I vaguely remember Duckman when it aired on the Canadian channel Teletoon years ago. I remember it used to air back to back with The Simpsons when Teletoon still had the rights to rerun the series. It was a bizarre, crass, and just flat-out hilarious show, one that I wanted to watch more of. But, either Teletoon lost the rights to the USA Network animated series or only had the rights to so many, I never got to check out the entire Duckman series. But now, Paramount Home Entertainment is releasing the whole series starting with this collection of the first two seasons of Duckman. All these years later, does the cult series still hold up?
Duckman isn’t your average suave, sophisticated private eye. In fact, he’s rude, ignorant, slovenly, and hasn’t had a date in years! To make matters worse, he’s having a hard time trying to quit smoking, too! With the help of his infinitely more capable sidekick, Cornfed, Duckman manages to solve enough cases to cover his alimony payments and cable TV bills. As you can expect, things do get a bit more complicated, especially with all the people who want to kill the duck, too! Duckman is the cult-favorite animated sitcom from the mid 1990’s starring Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) as a crude private detective living with his family in the wake of his wife’s death.
Now, as positive as I want to remain for this review, I don’t think this series has fully lived up since it originally aired all those years ago. Now, it’s still a good show, and it has a solid premise full of potential, but I don’t feel it lives up to it. I don’t mean the show is bad, by any means. Quite the opposite, in fact. I thoroughly enjoy the show, but I just wish it was a little better. I wish all the characters had a little more chance to shine because, in the end, only Duckman and Cornfed really make any type of impact here. The rest of the characters don’t seem to hit any note for me at all.
I just want to point out that the leads, Duckman and Cordfed, do basically carry this show on their shoulders, and they do a solid job at it. Gregg Berger, as Cornfed, is just pitch-perfect for the roll and the series itself. In a type of sidekick/Joe Friday roll, Cornfed is the perfect counterpart for Jason Alexander’s boisterous and crude Duckman. King Chicken stands out as a memorable villain for the series, which had quite a few, but most were one-off characters, usually guest-stars and, boy, did this series have a pile of guest-starring characters. The names during the end credits act as almost a “who’s who” of the entertainment world at the time. Impressive.
Still, while I enjoyed a lot of the episodes from the series, I believe it could have been better. Duckman is a series that has a cult following and undoubtedly deserves it, but, to me, it doesn’t stand up as a solid series as it should have been. It’s subversive, has some great humor here and there, and some really fantastic animation at times (I still find the opening credits mesmerizing), but it just doesn’t live up to the solid premise is has.
Overall, I’d have to recommend Duckman for a Rental, and, if it’s your cup of tea, then I’d definitely endorse picking up the first two seasons. The series is a bit uneven at times, but, still, it’s a fun series that has a lot of laugh out loud moments, but, to me, just not enough moments. The two leads are strong characters and do drive the series and, personally, if you enjoy the loud antics of Duckman and his straight-man sidekick Cornfed, then I think you’ll find a lot to enjoy with this series. Duckman is a fun series, but can be inconsistent at times and, personally, I was looking for something just a little more funnier than what the end product here turned out to be.
Paramount Home Entertainment has released Duckman: Seasons One & Two on standard DVD. The DVDs come housed in two slimclases encased in a cardboard slipcase, a nice package that pops on the shelves. As for what’s inside the package, the quality is surprisingly sharp. The video is very nice, especially for such an old series. The colors pop nicely and looks incredibly clear. While the series does show its age, the video transfer really shines here. The audio transfer, which is just a basic transfer, works fine for the release.
The bonus features here is more robust than anticipated, especially for such a release. Here, we get an audio commentary, two featurettes, character profiles, and the standard pre-menu trailers for other CBS DVD releases. The featurettes look back at the show, mostly offering a retrospective look at the series from the main cast and crew of the series. They discuss the origin of the character, the series, and offer little nuggets for this bizarre series. The commentary does just the same, mostly offering little bits of info while fondly remember the cult series. A solid amount of extras that any fan should be happy with.
Overall, Duckman: Season One & Two is a bizarre and funny show which, to me, doesn’t exactly live up to expectations. It’s a good show, don’t get me wrong, but I feel it definitely could’ve offered more. It’s odd, because a show like this is right up my alley but, personally, it’s just not as strong as I’d like. Still, it’s a show that’s at least worth a Rental before deciding to add it to your collection. Take into consideration the nice amount of extras and you have a pretty good package overall. Long-time fans of the series will enjoy it and I’m sure new fans will be easily sucked into the world of Duckman.
Duckman: Seasons One & Two is now available on DVD.