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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, November 23

The Big Bang Theory - "The Holiday Summation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon and Amy visit Leonard and Penny for the first time since the holidays and share details about their terrible trip to Texas. Laurie Metcalf returns as Sheldon’s mother, Mary.

Young Sheldon - "A Solar Calculator, A Game Ball, and A Cheerleader's Bosom" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sheldon struggles with newfound popularity after utilizing statistics to help the football team.

Mom - "Fancy Crackers and Giant Women" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie suffers withdrawal after giving up cable TV to help Christy pay for her law school applications, and the women rally around Jill after she has a breakdown in her favorite department store.

Life in Pieces - "Testosterone Martyr Baked Knife" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Heather, Clementine and Jen offer to save Joan from the stress of preparing the Thanksgiving meal, the free time leaves Joan even more frazzled. Also, Greg has a boost of self-confidence after learning he has high levels of testosterone; Samantha keeps a secret from her family during Thanksgiving dinner; and John is determined to continue the tradition of using his old, unsafe knife to carve the turkey.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 20)

Thursday, November 23

  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Watch Tracy on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul is a musical guest on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Stephanie appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kaitlin Olson (The Mick/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Kaitlin chats on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna is a guest on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jussie Smollet (On Our Own) - Jussie appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/One Day at a Time) - Valerie reveals her favorite, good-for-you dessert she swears by on a repeat of The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.