May we recommend new DVDs featuring The Simpsons, The Fraggles and Johnny Bravo to wipe away the memories of uncomfortable holiday get-togethers?
The Simpsons: The Complete 20th Season
The Simpson family (as well as their relatives and community cohorts) have held up as paragons of TV animation for over 20 years, joining a very small club of series whose young fans can’t remember world without them. Plenty of folk will be cashing in their holiday gift cards to pick up this complete collection of the show’s 20th season to enjoy standout episodes like “Lisa the Drama Queen” (guest starring Emily Blunt as hyper-imaginative Juliet), Hannah Montana send-up “Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D’oh” (with Ellen Page) and “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe,” which earned Hank Azaria an Emmy nom for his role as love-struck Moe Szyszlak.
The four-disc set comes handsomely packaged and includes special featurette The 20th Anniversary Special Sneak Peek by Morgan Spurlock. Running over 480 minutes, the season release is also available on Blu-ray for $59.98.
[Release date: Jan. 12]
Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series
The Complete Series
It’s time to dance your cares away, kids! How’s this for a blast from the past: The complete single season run of the animated spinoff to Jim Henson’s puppet-tastic Fraggle Rock is making its DVD debut. The animated version mimicked the setup of the original, and included plenty of original songs to entertain kidlets during its 1987 run on NBC, not to mention the keen voice talent of toon regulars Mona Marshall, Rob Paulsen, Bob Bergen and others. The show’s 13 episodes are housed on two discs which also boast a character gallery and never before seen storyboard sequence.
[Release date: Jan. 19]
Johnny Bravo: Season One
[Cartoon Network, $24.98]
One of Cartoon Network’s old-school classics finally hits shelves next month. Created by LMU alum Van Partible, Johnny Bravo is part Elvis, part James Dean, and all buffoon. The series launched in ’97 and for all four seasons Johnny (voiced by Jeff Bennett) had one objective: chasing skirts. However, his plans are often foiled by his overprotective Mama, geeky friend Carl or Li’l Suzy, a precocious girl scout with a puppydog crush on our hero. This release carries the first 13 episodes, and we’re ecstatic we no longer have to pay the ridiculous import price for the foreign DVDs!
[Release date: March 9]
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Charles Schultz’s beloved Peanuts characters have the rare power to transcend generations and touch the hearts and humors of people of all ages with their wise-beyond-their years commentary wrapped up in a veil of innocence and naivety. This new Charlie Brown release illustrates that cross-media, pan-generational appeal so aptly: In 2010, a DVD release of the 1985 TV special directed by Bill Melendez, based on the 1967 off-Broadway musical by Clark Gesner, based on Schultz’s comic strips, has reached home auds of the 21st century. The 49-minute special celebrates the endearing songs crafted by Gesner like baseball ode “T-E-A-M” and the sweet as puppy love “Happiness.” Whether you’ve got a nostalgic hankering or want to introduce the next generation to this pop culture classic, You’re a Good Man is a must-have for your toon library.
[Release date: Jan. 26]
Naruto Shippuden: Box Set 1
Anime fans get a delightful treat with this three disc box set of uncut original episodes from the exciting sequel series to the original Naruto. Set two and a half years after the first series, the show picks up on Naruto’s continuing adventures on his quest to become a great ninja warrior. The series, based on Part II of the manga by Masashi Kishimoto, was animated by Studio Pierrot for TV Tokyo under the direction of Hayato Date. The set is also available as a Special Edition for $68.98.
[Release date: Jan. 26]