on 14 January 2002
This box set is worth your money. It just is. Admittedly, season one is crudely drawn, the animation is glitchy, the colors are off, and the cast hasn't quite fine-tuned the voices (most notably Dan Castellenata's "Walter Mattheu" Homer). But these problems are easy to overlook. These episodes are still classics. My personal favorites are "The Telltale Head" and "Krusty Gets Busted." And watching the original opening sequence was nostalgic.
As for bonus features, my favorite feature is the commentary, because it reveals a lot of interesting details. Did you know that the original plan for Herman (the one-armed military shop-owner) was for him to have a different story about how he lost his arm each time he appeared? Additionally, I may be in the minority here, but I got a hoot out of simply listening and watching the writers laughing at their own show. On disc 3 there are outtakes from "Some Enchanted Evening." These outtakes are hilarious enough by themselves. Watch them with the commentary and you'll hear nothing but self-pity and expletives. Disc one has scripts from three episodes and disc three also has a short Simpsons documetary and an animatic (also with commentary) from "Bart the General." Of course, assuming subsequent box sets are three-disc sets, we probably won't get as many special features, since subsequent seasons were nearly twice as long as season one. More episodes = less room for special features.
If this box set is any indication, I think we're going to have more 5-star Simpsons box sets to come over the next few years.
on 19 August 2009
17th December, 1989, The Simpsons family hit TV screens, and have become one of the most famous families in the world. Season 1 is one of my personal favourites, as I believe the old seasons are much better then the new seasons. There are 13 classic episodes, packed with extras including the short on the Tracy Ullman show, that got them on TV. The episodes include:
1. Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire: No money for presents means Homer results to greyhound racing, ending with a loving present for the family to share.
(Notes) Patty, Selma, Ned & Todd Flanders, Santa's Little Helper introduced.
2. Bart The Genius: Bart swaps tests with Martin, and ends up in a school for genius, thus gaining love and respect from Homer, will Bart reveal the lie?
3. Homer's Odyssey: Homer gets fired from his job and sets out to make Springfield a healthy and safe environment.
(Notes) Montgomery Burns and Smithers introduced.
4. There's No Disgrace Like Home: After judging his family at a work BBQ, Homer decdes the family needs therapy.
(Notes) First scenes of Itchy and Scratchy.
5. Bart The General: Bart gets help from Granpa to even the score with his bully, Nelson.
(Notes) Grampa Simpson is introduced.
6. Moaning Lisa: Lisa is sad and is befriended by "Bleeding Gums" Murphy who they both share a similar musical hobby.
7. Call Of The Simpsons: Homer buys an RV to show off to Flanders, but their holiday ends in a mess and The Simpsons must meet with nature itself.
(Notes) Guest voice - Albert Brooks.
8. The Telltale Head: Bart Simpson, confesses about how he took the head of Springfield's loved founder to gain friends.
(Notes)Krusty and Sideshow Bob cameo, Rev. Lovejoy introduced.
9. Life On The Fast Lane: Homer's selfish ways gets Marge a birthday present, that was meant for him, a bowling ball. S Marge taks up bowing and meets a French trainer, who wants more then to teach Marge how to strike.
(Notes) Helen Lovejoy introduced, Guest voice - Albert Brooks.
10. Homer's Night Out: A stag due, ends with Homer bellydancing with another woman, caught on camera by Bart who gives it out to everyone, ending in Marge's hands.
(Notes) Guest voice - Sam McMurray.
11. The Crepes Of Wrath: The school has a foreign exchange, and Bart goes to France and istreated like a slave, whilst an Albania boy contains a secret when giving and recieving love from Homer.
12. Krusty Gets Busted: Krusty The Clown is arrested, but one erson wants to prove is innocence, Bart.
(Notes) Guest voice - Kelsey Grammer.
13. Some Enchanted Evening: Homer and Marge make up their marriage with a night out, and leave a babysitter with the children, but they do not know, that she is the Babysitter Bandit.
(Notes) Guest voice - Penny Marshall.
Overall this season is a very good one, and set The Simpsons up with more fame and glory.
on 21 October 2001
I could hardly contain my excitement when I heard that 'The Simpsons' Season One would soon be released and when it was finally released I was already watching the first 13 episodes with a keen sense of nostalgia. From the humble beginings of 'Simpsons roasting on an open fire,' first aired in 1989, to other classics such as 'Homer's Night Out' in which Homer is photographed by Bart's spy camera dancing with the exotic Princess Kashmir, there are also other classic episodes such as 'Some Enchanted Evening' in which Marge and Homer entrusts their kids with a killer babysitter, and also 'Moaning Lisa' which involves a down-hearted Lisa meeting up with Jazz saxophone player Bleedinggums Murphy in a beautifully sympathetic episode. There are too many divine moments to fully recollect in one single review, but a devoted fan will no doubt enjoying reliving classic gags and first time character intoductions as well as analysing the visible advancement of the already brilliant yet simple animation.
Some fans may be dissapointed with the extra features (as if 13 superb episodes wasn't already enough excitement for one viewer). There is commentary by creator Matt Groening on all 13 episodes, as well as scripts for 'Bart The Genius,' 'Bart the General,' 'Moaning Lisa,' and 'Some Enchanted Evening.' Other features include outtakes, a Tracy Ullman short, partially unaired episode, as well as early Matt Groening sketches. All this within an attractive silver 'collector's edition' packaging and with 'Futurama' series one hopefully on its way in late January 2002 it should keep us Groening fans smiling until our itchy paws start digging for Simpson's Season two that is.
on 10 October 2001
Much like the Godfather and Star Wars trilogies as soon as I realised the genius of the DVD format I wanted to now when we were gonna get our hands on some Simpsons- now here it is.
The good news is that we get an entire series spread over three discs with substantial extras. The bad news is that - even though it's still good- Series One of The Simpsons fares pretty badly against the subsequent series of The Simpsons. The animation is not brilliant, the voices have not been honed and some of the episodes are just plain weak- true all these factors do start to be ironed out, but because of the ordering of the episodes some of the later episodes are actually the weaker ones.
All this is excuseable of course- it is The Simpsons we're talking about, not some BBC One sitcom starring Dennis Waterman as a retired Fireman (it's probably in the pipeline). Some of the episodes are genius- Bart The General, Life on the Fast Lane, Crepes of Wrath to name three in particular. We start to see the beginnings of what made The Simpsons the best television programme ever- the quirky characters, the richness and comedy value of the 'backup' cast.
Of course you cant make an omelette without breaking eggs so we have to see some 'alternative' colours for characters hair/skin and hear some mildly irritating voices coming out of the mouths of charcters whose voices will develop (this is particularly in Homer and his 'Walter Matthau' voice).
As stated earlier the extras are substantial. We get scripts, deleted scenes, a short from The Tracy Ullman Show and commentaries on all episodes. A couple of quibbles here- the commentaries: the box boasts Matt Groening commentary on every episode- if he's there on some of them he's really, really quiet. Also some of the comentaries are repetitive- it's claimed at least twice that "this is the first appearance of Apu isn't it?" when to be honest the first time he appears it goes unmentioned. But there is enough there to make the comentaries worthwhile. Again the sennse that as The Simpsons became more complex as a programme with time the commentaries on later series will have more to offer. Final quibble- the documentary is just a painfully short segment (six minutes)of one broadcast on BBC2 last year, a little more could surely have been offered.
So - buy it buy it now. It's not fantastic but it's good enough. Besides, from here on in every series is an essential purchase- and your shelf will look as though there's something missing without the first series wont it? So, don't think-just get it.
Sometimes it's nice to go all the way back to the start with a TV series and The Simpsons is no exception. In the very first episode (which is a Christmas special) we see how The Simpsons first got Santa's Little Helper. While in episode 2 we hear Bart say “Eat my shorts” for the very first time, setting up the catchphrase that would continue to run over the next few seasons.
Like all shows things change over time and when we first see Smithers in episode 3 he is actually portrayed as black, before he is changed to Yellow for next following episode.
Episodes 4 and 5 are also more setup episodes of introducing more of the characters that we have all come to love, we meet Dr. Marvin Monroe, The Itchy & Scratchy Show, plus Lou and Eddie, but as with Smithers, Lou is the wrong colour as he is shown as yellow instead of African-American in later episodes.
Episode 6 is a little sad as we start to learn about Lisa's depression and how the saxophone helps her with this, also in this episode we first meet Bleeding Gums Murphy who ends up being Lisa's saxophone playing idol.
In episode 8 they cram in a bunch of new characters for the first time that become part of the main cast including: Sideshow Bob, Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, Krusty the Clown, Jimbo Jones, Kearney Zzyzwicz, Dolph Starbeam, Ms. Albright, and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.
In episode 11 we welcome Agnes Skinner and episode 12 we say hello to Kent Brockman for the first time.
The season DVD set ends with episode 13, titled “Some Enchanted Evening” which should of been the first ever episode of The Simpsons, but was moved to the last due to the very bad animation work and the fact they had to re-animate 70% of the episode.
Overall its nice to go back to the beginning to see how they brought each of the characters into the show and what they was like before the show developed and grew to such a massive sensation.
DVD Season 1 Disc Episode contents...
Series 1 – Episode 1, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, 17th December 1989
Series 1 – Episode 2, Bart the Genius, 14th January 1990
Series 1 – Episode 3, Homer's Odyssey, 21st January 1990
Series 1 – Episode 4, There's No Disgrace Like Home, 28th January 1990
Series 1 – Episode 5, Bart the General, 4th February 1990
Series 1 – Episode 6, Moaning Lisa, 11th February 1990
Series 1 – Episode 7, The Call of the Simpsons, 18th February 1990
Series 1 – Episode 8, The Telltale Head, 25th February 1990
Series 1 – Episode 9, Life on the Fast Lane, 18th March 1990
Series 1 – Episode 10, Homer's Night Out, 25th March 1990
Series 1 – Episode 11, The Crepes of Wrath, 15th April 1990
Series 1 – Episode 12, Krusty Gets Busted, 29th April 19990
Series 1 – Episode 13, Some Enchanted Evening, 13th May 1990
A three disc dvd containing all thirteen episodes of the first season of the Simpsons.
The episodes are as follows:
Simpsons roasting on an open fire.
Bart the Genius.
There's no disgrace like home.
Bart the General.
The call of the Simpsons.
The telltale head.
Life in the fast lane.
Homer's night out.
The crepes of Wrath.
Krusty gets busted.
Some enchanted evening.
Some shows hit the ground running from the off. Some take a little while to get up to speed. The first season of the Simpsons is a show that's finding it's feet. The animation is somewhat crude. The characters do all look and sound a little different to how they are in more recent episodes. The supporting characters are all works in progress characterisation wise. The humour is decent. But the storylines are quite strong.
It's a reasonable batch of episodes.
The discs have the following language and subtitle options:
Subtitles; English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish. The box says English and French for the former and English and Spanish for the latter. But that is not correct.
These options are only accessed via the language selection feature on each individual episode, rather than any from the main menu.
Each episode has a commentary from show creator Matt Groening.
The inlay does have some interesting trivia for some of the episodes.
There is no play all facility, so episodes can only be watched individually.
Extras wise, you get the original scripts for two of the episodes on disc one.
And for one on disc three.
That disc also has:
Out-takes from the episode 'some enchanted evening'. Five minutes worth of these, all with slightly poor picture quality. None of them are that different to the finished versions.
Animatic from the episode 'Bart the General'. Which runs for just over a minute, show the stages of animation, and has a commentary all about it. Of best interest for those interested in the process of animation.
The making of the Simpsons 'America's first family.' Isn't a feature length documentary, just a four minute long clip from a BBC documentary about the show.
One of the shorts from the Tracy Ullman show, where the characters first appeared. There were a few of these, but we only get one here.
Foreign language clips: The same clip from one episode, either in Italian, Spanish, French, Japanse, or Portugese. Each version can only be watched individually, you can't watch them all in a row. It's the same clip each time anyhow, just in a different language.
Audio out takes from 'Life in the fast lane'. Four minutes worth, which are very funny indeed.
Plus galleries of Matt Groening's cartoon 'Life in Hell' and some early sketches from the show.
A reaonable package of extras for a pretty good season. But one that should be in your collection.
on 18 October 2010
There isn't anything I can say about The Simpsons that hasn't already been said. Not only is it the greatest animated series ever, but also the greatest comedy ever. The Simpsons' magic may have faded in recent years but the 90's episodes continue to shine as brightly as the day they were first written.
The Simpsons Season 1 DVD box set consists of all thirteen episodes from the very first season of the world's most famous yellow-skinned family. Extras in the set include commentaries from the people who worked on the series, scripts from some of the episodes which you can read page by page, and a short documentary about the origins of the Simpsons.
Whilst watching these episodes the first thing you'll notice is the animation quality. Compared to recent seasons at least, the animation in season 1 is complete toilet. The mouth movements are exaggerated, some of the backgrounds lack detail, and some of the characters' clothing and even skin colour changes from episode to episode. Even Matt Groening himself admitted that he didn't know what he was doing when he was animating these episodes.
When you factor in the poor animation with the lack of jokes in the episodes, season 1 seems like a big waste of time and money. But what saves this season and makes it watchable are the storylines. In every single episode the story has been carefully thought out, usually seeing one of the Simpson family members having a tough time socially or mentally, but resolving their problems before the end credits start playing. The writers clearly gave these episodes the TLC they deserved, something which is sadly lacking from today's Simpsons episodes.
The standout episodes from this season include "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire" where Homer finds himself short on Christmas money after not getting a bonus from work; "Bart The General" where Bart has to deal with the "Ha-ha!" bully, Nelson; "Moaning Lisa" sees Lisa trying to overcome depression and meeting a mysterious jazz musician; In "The Call Of The Simpsons" the family finds itself lost out in the middle of the forest; and in "Krusty Gets Busted" Bart's TV hero, Krusty the Clown, gets arrested and jailed for armed robbery, with Bart and Lisa trying to prove his innocence.
So if you don't mind the poor animation, if you don't mind Homer sounding like Walter Matthau, and if you don't mind Moe wearing a pink apron, then The Simpsons Season 1 DVD box set is a purchase that's just right for you. Oh by the way, buying this DVD does NOT require you to eat Bart's shorts.
on 13 October 2008
While watching the more recent episodes of The Simpsons, I found myself craving that "old" Simpsons look. I know, it's crazy, right?....Wrong. Crude animation and Walter Matthau impressions aside, this box set is essential when it comes to The Simpsons.
This season, obviously, is where it all started. Fresh from the Tracy Ullman show, The Simpsons dared to extend their episodes to a whopping 21 odd minutes, offering audiences the chance to stare at these incredibly yellow beings for even longer than before.
Many viewers will highlight this season (and probably the second, too) as the one that didn't really didn't hit all targets, with regard to laugh-out-loud comedy. This is very understandable, as the show started off on a satire trip, which in later seasons evolved into just plain genius comedy. You can really tell in this season that the writers were really just finding their ground.
I must say though, it's quite relaxing to watch these episodes of The Simpsons, as there seems to be less "in your face" content. You can really just sink into the world of this wonderful family, rather than feeling you are a fly on the wall, just dying for the next gag. It seems that the modern Simpsons episodes have A, B, C, D, and quite possibly E stories, whereas most of these old episodes are lucky to have a B story. One more ingredient that makes this season just so so different.
All in all, I'm going to quit my yammering for now. Just one last note. Buy this box set, it won't disappoint.
on 6 October 2002
Here's where it all began - the opening of what would progress to become the greatest thing to happen to TV; the mere reason for its whole existence. Not only do you have the full first season with Homer and his yellow-skinned clan all nicely wrapped up in a trio of DVDs, but you get some really great extras into the bargain, including the first Simpsons short, as it appeared on 'The Tracey Ullman Show' back in 1987, and optional audio commentaries with the show's crew for every episode. Man, does this neat package bring back memories for me, as I'm sure it will do for anyone who grew up with the Simpsons always playing in the background.
Okay, so the animation is a little off-model, inking is a little irregular and the voices are still in development, but ask yourself this - do you really care? The First Simpsons season is full class from top to bottom, with ace stories and slick dialogue around every corner. Particularly great is Bart's conflict with school bully Nelson Muntz, and his response to round up all the neighbourhood kids and fight back against the pre-teen thug with the help of Abe and Herman, two of the show's greatest characters, not to mention his adventures in France in 'The Crepes of Wrath' when he finds himself enslaved in a vineyard. 'Call of the Simpsons' and 'Life in the Fast Lane' also come highly recommended. Best points go to Maggie Simpson though, whose various little cameos throughout the series are always worth looking out for.
I know that it may be easy to dismiss the first season of the long-running 'Simpsons', one of the greatest cartoons of all time. But if you can look beyond the poor animation, the colours and the voice animation, some of these episodes are real classics.
A few of the very early episodes of the show do seem to struggle a bit, but as the season went on, there were some real gems from the early days such as 'The Telltale Head' and 'Krusty Gets Busted'. Most of your favourite characters are here and it's interesting to watch their debut episodes and see how the characters and their personalities have changed over the years.
This was the start of a classic TV series and it's great to have all 13 episodes on DVD with a wealth of bonus features such as commentaries by Simpsons creator Matt Groening and David Silverman on every episode. Sure, the following series were better and the show went from strength to strength, but it all started here.