STUDIO: New Video Group
MSRP: $59.95
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 550 minutes

* Episode Commentaries

* Deleted Scenes

* Featurettes

* Interviews

* Bonus Videos

* XBox Miniseries

* Outtakes

* Promos

* PSAs

The Pitch

Here’s the first five seasons of Red vs. Blue. It’s one of those series that gamer nerds show their friends, so that their compatriots will come to understand their sad little hobby.

The Humans

Burnie Burns, Jason Saldana, Gustavo Sorola, Geoff Fink, Joel Heyman

The Nutshell

Samuel Beckett once said I have my faults, but changing them is not my tune. When I watch this video game based series about a group of soldiers fighting an endless battle of Capture the Flag in Gulch, I’m left wondering who can care about a show based on the interactions of mindless background characters. Bungie only saw fit to bestow Master Chief with any sort of personality and the other Marines got screwed over. This apparently gave a group of amateur comedians the fuel to wedge their humor into the void. Most of the jokes are based on a very insular gaming culture that doesn’t have many moments of true comedy.

I’m getting tired of funny captions, but I don’t want to tread into droll political commentary.

The Lowdown

Red vs. Blue began life as a short series designed to carry the magic of Xbox LIVE into your daily life. Simmons and Grif introduce us to the conflict at the heart of this series when Simmons asks the Sarge why they are in the Blood Gulch. The blue team built a base first and the red team had to be there to keep an eye on them. No one has an answer for why this happened. They just exist to keep the other side from overtaking this empty canyon. No one has an idea why they should fight, so they only exchange shots every couple of days. They are a group of lonely soldiers left in the middle of nowhere to occupy land.

When I first watched this series, it took me some time before I saw what had happened. The mindless Space Marine action produced by Bungie had been turned into an absurdist comedy. Fuck the pedestrian dialogue that gets shoved into every scene to push the freshman humor. The problem with that is when you see the series for the absurd mess that it is, the shelf life dims ever so much. How many people out there can say that they are true fans of this series? I really want to know, since I’ve had to watch eight seasons of this stuff over the last couple of months. Apparently, New Video has aggressively been promoting this series on DVD.

That leads me to believe that there is a fan fervor to get every episode of this series before and after the revamp. That’s not to say that the revamp did much to shake up the rather stodgy story. It’s just that there’s not a whole lot of material outside weirdo soldiers hang out and crack jokes. Am I getting old? I swear that I feel like I fucking age a decade every time I try to delve into a piece of internet fandom that feels like it’s taking a major release and stretching the shit until it loses all luster. What does that say about Halo fans? Will they really watch anything featuring their beloved Spartans, as long as there is a mild amount of humor? Why can’t they just leave shit to die on the Pillar of Autumn?

Getting back to the point, I’m left to wonder where was the appeal in the early days of this series. After Season 5, the later seasons have aggressively gone after continuity and trying to build a universe. It’s just that these first five seasons are based in trying to squeeze the most jokes of the 128 bit animation. The commentaries on all five seasons don’t do a whole lot to provide answers, which leads me to my diatribes about gamer fandom and its desire to kill any joy left in the world. I hate it when I start to review material and I’m left with more questions than when I began to watch the show. In the end, it comes back to my thoughts after finishing Season 1. Who are the people that actively support this shit? Make yourselves known. I want to avoid you.

Since this is a shorter DVD rack review, I’ll leave you with this. Why was Halo: Reach so short? The answer to come in a future caption.

The Package

DVD collection comes with the first five seasons edited into a feature length movie via a Play All function. You also get a ton of featurettes and exclusive material that takes you deep into the world of Halo and Halo 2 style graphics via this Machinima series. The character profiles and PSAs allow you to delve deeper into the world of the Spartans. But, the commentaries and extra scenes seem to require that you already dig a lot of what Bungie has thrown out there. If you’re not a fan of the series, this release won’t bring you deeper into the fold.

3.5 out of 10