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on December 6, 2006
This was my #1 favorite cartoon series when I was eleven years old in 1983. I watched it religiously on TV back then, and when we got our first VCR, I recorded every re-run and watched those videotapes until I wore them out. Naturally, I was excited to hear this show was finally coming out on DVD. I bought the complete series box set released by BCI right away. All the episodes look great in terms of picture quality. Not to mention, the special features are surprisingly plentiful for an old, mostly-forgotten Saturday morning cartoon, and it really brought back some great memories.

Then I discovered a very disappointing problem. And I'm going to sound like a real nit-picker here - but I gotta state my case...

Any dedicated fan of this show is familiar with the episode "The Dragon's Graveyard" - generally considered to be the best episode of the entire series. That's the one where the kids decide to destroy Venger (the ultimate, evil bad guy) once and for all. They plan to do this by convincing Tiamat (the ultimate, evil 5-headed Dragon) to help them. It's a very cool story, because the good guys basically team up with one arch villain in order to settle their grudge match with another arch villain. As a kid in the 80's, I videotaped this series and "The Dragon's Graveyard" was one episode that I went back and watched repeatedly. So, I know that episode almost by heart. One of the things I always loved about that episode, and which I still remember clearly, was its powerful musical score. Especially during the scene where Venger throws fireballs at Uni, the baby Unicorn, nearly killing her, and the scene at the end, where the kids have their final, climactic battle with Venger, pin him against a rock, and lead hero Hank has to make the ultimate decision whether to kill Venger, or let him go. From watching and re-watching this particular episode to death on videotape, I remember very clearly that during these scenes the music had a fast, chaotic, rushing quality - a theme not heard frequently in other episodes - which racheted up the energy and took the drama way beyond typical Saturday morning cartoon fare.

And yet, while watching this same classic episode on the BCI-released Dungeons and Dragons DVD set, I noticed that this music had been completely replaced with slower, formulaic sections of music that can be regularly heard elsewhere in the series. This change in the music made the scenes described above considerably less effective, severely weakening the emotional impact of this episode.

Allright, now - yes - I realize how trite and ridiculous it must sound for a 30+ year old man to be nit picking the DVD quality of one single episode of a Saturday Morning cartoon show he loved when he was eleven. But the whole reason I bought this DVD set in the first place was to re-experience the innocent fun of those childhood memories, and instead I got a diluted version of that experience.

As a matter of fact, in the "Episode Trivia" section, it even mentions that another version of "The Dragon's Graveyard" episode exists, with a completely different musical score... and when I read that, all I could think was, "Yeah, no kidding, and you bozos put the weaker of the two versions on the DVD set. Thanks a lot!"

So... that's my one huge disappointment with the BCI set, and I'm guessing other fans who are total geeks for this show, will notice and be bothered by it, too.

NOW HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS... In 2009, Dungeons and Dragons was RE-RELEASED in a new DVD set, by a company called Mill Creek Entertainment. I had heard rumors that this new release RESTORED ALL of the ORIGINAL MUSIC used on the show, thus presenting every episode AS IT APPEARED, WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY SHOWN on TV in the early 1980's. At first I wasn't sure if I should believe the rumors... Then I saw that the Mill Creek release was selling for a surprisingly lower price than the BCI set... Low enough that I decided it was worth giving it another shot.

So, I ordered it, and let me tell you as a knowledgeable fan, that yes - the Mill Creek Entertainment release DOES include all the episodes with their original music. THIS is "The Dragon's Graveyard" as I remember and love it. Be advised, the Mill Creek release contains no Special Features, which is unfortunate, but I find myself not caring about that. The important thing is to have all the original episodes in their original form. And again, the price on the Mill Creek set is also a lot cheaper than the price on the BCI set, so it's hard to complain about the lack of "extras".

Bottom line - this is a great cartoon series. But if you want to experience this show in its original form - do yourself a favor: Snub the BCI set, and buy the Mill Creek Entertainment set. Take if from a long time fan of this show. I was deeply disappointed with the BCI set, and very, very happy with the Mill Creek set.
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on October 15, 2006
For the uninitiated, this series tells the tale of six kids who, after riding the Dungeons & Dragons rollercoaster, mysteriously get sucked into its fantasy world. There, each of them gains magical talents and abilities, all the better to survive their time in the Realm. The bow-shooting ranger, the acrobat, the thief, the cavalier, the wizard, and the boy-barbarian are soon joined by a baby unicorn, and tutored by the mysterious Dungeon Master. Opposing them is the evil sorcerer Venger, as well as various monsters and entities all intent on keeping the kids from getting back home. This was one of CBS' most popular animated series, airing for 27 episodes from 1983-1986, and again in the '90s on the Fox Kids network as reruns. Created by the legendary Marvel Productions, the series was based on the popular TSR role-playing game created in 1974, which spawned an entire industry. The complete animated series was released on DVD in 2006 by BCI Eclipse and again in 2009 by Mill Creek Entertainment. Since both releases are vastly different, I will try to outline the differences between both.

In 2006, Dungeons & Dragons- The Complete Animated Series was released in a re-mastered 5-disc boxed set loaded with extras by BCI Eclipse. The only negative was that certain episodes had some of its original music replaced. This set is now out-of-print and can only be bought from private sellers since BCI closed down in 2008. Here are the special features on this set;

*All-new half hour documentary, 'Entering the Realm of Dungeons & Dragons' featuring interviews with the show's production team, writers, animators, and network executives
*Two commentary tracks for episodes 'Night of No Tomorrow' & 'The Dragon's Graveyard' with producer Bob Richardson, story editor/ voice director Hank Saroyan, writers Mark Evanier & Michael Reaves, and CBS executives Ted Field II & Judy Price
*Radio show-style presentation of the unaired final episode 'Requiem' featuring select original voice cast members
*Full length animated storyboard with interactive episode comparison for Episode #16 'The Girl Who Dreamed Of Tomorrow'
*'Choose Your Own Adventure' DVD Game & 'Uni's Fun Facts' Trivia
*50 characters, creatures & artifacts profiles with bios, images & clips, plus extensive gallery of original model sheets & memorabilia
*Short live-action film by fan Sean Kennedy
*Alternate and rare footage plus hidden easter eggs
*DVD-ROM features including scripts for multiple episodes (including the un-produced series finale script), complete storyboards and the original series bible
*Episode guide booklet with show's synopsis, writers and original air dates
*Official 'Dungeons & Dragons' hard-cover game supplement created exclusively by Wizards of the Coast featuring 32 pages of character profiles and stat blocks. The adventure is a prelude to the episode 'The Dragon's Graveyard' and is designed to bridge the game and the animated TV series. The characters and world within the animated series are now playable with the traditional RPG game.

In 2009, Mill Creek Entertainment released Dungeons & Dragons: The Complete Animated Series as a bare bones 3-disc set with none of the special features. However, the original music for all of the episodes was restored for this release. The BCI release is definitely aimed at the hardcore fans while the Mill Creek release is better suited for the casual, cost conscious fans. Of course, diehard fans will probably want to pick up both complete series releases given they each has pros and cons. As for the show, it is unfortunate that sagging ratings led to its premature cancellation in 1986. But thanks to these DVD releases, fans can relive all these great adventures anytime they want!
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on December 23, 2006
The people at BCI Eclipse (and Andy Mangels in particular) have established themselves as masters at releasing cartoons on DVD with great care, no small feat given Filmation's reputation and the time-compressed PAL masters that Hallmark left behind before destroying everything else (or so the story goes). With Dungeons & Dragons, though, things were much more hopeful, just so long as the artificial commercial breaks, mystifying edits, and the awful new theme that Saban created for recent re-airings were absent.

Naturally, Murphy's Law had to kick in, in the form of The Walt Disney Company.

Nine episodes (every episode from "City At The Edge Of Midnight" until the finale, with the exception of "The Traitor", "The Last Illusion", and "The Dungeon At The Heart Of Dawn"-one third of the show's 27 episodes, for those counting at home) have had three pieces of music-one "oasis" theme and two fast-paced, dramatic battle themes-replaced. All three were penned and conducted by Rob Walsh. To the experienced fan of the cartoons of Marvel and Sunbow, this replacement comes as a surprise, since Walsh's music was never removed from Rhino's Sunbow releases, where it is extremely prevalent, to the point of even totally supplanting that of Johnny Douglas.

What makes this especially aggravating is that the UK DVDs were untouched, "The Dungeon At The Heart Of Dawn" (a Walsh-heavy episode) is untouched, and Disney has created new music that is really bad, a maddening choice considering that the majority of the missing cues have been replaced by the familiar music of Johnny Douglas (and other than in "The Dragon's Graveyard", where Walsh's music is vital, the change is not immediately recognizable). We don't deserve this unexplained set of changes, and BCI *really* doesn't, because they have done an awesome job assembling features for this set.

First and foremost of these extras is a radio play rendition of Michael Reaves' unproduced (and nigh legendary) series finale, "Requiem". While Katie Leigh (voice of Sheila, the thief) is the only original cast member present, the voices assembled (especially for Hank and Dungeon Master) are close matches. Second are two commentaries (moderated excellently by Andy Mangels) and a very nice documentary. Third is the alternate/rare footage, but there are only two of the episode previews, and the best of the series openings (for the second season) looks like an ancient PAL transfer (sped up and zoomed in). Fourth is a plethora of scripts, storyboards, and other documents from the series' production. Also present is a fan-made production and extensive (and I mean *extensive*) character and object biographies (with appropriate clips from the series).

If not for Disney's imposed meddling with the soundtrack, this set would qualify as the best '80s cartoon released to date. It has a great deal of special features, excellent packaging, and even manages to (finally!) bridge the gap between the actual D&D game to the series. While I would have liked to have seen all of the "Today on Dungeons & Dragons..." previews (or at least known that this was an issue, so I could have contributed the two or three extras I have on barely-acceptable VHS tapes) and the season 2 opening at its proper speed and resolution, these seem like minor concerns when compared to the unnecessary music replacement on this set. Shame on Disney for downgrading an excellent purchase to three-quarters of what it should be.
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on May 2, 2007
2 stars for 'quality' 1 extra star for the bonus features.

I live in the UK & own both the US & UK versions of this DVD Set. You might ask why on earth somebody would pay two lots of money for the same item, what can I say? i'm a completist & was swayed to buy the US version which has far better extras & accompanying literature than the UK release.

After watching both versions I can honesty tell you that no digital remastering has been done whatsoever to the US release. I constantly switched discs & I was alarmed to see & hear, poor audio, wobbly telecine (where the image wobbles during a still scene), scratches & washed out colours. The UK version although not 100% perfect has virtually none of these flaws. I think you've all been conned by the distributor that has falsely advertised the episodes as 'digitally remastered'.

One more thing, another reviewer has already mentioned that the 'chaotic, rushing' incidental music is missing from several epiodes. I have noticed this too, I don't think the US distributor had purchased the rights to the music, however the same music is present in the episodes on the UK release.
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on August 28, 2009
I was hesitant, but I went head and bought the latest edition of the DD series. Glad I did now. Now this is a great release. I know there are no extras, BUT to the fans that are in the know, we got ripped from BCI in 2006. They tampered with the music in various later episodes, then claimed copyright, which made no sense, the UK released the series in 2004, complete and unaltered.

Now MILLCREEK entertainment has re released it, this time with the original music intact! For you nitpickers, like me, now is your chance to own DD without any disney interference! And at a great buy too!
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on November 16, 2010
This is NOT the great 2006 box with booklet, extras, audio drama for un-produced 3rd season's finale "Requiem". Instead, this is a very simple box set containing nothing more than the 27 episodes, distributed on 3 dvd discs (each 7GB disc contains around 3 hours, leaving a not-that-great picture quality, though I've seen worse).
I was going to rate this 2 stars, but then I noticed I was just mad at myself for buying the wrong pack (I actually wanted the other one). It's still a regular box set, and will probably be enough, if you're really only interested in the show's episodes. Just keep in mind that it contains nothing special about it, when you make your buying decision.
I'm rating it "completely regular". 3 stars.
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on January 16, 2013
I recently got around to buying this DVD set (the same as in this image). There arre two (or possibly 3) versions of this animated series, in DVD set form. I went w/ this one. I've seen mostly good feedback about this set. And some bad aswell. Ultimately after reading reviews, I went with my gut instics & decided on this version. It has all 27 episodes (as do the other sets). And in my opinion it is a decent/adequate quality of DVD's and case. The case art is cool & the designs on the DVD's look good too. The case is like a regular DVD case. But inside has a pivital/hinged piece that holds a DVD on each side. Then, the 3rd DVD is on the back part of the inner case, behind the pivital/hinged piece. The DVD's stay on just fine. The episodes quality have been getting mixed reviews by people too! In my opinion. The episodes look overall pretty good! Someone stated it looks like the lower quality uploads on youtube. I would have to disagree w/ that. Even when playing it on my LCD TV's, w/ a Blu-ray player using HDMI cable, it looks just fine. It's as good of quality as I remember seeing it on TV as a kid. Which was cool for back then. The sound is also as I remember....Adequate. My 9yr old son & I have been watching and enjoying these the last few days. I'm sure on some older (90's) TV's it would look exact as it did back in the 80's when it aired! And some older shows such as this, don't look too easy on the eyes on new LCD's w/ modern DVD/Blu-ray players. But this particular set holds it's own! I feel confident saying if you are on here looking and debating on getting this 3disc set. You obviously know and enjoy the D&D animated series. And would likely enjoy this version!!! Could they have made the box/case even more fancy, sure. Could they have remastered the audio & visuals...Perhaps. But when it's all said & done. This cartoon is 30yrs old now. And even with technology, you can only "remaster" older shows so much. This 3disc set is only like 5-6 dollars for the entire series. And for that price you get a good transfer of the episodes. W/ a good cover art, good disc desgin, and decent (not the best, but far from the worst) case. Why knitpick and gripe about the episode quality? It's as good as it was when airing. And you paid a little under $10.00, after shipping even. For the whole set! The saying is "You get what you pay for." But in this case, I'd say you get more than what you pay for. I gave it 4 & a half stars because yes, it could be a little better. But doesn't need to be.
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on October 20, 2006
When this DVD collection lands on my multi-media shelf, it will displace all others as being my favorite DVD title I won. Move over Lord Of The Rings SE and Star Wars Trilogy, there's a new sheriff in town!

I exaggerate, but only slightly.

I think its important to note that you don't have to have played the game or have any kind of experience or even knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons to enjoy the cartoon series. Outside of the unparalleled art and voice talent, it really was the stories that endure. The cartoon series explores the human spirit, and all that it embodies during the kids fantastic trek through a magical realm.

Don't play the game Dungeons and Dragons? Throw the extra material in the garbage - the cartoon series alone is a steal at this price.
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on June 29, 2010
This edition of Dungeons & Dragons the Animated Series is the second release collection by Mill Creek, and not the BCI release. What does this mean? This means that the video quality of the collection is on par with what you can find one youtube, there are no special features (one of the highlights of the original BCI release), and the packaging is cheap and will aid in damaging the DVDs. All the episodes from the original run of the series are present and a good 90% of the original music is intact (one of the few complaints from the former BCI release). The biggest disappointment here is in the video quality, which on any non-analog television or LCD computer monitor is full of artifacts, and noise.
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on November 28, 2006
If you grew up in the 1980's, you surely remember Dungeons & Dragons. Before Halo, Final Fantasy and the other slew of console video games, kids played Dungeons and Dragons. The actual board game looked pretty plain, but kids and teens all over the world were hooked on the role playing game in the 80s. Dungeons & Dragons-The Animated Series premiered in 1983 and lasted a total of 27 episodes. Air dates range from 1983-1985.

The complete series DVD is being released on DVD by Ink and Paint. In recent years they have released animated DVD sets for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra Princess of Power, and Prince Valiant among others. The Dungeons & Dragons DVD box set is one of the most gorgeous sets they have released to date.

Okay, I'll start with the basics. All 27 episodes are presented on 5 individual discs which are housed inside of a gorgeous case inside of a nice box. The art work on the cover of the case is a reproduction of the original promotion poster from 1983. As pretty as it is, one of the bad parts is that the discs are housed in one of the cases where the discs sort of lie on top of each other, where one disc is slightly raised. This sometimes causes discs to become loose in transit. Two of my discs were loose in the box but undamaged. Each disc includes artwork of one of the characters from the series. The back of the box includes the Dungeons & Dragons World Map.

Where Ink & Paint went above and beyond comes in the form of the Dungeons & Dragons Animated Series Handbook. This hard cover book is included with the set. As a reviewer who has reviewed well over 100 TV on DVD box sets, this is one of the nicest set guides I have come across. It's very detailed. The guide to some on the surface may seem like just a book with profiles of the characters. However, it's actually a guide with statistics and rules for playing the characters of the Dungeons & Dragon's cartoon. The detailed guide includes everything you need to know about playing the adventure and the background. There is a paper booklet insert that includes the episode guide. The episode guide includes the show writer, air dates, and synopsis.

You would think that would be it, but no there is more. The set is packed full of special features

-Entering The Realm of Dungeons and Dragons

-Two full episode commentary tracks

-Full length animated storyboard with interactive comparison

-Interactive Adventure

-50 detailed profiles of various characters, creatures and artifacts

-Short live action Dungeons & Dragons Fan Film "Choices"

-Radio show style presentation of the unaired final episode "Requiem"

-Alternate/Rare Footage

-DVD Rom Features (script, storyboard, and development Bible)

-Ink and Paint Trailers

This is easily the best release from Ink & Paint to date. A must have for Dungeons & Dragons fans.
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