Mission Hill was left with the unfortunate task of initially airing on a network that wasn’t capable enough to nature it (Arrested Development fans can empathize with that scenario). The good news for fans of the show was that after its short run of episodes on the WB network, the Cartoon Network picked up and aired the remaining finished episodes, and put them on their Adult Swim broadcasting format before they went away. The good part of the deal is that Warner Brothers were good en…ugh to release these episodes on a two disc DVD set.
The brainchild of former Simpsons writers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, Mission Hill focuses on Andy French (voiced by Wallace Langham, CSI), a twenty something who lives in an apartment with his friends Jim (Brian Posehn, Mr. Show) and Posey (Vicki Lewis, Newsradio). Andy comes home to Wyoming, and is ordered by his parents to take his younger brother Kevin (Scott Menville, Ernest Goes to Camp) with him, so he can see more of the world, and distract Andy from his semi-occasional girlfriend Gwen (Go-Go’s alumni Jane Weidlin).
From there, the show does an OK job of lampooning some of the late ‘90s things that make it somewhat funny, like ska music, or (in what I think is the best episode of the 13 part run) MTV’s moronic Real World parade. The other episodes focus on Kevin’s growing up, starting with a relationship with an inanimate object or going through high school altogether.
The show isn’t too bad, and the vocal talent (notably Posehn) is pretty good, but the overall humor of the show just wasn’t as appealing as I would have liked. Perhaps the material is immediately dated and isn’t as good, but that’s not mostly the case, as some of the things lampooned are still in existence. Perhaps Oakley and Weinstein would have done better by writing more episodes at their old job when Mr. Burns got shot, but overall, it’s a perfectly satisfactory cartoon.
Since it’s an animated TV show, there’s no reason for things to be in widescreen. So the full frame treatment the film gets is OK, and the colors look sharp, without any distortion or persistent edge enhancement issues.
Much like other TV shows of its ilk, the only audio option to speak of is a Dolby 2.0 sound mix. Everything sounds good and are reproduced well, without any complaints or concerns.
There are commentary tracks on four of the episodes on this two disc set that includes members of the cast and creators. They discuss the show’s characters, and provide some pretty good insights into the show, and fans of the show will enjoy it. There’s an interactive map of the fictional hamlet of Mission Hill that shows how some of the behind the scenes production aspects of the show when it was still on the air too. This is a nice, quick look at the short-lived show.
Fans of the show shouldn’t hesitate to snap this up and enjoy it. While there were some episodes in the production stage, that footage is not included here. For newer fans, or those who perhaps may be riding on the fence, it’s worth checking out to see how you’d enjoy it before buying.
Special Features List
- Selected Episode Commentary
- Interactive Map