Sealab 2021: Season 4 (DVD)
Oh, what a difference a year makes. The crew of classic 1972 series Sealab 2020 has been replaced with a gang of misfits unfit for public service. Their mission: to investigate underwater colonization. They are doing a very bad job.
Sealab 2021 fans still reeling from the untimely end of the Adult Swim animated series in 2005 can relive every demented moment from the show with this double-disc set, which compiles the show's final episodes, including its retrospective finale, "Legacy of Laughter." Story-wise, it's business as usual for the crew of Sealab, with new captain Tornado Shanks (Michael Goz), who replaced Hank Murphy (Goz's father Harry, who passed away during the previous season), shepherding the team into all manner of disasters, including the mutant shark/human son of the late Marco (Erik Estrada) in "Joy of Grief" and "Sharko's Machine"; an attempt to rescue the Sealab by turning it into a Native American gambling parlor ("Casinko"); fan favorite "Shrabster," which unfolds in reverse; and the series conclusion, "Legacy of Laughter," which reunites all of the characters from the entire show's run. Longtime viewers may argue that the series declined in quality after the passing of Harry Goz, but it can be argued that while the show changed, its offbeat style and stories remained largely intact and still quite funny, if not always up to the standards of the earlier seasons.
The Season 4 extras are largely hit-or-miss. "Shrabster Forward" retells the episode in its correct chronological order, while the deleted scene from "Joy of Grief" is a middling comic tidbit. More amusing is the alternate ending for "Legacy of Laughter," which asks what the cast will do now that the show is over, and the unaired mini-episode "Nightshift," which takes a look at the lives of the crew that keeps Sealab running while the main characters indulge in adventures. A "Best of Sealab/Sunken Treasures" clip compilation, which serves up some of the series' funniest moments, is an appropriate wrap-up for this deliriously clever show. --Paul Gaita