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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Satire > Children > TV > The Simpsons – The Complete Thirteenth Season (2001 – 2002/Fox Blu-ray)

The Simpsons – The Complete Thirteenth Season (2001 – 2002/Fox Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B+     Extras: B     Episodes: B+



If you are thinking of buying The Simpsons – Season Thirteen chances are this is not your first time indulging in the comedic genius of this dysfunctional family.  So discussing the ins and outs of The Simpsons after thirteen seasons is essentially useless.  The series is now astonishingly on its 22nd Season and shows no signs of slowing down. The Simpsons have become part of television royalty, solidifying themselves as pop culture icons that will always be remembered for their unique brand of comedy that paved the way for so many others…  whether Seth McFarlane wants to admit it or not.


This 2001-2002 Season has many shining moments and whereas many people (including myself at times) like to point to Seasons 5-10 as their best, The Simpsons continue to amaze audiences with brilliant satire and comedy gold.  My favorite episode this season is Tree House of Horrors XII that not only perfectly spoofs Harry Potter, but does homage to 2001 A Space Odyssey when the Simpsons house is taken over by Pierce Bronson…I mean a robot VOICED by Bronson.


If anything I would have to say I have simply become too dismissive of The Simpsons over the years; taking it for granted and merely expecting it to always be there.  For some odd reason I think The Simpsons will still be on in 13 more years.  With young writers and artists growing up with The Simpsons there is always a fresh voice to step in to add insight and creativity to a series that has seemingly done it all.  I have noticed that the satire has become more blatantly based on current events as the seasons progressed, but never the less it remains memorable and hilarious.  The Simpsons are solid gold and whereas over the years my attention may have shifted to new ingenious animated series like Family Guy, Futurama and Venture Bros, The Simpsons will always hold a place in my heart and on my DVR.


So besides the fact of saying we own every season, why do we continue to buy the box sets.  I would like to say it is for the improved picture and sound quality (now that the series is on Blu-ray), but that is simply not the case.  The picture is presented in 1080p 1.33 X 1 AVC @ 27 MBPS full screen frame that GREATLY varies in quality.  The colors are great one moment and then bouncing around the next, like a strobe light of flickering color.  The episodes have grain and source noise throughout that can be distracting and indeed this feels like an upconverted transfer and nothing more.  Whereas the picture certainly suffers from old animation and the upcoversion, the audio in its 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sounds nice.  The dialogue is crisp, clean and clear from the front while the surrounds are utilized for ambient noise and solid panning effects.  The audio doesn’t make up for the picture, but it helps.


The extras on Season 20 were sadly lacking (the Blu-ray was a bit of a rush job), but Season 13’s extras are certainly well done.  The set contains a 24 page book that summarizes all the episodes and in full color.  The other extras include Audio Commentaries on each episode (making up for Season 20’s zero!) that are insightful, fun and hilarious.  Also included are An Intro from Matt Groening, Deleted Scenes, Animation Showcase, Ralphisms (hilarious!), The People Ball, The 13th Crewman Blame it on the Monkeys, The Sweet Life of Ralph, Commercials and Sketch Gallery.  One of the most fun features is ‘The Games’ which gives a quick synopsis of all the video games that were inspired by The Simpsons over the years.


Nice set to own for all fans, even if not perfect.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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