Saturday, July 26, 2008
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
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New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March)
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02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
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02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
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03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
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Wednesday, March 29
The Goldbergs - "A Night to Remember" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s prom night, and all three Goldberg kids have big plans, which go awry. Barry plans big romantic gestures for Lainey while Erica and Geoff try to go to prom together, but it doesn’t go as planned. Meanwhile, Adam is thrilled when a nerdy but cute junior asks him out, but he is horrified when Beverly gets involved.
Imaginary Mary - "Pilot" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
A fiercely independent career woman, Alice has her life turned upside-down when she meets Ben, a divorced father with three children, and soon falls head-over-heals for him. This triggers more upheaval when the imaginary friend she created as a child, Mary, suddenly reappears as she is nervous to meet Ben’s kids for the first time.
Modern Family - "Five Minutes" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
So much can happen to the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan in five minutes! Mitch and Cam have five minutes to catch a new flight while fighting the effects of sleeping pills they took prematurely. Then at Rainer’s birthday dinner, Haley and Rainer are forced to reevaluate their entire relationship in the five minutes before the birthday cake arrives. Meanwhile, Phil and Claire pay a surprise visit to Alex and are given a five-minute surprise introduction to her new boyfriend. Finally, with only five minutes to catch a movie, Manny has to find the perfect parking space and endure Jay and Gloria’s backseat argument.
black-ish - "Richard Youngsta" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Dre is excited about doing a campaign with a popular rap star but becomes conflicted when Bow and Ruby provide feedback suggesting it plays on stereotypes. Meanwhile, Bow is determined to get the family to stop eating so much take-out food, but realizes the family may be too accustomed to eating whatever they want.
Nobodies - "Mr. First Lady" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
After years toiling away writing on a kids cartoon, “The Fartlemans”, Groundlings Alums Larry, Rachel and Hugh finally get their big break: A chance to pitch their film script “Mr. First Lady” at Paramount.
Lopez - "Leaving Las Vegas" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
George quits his Las Vegas residency, causing big problems. Manolo gets out of jail and introduces his roommate, Hector, to everyone.
Schitt's Creek - "Friends & Family" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
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Wednesday, March 29
- Andrew Rannells (Girls/The New Normal) - Watch Andrew on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Emma Roberts (Scream Queens/Unfabulous) - Emma is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Paul F. Tompkins (DAG) - Paul is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Milana Vayntrub (Other Space) - Milana appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Andy Daly (Review/Eastbound & Down) - Andy appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Brooklyn Decker (Grace and Frankie/Friends with Better Lives) - Brooklyn is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
- NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe guest co-hosts a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
- Jenna Elfman (Imaginary Mary/1600 Penn/Accidentally on Purpose/Courting Alex/Dharma & Greg) - Jenna will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
- Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig is a guest on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- George Lopez (Lopez/George Lopez) - George discusses the second season of Lopez on the AOL Build Show at 5:30pm.