Cyber nerd Dexter Douglas surfs the web one fateful night, gets swept into a digital techno-electro smash-up that bites him in the gigabytes and – ZAP! – goes from geek to freak. To Freakazoid!, that is, a smart- mouthing, butt-kicking, mega-voltage superhero with things to do (unless there’s something really good on TV). Things like battle super baddies Cave Guy and the Lobe, save the world from zany ETs, ditch his tubby self-appointed sidekick Fanboy, snuggle up with girlfriend Step (who disses Dexter but is looney-swooney for Freakazoid) and be home in time to scarf down Mom’s sloppy joes. All 14 freakin’ funny Season One shows from Emmy® Award-winning series are here – enough to keep you laughing every day of the freak!
Read my review of the first season DVD after the jump.
Freakazoid!: The Complete First Season
Available To Own On (click to purchase): DVD.
Official Site Link:www.kidswb.com/whv
Release Date: July 29, 2008
This is one quirky series. And I suppose your enjoyment level will depend entirely on how much you like this type of animated fare. Freakazoid! includes several pop culture moments and at times you get the sense that the writers believe they’re more clever than the joke. The randomness of the jokes, and the occasional insertion of live-action footage between the animated stuff is a bit annoying, at least to my eyes. And there is simply no overall structure to the show which can be very off-puting.
The special features back everything up as well. These folks really had no clue in what the direction to take the show and were okay with where it ended up. The goal was always to jump from here to there, and then go there and back here again. Sound weird and makes no sense right? Good, because that’s the point.
It isn’t completely bad, it’s just so disjointed that it’s hard to really get into the series and enjoy it. There are certainly several good episodes in the bunch, and cameos from Jack Valenti (as himself) and Ricardo Montalban (as villain Armondo Guitierrez) are bright spots in the series. It’s just that you often wonder, again, especially after watching the brief 17-minute featurette, how much better this show would have been had there been a bit more structure. Also, the animation is very beautifully done.
Oh and one thing must be noted. There are 14 episodes presented on the two discs (one single sided disc and another dual-sided disc), however each 30 minute episode (about 20 minutes in length due to commercials) is really a combination of usually 2-3 separate stories (though up to five stories on one episode). So there is a good lot of stories in the very short first season. However, during the course of the season, two episodes were re-aired along with a new episode. That’s understandable during the broadcast season but for whatever reason they actually included the repeated episodes on the discs. So two episodes are presented twice on the discs. Very odd indeed.
Freakazoid: The Original Freak: How What Started as a Straightforward Animated Action Hero Evolved into a Chaotically Comic Cartoon Phenom
The best feature is this short 17-minute featurette on the series. It goes into some detail around the creation of the show. It’s here where you start to understand how Freakazoid! became such a quirky show. Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) was originally part of the show (and his designs were all used), but Steven Spielberg wanted a more comedic series, while Timm wanted the show to be a bit darker. Timm ended up leaving the show (though it doesn’t appear he left in any negative sense, as he contributes on the featurette) leaving Tom Ruegger, who worked with Spielberg on Animaniacs, as the senior producer and the show went on to be a quirky, strange, animated comedy.
I think what it all comes down to is that the show was targeted towards the wrong demographic. It was televised on Saturday mornings towards young kids, when in actuality it should have been targeted towards–at the very least–young teens. Perhaps had it originally been targeted towards an older demographic, they could have focused their efforts more appropriately and not have to worry so much about the balance.
Freakazoid-less Freakazoid Promos: Cruise Ship Parodies That Promoted the Series Launch
As explain by Ruegger in the short introduction, this series of commericials (4-minutes) was used to advertise the series. A spin on the Carnival commericials that were running at the time, because of the short schedule they were on, footage wasn’t quite ready to be shown yet, so they advertised the show this way.
Commentary on 3 Key Episodes by Senior Producer Tom Ruegger, Voice of Freakazoid Paul Rugg and Writer John McCann
The three producers and writers talk about three selected episodes on the disc: “Five Day Forecast/Dance of Doom/Handman”, “Candle Jack/Toby Danger in Doomsday Bet/The Lobe” and “Next Time, Phone Ahead/Nerdator”. The three are very active in the commentary tracks and are especially devoted to the series, laughing often throughout. These commentary tracks also reinforce the idea that the show should have been targeted towards an older demographic, because kids simply wouldn’t understand most of the jokes they were trying to express.
I rate this series and DVD a 3/5. I’ve includes some video clips which you can check out below.
‘Freakazoid’ with Commentary (from the pilot)
‘Sidekick Chronicles’ with Commentary (from the pilot)
‘Storyline’ with Commentary (from the pilot)