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The Adventures of Pete & Pete - Season 1



DVD Release Date: May 17, 2005 (Paramount Home Entertainment/Nick DVD)
MSRP: $26.99
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 12 (8 Episodes + 4 Specials)
Running Time: 294 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 2:52:56
Audio: English
Closed Captioned
Special Features:
Commentary by creators of the show Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, and director Katherine Dieckmann, on 2 episodes and 1 special
4 Bonus Specials
2 1-Minute Shorts
Polaris Music Station

My Thoughts:

The first season of The Adventures of Pete & Pete is now on DVD!

The Adventures of Pete & Pete was a Nickelodeon sitcom running in the mid 90s, starring Big Pete (Michael Morrona), and his brother Little Pete (Danny Tambarelli), plus the Brothers Pete’s parents Don & Joyce (Hardy Rawls, Judy Rickles), Big Pete’s friend Ellen (Allison Fanielli) and Artie, The Strongest Man in the World (Toby Huss). The series actually started as a series of 1-minute shorts on Nick in 1990 – by 1993 the shorts had gained such popularity that they made a series of five 30-minute specials – and by the end of the year, Nick had commissioned eight regular 30-minute episodes of the series. For this release, The 8 original 1993 episodes, and 4 of the 5 specials, plus 2 of the shorts, are included. All the episodes from this series are great, in their own unique way, and are all highly enjoyable. There’s not a dud in the bunch. All are still just as good as they were to me ten years ago. A couple of guest stars in the first “season” to watch for: In the episode “Range Boy”, NFL Great and longtime Monday Night Football anchor Frank Gifford appears as himself. John McLaughlin (The McLaughlin Group) appears as himself in the episode “When Petes Collide: In the special “What We Did on Our Summer Vacation,” Michael Stipe of REM plays Captain Scrummy, and Kate Pierson of the B-52s plays Mrs. Vanderveer. Steve Buscemi appears in the episode “Apocalypse Pete”. Deborah Harry (Blondie) appears as a Neighbor in the episode “New Year’s Pete”, as does the late author Hunter S. Thompson, who appears as the horn-blower that wishes little Pete a Happy New Year at the start of the episode.

The two discs are each held in a slim case that goes into a holding box. The front-cover has a close-up headshot of Pete & Pete. The back cover has Big Pete in his driving range uniform from the episode Range Boy, along with the episode listing and special features list. Each of the slim case covers features various stills from the first season. Disc one features Artie and Pete, the shot of Mom from the credits, a shot of Little Pete solo, Mom’s Plate from the credits, a shot of Ellen with a magnifying glass, Big Pete, and a shot of the Brothers Pete. .The front cover of the disc two holder has a face-shot of Artie, Big Pete in a band uniform, Little Pete’s band “The Blowholes”, a face-shot of Mr. Tastee, Big Pete in front of the back of the School Bus, the shot of Dad from the credits, and Artie on the bleachers. Back cover of each is a listing of what’s on that disc. The first six episodes are on the first disc, and the other two episodes, the four specials, the two shorts, and the Polaris Music Station are on the second disc. Included inside the outer box is an insert with the 1993 Nick Schedule (Pre-Snick). Great stuff, though there are strange gaps on the listed schedule that aren’t explained anywhere on the insert, and after 12 years, I just don’t remember what aired there either.

Menus are rather simplistic. Main menu on both discs is a rehash of the cover shot, Episode Selection features some of the same shots used on that disc’s front cover, while Special Features is the same shot of Big Pete in his driving range uniform. Really not that creative, but they serve the purpose well. Play all aficionados, take note; there IS a Play All button.

The video is amazingly grainy for a show from twelve years ago. All the episodes have at least some noticeable grain, and the specials and shorts are even worse. In addition, parts of the video look problematic to the point that one almost has to wonder what conditions the original episodes were being kept in – there are glitches in the video that look like the video was transferred to a VHS tape and back again. I honestly expected better. Something else that must be talked about is that the video goes nuts on fast motion, either by the camera or if the characters move too quickly. Some scan lines look like they’re lagging behind the others, creating an almost “strip” effect. Also, there are NO chapter stops in the episodes. Pressing the button that would normally advance chapters, at least for me, took me straight into the next episode/main menu (depending on episode and whether I chose Play All). Amazingly, all the episodes run within 4 seconds of each other. The shortest episode (excluding the 1-minute shorts) is 24:19, while the longest is 24:23.

Audio’s a Dolby Digital Stereo track – although there’s some hiss in places, overall, it’s not bad. There’s no music replacement to be found – partially because Pete & Pete relied heavily on independent artists, who are FAR more likely to green light the use of music in re-releases than major label artists, for far less. Applause should be directed at Paramount regardless for making sure it’s all here. Also, a fairly large mystery (it’s even referenced in the commentary) has brewed over the third line of the Pete & Pete theme song (Hey Sandy). It’s fairly unintelligible to the ear, but the closed captioning provides lyrics, which do match with the sound.

Hey smilin strange..
You’re lookin happy derange
Can you settle to shoot me
or have you picked your target yet..

There are quite a few special features. In addition to the eight episodes of Season One, there are four of the five specials produced before the series started. They didn’t include “Space, Geeks, and Johnny Unitas”, but the other 4 specials are here. There are also three commentary tracks, on the episodes Day of the Dot and The Nightcrawlers and the special How I Spent My Summer Vacation. The commentary tracks are interesting: they reveal the identity of the physical actor behind Mr. Tastee (the voice actor was always listed in the credits, but someone else played Mr. Tastee physically). Also, they reveal that the idea for Mom’s Plate came from baseball manager Don Zimmer and HIS metal plate. They also included two of the 1-minute shots (The Burping Room, Mom’s Plate). Also there is a feature called Polaris Music Station, which is simply a rather well-done menu in which each “star,” when selected, plays a different Polaris song, including the main theme.

I thought, overall, that the set was incredibly well done for a kids show from 1993 – except for the video problems. If Nick/Paramount plans to release any more seasons of the show, they need to fix whatever went wrong this time around before releasing anything else. Also, if Nick has any Pete & Pete promos lying around, those might be a nice inclusion, as well as more of the Pete & Pete shorts. That being said, 12 years later, Pete and Pete is still just as good as I remember it, and I recommend the set to anyone – though targeted at younger audiences, I really think Pete and Pete’s a show for anyone.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 2.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/09/05.

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