Monday, August 17, 2009

DVD Review The Simpsons: The Complete 11th Season Part One -- The Set

The Simpsons: The Complete 11th Season

(Released October 07, 2008 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Another Looong DVD Review by Joe Torcivia

If there were a single DVD product that consistently stands above the rest, it would be each and every release of THE SIMPSONS!

Indeed, every review I could write would sound the same. The episodes are always great, and no series offers more in the way of extra features and general quality!

What makes The Simpsons: The Complete 11th Season more of a unique experience for me, vs. its predecessors, is twofold.

(1) The PACKAGING for this release takes a sudden and rather dramatically inferior turn – compared to previous Simpsons releases, and other DVD releases in general.

(2) For the first time, the vast majority of episodes in a set were “new to me”.

The Eleventh Season of THE SIMPSONS occurred as part of the 1999-2000 television season, and those who know me know that life took several bad turns for me during that period. In fact, reviewing the episode guide included in the set, I can recall the precise point at which I stopped watching the show (…just after the NINTH episode of the season) and began dealing with a string of personal difficulties that will go unmentioned here. I would not fully reconnect with THE SIMPSONS on a weekly basis until well into the 2004-2005 season. (And wasn’t it a comfort to find them STILL THERE!)

So, given the situation, there were many “new” episodes waiting for me in this set.

However, much of what I read on the Internet indicated that the 11th Season of THE SIMPSONS was the worst season of the series to that point – and the episode “Saddlesore Galactia” in particular (a mere FOUR SHOWS after I stopped watching) was the worst shark-jumping episode of the series!

By now, you’d think I’d know NOT TO BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET… unless it comes from this Blog, of course!

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and the humor quotient of most of the “unseen” episodes! Despite all the e-grousing, THE SIMPSONS had clearly lost nothing (one could argue for GAIN, not loss) as they entered the year 2000!

Even the dreaded “Saddlesore Galactia”, despite an admittedly weird-ass turn, taking Homer into a wooded fantasy-land of gnome-like racehorse jockeys (Yes, really!), had many surprisingly funny moments for an episode so reviled.

With our backstory completed, we proceed with the review, per our custom of CONS and PROS.


The Packaging: Aw, but why repeat myself, when you can just click on THIS LINK!

That’s the ONLY CON, folks! And, unless you count The Simpsons: The Complete 6th Season being released ONLY in a package shaped like “Homer’s Head” (no standard packaging) this is probably the ONLY CON any SIMPSONS set has EVER had… unless the upcoming Season 12 exhibits the same awful packaging.


The Special Features: NO ONE… and I mean NO ONE does DVD Special Features like THE SIMPSONS!

From the beginning, there have been commentaries with writers, directors, producers, and actors on EVERY EPISODE. “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson” (Season 9) even had TWO separate and distinct commentary tracks!

Creator Matt Groening hosts an Introductory Feature for each Season Set – discussing the high points and guest stars.

Each set comes with a detailed and lavishly illustrated BOOKLET, listing the contents of the set. As my other reviews have noted, Content Notes have been diminished – or, in the case of certain Warner sets, outright eliminated – but THE SIMPSONS continues to offer the best and most elaborate content listings in all of DVD-dom!

Deleted scenes are offered in a variety of ways: Stand alone – individually or “Play All”, with optional commentary, and (with a touch of your remote) integrated into their intended spots as part of the episodes!

Selected storyboards and animatics are presented with a “picture-in-picture” of the actual animation.

And, specific to this set, are additional features on Krusty (the package’s featured character) and The Simpsons receiving a Star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Easter Eggs are hidden throughout the various menus, so keep (…no reference to “Saddlesore Galactia” intended) “jockeying” your remote to discover hidden treasures!

So… how many of YOUR favorite DVD series can match THAT, eh?

As with my review of Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection, we’ll break right here because too much Blog reading can kill your eyes and rot your mind. But, if you haven’t had enough, please sign a release exempting me from any damages and scroll down for Part Two: The Episodes!

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