I'm a huge cartoon nerd who in particular loves the Saturday morning and syndicated stuff from the 80s and it's unfortunate that I think I'm both the exact target audience for a release like this as well as one of of the fans completely let down by this style of release.
Real quick, the WB presents SMC 1980s 2-disc set is a compilation of single episodes from eleven different 80s cartoons including:
Thundarr the Barbarian Mr. T Dragon's Lair The Flintstone Kids Galtar and the Golden Lance The Biskitts The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley The Monchichis Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos Tex Avery's the Kwicky Koloa Show Goldie Gold & Action Jack
There's also a short 18 minute special feature called Lords of Light that reminisces on the production of Thundarr the Barbarian with a handful of talking head intervews (including some great insights from writers, as well as the creator/producers of the series Joe Ruby and Ken Spears.)
First off, for the casual fan there's a lot to like about a compilation set like this. If you're only curious about getting a taste of the various shows that aired during Saturday Morning throughout the 80s, then a set like this is great. There's a nice range of mystery solving, action, and comedy with enough recognizable highlights (the Flintstone Kids, Mr. T, and Thundarr) to offset the more obscure series (Goldie Gold & Action Jack, Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, and the Monchichis.) Unfortunately, even for the casual fan the set has little to no re-play value, and so it would fall into the realm of the impulse buy or one-time Netflix rental.
For the more hardcore fans the set is a disaster. On the one hand we're getting 11 shows that have never seen release on DVD before, a handful of which fans have been clamoring for, for years. Also, fans are getting an opportunity to catch episodes of series they may never have gotten a chance to see back in the day (like Galtar or the Biskitts) and it's quite possible that one episode is all they need. But on the other hand, for fans of shows like the Mr. T cartoon and Thundarr the Barbarian, this set is just a slap in the face from Warner Brothers. I'd hazard a guess to say that most hardcore fans, the people that are essentially the audience for the cartoons released on this set, don't want to settle for single episodes of their favorite shows.
The idea behind these compilations as I understand it, is for Warner Brothers to find a happy medium between spending a lot of money producing complete series and season sets of cartoons that don't sell well and the more cost effective single-disc releases for series that fans tend to hate. To be fair Warner is looking at producing sets that meet in the middle, giving fans the variety they desire with something more substantial than a 4-episode single-disc release for only one show. It seems logical, but all this set really is, is a glorified single disc release.
What Warner is really doing is cutting their target audience in half with these compilations. The people who would gladly buy full season or complete series sets for shows like Thundarr and Mr. T will most likely ignore these sets, leaving only the fans that want everything from the 80s and the fickle casual fans that are probably not all that interested in paying $20 for a set like this.
That's not to mention the people who don't realize that sets like this are limited to what WB has available in their vaults. So my guess is that a lot of casual fans think the included shows are a little too obscure and would rather have a set that features more episode from series that they remember more fondly, like Dungeons and Dragons in place of Dragonslayer, the Snorks in place of the Monchichis, or the Shirt Tales in place of the Biskitts.
At the end of the day I'm glad to have some of these episodes on DVD and I appreciate the bind Warner Brothers is in considering that past releases of complete series sets haven't sold well enough to continue on this trend. But I also feel kind of gipped on a $20 release that I'll most likely watch once while I sit pining for more episodes of Thundarr the Barbarian. Honestly, these sets would be more much attractive at a $12 MSRP...
If you're like me and would rather have full season/series sets of some of the cartoons featured on this anthology, don't fret. Warner Archive Collection is starting to release some of them in the print-on-demand format! Thundarr the Barbarian is 1st, hopefully followed by Mr. T...
From KIDS FIRST!:If you remember the excitement of waking up early on Saturday morning to watch cartoons, then get ready for a new treat as you enjoy favorites from your childhood with the next generation. This collection of cartoons from the 1980s will keep you laughing and rooting for the good guys as you walk down memory lane. Join the adventures of Thundarr and Mr. T,. and laugh with The Flintstone kids and The Monchhichis. The DVD set also includes The Kwicky Koala Show, Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, Galtar and the Golden Lance and The Biskitts. As some adult reviewers pointed out - the trip down memory lane, viewing cartoon favorites from the past was “awesome,” and they even got to view some shows from the 80s that they had never heard of before. KIDS FIRST! Child Juror Comments: This is a great movie because I get to watch some things that my mom and dad watched when they were as old as I am. I think my friends would like it because they like The Flintstones, and I think they would think it’s cool to watch The Flintstone Kids. The cinematography was good, but not as good as things are now. Some of the episodes looked like drawings on paper. It was pretty good for the 80s, though. The characters were pretty kind to each other even though there were bad guys in the episodes. The bad guys never won. My favorite part was in The Flintstone Kids when Freddy made the bet that if their team won the game, ...