Review by Stuart O'Connor
Stars the voices of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith,
Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Marcia Wallace, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille | Created by Matt Groening
UK certification 12 | UK RRP £39.99 | DVD Region 2 | Runtime 484 minutes | Directed by Mark Kirkland & others
I've been a Simpsons viewer since the day it began (and pretty much enjoyed most of them, even through the so-called lean years), so imagine my surprise when I sat down to review Season 15 ... and realised that I had never seen most of its episodes.
Imagine, then, my joy at being able to enjoy almost 22 episodes of factory-fresh Simpsons, even though they were were made about a decade ago. And even though some of the cultural references are a little dated (Tony Blair was still the British prime minister, for one), there's still an awful lot to laugh at and enjoy here. As always, this season of The Simpsons features a stellar line-up of guest stars: Glenn Close, J.K. Rowling, Mr T, Jennifer Garner, Jerry Lewis, Sir Ian McKellan, Michael Moore, Simon Cowell, Charles Napier, Jackie Mason, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Thomas Pynchon, Tom Clancy, Jon Lovitz, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jane Kaczmarek, Nichelle Nichols, and even Simpsons creator Matt Groening.
And, as always, there are some standout episodes – the annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween special is a corker, with a terrific riff on Frankenstein, some great time skipping shenanigans and a visit from the Grim Reaper. Other first-rate eps are My Mother the Carjacker, with the return of Homer's mum; The Regina Monologues, where the Simpsons visit the UK; Diatribe of a Mad Housewife, where Marge becomes a novelist; and Smart and Smarter, where the Simpsons learn that the smartest member of the family is ... Maggie. All in all, a more than decent season of this long, long-running show.
EXTRAS ★★★★ The Simpsons DVD box sets never skimp on the extras, and once again the show's makers have come up trumps. There are audio commentaries on EVERY episode; an introduction to the season from creator Matt Groening; deleted scenes; animation showcases; sketch galleries; commercials; the featurette The Unusual Ones; and the featurette Living in the Moment.