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Freakazoid! Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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Steven Spielberg Presents Freakazoid!: The Complete First Season (DVD)
While logged on to the information superhighway, mild-mannered teen Dexter Douglas crashes, becoming overloaded with entirely useless information that transforms him into Freakazoid! This timid teen turned living live-wire continually confounds villains with his fast-talking comic routines and incredible physical gags.]]>
Conceived by the same team that created Tiny Toons and Animaniacs and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the animated series Freakazoid! was ostensibly about a mild-mannered teen who transformed courtesy a computer virus into a raving lunatic who battled a bizarre gallery of criminals. But as anyone who watched Freakazoid! during its brief network run in the mid-'90s will tell you, that's not what the series was about; in fact, Freakazoid! really wasn't about anything at all. The adventures of Freakazoid were just one element in a rapid-fire barrage of pop culture references, visual and verbal non sequiters (plugs for non-existent toys, stock footage of Bavarian folk dances), and parodies of then-current movies and television series, including other Spielberg-produced cartoons. First-time visitors to Mondo Freakazoid! via this two-disc set will be treated to the sight of the title hero imitating the Emergency Broadcast System signal (before passing out), lessons on how to say obnoxious statements in French, and whole segments devoted to peripheral characters like The Huntsman, who is constantly thwarted in his crime-fighting pursuits, and the Jonny Quest spoof Toby Danger. Suffice it to say that few cartoons are as polarizing as Freakazoid!; viewers will either eat it up or find the whole thing bewildering, as many kid TV viewers during its brief network run. Those ready to take the trip with Freakazoid and pals will find all 13 episodes of its debut season in this set (in what can only be seen as a Freakazoid-like movie, the episodes "Candle Jack" and "The Cloud" are included twice). Three of the episodes feature commentary by producer Tom Ruegger, story editor John McCann and writer Paul Rugg, who also provided Freakazoid's voice. All three are also showcased in an amusing making-of featurette; even funnier is a collection of the show's promotional spots, which mercilessly lampoon a series of artsy cruise ship commercials while providing no actual information about the show itself. --Paul Gaita
- 14 episodes on two discs (one is two-sided)
- Freakazoid: The Original Freak: How what started as a straightforward animated action hero evolved into a chaotically comic cartoon phenom
- Freakazoid-less Freakazoid Promos: Cruise-ship parodies that promoted the series launch
- Commentary on three episodes by series producer Tom Ruegger, voice of Freakazoid Paul Rugg, and writer John McCann
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Top customer reviews
Imagine Adam Sandler, Jim Carey, and Jerry Lewis in his prime running around in red underwear thwarting bad guys with Loony Tunes slapstick and topical parody, and you get the general idea of "Freakazoid!" It was a show so out there that even the WB network wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Too bad. They missed a golden opportunity to increase viewership with the advent of Scream-O-Vision. Why is Paul Harvey suddenly narrating the story? Why is Jack Valenti stopping the story to tell us about the movie rating system? (According to the audio commentary, kids just love Jack Valenti.) And just how many sidekicks will the F-Man go through in just the first season alone?
The transfer quality is excellent. A special feature gives some interesting background on the creative process behind the making of a quality animated TV program, but also shows us how "Freakazoid" was made, as well. The commentaries are fun and interesting. I've heard some quibbles about audio quality on these Warners shows, but like the announcer says, it's in stereo "where available." So, don't call us if you aren't getting stereo.
Time has passed since the F-man first hit the air. Topical gags might leave you a bit puzzled... well, more so than before. The DVD presents the first season as it aired, which means you get Candle Jack twice, a bit of downer. But you get the original "We're Not Ready" WB promos. Plus, check out the voice talents of Riccardo Montalban, Ed Asner, and Stan Freeberg. Plus, you get to see Sharon Stone perform Shakespeare. And she's actually good!
Don't buy this for the kids. They won't get it, and they'll tell you you're lame for watching it. Buy it for yourself, and bask in the glory that was, and still is, the weirdest superhero of all time. Floyd the Barber cuts his hair. Freakazoid! Freakazoid!
Freakmoblie and chubby Fanboy action figure not included.
THE SHOW: First the good news: The show is hilarious. Rating the DVD on the episodes alone I'd give it a 5 of 5. Some of the humor is decidedly childish, and alot of it relies on a knowledge of the events and culture of the mid-1990s, but when it hits it can be side-splittingly funny. The extended lament on the loss of the aerial tram at Disneyland has made me laugh for over a decade.
The quality of the shows voice acting is consistently excellent, with inspiring performances by Ed Asner, Ricardo Montleban, David Warner, Paul Rugg and others.
The animation quality is on a par with quality Warner TV animation at the time. It comes off as a hypbrid of the styles of Batman: The Animated Series and Animaniacs.
THE DVDs: Now the bad news. This is not a lovingly restored animated show. In fact, compared to a number of other 2-D animated features I own on DVD the show looks downright awful. Noise and artifacting are rampant throughout the discs. It looks worse than a standard def television broadcast of the same material, which is truly a shame.
On a more positive note, the commentary on 3 episodes is very entertaining and the original promotional spots (which I don't remember ever seeing on TV at the time of the shows airing) are a hoot.
SUMMARY: Great show, poor transfer, average special features. I hope it says alot about the quality of the show itself that I will definitely still purchase Season 2 (a meager but rewarding 11 episodes) if/when it is released.
Emmitt Nervend appeared one time in this review