One of the great things about television today is the trend of extreme diversification. Where there used to be a specialized channel called ESPN, that has now been broken down into ESPN Deportes, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPN U… the list goes on and on. Whatever your interest, there is a very specialized niche available that it fits into. The nice thing is, all of this specialization has allowed some truly creative (and bizarre) programing to creep out onto the airwaves. Robot Chicken is a great example of this trend… It is a wildly creative stop motion animation show created and produced by Seth Green that parodies pop culture using pre-existing action figures. One episode parodies The Real World by showing what would happen when characters such as Batman, The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman are made to live together in a house. Quite literally, if you name the pop culture reference, it is here, from American Idol to Kill Bill to Dawn of the Dead. There’s even a Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place reference here… and that’s all packed into just the first episode!
I had never even heard of this show before I was sent this DVD set to review, but I am a complete and total convert now. I am sometimes amazed at some of the truly funny stuff that is out there that I have never even heard of. This show deserves to find a wider audience. Hopefully this DVD release will do for this hilarious series what it did for Family Guy and Firefly.
Audio is always a tricky thing on a show such as this one, because the viewer doesn’t have the benefit of seeing the character’s mouths move to subliminally aid in understanding the dialog. This particular show makes things extra difficult because there are so many embellished “character voices”. Having said that, the audio is perfectly adequate, and there were very few moments of “what did he say?” that came up during the episodes. Still, though, this is a simple track that was mixed for television, and you shouldn’t expect anything more.
Now let’s be honest… this is a television show that features action figures in stop motion animation. You just can’t expect to find a Memoirs of a Geisha-level transfer on a DVD set of this kind. The quality is certainly respectable, however, with sharp colors and no real problems with grain or blemishes. Part of the charm of this show is seeing the artificial cardboard mouths that the characters have when they speak, and it is easy to see them on this transfer. This is a clean and clear transfer that presents the show accurately and admirably.
I was expecting little to no extra content, and boy, was I wrong. There are a ton of extras packed onto these two discs! Not only are there commentaries on every single episode, but there are 12 deleted scenes and 19 deleted animatics included here as well.
This offering would be plenty of extras for most sets of this type, but we’re just getting started on this one. Behind-the-scenes footage shows up, as well as wire comparisons, animatic-to-episode comparisons, promos and photo galleries. There are even 7 animation meetings and alternate audio takes here, for goodness sake! It’s just plain crazy how many extras are crammed onto these two discs. 5 out of 5 for the extra content on this set.
This is one of those well kept secrets that deserves to become a big, big success. If there is any justice in the world, that will indeed be the case. Clearly, Warner Brothers sees value in this series, as evidenced by the first class packaging, clean audio and video, and fantastic extras. This is a great DVD set, and I sincerely hope that it becomes a top selling title. It certainly deserves it.
Special Features List
- Episode Commentaries
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage
- Deleted Scenes
- Original “Sweet J Presents” Skits
- Wire Comparisons
- Alternate Audio Takes
- Deleted Animatics