Children’s programming today is nothing like it was in its golden era. One quick scan through any carrier’s channel lineup proves that. Children’s programs of the 80s and 90s actually had heart. They had substance, too. By comparison, that heart and substance is nearly nonexistent in programs aimed at tweens and teens today. Thank goodness some companies out there have stepped up and released those classic cartoons from the golden era of children’s programming to show today’s youth what real kids’ shows look and sound like. Mill Creek has stepped up and released most of the original animated Dennis The Menace series. Shout! Factory has more than stepped up in its own right with planet of classic kids’ shows. And now Cinedigm and VCI Entertainment have stepped up and added their own contribution with the release of Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series. Denver The Last Dinosaur didn’t last too long in its original broadcast. It ran for a grand total of fifty-two episodes. But even in that short run, it offered audiences so much enjoyment. And audiences of all ages will see that for themselves when Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series is released September 16th on DVD box set. The main factor in the overall enjoyment of this series is its writing. As with so many children’s series of that era, the writers mixed fun adventures with subtly placed lessons for young viewers. Also worth noting of this box set is the original presentation of the episodes. And last but hardly least of all that makes this set so enjoyable is the companion booklet. The booklet includes not only a full episode listing, but also a short summary of each episode from start to finish. The companion booklet works alongside the full, proper presentation of the episodes and the episodes’ writing to make Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series an absolute must for viewers of any age. That isn’t to discount the set’s packaging, its bonus interviews, or its bonus cartoons. They are all well worth noting, too. They round out the whole presentation to make Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series one of the definite best new box sets for children and families this year.
While it might not have lasted nearly as long as some of the other cartoons that made the 80s and 90s so great, Denver The Last Dinosaur was still an enjoyable piece in its own right. The central reason for its success lies in tis writing. WEP president Ted Koplar puts it best in his bonus interview that what really makes Denver The Last Dinosaur work so well is that presented here is a fish out of water story. Denver is for all intents and purposes, an outsider trying to find his place in the world with all of its technology and its mores and values. Even with the series being as old as it is, that theme of finding one’s own self and one’s place in the world is one to which even today’s young audiences can relate. And as Bob Koplar, WEP VP notes, kids can also relate to Denver because he is this figure that gets into so much trouble yet he gets away with it every time. Koplar notes in his interview that every kid wishes that he or she could get away with Denver’s antics. That couldn’t be more right, even today years after it ended its original run on television. Add in the fact that these episodes have been endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA) for their nonviolent themes and general story, lines, and audiences see even more why the writing behind this series is so important and successful. This is extremely important to consider especially when comparing this classic series to so much of what is available for younger viewers today. Hopefully other parents out there will take all of this into consideration and give Denver The Last Dinosaur a try for the first time or for the first time again when it is released later this month. If the bonus interviews included in this set are any indication, the writing behind this series may very well entertain today’s younger viewers just as much as those other programs if not more so.
The writing behind Denver The Last Dinosaur is a solid starting point in the discussion regarding what makes the series’ new box set so enjoyable. No discussion on the series is complete without a note on the set’s presentation. A slate is included before the episodes noting that the episodes have been re-mastered for this presentation. Those charged with re-mastering the footage are to be commended for their painstaking efforts. That is first and foremost because their efforts resulted in no footage being lost in the process. This means that every single episode from the series’ original broadcast has been included in this box set. And every episode is presented in its original video format, too. They haven’t been squeezed down. And they are just as bright and vibrant as ever. The audio is just as clear, too. To some the re-mastering of a show’s video and audio is a minor issue. But the reality of the situation is that there are some companies out there that don’t put the necessary effort into properly re-working various shows to make them appear as they appeared in their original broadcasts. The end result is a product hardly worth the purchase. VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm are not among those companies in this case. It’s one more factor that makes the set in whole all the more enjoyable for viewers of all ages. There is still more that has gone into this set making it worth the purchase by any now grown-up child of the 80s, including the companion booklet.
The writing and re-mastering work undertaken by those at VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm are both equally integral parts of the whole that is Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series. Eve having taken these factors into consideration, VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm didn’t stop there. They paid great tribute to the series’ original fans in so many ways with this set. Those are two a couple ways in which they did so. Another way in which the companies paid tribute to the show’s original fans is in the inclusion of a companion booklet. The booklet outlines the series’ entire episode list from start to finish. It shows the set includes the episodes here are presented exactly as they originally ran on television. It also gives a short summary of every episode. This allows viewers to look back and say, “Oh, I remember this episode” or “that episode.” So not only does this allow audiences to decide which episode(s) that they want to watch, but it even helps maintain that sense of nostalgia already full established thanks to the full, proper re-mastering of the episodes and the inclusion of every episode. It still isn’t the end of what makes Denver The last Dinosaur: The Complete Series such a hit for audiences. There are the bonus interviews, which have been noted in small part already. And there are even bonus episodes culled from other VCI Entertainment collections included as bonus material. They give a glance into other series with which some viewers might or might not be familiar, adding even more of a sense of nostalgia. It makes the set complete and a complete joy.
VCI Entertainment and Cinedigm have gone to painstaking efforts to make Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series the release that fans of this classic series have wanted for so many years. Needless to say, their efforts were definitely not in vain. The writing proves even to this day to be enjoyable and relatable for audiences of all ages. The painstaking efforts taken to bring back to life every episode of the series makes things even better. And the full, proper episode guide included in the set’s companion booklet is a fitting final piece to the presentation. That is not to discount the in-depth bonus interviews and the bonus episodes of other releases from VCI Entertainment. They add their own enjoyment to the set in whole, too. All things considered, Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series proves in the long run to be a wonderful alternative to all of the material claiming today to be children’s programming. It is everything that the series’ original fans have waited for so long to hold in their hands and watch on their televisions once again. Simply put, this box set proves itself in the end to be one of the best new box sets for children and families this year.
Denver The Last Dinosaur: The Complete Series will be available on DVD, Tuesday, September 16th. It can be ordered online direct from VCI Entertainment’s website at http://www.vcientertainment.com/DENVER-THE-LAST-DINOSAUR-COMPLETE-SERIES/Film-Categories?keyword=denver. More information on this and other releases from VCI Entertainment is available online at http://www.vcientertainment.com, http://www.facebook.com/VCIClassicMovies, and http://twitter.com/vciclassicfilms. All the latest news from Cinedigm is available online at http://www.cinedigm.com and http://www.facebook.com/Cinedigm. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.