The Simpsons (20 Years) – The Complete Twentieth
Season (2008 – 2009/Fox Blu-ray)
B+ Sound: B- Extras: C- Episodes: B-
recent interview creators of The
Simpsons commented on recent bloggers’ criticisms who state “the show isn’t
as good as it was ten years ago;” with “I stopped reading bloggers’ posts
because they were so much funnier ten years ago.” Say what you want about The Simpsons, but not many series (especially animated ones) have
lasted over 20 years. For the most part
I must agree that I enjoyed The Simpsons
ten plus years ago much better; but upon watching and re-watching the episodes
of Season 20 I must say that the
series remains fresh and amazingly has new ideas after 20 years.
have much to say about specific episodes of the season as all episodes of The Simpsons have blended together into
one giant ‘melted crayon’ mess in my mind; but I can comment on this specific
box set/Blu-ray release. What the heck
were they thinking? After releasing the
first 12 seasons over the past 10 years; the creators decided to jump to Season 20 for the first Blu-ray
release. Now I understand it is the 20th
anniversary and there are a countless number of marketing tie-ins, but this
release is a big yellow finger to the fans. What should have happened is to continue the
releases in order, with Season 13
being released concurrently on DVD and Blu-ray.
I also understand that starting from Season One with the Blu-ray format would anger those who already
purchased the seasons on DVD (on top of the fact that there is no need to
release that horrible quality animation on Blu-ray), but starting at The Twentieth Season was just an easy
way to cash in and not true to the fans.
note that it does make a little sense to start the Blu-ray sets at Season 20; as the Season 20 episode “Take My
Life, Please” is the first (strangely enough) to broadcast the series in
HD. It was a transition that took way
too long and after the quality that The
Simpsons Movie delivered, you would think it would have happened sooner. This is a justification that will only hold
true if they only release seasons beyond 20
say that over half the episodes this particular season are winners, but at the
same time some are so mind numbingly dreadful I ask where did my childhood Simpsons go. I have a theory that the older Simpsons episodes have become so
engrained in our subconscious that we can do nothing but look favorably upon
them. I think The Simpsons has better animation than ever, an intelligent/witty
writing staff and a strive to please the fans that is just as strong as ever.
The problem is that while 20 years ago The
Simpsons were saying and doing things that were so edgy you couldn’t do
them anywhere else but in an animated format; today society has become so jaded
that we have become dismissive of their series witty, yet controversial
funny to note that in the original first couple seasons releases that the
creators actually included a letter on the DVD box that essentially proclaimed
“Thanks for buying our set, but by the time you get close to owning every
season a new format will be out; forcing you to start over again.” Oh how sad and true the world is.
expected a stellar visual and audio performance from The Simpsons 20th Season release; all in all I have to
call it half lackluster and half stunning.
The picture is presented initially in 1.33 X 1, then at episode nine
switches to 1.78 X 1 (as that is when the HD conversion occurred). Though some may worry that the 21 episodes
squeezed on 2 Blu-ray discs may have caused some compression issues, none are
to be found. All in all I must say the
transition to HD is stunning, only attesting to the fact that older seasons may
not need a Blu-ray release. The 1.78 X 1
episodes ‘POP’ as the jump from the screen with bright colors and a wonderful
crispness. Whereas the earlier episodes
are nice, the ones after nine are where it is at in terms of image quality. The DTS HD Master Audio never truly utilizes
the full speaker range and leaves fans wanting more. The front speakers are heavily used, whereas
I rarely heard the rears.
extras are almost absent as only a Sneak Peek of an already aired special is on
the disc. Whereas previous seasons
offered a bounty of extras, this season was OBVIOUSLY rushed and leaves fans
asking what? Why? How? And DOH!
- Michael P. Dougherty II