HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Cartoon Network's Holiday Collection
HTS Overall Score:65
Cartoon Network has an incredible array of shows to pull from, some bordering on the bizarre and remind one of a drug induced coma, while others are extremely witty and humorous. The station tends to cater to adults with their themes and creative conversations, but the bright colors and flashing lights tend to make the little ones go “ooooooooooooo” and “ahhhhhhhhhhhhh” at the same time. Most of these series are available in full season formats, but Cartoon Network has put together a 4 pack of episodes to coincide with the upcoming winter holidays for us to enjoy.
This little DVD came out of the blue on my doorstep and completely caught me unawares and rather excited as “Regular Show” and “The Amazing World of Gumball” are two of my favorite Cartoon Network shows (Don’t judge!!!). As much as I like to binge watch the series with a bowl of popcorn and pop tarts (you have to try the combination. It’s divine), I don’t mind watching a little glimpse of the show with these holiday specials. Taken from last year’s Christmas festivities, we have a 2 parter from “Adventure Time” and a single episode each for “Regular Show” “The Amazing World of Gumball” to enjoy.
We start the festivities with “Adventure Time: Holly Jolly Secrets”, which is about as close to an acid trip as you’re ever going to get. The show is not exactly the bastion of normalcy and doesn’t even TRY to be so. Finn the Human, Jake the Dog and his talking video player, Beemo have found a hidden box of VHS tapes. When pulling them out they realize that they are tapes from the evil Ice King, who has been their nemesis for ages. Labeled “evil secret tapes” the trio sit down to watch the tapes and find out the Ice King’s evil secret. Unfortunately for them it seems to be just a video diary for the crazy king. While the crew are trying to unlock the evil secrets, the Ice King himself finds out what they are doing and comes down to try and wrest the tapes from their grasp before his secrets are revealed to the world.
Every time I watch “Adventure Time” I wonder if this is what the 70’s must have been like because the randomness of the show rivals the crazies trip a drug user could ever ask for. I’m not sure whether I like the show or just am numb after watching it as the series is a blur of colors and humor you get after eating too much Halloween candy. Still, the show has its rabid fan base and clocks in as one of Cartoon Network’s highest rated shows.
Next on the list is my personal favorite, “Regular Show”. Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man and the rest of the crew are having a Halloween party, only to be interrupted by Santa Clause falling from the sky and crash landing in their garage. It seems that he’s fighting off an evil Elf who wants to destroy Christmas with a magic box that he made. The only problem is that Rigby and Crew are all that Santa can call upon to get rid of the box before the evil elf can fulfill his dastardly plan. Set on their quest, the boys must take the box across the park, deep into the hidden underground and throw it into a lava pool. Now this sounds easy enough, but the way is littered with booby traps, including a pinball game that acts as an Indiana Jones esque doom machine, a polar bear wrestling match and a “Dance Dance Revolution” type of trap. Well, that and evading said evil elf who is hot on their tales.
Easily my favorite Cartoon Network Show, the “Regular Show episode is the highlight of the disc, keeping my sides aching from the laugh a minute wit. The only truly disappointing bit was that we ware missing Muscle man’s famous YOUR MOM!!!! Phrase (which was sorely missed).
Wrapping of up the trio of shows is “The Amazing World of Gumball” where Richard Watterson and his wife Nicole, and their two children Gumball and Darwin are ready to celebrate Christmas. Only caveat is the fact that they run over a man who looks like Santa Claus, and Richard is terrified that he’s been put on the naughty list. Nicole is a bit hesitant to believe that this dirty old man is actually the famed Santa, but the children and Richard are running around like chicken’s with their heads cut off trying to make things right. Richard tries his very best to save Christmas by helping out every needy person he sees, while the children follow a much more selfish route and try to get Santa to grant them wishes.
“Gumball” is a looney bin show of epic proportions with an extremely short 15 minute runtime, which is just about right for the crazy level to be funny, but not too wearing on the viewer. The Christmas special isn’t one of the best episodes, unfortunately, but is still quality viewing for those who love the show as much as I do.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32545[/img]The shows are presented in the standard modern TV aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and look pretty decent for the low budget works they are. The episodes are colorful and bright, ranging in intensity depending on which show it is. The detail is pretty decent, but the show is rather cheaply animated so it doesn’t sport a whole ton of incredible detail to speak of. Black levels are pretty decent and I really can’t complain about the contrast, but the disappointing thing was watching some mild macroblocking and some rather obvious edge enhancement.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32553[/img]Given a 2.0 Dolby Digital track, the show maintains its original stereo track from the TV broadcasts. Dialogue is the main thing here and is replicated quite nicely. It’s well balanced with the rest of the sound effects and doesn’t’ sound muffled or tinny (as some other CN shows have suffered from. There is no real LFE to speak of and surrounds are silent due to the lack of anything but 2 channel support, but the track does what it sets out to accomplish quite well.
• 2 Bonus Episodes
Cartoon Network has certainly created some memorable shows, but this collection seems to be milking the series a bit. It’s Christmas episodes from last year in a little collection with very little bonus features besides a couple of extra bonus episodes. Personally I think the shows are incredibly funny, but the fans are best served by getting the complete season sets instead of these unless you’re just trying to gauge interest in the shows. As such I’d give it a rental, but would be hesitant about purchasing since fans will want the complete season box sets and curious people will want to check out the show as inexpensively as possible, which means Netflix we go. Recommended for a rental.
Starring: Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, William Salyers, Sam Marin
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 77 Minutes
DVD Release Date: Oct 7th, 2014
Buy Cartoon Network's Holiday Collection DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Rent It
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