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October 6, 2015

Review: Adult Swim in a Box

by Nick Zaino, posted Nov 5th 2009 10:02AM
Adult Swim in a BoxThe new Adult Swim In A Box is an embarrassment of riches - six boxed sets for six different shows and a bonus disc featuring five unreleased pilots -- more than 20 hours on 12 DVDs. I was especially happy to get season two of Sealab 2021, which I have never been able to catch regularly, and season one of Metalocalypse, which I have always enjoyed.

Getting season two of Robot Chicken, volume one of Moral Orel, volume two of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and volume three of Space Ghost Coast to Coast just seemed like a bonus. Well worth the suggested retail price of $69.98 for Adult Swim fans who haven't already purchased any of the included sets.

The pilots are a mixed bag, but mostly good. The Best of Totally for Teens is a live action parody of a moralistic teen variety show hosted by thirtysomethings trying to be hip. It's a promising premise, one that should maybe be revisited, but the pilot is a bit of a mess. It hits topics ripe for satire in the format like teen insecurity, drugs, and sex, and has the right look for Adult Swim.

But, and I realize this is a tough criticism to level at an Adult Swim show, it feels too random, like the creators (which include folks from The Daily Show and Wonder Showzen) were afraid to just commit to the concept of a condescending show for teens and added the jump cutting and absurd animation because that's what they thought the network wanted. I'd like to see the same people take the concept back to the basics and rebuild it.

Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge
probably had way too long a name to ever survive, but I loved it. I'm a fan of alt.country siren Neko Case to begin with, and the idea of her voicing a Britney Spears-like teen star who literally lives in a fantasy world of cocaine volcanoes and misguided fans was kind of wonderful. Offensive, surely, but wonderful.

At one point, Cinnamon counsels a pregnant teenage fan to marry the softball coach that got her that way, delivering the advice as if it were actually romantic. And special kudos to whoever voiced the motor-mouthed Gummy, Cinnamon's sidekick/pr flak.

I would have liked to have seen more episodes of the other three pilots, as well. Perfect Hair Forever took aim at shows like Pokemon and Dragonball Z, and while I'm not familiar with the source material, I did find the balding teen protagonist and his nonsense-spewing mentor amusing.

Welcome to Etingville, based on Evan Dorking's comic strip Dork, appealed to me just because it's about four arguing comic book nerds, and the trivia throw down over a mint Boba Fett figure was perfect.

Korgoth of Barbaria was a bit predictable at its core, centering around a dim-witted, Conan-like barbarian who survives by his brawn in a post-apocalyptic future. But it had a goofy, bloody charm. And I was hooked after the first gag, where a doorman explains that the sign over his establishment, which reads "The Whore's Nipple Bar & Grille," is slightly misspelled. What's wrong with it? "Well, the name of the bar is The Dragon's Kneecap," the doorman deadpans. I know, you can hear the rim shot, but sometimes, you need a little of that.

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I don't know who this box set is aimed at. I am not a fan of very show the Adult Swim, and I already bought the season sets of the shows I am a fan of. I don't need more copies of ATHF, Sealab, or Robot Chicken. I'm sure I could probably make a very close box set by getting the ones I need from eBay. Only the pilot disc would be a bonus, and I'm sure THAT will show up on eBay soon enough too.

November 05 2009 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would've liked to have seen more of Welcome to Eltingville myself.

As for Perfect Hair Forever, it did go to series for a short time. If you go to the AS website, they've got all 7 episodes listed as available for viewing.

November 05 2009 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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