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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Screwball > Satire > TV > Freakazoid! - Season 1 + Tiny Toon Adventures: Season 1- Volume 1 (Steven Spielberg Presents/Warner DVD)

Freakazoid! - Season 1 + Tiny Toon Adventures: Season 1- Volume 1 (Steven Spielberg Presents/Warner DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B-     Episodes: A-/B+



FREAKOUT!  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.


The 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.


The 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, many more.


Those who 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 One-Volume One 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.


The 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.


As an 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!”


Just goes to show how crazy the series was.


Freakazoid! Extras:

  • 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 John McCann
    • 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.



Overall, 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 recommended sets.


Mom: You really should get off that computer

Dexter: It’s my life

Mom: That’s so very sad [with creepy June Cleaver smile]



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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