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STUDIO: Classic Media
RUNNING TIME: 120 Minutes
• Interview with Underdog’s Co-Creator
• The Underdog Show’s Family of Characters
Get a little taste of Underdog just in time for the CG-laden movie adaptation to sap your spirit to live.
Underdog, Polly Purebred, Simon Sinister, giant fucking ape, Simon Bar Sinister, and a whole assortment of strange supporting cast members to pad each episode’s running time.
"There’s no need to fear, Underdog’s ’bout to pound that rear."
Because everything that’s old has to become new again at some point, Underdog recently made its way to the big screen (to its credit, with Dinklage* and Warburton presumably doing their best salvage mission) and this DVD is a cash-in on the name recognition and nostalgia of those anxious to relive their childhoods (or force their children to relive it for them). On this set, you get Sinister stealing all of the water of the world and holding Earth ransom for its usage, as well as a King Kong pastiche and a caper involving a frame-up and stolen gold.
Another sad example of the police and their genus profiling.
Despite it being several decades ‘before my time’, I watched and enjoyed Underdog in my childhood. I probably couldn’t have explained why it appealed to me as a child, although I suspect the animation style had something to do with it. I was glad to check out the series to see if it has aged well and I’m glad to say that it isn’t a complete atrocity like so many childhood keepsakes tend to be.
Brother’s good enough to shine your shoes so long as you don’t see him around your white women, of course.
As I mentioned above, the animation style is one of the strong points for the series. The characters have distinctive looks and the animation is the sort of strong bold and bright style that feels contemporary decades later. Another aspect working in the show’s favor is its sense of humor; it deflates the hero myth by having Underdog constantly fucking up and poking fun at popular culture (‘It’s a frog!’ and the wholly ripped off King Kong plotline in one of the story arcs in this set are good examples of this), making it a lighthearted take on the superhero genre, unlike the sometimes leaden hero serials of the past. This isn’t A plus material by any means, but it’s enjoyable and not grating, which is something most children’s programs can’t hold up as a point of pride in our current era. The interstitials, however, aren’t on par with the regular series. The only carton to make any impression on me was the one in which the older gentleman embellishes his past experiences to comedic effect. The rest were filler that padded out the show’s running time and put some ‘suspense’ time between the Underdog story chapters.
It’s the type of thing you can show your young children without fear, as the humor hasn’t dated itself at all (it feels reasonably fresh), the animation is solid, and the storylines are stretched out serial-style which is a big draw for kids in keeping their attention locked on the screen and making them want more. It’s not something I would watch again just out of warm nostalgic fuzzies, but it’s inoffensive (unless you’re Asian or Native American – fucking Charlie Chan impersonation and those Indian chipmunks or whatever they are, ugh) and a worthwhile diversion and something you can show to your kids in place of the malnutrition one can get from the majority of children’s television today.
No need to fear my ass, giant inflatable flying dog.
The cover art is acceptable because a) its shiny which is good for someone as easily distracted as myself and b) the imagery is spread out nicely and not just dumped on the cover in an aesthetically displeasing way. The transfers do a good job of cleaning up a lot of the grain and wear on the transfers, but the colors seem a little saturated and aren’t popping the way you’d expect them to for a show of this nature. The episodes themselves are twelve shorts spread out over 6 episodes covering three story arcs. The disc has a nicely convenient feature of skipping the interstitials or the Underdog shorts, allowing access to pretty much any portion of the episodes from the menu as opposed to that laborious usage of your thumb on remote. As for extras, you get a conversation with one of the co-creators that feels entirely as though he’s reading off cue cards, but is sweet and informational all the same. Also on board is the ‘family of characters’ feature, which showcases the opening animations/themes for the interstitials that separated episodes of Underdog, and it’s a pretty underwhelming feature. Not a whole lot on display here for a disc that isn’t particularly loaded with Underdog either, but the low cover price absolves it of having too little for too much. Recommended if you want to show your kids something that isn’t chapped asshole on the Disney channel.
6.0 out of 10
*If you’re spell check, “dink age”.