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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Children > TV > Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids (Basic Animated Single DVD)

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (Basic Single DVD)


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



In the recent big-screen, live-action adaptation of Fat Albert, Albert and the Cosby Kids were worried about fading away in the real world.  If they originated from the episodes on this DVD, however, they’d be worried about even making it into the real world.


See, the quality of the five episodes of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids included on this greatest hits appetizer for the other boxed sets of the classic animated kids show is so bad that and these characters so faded that you have to strain your eyes and ears just to focus enough to enjoy them.


Of the five episodes, one is from 1972, another from 1975, one from 1976 and two from 1979.  In each installment, Bill Cosby is your guide through the (mis)adventures and good-natured motives of the Junkyard Kids as they traverse through the moral minefields that plague kids regardless of decade or era.  The issues tackled deal with creativity, stealing, smoking, troubled youth and racism.  All are handled with the requisite care of a young child’s animated TV program, and, while the humor and character interplay is dated, the lessons these episodes hold are still relevant today.


Problem is, there are very few young people — raised on high-quality DVDs and plasma screen HD-TVs — that will patiently sit through the poor presentation of the episodes.  Especially bad is the first episode, originally aired on September 30, 1972.  The quality of the video is horrendous, with parts that look like they are either out of focus or recorded from a TV rather than some source material.  And while the episodes progressively improve in quality as the disc plays out, the improvement is tantamount to adjusting the bunny ears on the old Zenith rather than better care being put into cleaning up the source.


This is unfortunate because there is a built in audience for Fat Albert that will likely pick up this disc, or the other collections currently available, to reminisce and bask in the perfection of the quality DVD offers to old TV programs — after all, great care has been put into other, older television programs.  But those people are going to be decidedly disappointed.  The 1.33 X 1 video is beyond poor, the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio is a little better (but not by much) and there are zero extras to be found here.


Presumably, this disc is meant to whet the appetite of Fat Albert fans for the more elaborate sets available, but what is likely to happen is that they’ll be scared off — if the quality here is bad, what hope can there be for the other sets?  Too bad, because a show that offers fun little adventures and moralistic lessons from one of the greatest comedic minds of all time should be seen by as many people and their children as possible.  Instead, this will likely doom the series to the Baby Boomers’ nostalgia bin that will be emptied out and forgotten about a generation from now.



-   Dante A. Ciampaglia


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