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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > TV > Mr. Bean - The Animated Series (A&E DVD Set)

Mr. Bean – The Animated Series (Boxed Set)


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



When news of this new DVD set kept creeping up, the reaction was universal: “I didn’t know there was a Mr. Bean Cartoon?”   “They did a cartoon?”  “When was that on?”   “When did I miss that?”  “Really?  Is it any good?”


Well, yes, nearly a decade after the original live-action series arrived, the popularity of the character has been so enduring, co-creator/writer/star Rowan Atkinson has participated in the creation of this hand-drawn show from 2002.  It does not seem to have been broadcast in the U.S., but this two-DVD set is now available from A&E of what may turn out to be at least two boxed sets of the new show.


This time, Bean is staying with his Teddy at the old home of a temperamental old lady.  Now his landlady, she has a yellow semi-stripped one-eyed cat who does not like Bean and there is room for the occasional new tenant as well.  Bean still has his older Mini Cooper too, so there are many trips off of the premises, as was the case in the old show.


Each episode runs under a half-hour and features two misadventures.  The shows are amusing, but not always as outright funny as the live-action series of feature film before it.  One of the reasons is that the show is comparatively gentler, still aimed at kids of all ages, but also courting a younger audience intentionally.  The result is something like the theatrical DePatie/Freling Pink Panther cartoon shorts of the 1960s.  Both have limited dialogue, colorful (or colourful) but simple animation, are sometimes otherworldly, and offer irritated conflicts between characters with comic results.  The shows are:


It’s Not Easy Being Bean set

1)     In The Wild/Missing Teddy

2)     Mime Games/Spring Cleaning

3)     Birthday Bear/The Mole

4)     Roadwork/The Sofa

5)     Treasure!/Homeless


Been There, Done That set

1)     Nurse!/Dead cat

2)     Super Trolley/Magpie

3)     Cat-Sitting/The Bottle

4)     Goldfish/Inventor



They are entertaining and have some rewatchability.  With stories so short, synopses are pointless.  The full screen, color images are very clean and somewhat colorful.  The animation style recalls the early days of TV with its scrunched-down characters, heavily outlined in black.  This actually works to the show’s benefit.  Characters would be drawn like this because TVs were so small in the beginning.  There is a fullness is the color that comes form A&E using higher bit rates for the picture and sound.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo plays back in a Pro Logic surround that is not bad, but the surrounds are not the strongest, they are more for ambiance.  Extras are few, but include trailers for this and Mr. Bean - The Whole Bean boxed sets (also reviewed elsewhere on this site), bio/filmography info on Atkinson, a photo gallery, and an interesting 20-minutes-long featurette on the making of the show.


This shows the impressive efforts needed just to pull off a musical sequence in the film, from discussion, to Atkinson being taped as a guide to animators, to a song being especially written, to the stages of putting the animation together, to the final product.  The sequence involved has Bean under that stage of a Shirley Bassey-like star, as she comes out to sing a song.  He dances with a broom, but closes his eyes too long, and lands up bumbling all over the place.  Animators will especially want to check this one out.


Obviously, there is going to be much curiosity interest in this show based on the live action successes, which is justified.  If you do not hold your hopes up too high, you will enjoy this animated Bean more than you might expect.  If you were not sure about what age to start kids on the Bean character, then this is the set for you.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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