Written by Evan Braun
Space Ghost & Dino Boy is the kind of show that seems as though it would carry with it a great deal of nostalgia. Its characters are memorable and its animation is characteristic of an era of cartooning long since gone. Unfortunately, since I missed the showâ€™s heyday by a good 20 years, itâ€™s impossible for me to join in on these fond memories.
To avoid uneccessary confusion, Iâ€™ll say that I certainly enjoyed the set. That having been said, it wasnâ€™t without its problems. The stories are short and uninspired, at least by modern standards. Just about every Space Ghost segment (and I canâ€™t think of any exceptions) ends with a deus ex machina moment in which the title character pulls himself out of a bad situation with a new ability or bit of gadgetry we were previously unfamiliar with. That, however, seems to be merely a part of the formula.
A fun element is the cast of recurring villains which populate the series. The final six-part episode, â€œThe Council of Doom,â€ is absolutely memorable as each baddie, from the evil Metallus to the space diva Spider Woman, returns to attempt a final, though unsuccessful, act of revenge on their shared nemesis, Space Ghost himself.
Letâ€™s not forget the other half of this cartoon pairing: Dino Boy. Iâ€™m loathe to spend too many words on these segments, due to the fact that they are almost universally bad. But what else should I have expected from these ill-fated adventures of a young boy parachuted out of the future to join forces with the spectacularly silly caveman Ugh and his dinosaur Bronty? It falls well short of The Flintstones, no doubt about it.
The animation may have been good for its time, but itâ€™s quite poor by todayâ€™s standards. While the video transfer is reasonably decent, itâ€™s far from grain-free and falls well short of the resolution we have come to expect from cartoons nowadays. That said, while the image isnâ€™t crystal clear, thereâ€™s not much in the way of artifacting.
The audio mix is 2-channel Dolby stereo. Itâ€™s difficult to find anything worthy of note except that the soundtrack is quite good. While the sound effects are more than competent, Iâ€™m referring specifically to the music. Iâ€™m likely to remember the showâ€™s catchy themes long after the image of Space Ghost has faded from memory.
Setting aside the usual collection of trailers, the only real extra included with the set is Simplicity: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, a feature-length biography about one of the animators who helped establish the look and tone of the series. Toth also had a hand in drawing a number of other legendary cartoon characters, including Batman.
The biography is a touching look at the talented and frustrated life of an artist many of us have been influenced by in one way or another but donâ€™t know it. This documentary is the highlight of the set. Even if youâ€™re unimpressed by the Space Ghost & Dino Boy segments, this alone made the viewing experience worth the trouble.
In a word, Iâ€™d have to call the set fair at best. No offence to the many fans who may have grown up with this possible classic (the internet tells me such legions exist).