on September 9, 2009
Goodness, whenever I turn on my TV nowadays I'm just disgusted. The networks really expect me to be entertained while watching people loose weight or watching people compete for the love of some publicity loving you-know-what. Hmm, lets watch some cartoons. Oh... cartoons stink now also. So I search for an answer... literally. My youth provided the answer in Silver Hawks.
This show is slick. From the rockin' intro to the cheesy yet fun-loving dialogue, you can't go wrong. Yeah it's a bit old school... but I'll play hooky from the new stuff to watch this. As an adult, do I feel guilty for buying this, watching it all, and then letting the intro run for about 30 minutes while listening to it over and over? No, and neither should you. Do yourself a favor and pick this up, or do your kids a favor and show them how things used to be in the cartoon world.
on October 24, 2008
This attractive 4-disc set comes in an embossed slip-cover box with metallic foil printing accenting the characters and text. The disc case is the thickness of a standard dvd, with two interior hinged flip 'pages' holding all four discs (vertically offset rather than laid directly back-to-back), all fashioned from clear (flexible) polypropylene to showcase the illustrated menu printed on the inside of the cover (similar to Sony's "Transformers: the Movie" 20th anniversary special edition dvd, if not prettier). The discs themselves likewise have an admirable design with their labels, using reflective text for the SilverHawks logo; the fourth disc (unfortunately) has no label because it's double-sided to hold the bonus features. It all looks highly impressive as far as packaging goes, possibly scoring a new high in my dvd collection (if excluding deluxe box-set treatments).
Setting aside the package glamour, the dvds have eight episodes per disc. Their menus are accompanied by the SilverHawks theme song and look appealing enough, but are not animated or anything fancy. Although there's no mention of remastering work, picture and sound are pristine, with no apparent age artifacts apart from an occasioned darkness to some episodes (in particular, sections of "The Bounty Hunter"); on a few of the middle episodes (eg., "Darkbird", "Gold Shield"), a minor horizontal tracking flicker is visible along the topmost edge during the closing credit scroll. The show was not originally recorded in stereo, so it's all unseparated center-channel audio, with tracks in English, French, and Spanish, plus proper subtitles (not Closed Captioning) in English and Spanish.
Teaser preview segments ("...find out on today's exciting episode!") are included prior to the intro sequence for each show, but there are no circa-1986 TV promo ads among the dvd extras, nor any toy commercials. As with many other 80s cartoon dvd releases, the bumper segments (commercial lead-in / lead-out animation) have been omitted; in my opinion, some of the original broadcast drama is lost without the zing of those flashy bumpers. Also, the first episode on disc 2, "Sky-Shadow", is missing its title card altogether.
The epilogue of each episode takes the format of an educational astronomy quiz. (...Did you know the Earth is 93 million miles from the sun?) For some reason, the lesson presented here for episode 2 is different from the one seen in the 1986 airing, whose Q&A were originally: 1."Closest natural object to Earth? Moon"; 2."Planet which makes closest approach to Earth? Venus"; 3."Ringed planet with the most moons? Saturn." This absented segment is not found elsewhere on these discs -- I checked every episode, some of which have repeat lessons between disc 3 and 4.
The bonus material on disc 4 consists of a 10-minute documentary with comments from supervising producer Lee Dannacher and a few other creative staffers discussing the origin of the series, primarily from a marketing perspective. There's also a fantastic sneak preview of DC's animated "Wonder Woman" (see details below), plus a couple of trailers for ThunderCats dvds. The slipcase additionally promises a "Gallery of Characters and Action Figures", but no such bonus item can be located on the disc, and the few glimpses of action figures shown within the featurette are obscured by an ill-placed graphic effect of simulated video scan lines.
SilverHawks first aired as a one-hour special preview in mid-1986, which was later split into the first two episodes of the ongoing series. However, in that hour-long presentation there was a musical interlude sequence (roughly a minute or two) spotlighting Bluegrass playing guitar during the heroes' departure from Earth and their space flight to the Galaxy of Limbo, which was trimmed for time considerations from between those first two series episodes -- you only hear the very last bit of said missing scene fading in after the inserted "Journey To Limbo" title card as the second episode begins. This deleted footage has not been restored and is sadly unavailable on the bonus disc.
As for story content, this was a kids' action cartoon and it doesn't pretend to anything grander. Lee Dannacher describes the show's creative intention as "cops and robbers in space". Plots are simplistic and the dialogue is largely juvenile, sometimes losing viewer attention amid overlong, speechless battle scenes or the vapid cackling of several villain characters. Still, it all has a wonderfully high-spirited tone -- the music is positively addictive -- with richly textured background paintings and cool reflective shading on the figures. Watching the episodes dubbed in French or Spanish is an amusing novelty should you feel a need to escape the familiar English voice cast -- be sure to check out the opening theme and Copper Kid's voice (haha) en español.
Warner Bros did a very fine job assembling this dvd set. Other than the absence of the promised "Character Gallery" and other bonus features suggested (delayed for inclusion on Volume 2, we hope?), I can't find anything to genuinely complain about. The gorgeous packaging definitely deserves praise. The scripted material of the show itself is the weakest link in this equation, which is the only component I can deduct marks for. As long as you're prepared for storytelling delivery aimed to charm a younger demographic -- complete with absurdist liberties in the show's depiction of physics -- you'll be happily enamored by this kid-friendly 80s-retro offering.
Riveting enough to practically warrant its own review, the included "Wonder Woman" direct-to-video animated movie preview is actually a 10-minute mini-documentary and not the routine trailer expected. Between interview clips with the wowing voice cast, as well as insights from the director, producer, writer, and DC Comics personnel, we are treated to a history of iconic Wonder Woman comic book covers, glimpses of character design sheets from the movie, and a progression of storyboard sequences conspiring to excite anticipation even though no finished animation is seen... "Coming February 2009!"
on May 15, 2010
Loved, loved, LOVED this underrated gem when I was young! A lot of members of today's audience complain quite a bit that this was a cheaply made knock-off of the more popular "Thundercats" (as pointed out in the interviews on the DVD, as Silverhawks was supposed to have been released first). And what would be wrong with that? In much the same way that Filmation was responsible for both He-Man and She-ra, Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass, the geniuses behind the creatively named Rankin/Bass, were responsible for both "Thundercats" and "Silverhawks." In essence, they are being accused of ripping off their own shows.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. A lot of my favorite episodes are on this collection ("Journey to Limbo," "One on One," "Sky-Shadow," etc.) The minor complaint that I have though is that I owned "The Origin Story" (actually, five intertwined episodes) on VHS and, therefore, I know that roughly five minutes of the first two episodes is missing from the DVD release. I don't know if it was also missing from television broadcast and the DVDs are using abbreviated episodes or what the deal was but, clearly, a portion of "Journey to Limbo" (including a battle between my favorite villain, Mo-Lec-U-Lar, and hero, The Copper Kidd) was missing. Also, clearly, the title card is missing from "Sky-Shadow." These are minor inconveniences, however, and easily overlooked by the casual observer.
On to my major complaint as promised: while this is a nice opening collection with the first 32 of 65 episodes, I would kind of like to see Volume 2 eventually actually get released. If poor sales are somehow dissuading the Warners from continuing sales, then we are being teased by the first of two releases!
on January 4, 2013
The DVD is of good quality. It's got all the features and shows and junk. And for the price, can't go wrong right.
The show itself is pure nostalgia. I used to watch this show when I got home from school as a kid. Looking back now, I do wonder what I was thinking, but none the less, I enjoyed it.
The show really is Thundercats in space. Even the way the show is drawn and the main villians transformation is the same! lol.
But, if you watched it as a kid or want to give it to your kids to watch go for it!
on November 10, 2012
When I was a kid, along with Transformers, Thundercats, and Voltron, Silverhawks was one of THE shows to watch. There's just something about 80s cartoons that you can't get with modern shows. They were more inventive and original. Even when they weren't original, they gave it their own little twists to make it entertaining...which Silverhawks does in spades. The dvd case was a surprise. I wasn't expecting, from the pictures online, that there would be a slipcover or that it would be shiny and bumply. Very cool. Just wish that the second, and last, volume wasn't so expensive.