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Author Topic: Question about the Simspons DVD  (Read 377 times)
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Invictus

Poppler
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« on: 12-18-2003 16:25 »

I've been thinking about buying the third season, and was just wondering what the commentaries are like? Are they as good as the Futurama ones? What actors are on it?
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #1 on: 12-18-2003 19:18 »
« Last Edit on: 12-18-2003 19:18 »

Edit: read your post more clearly.  No voice actors on seasons one and two commentaries, but Dan Castellenetta, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, and Nancy Cartwright are on season three.  Cartwright adds a decent amount, as does Castellenetta, and both provide some laughs, but neither add a whole lot (Al Jean, Mike Reiss, and certain animators are easily the best commentators on the episodes).  Smith adds very little if anything, and Kavner seems mostly useless in these.  Overall I prefer all seasons Simpsons commentaries over season two of Futurama easily, although Futurama season one is closer to Simpsons quality.

Here's the breakdown of the seasons quality wise (going STRICTLY by the dvds themselves, not the episodes).

Season one:  Not excellent but very good.  Commentaries are generally very interesting and funny so these alone make it worth the price.  The other features are more mixed and too few, but what's there is generally good.  Menus are a tad blah, but decent.  The quality of the episodes (audio and visual) is generally very good, and for the most part about as good as can be expected.

Season two:  About the same commentary wise, but better special features and more of them.  Menus are a little better but still just decent instead of great.  Audio and visuals are again generally good and about as good as can be expected.  Again a very good set.

Season three: Um....ouch.  Okay, its not all bad.  Commentaries are about the same again (although they seem to be running out of things to say later on).  But special features bite.  There's very little of anything really.  Menus=ouch.  Literally black backgrounds with standard yellow lettering.  Not evening "Groening" lettering, just regular lettering.  Audio is generally fine but visuals suddenly take a slide.  Most of the time its fine but somehow it didn't look as sharp, and more importantly there are several episodes where the screen "shakes" during certain scenes, to varying degrees of severity (but you'll clearly notice it during certain ones).  Its still, mostly, better then syndication but regardless a mixed bag.  Overall probably worth it for the uncut episodes and commentaries, but don't go in expecting anything outstanding.

As for comparing them to the Futurama releases, I'd say Futurama is better but that's partially because more things were archived for this sort of thing, and that the episodes themselves are sharper looking.  So its not fair to compare them to seasons one and two really, though whoever put together season three does deserve some serious ridicule.
User_names_suck
Professor
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« Reply #2 on: 12-18-2003 19:48 »

Actually the main menu of season 3 is very good
but the other parts are very plain. I dont really care though its just a menu, as long as its clear.
but yeah the commentaries are of good quality
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #3 on: 12-18-2003 19:50 »
« Last Edit on: 12-18-2003 19:50 »

Well, I forgot to mention the main menu of season three...but yeah, its decent.  Still, its kind of annoying because, while those little "couch" animations are a nice thought, they aren't actually funny at all and just get repetitive and annoying quickly.  And since you can't skip them, well...there you go.
Invictus

Poppler
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« Reply #4 on: 12-19-2003 05:16 »

OK! Sounds pretty good. One more question, I remember that in the first seasons the characters looked a bit different, in which season did they change their appearence to what they look like today?
This is why I haven't bought the first two seasons since the animation of the early episodes annoy me too much. Thanks for your help.
alexvilagosh

Goose Patrol
Space Pope
****
« Reply #5 on: 12-19-2003 06:28 »

Season 2 is brilliant. I can't watch season 1 without cringing though.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #6 on: 12-19-2003 11:11 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Invictus:
OK! Sounds pretty good. One more question, I remember that in the first seasons the characters looked a bit different, in which season did they change their appearence to what they look like today?
This is why I haven't bought the first two seasons since the animation of the early episodes annoy me too much. Thanks for your help.

Well its subjective to how much "crudeness" you can take but I think around the middle of season one (at least going by production: note that they didn't air in order) the look started to take off.  The only really bad looking episodes of season one to me are "Some Enchanted Evening" (babysitter bandit), "Homer's Odyssey" (Homer crusades for safety) and parts of "There's No Disgrace Like Home" (shock therapy).  There's still small hints of this crudeness through the rest of season one but its mostly excised IMO.

Season two on the other hand is basically perfect looking.  Any kinks they had basically worked out by that point, and everything looks very sharp and well-tuned.  You won't see much of a difference at all between this and season three or even most other seasons.

Controversial opinion: I actually think certain episodes of season five have the worst animation ever on the show, barring "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Homer's Odyssey".  I'm even less of a fan of much of the animation in season 10-12 too, because while the look was "perfect" I feel the direction was generally bland.
Mouse On Venus

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #7 on: 12-19-2003 11:16 »
« Last Edit on: 12-19-2003 11:16 »

DTB, do tell which Season 5 episodes you believe have rock bottom animation as I'm dying to know! And I know what you mean about 10-12 - they were a bit overpolished and sterile.

 Oh, and I'll talk a little about the Season 3 commentaries for Invinctus' benefit.
  Compared to Futurama, the commentaries seem a little more fluent in that often the commentators have many more anecdotes to share relevant to the episode (in particular, the commentary for "Stark Raving Dad" features many good stories about Micheal Jackson  laff ). Although, as Matt himself declares in a Futurama Season 4 commentary, The Simpsons commentaries aren't quite as lively as the Futurama ones, perhaps due to a more mature, restraint attitude. Castellanetta and Cartwright are both great voice actor commentators but if you're expecting the kind of flamboyant antics that Billy West and John DiMaggio provide then forget it!

 I'd agree with DTB about Smith and Kavner too, although to be fair Smith only appears in two commentaries, both of which consist of 10 commentators so it's hard to expect too much of her. Kavner, however, appears frequently, and says little but "I love this show" and "That's such great animation".   roll eyes But the writers and directors are all pretty good commentators too, one of my favourites being Jim Reardon, so they more than make up for it on most counts.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #8 on: 12-19-2003 11:21 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Mouse On Venus:
DTB, do tell which Season 5 episodes you believe have rock bottom animation as I'm dying to know! And I know what you mean about 10-12 - they were a bit overpolished and sterile.

I wish I could show some screenshots or something as it would help a lot....

But Homer Goes to College is one.  The characters look very rubbery and off-model, perhaps the most ever (again aside from those two or three season one episodes).  I'm not really sure what happened here, but it all looks so odd and inconsistant.  And boy are they rubbery...the "realistic" anatomy seems to go out the window in this one.

Boy Scouts and the Hood is another example that comes to mind.  Again the characters look fairly strange and inconsistant and rubbery...its not as bad as Homer Goes to College (which is really the worst example) but its still fairly noticable.

I think there's some other ones too, but those are the main ones I could cite.  I'd also have to note though that (and maybe this is because of bad syndication feeds) some of the episodes look too "dark" in the colorations of the characters to me, not nearly bright enough.

CyberKnight

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #9 on: 12-19-2003 11:46 »

I'd noticed that too - and I agree about the animation, but I'd go even further and say the direction is still bland in the season till today. When Maggie smiled in Moe Baby Blues, I wasn't moved, I cringed. I just didn't like the look.

And I think it's highly ironic they made a joke about Hanna Barbera cartoons being static, when most of their background characters are now also static. In the earlier seasons they had characters who weren't the focus of the scene doing things, like Maggie copying her family (which I found adorable  wink). It was little things like that which blurred the line between animation and live-action.

But I think definitely in Seasons Three and Four the characters are on-model and well-animated.

By the way, am I the only person who doesn't really care about DVD menus? After all, they're only there to allow you to access the episodes. I find it quite annoying on the Futurama S3 and S4 DVDs that you have to sit through about half a minute of animation (well done though it may be) just to watch an episode.
Mouse On Venus

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #10 on: 12-19-2003 12:09 »

I know what you mean CK. They're very well done and all but it's largely a triumph of style over substance. Although one criticism I would say about The Simpsons commentary menu was that, unlike Futurama, each commentator's role was not stated in brackets so you had to keep your ears peeled to keep track of who did what.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #11 on: 12-19-2003 16:38 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by CyberKnight:
I'd noticed that too - and I agree about the animation, but I'd go even further and say the direction is still bland in the season till today. When Maggie smiled in Moe Baby Blues, I wasn't moved, I cringed. I just didn't like the look.

And I think it's highly ironic they made a joke about Hanna Barbera cartoons being static, when most of their background characters are now also static. In the earlier seasons they had characters who weren't the focus of the scene doing things, like Maggie copying her family (which I found adorable   wink). It was little things like that which blurred the line between animation and live-action.

But I think definitely in Seasons Three and Four the characters are on-model and well-animated.

By the way, am I the only person who doesn't really care about DVD menus? After all, they're only there to allow you to access the episodes. I find it quite annoying on the Futurama S3 and S4 DVDs that you have to sit through about half a minute of animation (well done though it may be) just to watch an episode.

Huh.  I found Moe Baby Blues to be one of the best directed episodes ever possibly, and the Maggie bit worked for me.  Sometimes the direction is still kinda bland but its improved a lot.  For the record the Jean seasons have actually had a lot more Maggie in them and lots of little "background" things with her and other characters, though I agree we didn't enough of that in the Scully years.

As far as DVD menus go, its not THAT big a deal but it really isn't that hard to, say, use colors, or put some images of the characters on the menus.  I don't even need animated menus and agree that they can get annoying.  But to me a black background with yellow text is just unacceptable and could be made by someone with just a little experience in Photoshop within a few minutes.  Plus, I mainly pointed out the menu problem to show that the production standards on the set itself were pretty low.
CyberKnight

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #12 on: 12-20-2003 02:26 »

I dunno. I guess I just think Maggie looks best (if I can use that phrase) when she's either got her pacifier fully in her mouth (no edges visible) or without (when she actually looks more babyish, but out of place without her pacifier).

Jeeez, I'm arguing about an animated baby who doesn't even speak in a show which neglected her for three years. Crikey.  wink

But as I say, it's one of those cute little things which gave the show some humanity. By itself, it's pretty inconsequential, but taken with other things it's part of a wider picture.

Anyway, regarding animation : another thing I don't like is when the animation suddenly speeds up to an above-average FPS (the most blatant example I can think of is in the episode where Marge manages to outlaw sugar (  roll eyes ), and the ball of Springfieldians is bouncing down the hill. I don't know why, but I just don't like it - I feel it looks kind of Family-Guy-ish.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #13 on: 12-21-2003 01:47 »

I agree the ball looked out place. I think the reason is that they used computer effects (first time they attempted it on the show, although "Tennis the Menace" first attempted digital coloring/animation).  They've used them more or less sparingly, but they did show up again in the THOH "Send in the Clones" short (which looked cool) and a recent one (Fat and the Furriest I think) with a bunch of identical fans in the mall that looked a little out of place. 

"Sweets and Sour Marge" wasn't bad I thought (sorry to change the subject) a little.  The idea of banning sugar is fairly absurd, but it was a satirical exxageration (much like a three-eyed fish is a satircal exxageration).  It wasn't an amazing episode, but I thought it was enjoyable enough.
CyberKnight

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #14 on: 12-21-2003 08:02 »

DtB, I'm going to respond to this in the S15 review thread, to avoid going offtopic.  wink
User_names_suck
Professor
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« Reply #15 on: 12-21-2003 16:41 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Mouse On Venus:
Although, as Matt himself declares in a Futurama Season 4 commentary, The Simpsons commentaries aren't quite as lively as the Futurama ones, perhaps due to a more mature, restraint attitude. Castellanetta and Cartwright are both great voice actor commentators but if you're expecting the kind of flamboyant antics that Billy West and John DiMaggio provide then forget it!


That can get annoying though the over loudness of it at times.

although one important note you have to listen to one and hear mike reiss before you can appreciate the futurama commentary for the sting

DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #16 on: 12-21-2003 19:13 »

Yeah, that's actually one of my problems with the Futurama commentaries.  They're usually funny, but especcially in season two (remember, I haven't listed to three or four yet) there's almost zero actual information. While it was generally fun listening to DiMaggio and West joke around I sometimes got frustrated waiting for someone to say something, ANYTHING that was actually related to production of the show or even related to what was going on screen.  The Simpsons ones aren't quite as funny (although they're pretty close sometimes), but there's a helluva lot more information and insight, even in some of the more silent ones. 
User_names_suck
Professor
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« Reply #17 on: 12-22-2003 14:59 »

And at least in one with jim brooks when there's silence he jokes and points out that there's silence.

Changing the subject slightly if they eventually get to releasing season 9-12 on dvd I think i'll still have to buy it to hear how Mike Scully justifies his direction
and I guess I might want a complete collection anyway, but I'm still not sure season 1 and 2 are worth so i'll wait until there on sale maybe
User_names_suck
Professor
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« Reply #18 on: 12-22-2003 15:00 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Mouse On Venus:
I Although one criticism I would say about The Simpsons commentary menu was that, unlike Futurama, each commentator's role was not stated in brackets so you had to keep your ears peeled to keep track of who did what.


Yes god forbid you actually have to listen to the commenatry
  roll eyes 
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