on July 7, 2004
People keep emailing my Roughnecks site about the proper DVD order, so here it is:
This is the order the Roughnecks DVD's should be watched in:
(but skip the clip-shows on the "Trackers" disk and save them till last)
1. The Pluto Campaign (episodes 1-2-4-3-5)
[episodes 3 and 4 deliberately switched around, disk plays in "correct" order]
2. The Hydora Campaign (episodes 6-7-8-9-10)
3. The Tophet Campaign (episodes 11-12-13-14-15)
4. The Tesca Campaign (episodes 16-17-18-19-20)
[also known as the Tesca Nemerosa campaign]
5. The Zephyr Campaign (episodes 21-22-23-24-25)
[also known as the Ice Asteroid campaign]
6. The Klendathu Campaign (episodes 26-27-28-29-30)
7. Trackers (episode 31; clip-shows 1 thru 4)
8. The Homefront Campaign (episodes 32-34-35-36-37)
[there IS NO EPISODE 33! 37 is the "final" episode even though it's a cliffhanger]
on July 21, 2004
Finally, my collection is complete, but this particular disk is not up to the quality of the other seven in the set. Originally conceived as a series with eight "chapters" of five episodes each, production problems led to having to create four "clip shows" to deliver the promised 40 episodes. (The actors recorded dialog for two episodes that were never animated.) These clip shows contain from 60-90% "recycled" material, but the 10-40% that's original ties the clips together into enjoyable stories.
When packaging the series, the five daily episodes for each week were combined into a single feature-length disk, with only one intro and exit that had combined production credits for all of the episodes on the disk (sometimes 2-3 different Directors, for example.) The first six disks faithfully capture the first six weeks. The last week ("Homefront Campaign") contains the last five production episodes, but there is a missing episode (#31) that precedes the first one on the disk, and the story ends with a cliff-hanger (#37) because they never completed the last few episodes. (Another review provides a very good chronology for viewing the disks.)
What we find on "Trackers" is the missing episode and the four clip-shows, but the DVD layout is confusing ... it appears to have one "feature" and four "extras" ... these are, in fact, the missing Episode 31 and the clip-shows that were delivered instead of 33, 38, 39 and 40. All five episodes contain their original intros and exits. (Love that music! :-) Unfortunately, unlike the other seven disks, there are no audio commentaries or production featurettes.
If, like me, you started collecting these DVDs as they were released in order to have the Complete Series, then you *MUST* have this disk. Because each episode is only about 22 minutes long, with the complete intro music and ending credits, they are a good way to introduce friends to the series without forcing them to sit through an hour and a half in one sitting to watch all five episodes from a single week.
If, OTOH, you just have fond memories of the show and would like to have a "sampler", then this is a very good choice as your first purchase, as the four clip shows contain some really great action sequences. The down-side is that several of those scenes are repeated in more than one of the episodes, and the way they are ordered on the disk, you'll see a flashback near the end of one episode repeated near the begining of the episode that follows it.
I don't feel cheated by the duplication ... there are interesting stories wrapped around these clips from other episodes, sometimes appearing as flashbacks (when Ricco is marrooned in space, or Razack is being court-martialed), others as material that Higgins is trying to cobble together into a broacast for FedNet. It also looks like they may have included some scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor as script changes were made during production of the original episodes.
In the commentaries on the other disks, they talk about the production problems that led to having to deliver the clip shows, but it would have been nice to hear them telling the stories of how they went about putting them together, as I believe at least one of them was actually a "preview", containing clips from episodes that were still in production and had not yet been aired.
So, don't be fooled that this is just a 20 minute "feature" with four "extra featurettes" ... these are 5 episodes that should have had an entirely different menu for navigating them. They did a Very Poor job of packaging this disk, but at least we've got all 40 episodes to enjoy and share. I'm thankful to have them in any condition!
on June 3, 2004
The final DVD installment in the Roughneck series. Trackers is not a campaign like the other seven DVDs. Trackers includes 5 episodes that were cut from some campaigns in the earlier releases. Such as the Propoganda machine, cut from the Hydora campaign. Marooned, Court Martial of Lt. Razak and Trackers from the Klendathu campaign. Finally the Pluto and Beyond episode that was cut from the Pluto Campaign. Except Trackers, every bonus episode are really nostalgic recollections of events that took place prior to that particular episode. Each bonus epidose is full of emotional and critical events in the characters lives. To fully complete your Roughneck Collection this DVD ties up any loose ends. I heard there are 3 unreleased episodes, lets all hope that Sony/Tristar releases them on DVD. And of coure any Roughneck fan wants a second season, lets all continue to support the Roughnecks as much as possible so we can get a 2nd season!!!!!
on June 13, 2004
"Trackers" is NOT the final episode in the Roughnecks saga -- in fact, it actually falls before "Homefront" chronologically. Also, fans of the previous discs in the Roughnecks series will be a bit disappointed that there's only a single episode on tap from the main menu... and some of the Special Features featurettes are simply rehashes of previous episodes.
The quality is still high -- but if you haven't filled out your collection of the previous discs, do so first before picking up this disc!
on July 9, 2004
I was very surprised and disappointed to find out this DVD had only one episode and was over in say 20 minutes or so. There is some supplemental material worth watching, but only one main menu episode.
The animation series is great fun and worth having every episode. But I felt cheated when after watching all the previous DVDs, this one ended so quickly.
Sure hope any future DVD releases run longer.
on July 17, 2004
Although it was nice to finally obtain the lost episodes which were edited out of the proper release order (which is what the other clips on this disc are, as I have them in the proper order on VHS from Sci-Fi Channel from Long Ago) when these features were assembled, as I HATE having one of these series that isn't COMPLETE, I'm STILL waiting for the Saturday Morning Special that started it all, which I missed somehow, and have never seen repeated anywhere else, for some unknown reason, unless that it was a full length production.
Now, if I could just find my playlist, again!
Hopefully the producers of "Roughnecks" won't let their die-hard fans down.
on May 1, 2012
As a fan of the book, the movie, and Henlein in general, I bought all the DVDs in this series. The CG is a little crude, sometimes it looks like a very old computer or X Box game, but that said these DVDs are the only way I can see more of Johnny Rico and friends. Lets hope that someday they make a big budget movie that is spot on with the book's origional story. Until then we will make due with what we have.
on March 2, 2005
The Roughnecks series is, in general, a very high-quality production. Trackers is disappointing not only because the disc contains only a single new episode, but even more so because the production quality of this episode is not nearly as high as it has been for all previously released campaigns/episodes.
I enjoyed watching the episode as a filler episode to fill us in on what happened in between the Klendathu and Homefront campaigns. But the animation is simply not up to standard I've come to love and expect from the Roughnecks series.
I sincerely hope that, whenever Sony finally gets around to having the final episode finished and released, it will be of much higher quality than the Trackers episode. It has been a while since the Roughnecks series was first produced and aired, and with advances in computing power it is reasonable to expect the final episode to look at least as good as the episodes that have been released previously.