Release Date: October 1, 2013 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Packaging: Amaray Case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 33
Running Time: 731 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
Heathcliff is back! A long-time fixture of the comic page since 1973, the fat orange cat (the one who isn’t Garfield, for what it is worth) made his first leap to television in the early 80s in a Ruby-Spears cartoon, but that one wasn’t too successful. The second attempt came in 1984 from DiC Entertainment, and was much more successful, continuing to air in reruns in syndication and on cable for well over a decade beyond that. Over the years, several studios have released various DVDs containing episodes of this version of the series, and Mill Creek has been releasing the series beginning with the first half of the first season. Now, they’re back to wrap up the first season with Heathcliff - Season One, Volume Two.
As most fans of the series know, the episodes were all split into two distinct segments. The first part of each episode always featured Heathcliff and the Nutmeg family, while the second part featured the Catillac Cats. Occasionally, there was a bit of interaction of characters between these segments, but the plots were always unrelated, and it was essentially like two different series in one half hour block. At the end of each episode, Heathcliff always returned with a pet tip, which gave each episode about 30 seconds of educational content (more than many cartoon series were doing in that era). We treat them as such in describing some highlights from this set of episodes (and admittedly focus a bit more on the Heathcliff segments, as those were the more popular ones).
Heathcliff suffers a slight injury to the head that changes his personality a bit in "Spike's Slave." In “Gopher Broke,” Heathcliff declares war on some gophers in the park. Heathcliff gets jealous of the attention that Iggy is getting from Grandma Nutmeg when Iggy is sick in “Where There’s an Ill, There’s a Way,” so he concocts the perfect scheme to get the same attention for himself. Iggy and Heathcliff team together for a soap box derby in “Soap Box Derby.” In “Cat Food for Thought,” Heathcliff auditions to take part in a cat food commercial. Heathcliff’s father is released from the big house in “Pop on Parole.”
Heathcliff decides to open a nightclub for cats in “Copa Ca Heathcliff.” Heathcliff ends up in obedience school in “An Officer and an Alley Cat.” In “Sealand Mania,” Heathcliff imagines Marineland as the perfect place to get fish... and tags along with the Nutmegs as they visit it! Heathcliff’s attempt to break into prison to save his father ends up causing even more chaos at the prison in “Piece of the Rock.”
A prisoner who looks just like Grandpa has escaped in “Grandpa vs. Grandpa,” and when he shows up, Heathcliff and Iggy have to decide which one is the real Grandpa. Heathcliff is forced to earn his own tuna money in “The Great Tuna Caper.” In “The Home Wreckers,” Iggy brings a white mouse home from school, which of course, doesn’t go over too well with Heathcliff. Heathcliff thinks he may be a big star in a movie in “The Star of Tomeow-Meow,” but it isn’t quite what it seems.
Onto the Catlliac Cats, Riff Raff has to convince Mungo he is wanted in “Mungo Gets No Respect.” Hector and Mungo become part of a mad scientist’s experiment in “Dr. Mousetus.” The junkyard is flooded after Hector has a plan to collect pearls from oysters in “Junkyard Flood.” A lion cub ends up at the junkyard in “The Babysitters,” and the lion’s mother mistakes Mungo for her young cub. The Catillac Cats sneak into a high society cat party after Cleo is not invited in “Debutante Ball.” In “The Big Break In,” Heathcliff joins Riff Raff, Hector, and Mungo as they break into the house of a new lady in the neighborhood with twelve lady cats. Riff Raff’s mom comes to visit in “Riff Raff’s Mom,” which forces him to come up with a quick scheme to come up with the beautiful mansion he told her that he lives in! Hector becomes a private investigator in “Hector the Detector.” A soccer game will determine who gets to control the junkyard when a pack of mean dogs come along in “Soccer, Anyone?”
The episodes appear to be unedited, with every episode even containing the original DiC and LBS logos on the end of each episode. Additionally, one of the episodes has the alternate “Cats and Company” opening theme song (though most have the standard Heathcliff theme song). Runtimes are as follows:
1. Spike’s Slave/Scaredy Cats (22:18)
2. Gopher Broke/A Camping We Will Go (22:08)
3. Where There’s an Ill, There’s a Way/Yes Sewer, That’s My Baby (22:08)
4. Soap Box Derby/A Better Mousetrap (22:07)
5. Bamboo Island/Super-Hero Mungo (22:04)
6. Butter Up!/Mungo Gets No Respect (22:06)
7. Sonja’s Nephew/Dr. Mousetus (22:07)
8. Cat Food for Thought/Going South (22:09)
9. Phantom of the Garbage/Junkyard Flood (22:03)
10. Trombone Terror/The Other Woman (22:06)
11. Pop on Parole/The Babysitters (22:08)
12. The Siamese Twins/The Mungo Mash (22:05)
13. Copa Ca Heathcliff/Leroy’s in Love (22:10)
14. Used Pets/Search for a Star (22:06)
15. An Officer and an Alleycat/Hector Spector (22:08)
16. Service with a Smile/Junk Food (22:07)
17. Boom Boom Pussini/Beach Blanket Mungo (22:07)
18. Sealand Mania/Riff Raff the Gourmet (22:07)
19. The Super M.A.C. Menace/Journey to the Center of the Earth (22:07)
20. A Piece of the Rock/Divide and Clobber (22:07)
21. Heathcliff Reforms/Prehysteric Riff Raff (22:08)
22. Flying High/Debutante Ball (22:07)
23. Heathcliff Surprise!/The Big Break In (22:08)
24. The Catfather/The Big Swipe (22:06)
25. Tally-Ho Heathcliff/Cleo Moves In (22:07)
26. Grandpa vs. Grandpa/The Big Game Hunter (22:07)
27. The Great Tuna Caper/Pecos’ Treasure (22:07)
28. The Baby Buggy Badguys/Riff Raff’s Mom (22:08)
29. Momma’s Back in Town/Trash Dance (22:07)
30. Claws!/Hector the Detector (22:06)
31. Raiders of the Lost Cat/Mungo Lays an Egg (22:07)
32. The Home Wrecker/In Search of Catlantis (22:06)
33. The Star of Tomeow-Meow/Soccer, Anyone? (22:04)
The cover art features Heathcliff standing on top of Spike’s dog house, trying to keep a bone away from the dogs. On the back, there is a very generic description of the set, a few episode snapshots, and a listing of all of the episodes contained on the set. Inside, there are three discs, each containing eleven episodes and containing the same artwork as the cover.
We’ve spent years complaining about Mill Creek’s packaging, but finally, they’ve done something a little better on the packaging front! It appears that with this release (as well as a few other recent releases) that the days of the black paper sleeves are dwindling down. For the first time ever, Mill Creek is using a higher quality Amaray brand case. The discs are still stacked one on top of the other, but on the bright side, they are very secure in the center hub and there are no paper sleeves. It still isn’t perfect, but it is much better.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on the set are very simple. The main menu features a still drawing (it appears to be a new one created for the DVD) of Heathcliff running out of the fish market with a fish in his mouth, while the first few seconds of the theme song constantly loop in the background. Main menu options include Play All and Episodes. Upon selecting Episodes, you get a screen that lists all of the episodes on the disc, where the theme song also plays in the background. As seems to be the case with many animation releases, once an episode finishes playing, the next one begins (as opposed to just returning to the main menu). Chapters are placed in the middle of each episode, which isn’t quite enough.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality on the set is fine, although it is nothing that is extraordinarily great. Like most older cartoons (especially the lower budget ones of the ‘80s), it certainly does show some age with a few defects here and there... but honestly, it looks no different than it did when it aired. There are no subtitles or closed-captions on the episodes.
The set contains no special features. Considering that these are low budget (but great value) releases, I wouldn’t expect anything on the final release, when/if that is released.
I was getting a bit worried that Mill Creek may have abandoned the series (as Shout! Factory did several years ago), but it is great to see more episodes of this series on DVD. We now have all of the first season on DVD, and it’ll only take one more 21 episode release to get the second season (and the remainder of this series) wrapped up on DVD. I’m hopeful that will happen, and hopefully very soon. I honestly don’t expect to see anything special or out of the ordinary on any releases of this series, simply because it was a low-budget series to begin with. I would just be happy to see it wrapped up at all.