Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: Freakazoid! Season 1 (July 29)

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD reviews! Today we have we take a look at Warner Home Video's animated series Freakazoid! The Complete 1st Season. Freakazoid! was an animated series on Kids' WB. See Seth Thrasher's mini-DVD review of Freakazoid! - The Complete 1st Season:

Freakazoid - The Complete 1st Season (Warner, $26.98) is finally on DVD. Featuring the craziest hero in all of cartoons, Freakazoid ran for a year and a half on Kids WB in the mid 90s -- right smack dab in the middle of the huge wave of great cartoons of the mid 90s. In 1995 -- the year of Freakazoid's debut, you had on the air dozens of cartoon series all of whom were equally good, if not vastly different series on the air. Lost in the shuffle was this crazy cartoon. Freakazoid starts out as mild-mannered geek Dexter Douglas. After a string of nonsense gets typed into his keyboard while surfing around in cyberspace he gets zapped into the internet where he gains every last bit of information on the internet. Stop and really think about just about every superhero origin story. They ultimately make about as much sense as this one does. Come on, aliens from an exploding planet send their kid here, and he happens to react *really* well to our sun, giving him super-strength, flying, and other powers? Doesn't make much sense either when you think about it THAT way. Anyway, one of the effects of this is that the superhero that results, while very fast, strong, and blue -- is that when he's in Freakazoid form he's pretty much completely insane. It's this insanity that drives much of the show.
Presented here are the first 14 episodes of the series. Considering I was under the assumption that there were only 13 actual episodes in season one, I checked. Included in the set is not only all 13 regular episodes from season one, but one of the compilation episodes (with two acts from previous episodes thrown together) from Summer 1996 as well. This compilation episode is the sixth on the DVD, and features The Cloud (from the later 11th episode), and Candle Jack (from the previous 2nd episode). Redundancy -- neat! Freakazoid used a lot of pop culture references -- and as a result led to guest stars appearing. In addition, a couple of names you might recognize played recurring characters. See if you can spot who voices what – it's incredibly easy! Special guests include Mark Hamill, Ricardo Montalban, Ben Stein, Rose Marie, Bebe Neuwirth, and of course, TV's Craig Ferguson, whose Late Late Show I'm a huge fan of.
I think you can tell when I love a show when I spend so much of a mini review talking about the show. I really wish I could've given this show the full review treatment -- but due to space concerns we now move ahead in the review to the technical side.
This is probably a good time to mention that while disc 1 is one-sided disc 2 is dual-sided. Warner wasn't willing to put more than 6 episodes per disc/side, and so as a result the final two episodes and the features spill over to the next side. The video quality is just fine -- perhaps a bit soft, but that's really not out of the ordinary for animation from the mid 90s. Audio is just fine – And by just fine I mean Dolby 5.1! Yes, for a cartoon from the mid 90s that isn't as remembered as its counterparts, Warner still gave it 5.1 audio. Says so right on the box. In fact, this cartoon got a lot of extra little things put into the release -- there are even several special features! There’s commentary! on three of the fourteen episodes with senior producer Tom Ruegger, writer John McCann, and the voice of Freakazoid Paul Rugg. But wait, there's more! We also have Freakazoid-less Freakazoid promos. The network wanted footage, and they didn't have anything to give them. So, inspired in part by Carnival Cruise Lines, they created some crazy promos for the show. There’s about a minute introduction by the staff to explain just how these incredibly oddball promos came to be, and then the 4 minutes of promos. There's also a feature detailing how Freakazoid went from a super-legitimate hero to the comedy series it became. One day, you wake up and you're in the middle of a colonoscopy...
As if what may be the longest "mini" review in history didn't already tell you, I love this show. Even if the technical side were crap, I’d still tell you to buy it because the show's good. But the technical side is really *really* good too! I was going to give it a solid 4.5, but after having seen what I've given 4's to around here, it deserves the half-point for the full five. 5.1 Audio! Commentary! Promos! Freakazoid! Buy it!

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(5/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Freakazoid! TV.com Page


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, July 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Geology Elevation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Bert (Brian Posehn), a Caltech geologist, wins the MacArthur Genius fellowship, Sheldon is overcome with jealousy. Also, Wolowitz finds an old remote control Stephen Hawking action figure he invented. Stephen Hawking returns to guest star as himself.

Life in Pieces - "I'll Be Home for Christmas... Maybe" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Kevin gets into the Christmas spirit when he volunteers to help Mott (Chris Roach) and his seven kids prepare for the holidays while his wife’s away, leaving Donna (Erinn Hayes) high and dry until Kyle (Gary Valentine) swoops in to help her. Jackie Sandler guest stars as Mott’s wife, Cindy.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 24)

Thursday, July 27

  • Billy Crystal (The Comedians/Soap) - Catch Billy on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Jill Kargman (Odd Mom Out) - Jill is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Gillian Jacobs (Love/Community) - Gillian visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Niecy Nash (Getting On/The Soul Man/Reno 911!) - Niecy stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Brett Gelman (Married/Go On) - Brett appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • The Cast of Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, Kevin Dunn, Gary Cole and Sam Richardson are guests on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Kelsey Grammer (Frasier/Cheers) - Kelsey drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Betty Gilpin (GLOW/Nurse Jackie) - Betty talks about GLOW on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Ernie Hudson (Grace and Frankie/The Last Precinct) - Ernie is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace and her daughter, Natasha, see how well they really know each other on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Jake T. Austin (Wizards of Waverly Place) - Jake talks about The Emoji Movie on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Brian Sacca (Wrecked) - Brian talks about Wrecked on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph (Instant Mom/Moesha/It's a Living) - Sheryl will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Jason Alexander (Seinfeld/Listen Up!/Bob Patterson) - Jason is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.