Freakazoid! - Season 1 + Tiny Toon
Adventures: Season 1- Volume 1 (Steven
Spielberg Presents/Warner DVD)
B- Sound: B- Extras: B- Episodes: A-/B+
Finally two of the most demanded animated series hit DVD with full out
insanity. Freakazoid!: Season One and Tiny
Toons: Season One- Volume One arrive with just as much power, humor, and
pure genius as when we last saw them.
Freakazoid! was an animated series that only
lasted two seasons, but boy were those two seasons amazing. Filled to the brim with a matchless brand of
unbridled insanity Freakazoid! laid
a groundwork that many other animated series to this day still draw from for
inspiration. Freakazoid! had an uncanny sense of relevance with a huge dash of
what some may consider ‘mental disturbance.’
Bruce Timm (Batman the Animated
Series) originally intended for the series to be a straightforward
superhero venture with some comedic undertones, but Executive Producer Steven
Spielberg quickly dismissed that idea and brought in some of his Animaniacs team to twist and contort
the series into the off the wall series it became.
series follows geeky Dexter Douglas who after an internet mishap gained
superhuman powers from a top secret computer bug to become, The Freakazoid. As Freakazoid, Dexter battles some of the most
off the wall villains one could ever imagine.
The villains aren’t quite on the same level of ‘odd’ as say those on The Tick, but the manner in which
Freakazoid treats the villains surely makes the series a unique
experience. No matter the situation
Freakazoid barely gives the villains the time of day and it seems that he is
there just to do his own shtick; but in the end he always manages to vanquish
his foes. Now, how he gets to that
vanquishing point is a totally different story.
creativity that flowed throughout the series is incomparable. With an already packed to the brim storyline,
the series also utilized small tangents in between the Freakazoid shorts to kick the series up a notch. The hilariously insane interludes contained
gems like Conversational Norwegian, Fatman and Blubber Boy, Scream-O-Vision,
Relax-O-Vision, and even a Johnny Quest spoof that is done all too perfectly (Venture Bros was NOT the first to do it
folks!). Besides the already unique and
original comedy that is infused throughout Freakazoid!:
Season One, there is also an innumerable amount of pop-culture references
that give the series to a whole different edge and fluidity. This reviewer stopped counting at about a
hundred, but here is a taste of the references that were made just in half a
season. There are references to Batman,
MASH, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Monty Python and the Holy Grail as a man
yells out “I’M NOT DEAD!,” Superman, Star Wars (Mr. Mark Hamill), and many,
think they remember Freakazoid don’t
know the half of it. What is old is new
again and as fresh as ever. Just watch
the pilot and you will be hooked.
Tiny Toon Adventures: Season
does not quite have the same edge or spontaneity that Freakazoid holds, but definitely projects with a similar creativity
and uniqueness that was in this era of Warner cartoons (with Spielberg’s help
of course). The Looney Tune spin-off characters hold no true relation to their
original inspiration (i.e. - not younger versions), but rather use a similar
Looney Tune formula to update the classics.
Whereas Tiny Toons is by no
means classic Warner Bros. Looney Tunes
shorts, it definitely stands out on its own.
Tiny Toon Adventures: Season
One-Volume One introduces
us to the world of Acme Acres where the Tiny Toons learn to big ‘Big Toons’ as
they go through Acme Looniversity and have a ton of other mishap
adventures. The stars of the show are
Babs and Buster Bunny (no relation) as well as a slue of other zany characters
like Plucky Duck, Dizzy Devil, Hampton Pig, and Furball the cat; all of which
have similar traits to classic Looney Tunes and in many ways idealize their
predecessors. The series is brimming
with creativity as it overflows with a ton of pop-culture references and more
than solid storylines; but after watching Freakazoid
it just doesn’t seem crazy enough.
The younger audiences will surely love Tiny Toons and nostalgia will run high with the older crowd, but
just don’t expect it to be quite as good as you remember. Though still more than awesome.
technical features on both series are about the same being tiny, toony, and a
little bit loony. The picture on both
series is presented in a standard 1.33 X 1 full screen that preserves the
original aspect ratio, but lacks in many other ways. As the episodes progress the smudges and
debris that flicker across the screen become increasingly noticeable; both
series also being deficient in the vibrant colors and certain level of depth
that is expected from Warner animated series.
The sound is a slight upgrade from the picture quality being available
as either a Dolby 2.0 or a 5.1 mix. The
sound is especially crisp in the opening musical numbers of the two series and
projects nicely throughout the episodes, though it could use a tad more
fullness and use of all speakers.
aside, at one point the series states “In Stereo Where Available,” quickly
followed by “If it is not available it is not our problem. Write a Congressman or something. But we want no letters. UNDERSTAND!”
to show how crazy the series was.
- Freakazoid: The Original
Freak: How What Started as a Straightforward Animated Action Hero Evolved
into a Chaotically Comic Cartoon Phenom[enon]
- A short but funny look into
the origins and creation of the Freakazoid character from the eyes and
mouths of the writers/creators. It
is very light hearted and even describes Spielberg’s influence over the
series as it transformed from Bruce Timm’s original vision.
- Freakazoid-less Freakazoid
Promos: Cruise Ship Parodies that promoted the series launch
- Commentary on 3 Key Episodes
by Senior Producer Tom Ruegger, Voice of Freakazoid Paul Rugg and Writer
- In one of the most fun and
informative animated commentaries this reviewer has heard to date the
crew discusses the brilliance of the series humor, style, and creative
process [most of the time being quite accidental].
Tiny Toon Adventures Extras:
- From Looney Tunes to Tiny
Toons- A Wacky Evolution! (23 minutes)
- The only extra on the set
describes the origins of the ground breaking Looney spin-off. It is interesting, but a bit shorter
than what this reviewer expected for a series that was so highly demanded
and took so long to get onto DVD.
both Freakazoid: Season One and Tiny Toons: Season One – Volume One are
amazing sets and even more amazing series.
Freakazoid definitely has
held up better over the years (with the exception of a few 90’s references
totally lost on most people) than Tiny
Toons, but both series are overflowing with charm, creativity, and a
brilliant sense of humor. Tiny Toons is still relevant and will
make any child smile and jump for joy, while making the older crowd glow with
nostalgic glee. Freakazoid got more belly-laughs out of this reviewer than he would
have ever expected. Both highly
Mom: You really should get off that
Dexter: It’s my life
Mom: That’s so very sad [with creepy
June Cleaver smile]
- Michael P. Dougherty II