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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > TV > Ren & Stimpy - Seasons Five & Some More Of Four

Ren & Stimpy - Season Five and Some More of Four

 

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

 

 

Here it is, the final collection comprising the original run of Ren & Stimpy cartoons made for Nickelodeon, Season Five and Some More of Four, and things seemed to have been looking up toward the show's demise. To start with, the pace seems to have quickened a bit, with more jokes thrown in - among them a large assortment of genuinely funny ones. While I'm not a fan of some of the new animation styles that were splashed about, it might have been necessary to loosen up the look a bit so that the show could once again be funny. When trying to emulate a formula too closely, it's becomes easier to get a lot of the wrong things right than one might think - a factor that surely contributed to a lot of the tedium found in the last box set. Still not as gut-busting as the first outing with the duo, this set manages to regain pieces of that old flavor and fuse them with a newer spirit and possibly a better understanding of cartoons among the creators now in charge of the dog-and-cat team's fate on the screen.

 

It's sad that just when the show was picking itself back up, the end was quickly around the corner. Most of those who had enjoyed the show toward its beginnings had tuned out by this point in the show's life and may have yet to see the majority of these episodes. If that's true for you, a pleasant slice of nostalgia could still remain hidden from you. Not much remains to be said of the show itself at this time, but a new bit of information might be useful before capping off your Ren & Stimpy collection. It seems that something called the Ultimate Collection will be coming our way in the fairly near future. From what tidbits I've read, it patches up the problems that others and myself voiced primarily about the first and second season DVDs, making them truly uncut this time around. This new set should be covering everything from the very beginning in '91 up to its fairly recent (though hopefully not entirely permanent) demise. This just might be worth the wait of a projected date in early '06. But for those who need it now, picking up this set shouldn't mean too much skin off of your backs.

 

Now to trot out my summary for the sound and video for these sets one last time. The picture quality is especially excellent in my opinion things look just right for the cartoon, with clean lines, sharp colors and little to no blurring. The image is full screen as was originally intended, since this is a television cartoon. The sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and is as equally pleasing as the 1.33 X 1 video quality. Once again a good, solid presentation for a deserving series.

 

Those responsible for throwing this baby together have deemed it fit to include 13 commentaries for this set - upping the ante over the previous release, which contained 11 of them. A lot of these are enjoyable, and it's great to hear John's thoughts on how some of these turned out, for better or worse. An interesting example is the commentary track for "Ren Needs Help", where a lot of stylistic differences are mulled over when comparing the episode to its more recent Spumco counterpart. In the Spumco version, Ren seeks the help of Dr. Mr. Horse in order to probe his past and find out what it is that creates the need to harm Stimpy. The premise is about the same for the Games version of the tale, but aside from a few differences and a few good cheap jokes, it doesn't even touch the same ground as the one helmed by John K. himself. A lot of the other commentaries are great as well, and like almost everything else here, they're very much improved over those in the second set.

 

Watching these episodes has been a great joy for me, especially since I haven't yet had the chance to play them out over a long period of time. I feel a little bit cheated, having acquired these sets - only to find that an all-encompassing one will be coming out before I know it, with enough improvements for me to likely invest in it. But, if you've already started picking these releases up, there's little harm in capping off your collection for the time being. After you've seen the episodes a few times over and can see if you'd still be interested, then maybe revisiting and plucking up a nice shiny copy of the Ultimate Collection won't hurt that badly. Till then, enjoy what you've got and have a nice day.

 

 

-   David Milchick


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