Robot Chicken: Season 1 (DVD)

A stoopid monkey; a rhino humping a jeep; a reality TV show starring superheroes; a vengeful Jesus (Tarantino style); Two Kirks, a Khan & a Pizza Place; a crazy Japanese gameshow called Who Poop Last; Bill Clinton tipping cows; Zombie Idol. And that's just some of what's in Epsiode 1 of this wacky show.

Actually, wacky doesn't quite cover it. Robot Chicken is sick, twisted, warped, crazy, extremely stupid and one of the funniest things on television. It's come from the mind of actor Seth Green — you know, the guy who played Oz the werewolf in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Scott Evil in the Austin Powers films. And he voices Chris Griffin on Family Guy. Yep, him — short, redheaded fellow. The really clever thing about Robot Chicken is that it's all done with stop-motion animation, using "action figures" — or dolls, as we normal people call them. Which means that over the years, the makers have done lots and lots of superhero gags, and Transformers gags (Optimus Prime with prostate cancer!), gags with the various Star Trek crews, the Olsen twins, and Voltron. Having Hollywood cred — and lots of Hollywood pals — means that Green can get all manner of voice talent into his show. Like American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. Ha, sorry, I was only kidding — no, not about Seacrest being a voice on the show, just about him having any talent. Other stars lending their voices to season one are Family Guy cohorts Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis, Phil LaMarr and Alex Borstein, along with Macaulay Culkin, Rachael Leigh Cook, Amy Smart, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Burt Reynolds, Mark Hamill, Scarlett Johansson, Conan O'Brien, Linda Cardellini, Phyllis Diller, Don Knotts and Freddie Prinze Jr. Man, that Green guy sure is connected.

No cow is too sacred, no target off limits, no pop culture bubble too big to burst. It's brave, dangerous and very silly indeed. And the most fun you can have in front of the TV with your clothes on. My one whinge about this release is that unlike the Family Guy DVDs, these are the TV-friendly, censored versions of the shows; it wojuld have been nice to have the bleep-free versions. Oh, and another whinge: why did it take so long for season one — whch was made in 2005 — to find its way onto DVD here in the UK? Oh, and another thing, while I think of it ... for some strange reason,the episode titles on the DVD don't quite correspond to the season one episode titles listed at IMDb. Why is that?

EXTRAS *** Audio commentaries on each episode; deleted scenes and animatics; bumps (aka Adult Swim promos for the show); animation meetings (featuring Seth being... well, very Seth-like) ; a behind-the-scenes featurette; a photo gallery; Robot Chicken pilot "Sweet J Presents"; wire comparisons; and animatic-to-episode comparisons.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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