Danny Phantom Complete Series Set Is Loads Of Ghostly Fun For All

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Nickelodeon’s programming today is comprised largely of live action sitcoms aimed at teen viewers.  However, from the early 1990s up until the mid-2000s, the network was known more for its vast array of cartoons.  It’s “Nicktoons” were its heart and soul.  While Nickelodeon does have some cartoons today, the network’s sole remaining real Nicktoon is Butch Hartman’s hugely successful series Fairly OddparentsFairly Oddparents is a standout series, too.  Interestingly enough, it isn’t his first series to have the honor of being added to Nickelodeon’s list of beloved Nicktoons.  His first notable “Nicktoon” was the short-lived supernatural series Danny Phantom.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon, fans of Danny Phantom will be able to own the complete series in one box later this month.  Danny Phantom only ran for three seasons.  In its defense, it could be argued that this was because it was ahead of its time.  That aside, series creator Butch Hartman and his writers crafted a number of enjoyable episodes throughout the show’s short run.  Just as worth noting about this new upcoming box set is that is alleviates some minor problems raised in the box sets containing the series’ second season.  Lastly, those that know their Nicktoons history will appreciate the voice talent that made up the series’ cast.  That who’s who of voice actors combined with the enjoyable stories, and the fact that they are all available together for the first time collectively make this upcoming set well worth picking up for any Danny Phantom fan.

Fans of Danny Phantom: The Complete Series  will appreciate this new complete series set first and foremost because it presents the series’ entire three-season run in one complete box set.  Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have already released three complete series sets from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, and The Angry Beavers.  Those sets proved to actually take up far less space on DVD racks than the stand-alone season sets that had originally been released.  This set is no different.  All nine discs that make up all three seasons are included in this box.  Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon have sweetened the deal even more for fans in that they have maintained the established wise packaging that was used in the aforementioned complete series sets.  The discs are placed inside the box on either side of their own “insert” with the ninth and final disc being placed in its own spot inside the back of the case.  As with the previously noted box sets, this protects the discs and allows the episodes contained within each one to be enjoyed much longer.  It is the starting point of what audiences will appreciate about Danny Phantom: The Complete Series.

The packaging for Danny Phantom: The Complete Series is a good starting point in discussing everything that makes this box set well worth its price.  The episodes contained across the set’s nine total discs make the presentation as a whole even more enjoyable.  It would be easy to say that because its main characters were high school students, Danny Phantom was just another program aimed at audiences of the same age. To a point, it could be seen how teen audiences would take an interest in the series.  Case in point, one of the series’ story arcs involved a potential inter-racial romance between Danny and black classmate named Valerie Gray (voiced by Cree Summer—The Cosby Show, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Codename: Kids Next Door, etc.).  It really is a sign of the times that the show’s writers would include this without making a big fuss over it, either.  It is a subtle, but nice addition to the series.  There are also the constant struggles to balance trying to be a regular teen with being a superhero. But the jokes that are tossed in each episode aren’t above some younger viewers, either.  So while teens might have been the primary audience, younger viewers would have obviously enjoyed the show, too.  The same applies to today’s teens and pre-teens, too.

The packaging and writing that make up Danny Phantom’s episodes are collectively a big part of what makes the series so enjoyable even for today’s younger audiences.  There is at least one more aspect of the series’ new set that audiences will appreciate in examining the presentation as a whole.  That aspect is the series’ voice cast.  The series’ primary cast reads like a who’s who of voice acting.  It has already been noted that veteran voice actress Cree Summer is part of the primary cast (even though she doesn’t come into play until the second season).  Along with Ms. Summer, Grey DeLisle (The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Clifford: The Puppy Years, Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, etc.) Kath Soucie (Futurama, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Beauty and the Beast, etc.), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, etc.) and a whole slate of others each play roles in the series.  Fans will also recognize the voices of Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim, Hellboy & Hellboy II), Martin Mull (Roseanne), and the man who is perhaps the busiest male voice actor in the business, one Frank Welker (Curious George, The Real Ghostbusters, Scooby-Doo Where Are You, etc.)  Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), Taylor Lautner (the Twilight saga), and the late David Carradine even make appearances throughout the series among so many other big names.  If the massive list of A-listers that play roles in Danny Phantom isn’t reason enough to check out the new Danny Phantom: The Complete Series box set, then one need only set that alongside the enjoyable writing and the equally wise packaging to see just how worthwhile this set is for kids and kids at heart.  It will be available in stores and online Tuesday, January 28th.  It can be pre-ordered online now from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/danny-phantom-complete-series.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hey Arnold! Has As Much Fun And Heart As Ever In Its Fourth Season

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Hey Arnold! was and is one of the greatest shows that Nickelodeon has ever aired.  It was also one of the best of the best of the network’s “Nicktoons” programming block.  Now with only two real “Nicktoons” left—Spongebob Squarepants and Fairly Oddparents—the release of this classic Nicktoon’s previous three seasons is more welcome than ever.  Fans have been able to pick up the show’s previous trio of seasons thanks to both Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory.  Now next Tuesday, fans will be able to pick up the fourth season of Hey Arnold!  Whether one already owns the previously released seasons or not, Season Four is one more welcome addition to any classic Nicktoons Nostalgic’s home library.  This critic should probably copyright that term, huh?

Hey Arnold! lasted as long as it did in its original television run because its writers were so capable at balancing its family friendly comic elements with warmer, more heartfelt elements without getting too emotional.  Audiences get even more of that in what would eventually become the penultimate season of this standout cartoon.  This is exemplified early on in the episode, “Oskar Can’t Read?”  “Oskar Can’t Read?” stands out this season as it actually tackles the issue of adult illiteracy.  Mr. Kokoshka is typically seen as a lazy mooch who refuses to do anything to help himself.  But when it’s discovered that he can’t read, Oskar actually sets out to prove that he will do whatever it takes to be able to read because he is genuinely embarrassed about his inability to read.  Adult illiteracy is one of those topics that is rarely discussed, but crosses generations.  So even now years after this episode originally aired, it remains just as moving and entertaining today as it was in its original airing.  That the show’s writers would tackle the subject at all is one more part of what makes this series and Season Four so enjoyable.

For all the seriousness of “Oskar Can’t Read?”, Hey Arnold! Season Four offers its own share of more comical, easygoing stories, too.  Among the best of that crop is “Synchronized Swimming.”  This episode is centered on the classic battle of the sexes.  Coach Wittenberg (voiced by James Belushi—The World According To Jim) is at it again with his wife.  This time the couple is disagreeing on whether boys can participate in the artistic aquatic event.  This was not Belushi’s first appearance as Coach Wittenberg.  And he was just as funny as ever this time out.  Coach Wittenberg’s wife Tish is just as funny being that she is so much like him.  Just like Jack (Coach Wittenberg), she can’t properly pronounce Synchronized Swimming.  There’s just something funny about this and the couple’s constant competitiveness.  The process of Arnold and his friends training to be a synchronized swimming team is just as funny.  The end result turns the battle of the sexes on its ear in a way that will leave any viewer laughing and smiling. It’s just one more episode that makes Hey Arnold! Season Four so enjoyable. 

Hey Arnold! Season Four offers a solid balance of laughs and more serious matters over the course of its two discs, as one can tell through the episodes already noted here.  There is at least one more episode that exemplifies that balance in this season.  It’s an episode that pays tribute to America’s men and women in uniform.  The episode in question is simply titled, “Veterans Day.”  In “Veterans Day” Arnold and Gerald are taken to a big Veterans Day ceremony by Arnold’s grandpa, Phil.  Martin, Gerald’s father, comes along, having served in Vietnam.  Martin makes a statement that still rings true to this day, as sad as it is.  He notes that people see it less as a chance to honor those that served as more as just an excuse for another day off.  He adds how few people actually attend ceremonies honoring veterans.  Save for parades, there is a certain amount of truth to this statement even to this day.  Along the way to the veterans’ ceremony, both Phil and Martin share their stories with Arnold and Gerald, hoping to impart some knowledge to the boys.  That goal is achieved, as both young men learn some very valuable lessons about honoring those that served, especially as their numbers grow older and fewer.  Yet again, the writers behind Hey Arnold! have taken a very weighty topic and put it into a format that young audiences will understand and hopefully appreciate to this day, and that audiences that originally watched it as kids will appreciate even more as adults.  This and the previously mentioned episodes comprise just one more sample of what continues to make Hey Arnold! the timeless show that it is.  Of course, there are plenty of other episodes for audiences to enjoy over and over again.  Some of the best of the rest include: “Eugene’s Birthday”, the Halloween themed episode, “Headless Cabbie”, and the season finale, “Dino Checks Out.”  In all, audiences will have their own favorite of the season’s seventeen total episodes. And there is definitely plenty from which to choose.  Audiences will get to see their favorites over and over again when the double-disc set hits stores and online outlets Tuesday, May 14th.  It can be ordered online direct via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/217311

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory, Nickelodeon scare up more fun in Danny Phantom Season 2.0

Nicktoons Nostalgics worldwide are rejoicing once again today, as Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon are officially releasing Danny Phantom Season 2 Part 1 (or Season 2.0 for short).  Danny Phantom is the show that put Butch Hartman on the map.  And while it only lasted a total of three seasons, it was still a great show in its own right.  Fans of Hartman’s other shows, The Fairly Oddparents and most recently, T.U.F.F. Puppy will instantly recognize the same animation style, as well as some of the same voice talents in this show as those mentioned.

Danny Phantom’s second season sees Danny face one of his most dangerous enemies yet in the Ghost King in the two part special, “Reign Storm.”  It also boasts its own Christmas episode complete in verse in “The Fright Before Christmas.”  Both episodes have one interesting thing in common.  What they have in common is that in rare moments, the ghosts that Danny had battled and caught over the course of the show’s first season actually band together with Danny to help set things right.  That’s not all that makes these episodes stand out.  “Reign Storm” boasts former Star Trek:  TNG star Michael Dorn (Worf) as the Fright Knight.  And in “The Fright Before Christmas”, star Will Arnett (Arrested Development) voices the Ghsot Writer who traps Danny after Danny destroys his book out of his displeasure for the holiday season.

“Reign Storm” was a key moment in the Danny Phantom series.  What most people may not realize about Danny Phantom is that this series was in reality a serial of sorts.  “Reign Storm” sees Danny reach a crucial point in his own personal development, as well as the development of of his powers.  The episode opens with Danny’s arch nemesis, Vlad Masters (Vlad Plasmius) freeing the Ghost King in what seems to be an attempt to control him.  By controlling him, Vlad can control the ghost zone.  The problem is that his plan backfires.  So he has to hide the Ghost King’s ring while he tries to defeat the king.  He convinces Valerie (Cree Summer) to help him in his plan.  In the process of all that, Amity Park is sucked into the Ghost Zone.  So Danny has to face the Ghost King in order to get it back to the real world.  He learns that he’s been mis-managing his powers, letting himself get out of control.  Once he realizes this, he’s able to use the last of the Fenton Suit’s power to push the Ghost King back into his sarcophagus.  Much to Danny’s surprise, it was Vlad who locked the sarcophagus back as he held it closed.  And thanks to the help of all the ghosts in the ghost zone, Danny’s able to make his way into the Ghost King’s palace to begin with.

“Reign Supreme” wasn’t the only episode from Season Two that had Danny learning lessons.  In the Christmas episode, “The Fright Before Christmas” Danny is no fan of the holiday season.  Viewers learn that the reason for that is his parents constantly fight every Christmas.  So one year, Danny’s in such a foul mood that when he goes into the ghost zone, he destroys a Christmas book written by the Ghost Writer (voiced by Arrested Development star, Will Arnett).  The Ghost Writer is so angry that he traps Danny in a holiday story to teach Danny about appreciating Christmas.  The ghosts from the ghost zone are there, too.  They tell Danny that while they may fight him and each other through the year, Christmas is the one time of the year when they all have a truce, kind of like in All Quiet on The Western Front.  Fans will also enjoy the Christmas music in the background helping to se the mood of each scene.  Eventually, Danny learns that no matter how people celebrate (even if its by arguing and fighting), he shouldn’t let that spoil his view of Christmas, and in turn ruin others’ holiday season.  It’s a very valuable lesson for parents and kids alike. 

Danny Phantom Season 2.0 has lots of episodes that fans of this show will love to watch again and again.  The show only lasted three seasons.  Even as short as the show’s run was, it had its share of great episodes.  This pair of episodes are just a tiny part of a whole that made the show as great as it was.  And now that it’s in stores today, fans can pick up this double disc set and watch these episodes any time they want again and again.  For more information on this show or any of the other Nicktoons, fans can go to http://www.shoutfactory.com to get all the latest updates on the latest.