When Dinosaurs: The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons arrives on DVD, it’ll have been exactly one year since the first set, containing the first and second seasons, will have landed on shelves. Some may call this delay a bit too long for a show that has left the minds of hundreds of thousands of people watched it on primetime TV, but if you consider that there are two seasons per set the wait is a bit easier to swallow.
For those who don’t know what Dinosaurs is about, think The Flintstones only instead of using dinosaurs as furniture and appliances, they’re the focus of the show and these dinosaurs have technology that exists in the 90s. It’s a goofy premise, but it doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining—quite the contrary. The series continues to impress to this day with its writing and directing, even with its age.
In the third and fourth seasons of Dinosaurs, the puppetry improved, the designs of the characters were slightly altered and the writing was definitely knocked up a notch. While some may find the political and “after school special” writing a bit annoying, I found it rather impressive how much they got away with for a show as old as this. Not only was it surprising with the subject matter, but I still found myself rather entertained by the show, after all these years. I haven’t seen the show since it went off the air and a few repeats on the Disney channel once or twice, so my remembrance of Dinosaurs is a bit thin. Still, it’s a highly entertaining show with writing that still manages to make me laugh and puppetry that still makes my jaw drop.
The puppetry in this show is really impressive. As they stated on the commentaries, right as they reached the height of animatronics and puppetry, CGI came into play with the release of Jurassic Park. The movements are fluid and the look of the show still holds up today…I was really, really impressed with how well the show holds up.
Between some of the gutsier moves that these final seasons took on (the cliff dropping of grandma and the ice age finale), this season still holds up as solid entertainment to this day.
Packaged in dual tray digi-pak trays, this is a space-saving set to put on your shelf. Art is clean and clear around the package with some prehistoric-style sand/dirt as backdrops behind the discs. Discs feature characters from the show on each (oddly enough, none feature the Baby) and menus are quick and easy to navigate. Music is on the main menu only and all menus feature static art that is different on each discs menu.
Video and audio on this release is clean and clear. Some of the video is a bit blurry and compressed at times, but on the whole it’s extremely clean looking for its age. Audio is terrific as well, bringing forth voices, music and sound effects through with great clarity, even in a mere stereo track.
Special features on this release is a bit short, but satisfactory. Only two commentaries are on this set, one for season three’s premiere and a season four episode dealing with the tar pits. Oddly enough there isn’t a commentary on the finale, although there is information on the controversy behind it in the special features. The commentaries are a lot of fun to listen to and are better than the episodes themselves in some cases. They mock each other and poke fun at the show, all the while complementing each other and other cast and crew that aren’t on the commentary. Both commentaries are well worth a listen, especially if you’re a fan of the show.
The other special features are well worth watching as well. The first is one that focuses on the Baby and the insane popularity of that character. The voice and puppeteer and other crew on the show chime in with their thoughts on why he was so popular and what made him loved by kids. The other special feature covers the controversies the show spun and dealt with and the rather shocking ending to the series. What’s nice in these special features for shows old and no longer being marketed on TV is that everyone can be so candid in their responses.
There is an easter egg on the fourth disc I found, though I didn’t find anything on other discs (though I’m notoriously horrible at finding them) that deals with the voice/puppeteer of Baby meeting Jim Henson for the first time.
Overall the special features are a bit slim, but with a near 700 minutes of episodes on the set, it’s well worth the price if you’re a fan. Casual viewers may want to rent it first, but the total experience is worth a look if you were a fan of the show but forget most of it—it was a real trip back to the past for me and I greatly enjoyed it. This release gets an easy and solid Recommended from me.
Dinosaurs: The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons arrives on DVD on May 1st.