“Robot Chicken” is easily one of the funniest shows on television and a personal favorite of mine. This fifth season, while not the strongest in its run, has some funny bits and like before, a great collection of guest voice talents. Seth Green and company also know how to package a home video release with plenty of features to justify the price given each episode is only 11-12 minutes long.
Genre(s): Animation, Comedy
Warner Bros. | TVMA – 220 min. – $39.99 | October 25, 2011
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Seth Green & Matthew Senreich (created by)
Cast: Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, Katee Sackhoff, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mila Kunis, etc.
Features: Episode Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Animatics, Alternate Audio, Promos
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080i/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
Note: This review will primarily focus on the features, video and audio aspects of this Blu-ray release.
Just when your brain cells had replenished, “Robot Chicken” returns with its unique blend of slap happy, stop-motion moonshine! And just wait ‘til you see what’s on tap: twenty new episodes of gut-bustin’, toy-torturin’, memory scarrin’ sketch comedy designed to defile all the nostalgia your inner child holds dear!
“Robot Chicken” enters its fifth season garnering higher ratings each year. It’s also a show that viewers of most ages, 18 and above of course, that can get into as they take on toys, games, shows and movies from people’s childhoods. Seth Green and company don’t hold back and thanks to home video (DVD or Blu-ray), the viewer gets the uncensored versions.
Also in a new twist, Adult Swim/Warner are releasing 9 episodes before they air, an odd plan if you ask me but better to have a set with 20 episodes than a half season with only 10… Here is a rundown of the episodes which contain most of your favorite characters from Skeletor, He-Man and Bitch Pudding to newer ones like… Molar and… many others.
01. Saving Private Gigli
02. Terms of Endaredevil
03. Big Trouble in Little Clerks 2
04. Kramer vs. Showgirls
05. Malcolm X: Fully Loaded
06. Robot Chicken’s DP Christmas Special
07. Major League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
08. Schindler’s Bucket List
09. No Country for Old Dogs
10. Catch Me If You Kangaroo Jack
11. Beastmaster and Commander
13. The Departy Monster
14. Some Like it Hitman
15. The Core, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover
16. Casablankman II
17. The Curious Case of the Box
18. The Godfather and the Bride II
19. Fool’s Goldfinger
20. Fight Club Paradise
All in all, “Robot Chicken” continues to have success even after five seasons merely using puppets and outlandish gags. The crew Seth Green and Matthew Senreich have brought together is top of the line in delivering mostly hilarious skits (I say mostly since, like in any series, you will have your duds). This might not be the strongest season they’ve done but it’s still really entertaining and worth checking out especially if you’re a fan of often juvenile humor and/or non-PC jokes.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.25/5
Each episode is only 11-12 minutes but what makes these season sets worth the price is Seth Green and company load their DVDs – and now Blu-rays – with an s-load of features, far more than really needed.
Episode Commentaries – Like the previous season sets, each episode receives a group commentary from a variety of people including Seth Green and Breckin Meyer as well as guest voice talents Colin Hanks, Katee Sackhoff, Alan Tudyk, Donald Faison, Mila Kunis, Nathan Fillion, Rachael Leigh Cook and many others. If you’ve ever listened to the commentaries on the other sets, you know what you’re getting which is mainly a bunch of friends crammed into a room talking amongst themselves, sometimes about what’s going on-screen and other times just joking around.
Featurettes (TRT 23:40)
A Day in the Life of “Robot Chicken” (7:11; HD) is a fun, but too quick, look at how an episode is put together from the writers’ meeting to guest celebrities recording their lines. We get comments from the various guest celebs like Olivia Munn, Nathan Fillion, Elijah Woods, Michelle Trachtenberg and others.
Voice Acting (5:02; HD) is a look into the art of voice acting and getting the celeb voice talents to do their quick bits. Like the previous featurette, you get the actors talking about doing their sketches.
The Jon Hamm Story (1:30; HD) tells a strange story that started on an airplane that evolved into Hamm coming in to do a guest voice role.
Nathan Fillion: Conspiracy Theorist (1:17; HD) – In this joke featurette, Fillion talks about the talents that have worked on the show and theorizes the creators must have something on them to get their participation.
Behind the Scenes: Blue Rabbit (2:14; HD) – This shows how the Avatar satire came about showing the recording session for the song.
Behind the Scenes: Episode 100 (2:42; HD) is another short featurette that covers the 100th episode (and season five finale) and the shooting of the big end sequence.
Taco Libre (3:41; HD) is an eating competition between series director Chris McKay (a.k.a. Mucho Borracho) and technical supervisor Andy Windak (a.k.a. Rey Viento).
Chicken Nuggets is a feature where you can watch an episode and gain access to sketch video commentary (i.e. short interview footage) when the chicken icon pops up. Episodes available are: ‘Saving Private Gigli’, ‘Big Trouble in Little Clerks 2’, ‘Robot Chicken’s DP Christmas Special’ and ‘Fight Club Paradise’.
Sing-A-Long (1:24; HD) – Here you can do a karaoke sing-a-long with the Blue Rabbit song.
Alternate Audio (6:46; HD) are 7 alternate audio riffs by various guest voice talents and the main cast. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Promos (22:21; HD) – There are a ton of different promos for “Robot Chicken” that aired on Cartoon Network including the animated Seth Green and Matt Senreich answering questions. Others include commercials for “RC” toys and general advertising for upcoming episodes.
Deleted Scenes (10:59; HD) – Seven sketches, with intros, that didn’t make the cut are included here. Given the length, this is almost an episode on its own… just not as funny.
Deleted Animatics (69:45; HD) – 53 animatics that didn’t make it beyond initial drawings are included here. There’s a wide range here including taking on scenes from Indiana Jones to The Goonies and E.T. to just some random stuff. Some of them were pretty funny but mostly forgettable. Most of these include simple intros.
VIDEO – 3.75/5
“Robot Chicken” makes its debut on Blu-ray with a 1080i high-definition transfer. The show is presented in 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and is on par or most likely exactly what was shown on Cartoon Network. Colors are bright and the detail level, for clay/action figures/animation, is good. I can’t say this would be a whole lot better than the DVD except maybe less pixilation.
AUDIO – 2.75/5
The Blu-ray comes with a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track and I have to say, it’s a really weak mix. The audio during the sketches is absolutely flat, has no depth and in fact tops out during certain times. Obviously this show isn’t dependent on having a masterful audio mix, but I was a little surprised that it was no better than the previous season’s standard Dolby Digital tracks.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, “Robot Chicken” is easily one of the funniest shows on television and a personal favorite of mine. This fifth season, while not the strongest in its run, has some funny bits and like before, a great collection of guest voice talents. Seth Green and company also know how to package a home video release with plenty of features to justify the price given each episode is only 11-12 minutes long. With regard to the first Blu-ray release for the series, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The video is good but unremarkable while the audio is hardly impressive. The only positive I will say about this release is that it’s all on one disc versus two on DVD.