Garfield & Friends is back on DVD again. PBS Distribution released the second season of the timeless animated series Nov. 5 in a three-disc set through a partnership with Skiprope. The set’s release comes almost fourteen years after 20th Century Fox released the fifth and last of its Garfield & Friends volumes. Those volumes are all available through Amazon and other online retailers, and as much as this critic dislikes having to say it, are better investments than this collection and its predecessor in Garfield & Friends Season 1. That is not to say that this latest collection from PBS Distribution is unwatchable; far from it. However, it does suffer from one key con – its remastering, which will be addressed a little later. While the remastering has caused its own share of problems for this collection, the general content makes up for the problems caused by the remastering. This will be addressed shortly. The set’s packaging rounds out its most important elements. It will also be discussed here later. Each item noted here plays its own important part in the whole of Garfield & Friends: Season 2. All things considered, they make the set a welcome addition to the library of any of this series’ fans, but only if they cannot get their hands on 20th Century Fox’s previously released Garfield & Friends collections.
PBS Distribution and Skip Rope’s recently released Season 2 set of Garfield & Friends is an entertaining offering for fans of the timeless animated series. That is due in part to the set’s primary content – the episodes. Audiences receive in this collection, the second season of Garfield & Friends in its entirety. All 30 episodes from Season 2 are here from the season premiere to finale. From the unforgettable “Rip Van Kitty,” — which finds Garfield falling asleep for fifty years, only to wake up in the future which finds Nermal just as cute and annoying as ever, Odie in a wheelchair and an alien invasion in which the aliens look just like Garfield – “Sludge Monster,” which finds Garfield, Jon and Odie staying the night in a “haunted” inn, and “Basket Brawl,” which spoofs the National Basketball Association, placing Garfield against Jon, Odie and Nermal in their attempts to prepare a picnic. All of the U.S. Acres shorts that accompanied the main episodes are here, too. Simply put, audiences looking for the second season of Garfield & Friends in its precise chronological order get exactly that here. That is without question a key positive to the set and makes the set worth owning. While the presence of Season 2’s full run forms a solid foundation for the set, the actual presentation of those episodes detracts from the set to a certain point.
Much like with the presentation of the series’ first season, this set is also presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio (widescreen). For those less familiar with aspect ratios, that might not seem overly important. However, for those who are more familiar with the matter of aspect ratios, this is a bad thing. That is because in comparison to the original 4:3 presentation – which was used in the sets from 20th Century Fox – the 16:9 presentation does show a certain amount of loss. There might be more visible in terms of horizontal content, but clearly there is a certain amount of loss in the picture’s vertical presentation. Heads are cut off along with tops of scenes. The series’ full-screen 4:3 presentation by comparison actually does give viewers the literal full picture in each episode. What’s more, the remastering does show through in general, as the picture is much sharper in each episode. The problem is that the picture is perhaps too sharp. It is that clean. There is something special about seeing this series exactly as it aired in its original broadcast. Sure, some remasterings are good and necessary. Comparing this presentation to the presentation in the 20th Century Fox box sets really does make the earlier presentations that much more charming and appealing in general. To that end, one cannot help but wonder if the remastering that was done with this set (and its predecessor in Season One) was truly necessary. Luckily even with that question in mind, this set is not a total loss. The set’s packaging helps its overall presentation in its own right.
The packaging for Garfield & Friends: Season Two is key to its presentation in that it does admittedly save space on audiences’ DVD/BD racks. Unlike the Garfield & Friends sets from 20th Century Fox, this set (and its predecessor) compress the packaging by placing each of its three discs on its own plate inside the case. The third disc is placed in its own spot inside the case. By comparison, 20th Century Fox’s sets each consist of three discs. However, the discs are each placed inside their own slimcase inside the bigger box. This is key to note because the end result is more space taken up on racks than the packaging manner used in this set and that of Season One. To that end, PBS Distribution and Skiprope have actually done audiences a favor here.
Adding to the positive of the packaging is that the packaging method used here serves to protect the discs from one another just as much as the manner used by 20th Century Fox. Keeping that in mind, the packaging used for this collection is just as important to consider as the set’s content. When the packaging and content are considered together, they make the collection in whole a set enjoyable for those who might not already own the previously released Garfield & Friends box sets released by 20th Century Fox and who might be unable to get their hands on those sets.
PBS Distribution and Skiprope’s recently released Garfield & Friends: Season Two box set is a presentation that will appeal to fans of the timeless animated series that who do not already own the series’ DVD sets previously released by 20th Century Fox and those unable to get their hands on those sets, which collectively present the series maybe not in chronological order, but in full. Audiences do get here, the whole of Season Two in its entirety and in precise chronological order. They also get positive packaging. For all of the positives that the set shows, it also does have a negative that cannot be ignored – the general presentation of the episodes. While it clearly detracts from the set’s presentation, it is not enough to make the set entirely unwatchable. It just shows that perhaps the remastering was not entirely necessary. Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of Garfield & Friends: Season Two is enjoyable, but still leaves itself lacking to a point. Garfield & Friends: Season Two is available now. More information on the set is available online now at:
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