DVD Review: Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1: Season One

Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1: Season One
Written and Directed by Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis
Starring Carey Means, Dana Snyder, Dave Willis, C. Martin Croker
Adult Swim
Release Date: October 11, 2011

I was hesitant about watching this DVD. Being a big fan of the Adult Swim animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force I was more than a little apprehensive when an announcement was made last year that the show was undergoing a title change and possibly having the title characters go back to being low rent detectives for hire as they were when the show premiered back in 2000. But I trusted the show’s creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis and their talented creative team and hilarious voice cast to deliver on the offbeat humor and surreal plotlines that break from the confines of traditional storytelling (even for a show that airs after midnight on Adult Swim). It’s on that basis that on the new DVD Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1: Season One they still haven’t let me down.

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Dragon*Con 2010: Adult Swim Panel: New ‘Aqua Teen & ‘Squidbillies’ In 2011 (Feat. Puppet Carl)

Whenever Adult Swim hosts a panel at Dragon*Con, it’s safe to assume they’ve brought their “A” games — and by that I mean those in attendance will get an exclusive performance and most likely will leave laughing their asses off.

Specifically, I’m referring to the team behind Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Squidbillies, who’s panel opened with show creator and voice actor Dave Willis taking stage to recite a monologue performed by a puppet version of Carl. Soon there after, voice talent Dana Snyder joined with a Master Shake puppet.

The puppets — presumably from the ATHF live action show tour Willis and Snyder did earlier in the year — were actually a genius idea to associate the voices with the characters (since voice actors aren’t always easy to identify).

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DVD Review: Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Vol. 7
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Aqua Teen Hunger Force Vol. 7
Starring Dave Willis, Dana Snyder, Carey Means
Cartoon Network/Adult Swim
Release date: June 1, 2010

For the first three or four seasons, I was addicted to Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Hell, I even saw the Aqua Teen movie in the theater. Twice. But then I kind of fell off and missed a bunch of episodes, so this Vol 7 DVD set of the show is the first with episodes that I haven’t seen before. I watched this trying to find out if the show had regained whatever it was that I loved about the earlier seasons.

There are a lot of good episodes on this set, but I still think the show has lost whatever it was that made me love those first few seasons. I don’t know if I’m just tired of the humor, or if the jokes are just over used, but there just aren’t as many quotable lines as there used to be. There are still some good episodes, including the return of Dr. Wongburger, and an episode with Hitler returned as a balloon.

Also included in this set is the live-action episode featuring T-Pain, H. Jon Benjamin, and contest winner Dave Long as Carl. The live-action episode was a great experiment, but I don’t think it worked out as well as I hoped it would. It’s really just not that funny, other than being even more absurdist than the show normally is.

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DVD Review: Adult Swim in a Box

Adult Swim in a Box
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 2 | Space Ghost Season 3 | Moral Oral Season 1 | Robot Chicken Season 2 | Metalocalypse Season 1 | Sealab Season 2
Cartoon Network
Release date: October 27, 2009

It is true what they say: Good things do come in small packages. Or in the case of Adult Swim in a Box, it comes in a small box. This new collection offers up full seasons of SeaLab 2021, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Metalocalypse, Robot Chicken, Moral Orel, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The set also comes with a nice bonus disc full of Adult Swim pilots never before seen until now. And with a price tag of $69.95 (and that’s the list price; Amazon has it now for $50.49), it is hard to find anything wrong with a set like this but not impossible.

Like it is written on the DVD, this set is indeed a cash grab. The fine folks at Adult Swim have packed in six seasons’ worth (around 20 hours) of content. This, along with the price tag, is a definite steal for any fan of Adult Swim who has not gotten the DVD sets for themselves or as a gift for a person who has not been properly introduced to the lunacy that is Adult Swim. My only big issue with the set is the lack of fluidity among the seasons.

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DVD Review: Adult Swim Double Feature: ‘Robot Chicken’ S3 & ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ S6

Robot Chicken: Season 3
Release Date: October 7, 2008
Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Vol. 6
Release Date: December 16, 2008
Warner Home Entertainment

I love watching Adult Swim, the Cartoon Network’s brilliantly unhinged block of late night animation programming. It’s the greatest experiment in popular animation: the block functions practically like a laboratory where a multiplying group of mad scientists armed with art supplies, computer software, and a collective absurdist sense of humor are given free reign to let their deranged imaginations run riot. Sometimes this results in a messy explosion, but most of the time the results are wonders to behold. If that wasn’t enough the Adult Swim block has also served as a pet cemetery for resurrecting under-appreciated shows like Family Guy and Futurama and a prime hangout spot for shows that never had a chance in this life or the next, like The Oblongs and Clerks. Then there are shows like Sealab 2021 and Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law that took characters and concepts from the vintage Hanna-Barbera heyday of the 1960’s and 1970’s and completely turned them on their heads, which may seem like an act of blasphemy in the eyes of animation traditionalists but I dare you to question the genius of taking those boring and stolid superheroes and transforming them into mental patients and sexual deviants. That’s golden.

What’s more important is that they never fail to entertain you. The go-for-broke attitude that spread to everyone involved with the production of these shows after a while begins to get to you. If getting each episode produced is an extremely arduous task, it never seems that way because while you’re watching you’re laughing so hard or at least thinking to yourself several times during the show what the fuck was going on in their heads while they were putting this together, and you can’t imagine any member of the cast and crew getting through a writing or voiceover session without cracking up in laughter. It’s a joyous kind of lunacy that proves to be infectious time and again.

Now Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has issued the latest full season DVD sets for two of Adult Swim’s best shows.

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