The Boondocks – The Complete First Season
Uncut & Uncensored
Sound: B- Extras: B Episodes: B
Norman Lear recently said that the bold animated series of
today were picking up where his groundbreaking sitcoms (All In The Family,
Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times) left off. One of the problems is that his series
starting with the likes of A.K.A. Pablo assumed liberalism was permanent
and would always be with us as the dominant ideology. When he did 704 Houser Street, about
liberal parents (including John Amos of Good Times as the father) with a
neo-Conservative son, he again isolated himself from new debates and cultural
changes. Of course, the family lived in
the house once occupied by The Bunkers of All In The Family. Under the guidance of the likes of Reginald
Hudlin, The Boondocks picks up logically where the Michael character
from Good Times left off.
The conservative and ready-to-retire Robert ‘Granddad’
Freeman is looking forward to spending his twilight years in peace in Woodcrest,
a neighborhood with the nickname of the title of this series. What he does not expect is that he is about
to get legal custody of two of his young relatives. Huey is only 10 years old and is a very
Left-Wing revolutionary, who also has a big influence on his 8 year old brother
Riley. Each of the 15 shows deal frankly
with the lives they lead, what their limited options might be and how to
survive in the meantime.
Like its live-action predecessors, it too is a
comedy. However, it comes from more of
an accurate African-American point of view the way the live-action Frank’s Place (too short lived for its
own good and all of us) did in the 1980s in dealing with racism and the Reagan
era we are still in. The 15 episodes are
meant for half-hour slots, but are barely over 20 minutes each. Nevertheless, they are solid and watching
them here in uninterrupted form only helps.
I was impressed by the bluntness, intelligence and consistency of Andrew
Mcgruder’s show with all of its nuances.
The show is expected to be a hot seller and I can see why, especially
uncut and uncensored as it is here. This
DVD set will give it the wider audience it deserves.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is pretty good,
as it ought to be for a new TV production, animated or otherwise. The color scheme is on the autumn side of the
spectrum, but it is very consistent. The
Anime-like style is not bad, but it is more urban (like the urban graffiti look
of Music Videos by The Gorillaz) than much of what you see from Japan, but it is also reclaiming the Hip Hop
influence on more recent production from animation in Japan. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has healthy Pro
Logic surrounds and the combination is as engrossing as most of the U.S. and
Japanese animated series we have seen on DVD.
Extras include audio commentaries on select shows,
audio/video commentaries on others, animatics, DVD-ROM printable storyboards,
amusing unaired promos for the show on Cartoon Network’s nighttime Adult Swim
block, deleted scenes and a behind the scenes featurette. All in all, this is a very well rounded DVD
set and should be a big favorite for fans of the show and animation.
- Nicholas Sheffo