+ Pinky & The Brain – Volume Three
(Separate DVD-Video box releases)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Episodes: C+/B-
with Tiny Toons, Steven Spielberg
also produced some other hit Warner animated TV series with Warner Bros.: Animaniacs and Pinky & The Brain. The
premise of all the shows is that the subversions that made the original Looney
Tunes and Merrie Melodies so subversive have been absorbed by the culture at
large, are no longer subversive, are still funny, are the equivalent to slight
mental illness and makes for funny TV.
Unfortunately, the premise as commercially viable as it is, is not anything
like those shorts because they were not just made for children like these
totally understood why Animaniacs was
so appealing to the extent it was, including winning over a revival of Schoolhouse Rock getting the Emmy one
year (maybe these shows) for Best Animated Series! Yes, the show is fun if you get caught up in
its lunacy, but I found it limited and predictable. That did not change with these final shows,
all 25 episodes. The classic character
Bosko (who began at Warner in early black and white sound shorts, then switched
to another studio) is one of the basis for these characters and it is faithful
to the form and giddiness of those classics, though most viewers of this show
hardly know Bosko. For what they do
know, they like the characters and at least the writing is consistently good. However, for a hit, the show sure feels like
an acquired taste.
interesting and entertaining is Pinky
& The Brain, in which the two talking mice of the title land up in
misadventure after misadventure. If you
have not seen the show, Pinky is supposedly the goofy idiot who says “Narf!”
often, while Brain is a genius with Orson Welles’ voice and plans to rule the
world. In the world of animation, Stewie
Griffin on Family Guy has supplanted
him as the one trying for world domination with a sophisticated accent, but
Brain’s reason for failure is either his heartlessness, Pinky’s heart, Pinky’s
awkwardness or the lack of moral center in Brain’s obsessions.
something cleverer about this show than most of the Spielberg/Warner series in
a sense of wit sadly missing from most animated shows in general. Though the show is not perfect, it is more
hit than miss and the 22 shows here have their moments. From the early shows, it is impressive how
good this was and could have continued a little longer since the material and
potential was there, but Spielberg/Warner quit while they were on top in both
cases and now, the shows are completely available on DVD.
X 1 image on both have some detail limits, but look good, as does the color,
which is consistent from episode to episode.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo in both cases is fine, simple and
obviously recent recordings, but the 5.1 is not the epitome of multi-channel
sound in either case. The combination is
at least as watchable as any TV broadcast.
The only extras on both are featurettes, with one on Brain and two on the other. The boxes are nicely illustrated too.
- Nicholas Sheffo