TV DVD Roundup

by Kevin Krock, staff writer
Darkwing Duck, Volume 1
(1991) | Approx. 613 min. | Not Rated | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio 2 stars Video 2 stars
Goodies Zero Interface 1 stars
Value 2 stars
Talespin, Volume 1
(1990) | Approx. 617 min. | Not Rated | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio 2 stars Video 2 stars
Goodies Zero Interface 1 stars
Value 2 stars

The Collections

Back in the early to mid-1990s, Disney was pumping out a boatload of television animation for their after-school time slot called "The Disney Afternoon." During this two-hour time block, several series appeared over the seven-year run, but among the most popular were Darkwing Duck and Talespin.

Darkwing Duck follows mild-mannered citizen Drake Mallard as he dons a mask, cape, and hat and becomes the crime-fighting Darkwing, and along with bumbling side-kick Launchpad McQuack and Darkwing's adopted orphan niece, Gosalyn, the trio defend the streets of St. Canard from a host of villains, including Taurus Bulba, Megavolt, and numerous others.

In Talespin, we find our favorite Jungle Book bear, Baloo, has become a cargo plane pilot, and he and his navigator Kit Cloudkicker fly through adventures trying to outwit a band of air pirates led by Don Karnage. Along the way, we also run into other familiar Jungle Book faces, like King Louie, as the owner of a nightclub, and Shere Kahn, a corporate executive. Now, the first 20 plus episodes of the 60 or so episodes from the first seasons of these entertaining shows are debuting on two 3-disc DVD editions. Here are the episodes that made the first volumes:

Darkwing Duck: Disc 1

  • Darkly Dawns the Duck (Part 1): Pilot
  • Darkly Dawns the Duck (Part 2): Pilot
  • Beauty and the Beet
  • Getting Antsy
  • Night of the Living Spud
  • Apes of Wrath
  • Dirty Money
  • Duck Blind
  • Comic Book Capers

Darkwing Duck: Disc 2

  • Water Way to Go
  • Paraducks
  • Easy Come, Easy Grows
  • A Revolution in Home Appliances
  • Trading Faces
  • Hush, Hush Sweet Charlatan
  • Can't Bayou Love
  • Bearskin Thug
  • You Sweat Your Life

Darkwing Duck: Disc 3

  • Days of Blunder
  • Just Us Justice Ducks (Part 1)
  • Just Us Justice Ducks (Part 2)
  • Double Darkwings
  • Aduckyphobia
  • When Aliens Collide
  • Jurassic Jumble
  • Cleanliness is Next to Badliness
  • Smarter Than a Speeding Bullet

Talespin: Disc 1

  • Plunder and Lightning (1): Pilot
  • Plunder and Lightning (2): Pilot
  • Plunder and Lightning (3): Pilot
  • Plunder and Lightning (4): Pilot
  • From Here to Machinery
  • It Came From Beneath the Sea Duck
  • Time Waits for No Bear
  • Mommy for a Day
  • I Only Have Ice for You

Talespin: Disc 2

  • Molly Cuddled
  • Polly Wants a Treasure
  • Vowel Play
  • The Idol Rich
  • Stormy Weather
  • Bearly Alive
  • Her Chance to Dream
  • All's Whale That Ends Whale
  • The Golden Sprocket of Frienship

Talespin: Disc 3

  • For a Fuel Dollars More
  • A Bad Reflection on You (1)
  • A Bad Reflection on You (2)
  • On a Wing and a Bear
  • A Star Is Torn
  • A Touch of Glass
  • The Bigger They Are The Louder They Oink
  • A Spy in the Ointment
  • The Balooest of the Blue Bloods

The episodes, like any television show, range from so-so to pretty entertaining, and I know that my two older boys (now 8 and 5) enjoyed several episodes from each of these sets. There are a handful of grown-up jokes scattered around the shows to keep things tolerable for parents, yet the slapstick behavior and silliness keep the children glued to the tube. Also keep in mind that this was a major serial cartoon series, with over 60 episodes per season, so the animation is very simple, choppy, and just enough for its intended purpose. Fortunately, the stories are usually fun enough to make the animation quality a secondary thought.

Both collections are presented in very basic full-screen video and stereo audio transfers, but this is not surprising given the television source material and young target audience. Additionally, there are no special bonus features on either of these collections, a rather disappointing trend for Disney's television animation DVD collections. The user interface is disappointing and just above a simple text menu of episodes. Overall, though, these collections provide a solid collection of fun television shows that both children and parents should be able to enjoy together, and if you enjoyed them when they were on TV, you will enjoy them even more commercial free on DVD.

The Tick vs. Season One
(1994) | Approx. 252 min. | Not Rated | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio 2 stars Video 2 stars
Goodies Zero Interface 2 stars
Value 2 stars

The Collection

The Tick is one of those odd superhero television cartoons from the late 1990s that just seemed to have a weird premise and even weirder characters. From the surface, this 20th Century Fox Television series is just another peculiar superhero cartoon, but once you start watching it, you begin to appreciate the humorous satire of the superhero genre. Throughout the episodes, there are a bunch of quirky jokes and pop cultural references, which make the shows particularly funny for adults that can hang through the weirdness. It probably is not the best series for young children, but for teens that enjoy comics and superheroes, it will make a lot more sense and be more entertaining.

The series stars The Tick, a somewhat bumbling superhero, and his ex-accountant sidekick Arthur. Along with a bunch of other neurotic super-allies like American Maid, Sewer Urchin, and Die Fledermaus, The Tick and Arthur work together to defeat an equally bizarre range of villains, including Chairface Chppendale, El Seed, Dinosaur Neil, and Pineapple Pokopo. As I mentioned, each episode is pretty strange, but if you have any experience or interest in the genre, you will probably get a few laughs out of it. Also, do not go into these with expectations of highly refined animation, as this is a pretty bare-bones production, like most serial television animation.

This two-disc DVD edition contains 12 of the 13 episodes from the first season. I'm not entirely sure why Episode 11, The Tick vs. the Mole-Men, did not make the cut, but if you are looking for it, you unfortunately will not find it here. The episodes on the discs include:

  • The Tick vs. the Idea Men
  • The Tick vs. Chairface Chippendale
  • The Tick vs. Dinosaur Neil
  • The Tick vs. Mr. Mental
  • The Tick vs. the Breadmaster
  • The Tick vs. El Seed
  • The Tick vs. The Tick
  • The Tick vs. the Uncommon Cold
  • The Tick vs. Brainchild
  • The Tick vs. Pineapple Pokopo
  • The Tick vs. The Proto Clown
  • The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account

All of them are presented in an uninspiring full-screen transfer, and the audio is an acceptable but simple stereo transfer. Just keep in mind that you will not be getting anything better than what was intended for presentation on broadcast television. Also, there are no special bonus features, like most of Disney's television animation DVD collections. Even the user interface is quite simple, yet it does feature some animation and audio. Overall, this two-disc set will primarily find its home with fans of the show, but there may be a new audience in today's teens that can appreciate the unusual satirical bent of this show. For the younger, elementary school set, you will be better served to pick up the Talespin or Darkwing Duck sets.