring bit he did with David here; Larry Charles was a staff writer.) It's not a great show, but it is an ambitious one, with a bent for postmodern self-reflection and meta-fun. Some of its concepts and strategies are Avant-Garde Theater 101, and they broke the fourth wall on "SNL," too, but "Fridays" made a real, repeated point of it. One episode was conceived as the 1980 Republican National Convention, with the audience as conventioneers. In one sketch, a couple shows off their new apartment, which comes with its own studio audience. In another, Melanie Chartoff plays a little girl who learns that not only is the tooth fairy not real, but that her parents are actors, her room is a set, and that she herself is an actress -- and, in a short nightgown, an exploited one at that, because "showing sex-related material such as the smooth skin of your thigh keeps people watching," upon which the sketch becomes a self-reflexive disquisition upon television. ("There are some good programs, but most of them are superficial. On the other hand, there are things that about this sketch that are kind of pretentious.") William Shatner appears as Capt. Kirk transported back to the 1980s and mistaken for William Shatner. (He's also very funny as a sleep-deprived air-traffic controller -- read your history.) The set includes a famous episode hosted by Andy Kaufman (recreated for "Man on the Moon"), an "experimental" prank in which Kaufman seemed to hijack the show, bailed out of sketches and broke up constantly. It was continued the following week, when he returned to read an apparently coerced false apology, which was also part of the plan.