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Robot Chicken:
Season Two: Uncensored

review by Zach B.

 

 

Running Time: 221 Minutes

 

Studio: Warner Bros.

Retail Price: $29.99

Features:
Disc 1:
Audio Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, Deleted Audio, The Making Of A Sketch, Christmas Episode
Disc 2: Audio Commentaries, Animation Meetings, Deleted Animatics, PS3 Contest, Video Blogs, Freedom Rock

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Stereo, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, French Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Two-Disc Set

Released: September 4th, 2007

 

All the episodes are presented in 1.33:1 full screen, just as they aired on television. Other than a decent amount of noise, shimmering and some murkiness (sometimes parts of episodes look a bit faded and grainy), these are more-than-decent transfers. The episodes look pretty sharp for the most part, as does the color saturation - which is varied and rather vibrant. In all, the episodes look pretty pleasing to the eye and there are no major complaints in this department.

 

All the episodes also feature Dolby Stereo tracks in English. They're pretty good, if straightforward, mixes. There isn't a lot of breathing room to be had for all the sound elements, but everything here is fine despite the limited dynamics: fidelity is high, dialogue is very clear and easy to hear, the music has a strong presence and the sound effects - while not packing a major punch, do have a crispness and are discrete here and there. Nothing earth-shattering, but pleasing nonetheless.

Subtitles in English, French and Spanish are included, plus English closed captions.

 

All twenty episodes have Audio Commentary, and the participants varies with each episode - but you can usually count on a mix of writers and animators. Fans of the series are sure to get a kick out of these, but these are my favorite types of commentaries: plenty of commrodarie and joking around, but they also delve into the actual production. There's definitely a honesty between everyone, as they enjoy sketches but also point out at times things that might have worked better. What's also nice is that they also delve into the more technical aspects of the show, as far as the animation - stuff that looks simple and easy always isn't. In short, these commentaries are a lot of fun and strike a great balance. It's also an entertaining way to get more out of such a fun show.

There are ten Deleted Scenes, most of which featuring introductions (or outros) with some of the writers to explain the cuts. These scenes are basically completed, and given that they made it so far, they certainly match the quality of what's made the final cut. But on the intros, the writers cite certain nuances of the sketches that didn't work, or timing issues. Still, if you can't get enough "Robot Chicken," these are a real treat.

There is also some Deleted Audio to be had, featuring the likes of Hal Sparks, Michael Ian Black, Master Shake, Breckin Meyer and Michael "Police Academy" Winslow. These last a few minutes each with each respective personality riffing on the series - most likely outtakes from the episode "1987." Very amusing. There are also eight Adult Swim Promos to promote the second season, all of which are really funny.

The Making Of A Sketch is hosted by Seth Green, and lasts about thirteen minutes. This is a great and highly enjoyable piece where we see all the steps in how a sketch on the show starts from an idea to a finished product (in this case, the sketch "Inspector Gadget: Judgment Day"). The "Robot Chicken" offices seem like a phenomenally fun and creative environment, but it's also hard work. I couldn't possibly list all the steps here, but some of the steps include getting approval from lawyers, designing sets, Green himself being used a reference model for the animators, visual effects and so forth. There are plenty of interviews with the writers, editors, animators and artists, all of whom are so integral into making "Robot Chicken" such a hilariously warped and original show.

As a nice bonus, there's also the Christmas Episode of the show, which is mainly past sketches from other episodes with holiday themes pieced together (all of which are a scream, especially the "Dragon Ball Z" bit). Still, if it's new to you...

The second disc has even more goodies. There are four Animation Meetings to watch, which shows off Seth Green pitching more ideas as far as what he wants to see in the animation, and using himself as a reference model by acting out certain things he wants to see in the sketches. Definitely interesting.

There's a whole array of Deleted Animatics - which are basically deleted scenes that didn't get the go-ahead to be animated. Sometimes they're a bit crude to look at, but you get what the writers were going for thanks to the storyboards and the voice tracks that were laid down. There's some very funny stuff in here, and it's too bad some of them didn't get to officially be part of the show. Like the deleted scenes on the first disc, the writers give intros to these would-be sketches. There's 31 minutes worth of material here, and if you're a fan of the show, all of it's well-worth watching.

The PS3 Contest is a commercial for the show's promotion where you could win a Playstation 3 and a cameo on the show itself. It's introduced by Green and co-head writer Tom Root. The Slide Show is given four introductions by Green and Root. I'm not sure if I can explain this feature well, and besides, I don't want to ruin the joke. Watch and enjoy.

Video Blogs is self-explanatory, but these are nice little pieces that focus on a specific aspect of the show's production, and what it's like to work for "Robot Chicken." There's bits on animation, the writer's room, the wrap day, plus the first season DVD release party (held at the Playboy Mansion). All of these are must watches for fans of the show, and those curious how the series gets made. Be sure to view the blog on the English intern - the approach used to document her experiences is pretty hysterical. The total running time for the blogs is about 33 minutes.

Rounding out the set is Freedom Rock, which is a pretty inspired faux infomercial.

 

For my money, "Robot Chicken" is one of the funniest and most creative shows to ever hit the airwaves - especially if you like random comedy bits that are oddly relatable and if you are a pop culture junkie. As far as a DVD set, I'm not sure how "Uncensored" it is - sure, you get to hear the curse words, but some logos are blurred out and one sketch is missing from this season on the set (The Archies segment from "Veggies For Sloth"). Yet despite that, the episodes look and sound good, and the plentiful and engrossing extras more than make up for any omissions. Fans of the series and those who like great parodies, this is a must own for your collection.