I'm a huge cartoon nerd who in particular loves the Saturday morning and syndicated stuff from the 80s and it's unfortunate that I think I'm both the exact target audience for a release like this as well as one of of the fans completely let down by this style of release.
Real quick, the WB presents SMC 1980s 2-disc set is a compilation of single episodes from eleven different 80s cartoons including:
Thundarr the Barbarian
The Flintstone Kids
Galtar and the Golden Lance
The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley
Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos
Tex Avery's the Kwicky Koloa Show
Goldie Gold & Action Jack
There's also a short 18 minute special feature called Lords of Light that reminisces on the production of Thundarr the Barbarian with a handful of talking head intervews (including some great insights from writers, as well as the creator/producers of the series Joe Ruby and Ken Spears.)
First off, for the casual fan there's a lot to like about a compilation set like this. If you're only curious about getting a taste of the various shows that aired during Saturday Morning throughout the 80s, then a set like this is great. There's a nice range of mystery solving, action, and comedy with enough recognizable highlights (the Flintstone Kids, Mr. T, and Thundarr) to offset the more obscure series (Goldie Gold & Action Jack, Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, and the Monchichis.) Unfortunately, even for the casual fan the set has little to no re-play value, and so it would fall into the realm of the impulse buy or one-time Netflix rental.
For the more hardcore fans the set is a disaster. On the one hand we're getting 11 shows that have never seen release on DVD before, a handful of which fans have been clamoring for, for years. Also, fans are getting an opportunity to catch episodes of series they may never have gotten a chance to see back in the day (like Galtar or the Biskitts) and it's quite possible that one episode is all they need. But on the other hand, for fans of shows like the Mr. T cartoon and Thundarr the Barbarian, this set is just a slap in the face from Warner Brothers. I'd hazard a guess to say that most hardcore fans, the people that are essentially the audience for the cartoons released on this set, don't want to settle for single episodes of their favorite shows.
The idea behind these compilations as I understand it, is for Warner Brothers to find a happy medium between spending a lot of money producing complete series and season sets of cartoons that don't sell well and the more cost effective single-disc releases for series that fans tend to hate. To be fair Warner is looking at producing sets that meet in the middle, giving fans the variety they desire with something more substantial than a 4-episode single-disc release for only one show. It seems logical, but all this set really is, is a glorified single disc release.
What Warner is really doing is cutting their target audience in half with these compilations. The people who would gladly buy full season or complete series sets for shows like Thundarr and Mr. T will most likely ignore these sets, leaving only the fans that want everything from the 80s and the fickle casual fans that are probably not all that interested in paying $20 for a set like this.
That's not to mention the people who don't realize that sets like this are limited to what WB has available in their vaults. So my guess is that a lot of casual fans think the included shows are a little too obscure and would rather have a set that features more episode from series that they remember more fondly, like Dungeons and Dragons in place of Dragonslayer, the Snorks in place of the Monchichis, or the Shirt Tales in place of the Biskitts.
At the end of the day I'm glad to have some of these episodes on DVD and I appreciate the bind Warner Brothers is in considering that past releases of complete series sets haven't sold well enough to continue on this trend. But I also feel kind of gipped on a $20 release that I'll most likely watch once while I sit pining for more episodes of Thundarr the Barbarian. Honestly, these sets would be more much attractive at a $12 MSRP...