First things first; there was a big hullabaloo about the fact that this is not the first season of Beavis and Butt-Head, but merely the first volume. Turns out, there are some episodes that Mike Judge has decided he didn’t care to see again, so now nobody can see them again. Personally, for a show like this, it really makes no difference to me. If you are the kind of person who is going to be bothered by that, however, then consider yourself warned.
Also gone are the music videos, which is a bigger deal to me. Some of the best parts of the show were hearing the fellas’ comments about Alice in Chains or Bono from U2. There are a fair number of music videos included with the DVD release of this title, but they are conspicuously missing from the UMD release.
Nevertheless, viewers will still be provided with 24 episodes of this (surprisingly) groundbreaking show to view on-the-go and at their leisure. As basic and juvenile as the humor seems at first, it is easy to tell that there is a very intelligent man hidden somewhere behind the squiggly lines and endless giggles. The popularity of later works King of the Hill and Office Space have confirmed that fact.
Many UMD titles fall victim to the pitfall of a low master volume level. I don’t know if it is because the PSP’s speakers can’t take high volumes, or that Sony is afraid that consumers will hurt their ears when listening through headphones, but the vast majority of UMD video products have audio tracks that are simply mixed too low to hear in anything other than a completely silent room. For movies, I can understand how the dynamic range is just too great for the hand-held speakers to pick up all of the nuances of the audio track, but for a TV show? Nonsense. This is one of those tracks that you will have to listen to with the headphones in and the volume turned up. Otherwise, how would you be able to follow the show’s intricate and nuanced plot?
This disc is presented in its original full screen aspect ratio, yet it is wonderful to see that the producers didn’t just take the DVD version of this title and stuff it onto a UMD. The menus are all presented in widescreen, which is much appreciated since so many episode titles are on each page. What I was really surprised about, however, was the color and the clarity of the episodes. With a hand-drawn animated series (especially one so poorly drawn as this one), the last thing that I was expecting to find was an impressive picture. Boy, was I shocked when I dove into the first episode and found out how bright and clean the show is. There are no scratches, dust or un-intentioned blemishes of any kind here. The color is even more amazing, as each scene pops with vibrant and beautiful colors. Never in a million years would I guess that Beavis and Butt-Head could look so gorgeous, yet there it is. Bravo.
As seems to be the case with most UMD’s, there are no extra features on this disc whatsoever. Not even so much as a trailer for Volume 2, which will be coming out on DVD in the near future. I would have loved to have seen an interview with Mike Judge on the genesis of the show, or maybe some commentary tracks, but it was just not to be. For some quality extras, it is best to visit this title on DVD.
The main attraction with the UMD format is that viewers can watch clips wherever they are. This is one of those releases that takes full advantage of that opportunity. When you take out the commercials and (regrettably) the music videos, the viewer is really only left with about 7 or 8 minutes of actual show per episode, which is the absolute ideal length for a quick laugh between classes, on a short car ride or while waiting for a friend. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and giggle about nonsense, and words that sound dirty but really aren’t, like “rectify”. For those small moments of happiness in the midst of a day filled with complications, Dr. Beavis has prescribed just the thing.