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Freakazoid!
Season 2

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 232 minutes

Starring the voices of: Paul Rugg, David Kaufman, Tracy Rowe, Tress MacNeille, John P. McCann, Edward Asner, Jeff Glen Bennett, David Warner, Cree Summer, Stephen Furst, Brian George, Craig Ferguson, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Joe Leahy

Written by: Tom Ruegger, Paul Rugg, John P. McCann, Alan Burnett

 

Studio: Warner

Retail Price: $26.98

Features: A Full Season's Worth Of Commentaries (in Five Minutes or Less), Richard Stone - Original Bonjour Lobey Demo Tape, Liebeslied für Normadeus

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Surround Stereo, English Subtitles, Episode Selections, Two-Disc Set

Released: April 21st, 2009

 

 

The second season of "Freakazoid!" on DVD is presented in 1.33:1 full screen, and the transfers are pretty solid despite their flaws. First the weaker parts: there is a bit of noise and shimmering throughout episodes, plus scratches, dirt pieces and blemishes that can be distracting. Otherwise, the episodes look pretty sharp. Color saturation is strong, with hues that are bold and no smearing. However, contrast can be a bit high at times making some characters look a bit ghostly. Detail is also pretty fine, and the animation looks pretty smooth. Not perfect, but more than fine and pleasing overall.

 

Just like the first season on DVD, the second season of "Freakazoid!" is given the Dolby Digital 5.1 treatment. The mixes are pretty engaging, with high fidelity and good dynamics. For the most part, the tracks are front-centric as surrounds are not always discrete. Still, there are a decent number of sounds that do make good use of the rears and bring the viewer more into the action. Dialogue is always easy to hear and quite crisp, while the show's instrumental music - plus its theme song, and musical numbers that do pop up in episodes - sound pretty robust through the channels, and have the most creative mixing of all the sound elements. Subwoofer use is limited at best. Overall, these mixes are pleasing and most suitable for the content featuredReWill on the show.

The original English Surround Stereo tracks and English subtitles are also included. 

 

Unfortunately, the extras are a bit more slim compared to what was on the first season DVD set. The first disc includes A Full Season's Worth of Commentaries (in Five Minutes or Less) - which certainly lives up to its title (it actually runs 5:36, but I suppose the introduction doesn't count). Sitting on a couch are writer/producer John McCann, writer/producer Tom Ruegger, writer/producer Paul Rugg, producer/director Rich Arons and the famed announcer Joe Leahy as they discuss about three or so key moments (and their inspirations) from the second season. Most notable is how the song "Bonjour Lobey" got squeezed into the season opener "Dexter's Date," and how the writers were able to make the famed Bruce Timm laugh. I sincerely wish the five were able to record several audio commentaries for several episodes. But this is better than nothing. Oh, and pay attention - some things mentioned here become gags in the major extra on the second disc.

Also on the first disc is Richard Stone - Original Bonjour Lobey Demo Tape. The series' composer plays and sings the "Hello Dolly" parody. There are no visuals to go with the song, but it's a treat to hear the tune in demo form (as sung by Stone, of course).

Last but not least is the sole extra on the second disc: Liebeslied für Normadeous. Running about 20 minutes, the five talents (McCann, Ruegger, Rugg, Arons and Leahy) discuss the second (and final) season of "Freakazoid!". There is a mock, self-important tone at times which is pretty funny (McCann's quip about Noam Chomsky guesting on "Santa Bugito" is classic - I sincerely wonder if I'm the only one besides him who remembers that sieres), but for the most part a good overview of the second season is laid out. McCann and Rugg were coaxed into being producers to keep the show alive, plus the format changed: all the episodes now had to be half-hour stories (cheaper during post-production), which meant many supporting characters got the ax. There are some enjoyable anecdotes about getting master carpenter Norm Abrams to guest star and getting Jonathan Harris as Freakazoid's new butler. Of course, there's a good chunk on "Normadeus" and the big final goodbye musical number.

 

One of the funniest TV series that has ever been broadcast (in my opinion, at least), "Freakazoid!" was ahead of its time - and it's a shame the show didn't reach the same longevity as other Warner Bros. produced by Steven Spielberg in the 1990s, such as "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Animaniacs." This second and last season on DVD lacks commentaries a la the first season, but the two featurettes are worthwhile watches. The episodes themselves also look and sound good. I'm still hoping more discover the series on DVD. Freakazoid, we hardly knew ye.