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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Children > Animals > TV > The Wild Thornberrys: Season 2 – Part 1 + The Angry Beavers: Season 3 – Part One + Rocko’s Modern Life – Season Two + Hey Dude – Season 2 (Shout! Factory DVD Sets)

The Wild Thornberrys: Season 2 – Part 1 + The Angry Beavers: Season 3 – Part One + Rocko’s Modern Life – Season Two + Hey Dude – Season 2 (Shout! Factory DVD Sets)


The Wild Thornberrys: Season 2 – Part 1

Picture: B     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Episodes: B-


The Angry Beavers: Season 3 – Part One

Picture: B     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Episodes: B


Rocko’s Modern Life – Season Two

Picture: B     Sound: B-     Extras: B-     Episodes: A-


Hey Dude – Season 2

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



*Beep Beep Beep* Nickelodeon Overload!! *Beep Beep Beep*


Shout! Factory has done it again as with the release of four more seasons of four great series audiences across the world get to relive their childhoods.  There was a time when Nickelodeon ruled television animation; producing some of the zaniest and most creative series on TV.


The Wild Thornberrys


Again in Season Two: Part 1 the series focuses on Eliza Thornberry and her family as the travel the world in search of life and adventure.  Nigel Thornberry (Tim Curry) is a world renowned Animal documentarian who hosts his own ‘National Geographic’ type series; with his wife Marianne as camera woman and his daughter Eliza and two other children Donnie and Debbie tagging along for the adventure.


Not much has changed between the first and second season with each episode being an independent story that does not rely too much on connecting storylines to propel the tale forward.  Eliza possesses the mystical ability to speak to animals, which often gets her (and her family) in and out of trouble.  The plots are simple and truly intended to pull in a younger audience.  Season One seemed to have more varied plots, whereas Season Two: Part One relies on Eliza helping one animal per episode get out of trouble of some sort.  I feel the true stars of the series are Eliza’s family and less so the animals; Season One understood that fact, whereas Season Two became all too formulaic.


Wild Thornberrys remains a fun series that is sure to entertain a wide range of viewers.


The Angry Beavers


Like Wild Thornberrys, The Angry Beavers has not changed much between the Season One/Two release and this new Season Three: Part One release.  The series continues to follow beaver bachelors Norbert Foster and Daggett Doofus as their conflicting personalities quickly set up hysterical hilarity.


As the series progressed the creators took more risks and made the characters even crazier.  With episodes like “Too Loose Latrine” and “Spooky Spoots” setting the first half of Season Three apart this release is full of wonderful moments.  The characters, for lack of better words, are out of their minds and this in turn makes the series refreshing and enjoyable to watch. Angry Beavers was of an era where series like Rocko’s Modern Life and Ahhh! Real Monsters were not holding back and brought on the insanity.  Unlike Thornberrys I can see Beavers being just as appealing to adults as it is to children; with many of the jokes being above children’s heads.  Twisted and creative Angry Beavers is a standout animated series that delivers the laughs every episode.


Rocko’s Modern Life


Rocko, Heffer, Spunky, Mr. Bighead, Filburt and all the rest are back for the second season release of Rocko’s Modern Life. By far one of the best animated series of the 1990’s with the right blend of grotesque humor, imaginative animation, and inventive storylines.  Rocko’s Modern Life: Season Two in general maintains the same level quality as that of First Season with the episodes being both excellent and memorable.  Rocko’s Modern Life has a wonderful sense of odd, borderline inappropriate humor that establishes the series as being a daring, psychotic adventure.


Creator Joe Murray’s sense of humor coupled an excellent voice cast made Rocko one of the most memorable animated series from my youth; granted at that time I didn’t understand many of the jokes, but somehow the absurd wittiness shined through.


In Season Two we get such gems as Rocko getting out his appendix, bad hair day, ski resort, clogged drains, Filburt marries Rocko, and many many more.  The stories have only gotten better with time and nothing has faded into obscurity.


Rocko’s Modern Life continues to impress me with its out of this world animation and brilliant sense of humor.  Like a fine wine it only got better with age…especially now that I get the jokes.


Hey Dude


Like the other series not much has changed between Seasons One and Two, but the same level of fun is there.  I don’t feel Bar None Ranch has stood the test of time like the animated series chronicled above, but it does bring back some memories.


Each episode jogs a memory for this reviewer, as prior to viewing this set I could not have named a single moment from the series; but oddly enough all of the episodes bring back a flood of fondness and emotion, reminding me of a more innocent time.


Hey Dude follows a group of ranch hands as they help run Bar None Dude Ranch for owner Benjamin Ernst.  Each episode has the crew getting into and out of trouble in a very jovial, slapstick manner.  The series stars Christine Taylor (current Mrs. Ben Stiller) as lifeguard Melody, David Lascher as manager Ted, Kelly Brown as horse Trainer Brad, Debrah Kalman as ranch hand Lucy, Josh Tygiel as Ben Ernst son Buddy, and finally Joe Torres as Hopi Indian native Danny.


Fans have waited years for many Nickelodeon series to hit the shelves, but Hey Dude was always one of the most requested along with Salute Your Shorts *yet to be release* and Rocko’s Modern Life (see above).


Again a fun series that is worth a second look, even if it doesn’t hold up as well as the other animated series mentioned above.  Perhaps it is time to pass this series down to a younger generation.


Technical Features


The animated series once again definitely have the edge as compared to the live action Hey Dude.  The picture on Thornberrys, Angry Beavers, and Rocko again is a 1.33 X 1 Full Screen that demonstrates bright colors, crisp edges, inky blacks and little debris.  On Rocko there is noticeably more grain and debris; with Thornberrys and Beavers being slightly newer and looking a tad better, but not by much.  Hey Dude sadly is again a major downgrade from the animated series, with blurred images at times, weak colors, an element of grain throughout, and an overall soft quality.  The sound on the animated series is a step up from Hey Dude (also in stereo) as well, with a crisp clean dialogue in a 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.  Hey Dude continues to have a muffled, distant quality and though most of the time is passable it is not as good as the animated series.


Thornberrys, The Angry Beavers, and Hey Dude all contain (sadly) no extras; whereas Rocko’s Modern Life houses several including a “Behind the Characters with Joe Murray” where he teaches viewers how to draw Rocko, Heffer, and more as well giving insight into their original creation.  Rocko also includes the original unaired “Trash-O-Madness” pilot that is a different version from the first aired episode; a nice inclusion.


Nickelodeon hosted some of the best and memorable animated series to ever air on television.  Though I am not as well versed on children’s broadcasting these days I can only hope that Nickelodeon continues to be a breeding ground for creatively inspiring takes.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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