When Hanna Barbera debuted its animated series The Jetsons in 1962 on ABC, few if any people would have thought that the series would go on to be such a prophetic program and so beloved. So when the series’ first season was released on DVD in 2004 through Warner Home Video, it gave lots of people plenty of reason to be excited. It would take another five years before audiences would see another release, which came in the form of the first half of the series’ second season. That release was the last official release for the series, while the second half of the second season, the third full season and the whole season were released on DVD and Blu-ray respectively through an on-demand platform through a partnership between Amazon, Hanna-Barbera, and Warner Brothers. Those releases were not official releases, meaning that audiences were pretty much left waiting and wondering when and if the rest of the series would ever get an official release. Audiences got their answer Oct. 13 with the release of The Jetsons: The Complete Series on DVD. The eight-disc collection is a mostly enjoyable presentation, though also imperfect. Its main positive is it’s the fact that it does in fact contain all three of the series’ seasons in one set. The importance hereof will be discussed shortly. While the inclusion of all three of the series’ seasons is an undeniable positive, its overall lack of any bonus content hurts its presentation considerably. This will be discussed a little later. While the lack of any real bonus content hurts this collection’s presentation without argument, the set’s packaging actually helps that presentation. This will be discussed later, too. When it is considered with the very presentation of the full series, the two elements do just enough to make the set worth owning for the series’ most devoted fans, but just enough.
Warner Home Video’s recently released presentation of The Jetsons: The Complete Series is a presentation that while mostly enjoyable, falls somewhat short of expectations. It is not a complete failure, though. One thing about the collection that audiences will appreciate is that it is in fact the full three-season run of the timeless, beloved series. This is important because this release marks the first time ever that the series has ever received an official full series release. As already noted here, Warner Home Video and Hanna-Barbera partnered in the early 2000s to release the series’ first season in whole on DVD. That was followed five years later with the release of the first half of the series’ second season. After that though, the series never released any other official DVD releases. Amazon partnered with Hanna-Barbera and Warner Brothers to release the second half of Season Two and the whole of Season Three on an on-demand DVD platform, and the series’ full run on an on-demand Blu-ray platform. Those releases, in other words, are recorded to DVD-R/BD-R discs when audiences purchase the sets online. According to some reviews read by this critic, allegedly the Blu-ray series set may in fact not be the whole set, but only Season One. That is stated by multiple people who reviewed the set through Amazon. If in fact there is some credence to the allegation, then it makes this new DVD collection that much more appealing for the noted devotees of The Jetsons. Now, for all that the actual full physical presentation of the series’ run does for this collection’s presentation, the lack of secondary content detracts greatly from its presentation.
Secondary content is, in this case, bonus content. The only bonus content that is featured in this collection is the Jetsons movie The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones. On the surface, having the movie seems okay. However, it is a downfall because the movie in question is already featured in the much less expensive double disc set of The Flintstones movies and TV specials as one of the featured movies. That collection in question costs only about $14.87 (using listings at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellsers, and Books-A-Million). This eight-disc collection of The Jetsons averages $26.18 (sing price listings at Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers – it was not listed at Books-A-Million). Audiences will find themselves left scratching their heads and wondering why The Jetsons movie was not also featured as a bonus here. Additionally, the box sets for the series’ first season and the first half of its second season featured lots of bonus content, such as a history of The Jetsons, the series’ cultural importance and even a pair of feature-length audio commentaries. Those bonuses were not carried over to this collection. Considering that each set was released in partner between Warner Home Video (Warner Media Group) and Hanna-Barbera, it seems odd that the noted content was not carried over. As a result, audiences who (like this critic) enjoy that bonus content and already own the noted sets will basically have to keep them in order to enjoy them since they were not brought to this latest set. That is a disservice to the noted audiences and is collectively an undeniable detractor from the set’s presentation. Now for all that the lack of any real bonus content does to detract from the collection’s presentation, it does not make the set a complete failure. One other item – the set’s packaging – makes up for the problems posed by the lack of bonus content.
The packaging in question actually takes up less space than the two official season sets that Hanna-Barbera and Warner Home Video released in 2004 and 2009. In other words, it will take up slightly less space on audiences’ DVD/BD racks than those noted standalone sets. This is unquestionably positive. Even better is that the discs are themselves packaged well inside the case. Each disc sits on its own “plate” inside the case, separate from the other discs. There is no having to move the discs and risk damaging them in order to remove or replace them before and after watching them. It may come across as a surprise, but there are still some companies who take that old packaging approach for their multi-disc DVD and BD sets. To that end, this adds to the set’s appeal. It still is not the last of the most notable of the packaging positives.
The set also features an insert that clearly points out each episode’s title, on which discs the episodes are featured, and even which discs present which season. Again, there are a lot of home video companies even today that will not take that approach. So both companies are to be commended for taking this simple step, too. Putting the proverbial cherry on top of this presentation is the exterior packaging.
The exterior packaging for The Jetsons: The Complete Series is simple. The case is surrounded by a simple cardboard type outer “box” that slides simply on and off of the case that contains the discs. This protects the case and the discs while also saving audiences time in getting to the discs. This is important to note because in comparison, the Season One and Season Two, Volume One sets each essentially have to be shaken from their exterior packaging to even get to the cases. That is because the cases are packed so tightly in their respective exterior packaging. Having to shake the cases can lead the discs to potentially come undone from their spots inside the cases and get damaged. It is also time consuming to have to take that extra time trying to just get to the case, let alone the discs therein. To that end, this aspect of the packaging is definitely its own positive, even being more of an aesthetic aspect of the packaging. When this aspect is considered with the other noted packaging elements, the whole of the packaging really stands out and shows its importance just as much as the fact that the entire series is actually presented here. When these two elements are considered along with the concerns raised by the lack of any real substantive bonus content, the whole of those elements makes the collection enjoyable although imperfect.
Warner Home Video and Hanna-Barbera’s recently released The Jetsons: The Complete Series set is an enjoyable presentation, but is sadly not necessarily complete. Yes, it has the series’ full three-season run. Yes, its packaging definitely is complete. However, it lacks any real substantive bonus content. To that end, the series is complete in one aspect, but it still will leave some audiences wanting for more in the long run. Keeping that in mind, one can only hope that if the set is ever re-issued, it really will live up to its title of being complete. More information on this and other titles from Warner Home Video is available at:
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