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Fox debuted this mid-season replacement series back in December 1989 and who would have known that the series would be a benchmark at Fox television for over 10 years. Fans of the series have constantly asked, sometimes even begged for a DVD of the series and Fox has stepped up to the plate with the complete first season.

Simpsons: The Complete First Season, The
All 13 episodes of our favorite brat, Bart and his moronic father Homer are included here. Those episodes are “Simpson’s Roasting on an Open Fire,” “There’s No Disgrace Like Home,” “Moaning Lisa,” “Bart the General,” “Homer’s Odyssey,” “Bart the Genius,” “The Telltale Head,” “Call of the Simpson’s,” “Homer’s Night Out,” “Life In The Fast Lane,” “Krusty Gets Busted Disc,” “The Crepes of Wrath,” and “Some Enchanted Evening.”

It was great to relive these classic episodes and I found myself laughing out loud more times than I can count. This is an extremely strong box set that will live gloriously in the hearts and shelves of DVD collectors.

Video
“The Simpsons: Season One is presented in 4:3 full screen television aspect and the transfer looks stellar compared to the television broadcasts. The colors are vibrant and the blacks look solid as well. Because this is the first season, I had expected to see a lot more grain and specks which I did not. There of course were times that I noticed some pixelation, and the animation looked a little rough, however, this was the first season, and as Matt Groening says in the insert notes, “We didn’t know what the hell we were doing.”

I am not going to count these minor flaws against this collector’s set however. I was very impressed with the transfer and I think that as Fox releases other season sets in the future, they of course will look cleaner and even better.

Audio
A great addition to the Simpson’s is a new Dolby Digital 5.1 track for each episode! I really can’t complain about the sound, in fact, if nothing else, I give it five cheers! Its great to hear the Simpson’s in 5.1. The dialogue is strong and the music and effects sound great as well, even though it was not originally recorded in 5.1 for television.

Considering these episodes are over 10 years old and originally made for television, I think the audio track is satisfactory.

Simpsons: The Complete First Season, The
Extras
When Fox announced the release of season one of The Simpsons, the list of extra features looked like it was enough to even sink the Titanic! However, I must say, they are great, however, I was also a little disappointed.

First off, there is an audio commentary for each episode, which just blows my mind! Joining in the fun is creator Matt Groening, producer James L. Brooks, and each episode’s directors and sometimes the writers. To say that these tracks are extraordinary couldn’t describe the commentaries. They are funny at times, but also serious when discussing the techniques of animation, the inside jokes and pointing out mistakes found within each episode. I found it very interesting to hear their comments on how the series has evolved into what it is today and learning about some of the characters’ developments and how they have changed since their inception. I think that only diehard fans will listen intently to the commentaries, however, if you are new to the series or are not as familiar with the series or its characters, these are a great start. They are informative, interesting and entertaining!

Disc One also contains the scripts for “Bart the Genius”, “Bart the General”, and “Moaning Lisa”, while Disc Three features the script for “Some Enchanted Evening.”

The additional extra features are contained on Disc Three and according to the listing on the back of the box set, it looks impressive and could contain hours of material. Sadly, this is not the case. The extra features are short, but they are quite entertaining.

First off is the “The Making of the Simpson’s: America’s First Family” which runs about 6 minutes and features interviews with Mat Groening and James L. Brooks. The feature is interesting, however I felt that it ended too quickly. My guess is that future season boxsets will continue what is probably a good hour or even longer of material.

The next feature are some early concepts of characters, a two minute animatic from “Bart the General” compares the early stages of the animation to the completed animation with commentary by Groening and director David Silverman. Followed by outtakes from the “Some Enchanted Evening” episode.

“The Art of the Simpson’s” is a feature displaying “Matt Groening’s Life In Hell” as a still of the original comic strip that caught producer James L. Brooks’ attention. Also packed in this feature are early sketches and drawings of the Simpson’s and other characters.

Fox has also included a three minute short that gave birth to the Simpsons on the Tracey Ullman show titled “Good Night Simpsons.” The animation is extremely rough and considering that I had never seen this material before, I found it to be fascinating to compare what the Simpson’s look like now to how they were animated a decade ago.

Other features include a Foreign Language Clip that present the Simpson’s speaking French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese. It’s a little humorous at first glance, but the freshness wears off quickly. Also some additional outtakes from the “Life in The Fast Lane” episode which is somewhat puzzling as the actors performing the voices giggle and laugh throughout.

As a bonus note, be sure to check the Easter Eggs section on DVD Blokes as there are some Easter Eggs on this DVD.

Simpsons: The Complete First Season, The
Overall
Once again Fox has delivered the goods in The Simpson’s: Season One! Despite a few glitches in the transfer, and the rough animation, this is truly an impressive set. I would much rather purchase a complete season of a television series then a “Best Of” set. The extra features are great, but I wouldn’t think that they have a lot of replay value. Overall, they are still fairly interesting.

Fans of the Simpson’s will not be disappointed with this box set. As a message to Fox…please continue to roll out season by season sets of The Simpson's! This is great and they can only get better in the future!


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