Friday, August 08, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: Tiny Toon Adventures - Season 1, Volume 1

Welcome to a special Friday edition of mini-DVD reviews! Today we look at Warner Home Video's Tiny Toon Adventures - Season 1, Volume 1. Tiny Toon Adventures was created and produced as a collaborative effort between Steven Spielberg's company Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. It premiered in as a syndicated cartoon in 1990. See Seth's mini-DVD review of Tiny Toon Adventures - Season 1, Volume 1:

Tiny Toon Adventures - Season 1, Volume 1

Tiny Toon Adventures - Season 1, Volume 1 (Warner Home Video, $44.98) is finally on DVD. I love this show. I really do. I watched this show when I was young and absolutely loved it. Loved it in reruns as I got older. It’s a great show that’s enjoyable no matter what your age. It’s time to finally join Babs and Buster Bunny (no relation), Plucky Duck, Hamton Pig, and all of the other residents of Acme Acres on DVD. Contained on this set are the first *35* episodes of the first season. I know many of you may have cringed when you saw “Volume 1”, but for a cartoon who had 65 episodes it’s first season splitting it was a must. There are some absolutely great cartoons in here, and some fairly good ones. Sometimes one cartoon in an episode may be weaker than the others, but this is to be expected.

This DVD set contains the first 35 episodes, which means the episodes included start at the series premiere, “A Looney Beginning” and run through “A Ditch in Time”. A full episode list is (at least as of the time of this writing) available on Wikipedia for your reference. Because of the number of episodes in the release, Warner was faced with a tough choice – either deal with a large number of discs, use double-sided discs entirely, or place quite a few episodes per disc. The end result is 4 discs, the first three of which are single-sided, the final disc being double-sided. The first three discs and the first side of the fourth all contain 8 episodes each, while the reverse side of the final disc contains the last three episodes and the disc’s special feature. I’m not sure if this was the ideal or optimal layout, but it works well enough. Packaging is a clear-plastic case with two swinging plastic panels in the center containing the discs. The discs themselves feature a variation on the orange colors used on the cover art, with a central cast member on each of the first three discs.

I really wanted to just launch into an overly positive stream of consciousness, as I got to do with Freakazoid’s DVD set, but that’s not entirely possible here. Placing 8 episodes per disc *has* led to some compression issues, which are particularly evident against solid colors. The colors themselves appear duller and less vivid than they should be, though it could just be a result of the age of the episodes. The audio, however, IS spectacular – 5.1 is available! This is great considering the orchestral bits used as background music, scene transitions, everything. It’s great. Chapter stops are placed at the end of each individual cartoon. Runtime for the pilot is just over 23 minutes; average for the rest is around 21:45 – for a cartoon series from the early 90s this IS normal.

There IS a great special feature in the set: Looney Tunes to Tiny Toons, a Wacky Evolution: Features an outright plethora – yes, a plethora – of interviews, clips, etc. that detail the origin of the series and how the show launched off the shoulders of the classic Looney Tunes franchise. Runs a bit over 23 minutes, and is a great extra feature. It’s great to see well-done sets like these for shows I enjoy.

Of course, *my* favorite episode of the series isn’t on the DVD set as it’s the 51st episode of the season – Tiny Toons Music Television. It features re-done videos for several songs using the Tiny Toons cast, including TWO songs by They Might Be Giants, a take on Respect by Aretha Franklin, and more. It’s great stuff, and I can’t wait for the next volume for this very reason. Ultimately, though, future sales depend on the success of the initial release. It’s a great cartoon, and recommended not just for cartoon fans but fans of comedy as well. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(4.5/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Tiny Toons Adventures TV.com Page

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