"'Rocko's Modern Life'? I used to watch that show all the time when I was a kid!" If you've ever had this conversation with someone, this set is for you.
Rocko's Modern Life is one of the classic shows from Nick's early lineup. It's kid-friendly, but has several more adult moments (a few of which were removed; more on that later). If you grew up watching this show, this is a great investment and a fantastic nostalgia trip.
The box art is fairly standard fare (as you can see pictured above). The spine maintains a similar color scheme. It has a picture of Rocko on the bottom looking up. The back has the logo on the top and a large white space with some text describing the show and summarizing some episode concepts. There's also a large picture of Spunky (Rocko's dog) on the back. The standard information is provided on the bottom, including the notation that this show is closed captioned.
The case is clear plastic. Inside, there are two disc trays. Disc 1 features Rocko and disc 2 features Spunky. There's an insert advertising other DVDs available for Nick series. On the rear of the sleeve art are episode summaries which are very easy to read and use different color schemes to differentiate between episodes. Heffer and Rocko are pictured by these summaries.
While I don't have any real complaints about the packaging, I do have to point out an observation: there is a clear effort to associate this show with Spongebob Squarepants. There is a sticker on the front that names 3 of the voice cast who worked on both this and Spongebob, and the same information is provided on the back in the large text blurb. I can understand the desire to associate this show with the better-known Spongebob, but I can't figure out why it's here from a more practical perspective. Who's buying this? People who watched it as a kid or who otherwise have fond memories of it. Those people don't care about the show's connection to Spongebob. Again, not an issue, but it's still something I noticed.
The menus are very simple, but effective. They divide up the episodes into their respective halves. They also have a Play All feature. The Season 1 title theme plays in the background.
The transfer on this set looks surprisingly good. It's not perfect, but it's better than one would expect for a show like this. It doesn't seem to have been very thoroughly remastered along the lines of the cleanup performed on other shows of its day (Simpsons, for instance), but it still looks pretty nice.
The first season of Rocko was pretty memorable. Bev Bighead coming onto Rocko, the Elevator to Hell ride in the carnival, and the Suck-O-Matic are just a few of the best moments of the season. This is also a good time to mention that some of these episodes are censored insofar as very small amounts of content were removed. There's a scene in one episode for instance where Hef ends up getting hooked up to a milking machine. He clearly experiences "pleasure" from the machine, and later in the episode, is seen breaking up with it. These bits were removed by Nickelodeon. According to official statements from Shout Factory, this was all Nick would give them to work with. Again, while it's not good to have these scenes missing from a "complete" season set, it's not that big of an issue and is not something for which Shout Factory should be blamed. The vast majority of the material in these episodes is retained in all its glory (see, e.g., the "doggy style ride" in the dog bowl shop at the O-Town mall). The censorship should also not deter anyone from getting this set.
Upon further investigation and review (someone can correct me if I'm wrong), the Heffer milking scene and its brief follow-up in that episode are the only things keeping this season from being an uncut release. Thus, the episodes are almost entirely UNCUT to the best of my knowledge with that material being the exception. Also, since I know it was asked on some forums, unless I'm mistaken, the episode "Leap Frogs" is uncut without any alterations to the sexual innuendo that caused it to be banned from Nicktoons airings.
None. Apparently Shout tried to get some stuff together but wasn't able to do so. There is still interest on their end in getting extras for future volumes. This volume, however, is sadly devoid of any bonus features of any kind. The only redeeming point here is that they didn't take any shortcuts in the packaging design, so while it doesn't make up for it entirely, Shout's inclusion of the episode summaries is a nice little gift to the fans that it didn't have to do.
If you're a fan of Rocko's Modern Life, pick this up. It's $15 or less, and is well worth the price. Help ensure that these sets keep coming by picking up this volume. Complete Season Sets (as opposed to "Best of" volumes) are always great for these shows, and it's wonderful that Shout is finally able to provide long-time fans with a great release of the show.