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The Brak Show is the most recent in a line of shows spun-off from the Hanna Barbara Space Ghost series of the late 1960s. Rather than serve as evil super-villains or late night talk show co-hosts as they have in past spin-offs, we now journey back to their early years of main characters Brak and Zorak to find them living a Leave It To Beaver style life. This second volume presents thirteen more episodes of the now-cancelled series to DVD.

The Brak Show: Volume 2
Feature
The very core of The Brak Show is Brak himself (Andy Merrill), a kindhearted lisp-ing alien boy known to break into song seemingly at random. His best pal is Zorak (C. Martin Croker), an evil and manipulative mantis who brings much grief to Brak's life. Our title character lives at home with his parents, Mom (now voiced by Joanna Daniel rather than Marsha Crenshaw) who can't stand Brak's chauvinistic and lazy father, Dad (George Lowe), who manages to dish out some of the most nonsensical advice possible to his son at the end of most episodes. Their neighbor, a highly advanced war-robot, is Thundercleese (Carey Means or Frylock from Aqua Teen Hunger Force) who enjoys gardening, his pet gold-fish and destroying things.

A quick glance at these screenshots can speak volumes about how peculiar this show is. As with most other Adult Swim titles, The Brak Show is both random and quirky in its storylines and dialogue, which work well within each episode's eleven minute run time. Any longer and The Brak Show might overstay its welcome. A trademark of spin-offs from the original Hanna Barbara Space Ghost series is that they re-use the same old animation cells again and again. Visually, The Brak Show is a treat because new character designs have been commissioned for re-use throughout the show. Such cheap animation (animated in Adobe After Effects for those who care) might sound like a turn-off for any cartoon, but it's actually part of the show's charm.

If I had to choose a favorite episode of this set, it would be Runaway for the guest-appearances by Space Ghost and Moltar. The catch is that Space Ghost is visiting from the future and Brak, Zorak and Moltar have yet to meet him, become his arch-enemies and later co-host his late night talk show. If you're a regular fan of Adult Swim, you'll find this one to be a treat. Another episode worth mention is Feud for its awesome guest appearance by Weird Al Yankovic as Petroleum Joe (pictured below), an odd creature trapped in the lead-belly of a giant worm. Yankovic plays insane hilariously and when the episode was over I was left longing for more. Having been trapped inside the giant worm for ten years, Joe asks a recently swallowed Dad if they still have naked ladies in the outside world and if he brought any of them with him when he was eaten. It's as strange as it is funny.

The Brak Show: Volume 2
As with most Adult Swim titles, it's anyone's guess as to whether or not you'll find the stupidity of The Brak Show charming. For me, it's what makes the series captivatingly funny, and this batch of episodes are just as good as the last, if not better.

If I were critiquing just the show itself, this would be a glowing review. I love the series and can absolutely lose myself in it. The zany humor is right up my alley, but I'm not reviewing the show. I'm reviewing this DVD release and I have a few complaints to register with it. The Brak Show: Volume 2 should not be spread out over two discs. These thirteen episodes total one hundred and fifty-four minutes or just over two and a half hours. Warner Brothers could have comfortably put this on one disc, but that might make their $24.98 price tag seem a bit steep. By purchasing two discs instead of one, you might mistakenly think that you're getting more for your money and that this is a worthwhile investment. It's not, although I do appreciate Warner Brothers nicking $5 off the $29.98 price tags these shows usually carry.

Moving along with my gripes, all Adult Swim titles have something in common; butt-ugly artwork plastered over those annoying Digipack cases. This release still sports the butt-ugly artwork but goes for an amaray case. I prefer amaray casing to all other types of packaging, but why in the name of all things sensible did Warner have to switch having already released volume one in digipack? The two volumes now have nothing in common visually from artwork to casing and I think it's a poor move design-wise. The cover of The Brak Show: Volume 2 is supposed to look like it was cross-stitched, which isn't half as cool as it sounds and it doesn't sound very cool at all. The menus are designed exactly the same way which again, sucks.

The Brak Show: Volume 2
Video
Presented in its original 1:33:1 full frame glory, The Brak Show looks decent enough. At times the picture becomes very colorful and they all come across clean and crisp. Video quality looks just as good as it did when these were originally broadcast and I suppose that's all we can really ask for. How much can we really expect from a crudely assembled collage of animation new and old with still images for the sets? Not much more than what we're given, I'm guessing.

Audio
The only audio option available is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. The Brak Show has more dialogue and less action than most other programs you'll find on the Cartoon Network, so the stereo track is enough to carry the show's sound across. The voice performances, musical numbers and occasional explosions all sound great. This track satisfies, though I have to wonder what Brak's lisp would sound like in glorious 5.1 surround sound.

Extras
Now that we've established that Warner Brothers is charging way too much for this two-disc set that should only be one disc, what are we given in the supplemental features department? Nothing. Warner has packed these two discs with a little over an hour of content on each and no supplements to speak of. This is especially sad when you look at how much effort went into the bonus materials for the first volume. That set was loaded with commentaries, Cartoon Planet sketches, Adult Swim segments and other goodies. Warner Brothers, what gives?

The Brak Show: Volume 2
Overall
Overall, this set isn't worth the money Warner is asking for it. The Brak Show is another great win for Adult Swim, but this second volume pales in comparison to the first in that we're given one less episode and no supplements. I have to wonder what logic went into not including the few remaining episodes of the now cancelled series to DVD. Although the final episode is possibly it's greatest, the remaining shows don't warrant their own release, which may sadly mean we'll never see them on DVD. In this reviewer's eyes, Warner Brothers seriously botched this release.


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