Back Comments (4) Share:
Facebook Button
From the creative team responsible for classic ‘80s animated series such as Transformers and G.I. Joe comes Inhumanoids, a relatively unknown show where the threat comes not from terrorists or from beyond the stars, but from the centre of the Earth itself. Long ago, the tyrannical Inhumanoids—Metlar and his underlings D'Compose and Tendril—were defeated and imprisoned by an alliance of elemental creatures called the Mutores: the rocky Granites (led by Granok), the mighty Redwoods (led by Redlen) and the magnetic entity known as Magnakor, who is comprised of polar-opposite beings called Pyre and Crygen.

Inhumanoids: The Complete Series
After centuries of captivity, the Inhumanoids are ‘unwittingly’ released by a team of excavators working for greedy industrialist Blackthorne Shore, allowing them to resume their destructive quest for power. In order to combat the threat of the Inhumanoids, an elite team of scientists known as Earth Corps is formed. Comprised of geologist Herman ‘Herc’ Armstrong, vehicle designer Eddie ‘Auger’ Augutter, chemist/spelunker Jonathon ‘The Liquidator’ Slattery and Dr. Derek Bright, Earth Corps joins forces with the Mutores and uses scientific knowledge, powered battle suits and high-tech vehicles to travel to the Earth’s core in order to prevent the Inhumanoids from destroying the planet.

So there you have it; pretty standard cartoon fodder. There’s a strong narrative flow running through the whole series (particularly the feature-length movie), with the bad guys plotting to take over the world, only to have their plans foiled by the good guys at the last minute. However, I found that the premise of scientists battling age-old creatures from the centre of the Earth slightly more exciting than your average 80s cartoon, and the Inhumanoids themselves make for pretty interesting villains. Metlar, the leader, is indestructible, hurls molten lava from his mouth and can even animate inorganic structures with said lava. D’Compose can, well, decompose anything he touches, turning people into nightmarish creatures that serve his will. Tendril, on the other hand, is basically just your mindless flunky, but his ability to regenerate and multiply makes him a formidable opponent.

Inhumanoids: The Complete Series
The Mutores are also an interesting bunch, especially Magnakor, who has the power to imprison Metlar but spends most of the time bickering with ‘himself’ due to being a gestalt creature. The human characters are also pretty well-rounded, although all the usual stereotypes are in attendance. There’s Armstrong, the natural leader, tough-guy Auger, the nerdy science geek Bright, and the sensitive, spiritualistic Liquidator. Throw in a strong female character in the form of Blackthorne’s sister, Sandra, and you have a full set.

I actually had the feature-length Inhumanoids movie titled ‘The Evil That Lies Within’ on VHS back when I was a wee lad, and it is this movie that is presented on disc one of this two-disc set (albeit as five separate chapters). The constituent parts of the movie actually hold together pretty well, mostly because of the aforementioned narrative running throughout. Disc two includes a further eight episodes featuring the continuing adventures of Earth Corp, which introduce several new characters before the demise of the show after just thirteen episodes. While not as coherent as the feature-length movie, the episodes on disc two don’t fall into the ‘reset button’ trap normally associated with kid’s cartoons, but there is a definite drop in quality from the feature film. Still, it was great to see what happened after the rather open-ended conclusion of the movie, and I’m glad that Metrodome put the effort in to give us the complete Inhumanoids experience (especially as the US region one releases reportedly omit certain episodes).
 
Video
Inhumanoids is presented in its original 4:3 broadcast ratio and has a transfer that is best described as ‘passable’. The image is reasonably colourful throughout, but the presentation is marred by numerous nicks and scratches, as well as a number of artefacts brought about by what I can only assume to be NTSC to PAL conversion (please correct me if I’m wrong, Metrodome). Things are also terribly soft, almost VHS-like in appearance, which is clearly not the most positive aspect of the release. No, this one is unlikely to win any awards for visual splendour, but that’s hardly surprising given the age and relative anonymity of the source material.

Inhumanoids: The Complete Series
Audio
As with the video, this is a decidedly no-frills affair. What we get is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track that does a reasonable job of conveying the on-screen action, but nothing more. Admittedly it’s a little unrealistic to expect anything else from such a low-key release of a relatively unknown animated children’s show, but even so it’s hard to award the disc anything other then very average marks. On the positive side the voice acting is pretty good, with old favourites such as Chris Latta (Starscream from Transformers) providing the vocals. I did find the quality of the audio somewhat variable, but again this is to be expected from such a release. I also noticed one instance of audio drop-out during the episode ‘The Surma Plan’, but other than that things were ok. I also believe that the opening theme song has been slightly altered from the one on my old VHS, but it’s so long since I watched the VHS I can’t be one hundred percent certain.

Extras
Ah well, another fairly easy category for me to address, as there is very little in the way of supplemental material on either disc. In fact, both discs feature identical content, which seems a little odd (not to mention a bit stingy). What we do get is a ‘US ‘Redlen’ TV spot, which is basically an advert for the toys, a US packaging gallery and a series of DVD-Rom scripts—hardly anything to set the world alight. Of the material on offer, I found the packaging gallery the most interesting, probably because I never had the toys when I was younger. It’s a sad day when the most interesting bonus feature on a disc is a still gallery…

Inhumanoids: The Complete Series
Overall
If you’ve never seen Inhumanoids before this may be a tough sell, but it is one of the more imaginative 80s cartoons. As such I feel justified in recommending it to both fans of the series and 80s animation in general, but it’s probably not going to appeal to everyone. I still enjoyed it after almost twenty years, but those less in love with nostalgia might do well to rent the title before parting with their cash, even if it is reasonably priced when compared to the DVD releases of other animated series. Technically the DVD leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s really not fair to expect Metrodome to invest a great deal of time and money in trying to restore a ‘cult’ title such as this. Just be grateful that they bothered to release it at all! Now please, won’t someone release Centurions on DVD?


Links: