Steven Spielberg Presents Freakazoid!: The Complete Second Season
The victim of a horrible crash on the information superhighway, Freakazoid is the humorous personification of information overload. His synapses constantly misfire, sending his thoughts and ideas streaking into various comic directions--and confounding villains with quips, non sequiturs and jokes, leaving them completely dumbfounded.
The definition of "cult favorite" in TV animation circles, the superhero parody/deconstruction Freakazoid!
reached the apex of its creativity (read: lunacy) with its second season, with movie and pop-culture spoofs, offbeat casting, and swan-dives into total surrealism among its many bizarre but hilarious attractions. Though well loved by a small but vocal community of fans, Freakazoid!
never caught on with audiences like producer Steven Spielberg’s other animation efforts, such as Tiny Toons
, and efforts to streamline the show in its second season by eliminating the two-stories-per-episode approach only allowed for more non sequiturs and offbeat scripting--not exactly the way to bring in viewers. But eclecticism was the key to Freakazoid!
’s appeal--how else to describe a long segue into a musical number that pays tribute to villain The Lobe in "Dexter’s First Date," or hinging the truly berserk final episode, "Normandeus," around This Old House
host Norm Abrams (who provides his own voice)? Such touches, as well as Lost in Space
’s Jonathan Harris as Freakazoid’s butler, Professor Jones, and the increased presence of Ed Asner’s Office Cosgrove, who is elevated here from weird bit player to sidekick without losing his penchant for inviting Freakazoid to the most unusual events at the worst possible time, only solidified the show’s brilliance in the eyes of its followers; unfortunately, their numbers weren’t enough to keep the show going for a third season, so this two-disc set represents both the show’s highwater mark and swan song.
Extras on the Freakazoid! Season 1 set were remarkably plentiful, but here, the key supplement is a lengthy (20 minutes) featurette titled "Liebselied fur Normandeus," which reunites many of the key players to discuss the joys and disappointments of the show’s final season. Commentaries are unfortunately relegated to "A Full Season’s Worth of Commentaries (In Five Minutes or Less)," which is exactly as it sounds: a brief roundtable of producers and writers giving an amiable chat about the season. It’s amusing, but highlights the real need for full commentaries on some of the best episodes contained here. A demo of composer Richard Stone’s brilliant "Bonjour Lobey" rounds out the bonus features. --Paul Gaita