Surviving for twelve strong seasons, South Park is back for another round of pointed commentary and risque humor. With show becoming more current than ever, as you’ll definitely see thanks to more than a couple episodes this season, it manages to hit nearly every episode out of the park with only a few missteps. More importantly, I find it amazing how this show has evolved since it’s rather crude inception over a decade ago to become the powerhouse of a series it is today. Thanks to episodes like last season’s “Imaginationland,” South Park is more popular than ever, and strong seasons like this show that fans, new and old, won’t be disappointed.
All fourteen uncensored episodes from South Park‘s twelfth season are now available in this exclusive three-disc set. In this collection, South Park follows the new President-elect from his acceptance speech to his first official day of duty as Commander in Chief. The boys keep busy helping a pop-princess who’s down on her luck, negotiating a truce for striking Canadians, and preventing giant rodents from destroying the world. For them, it’s all part of growing up in South Park. So sit back and check out some of the craziest adventures you’ll ever see in South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season.
As I said, this is a strong season of South Park. It may not be the strongest, but this season has many more hits than misses here. There’s some really great episodes in here and while none really measure up to some of major recent classics like “Imaginationland” and “Go, God, Go!,” there’s no denying there’s some good stuff in here. Whether it’s the scathing The Lottery-inspired “Britney’s New Look” or the hilarious look at annoying trends, such as “The Ungroundable” and “Elementary School Musical,” South Park hasn’t lost the edge. It’s amazing how the show tends to be so accurate when it tackles modern society and how frankly terrible it can be sometimes. “Britney’s New Look” is a great example at how awful the media can be at times, while “Elementary School Musical” and “The Ungroundable” look at current fads and how ridiculous they can make people act in order to be accepted. It’s pretty harsh, but all hid under the veil of biting comedy and satire. Personally, I think more people should see “Britney’s New Look” to get a good understanding at how terrible the media can be at times, though, at the end of it, just like in the episode, we’ll gladly do it all over again.
And those are just a handful of great episodes we get this season. Other highlights include gems like “Tonsil Trouble,” featuring Cartman’s hilariously awful catch-phrase “I’m not just sure, I’m HIV positive,” and the great-looking “Major Boobage.” Like I said, though, for the most part, nearly every episode is great from this season. There’s no true stand-outs, but you’ll rarely be disappointed with what you get. With that in mind, there are a couple really disappointing episodes, one being “The China Probrem,” an episode which finds Cartman front and center trying to hold off the influx of Chinese culture after the Beijing Olympics. I think Cartman’s a great character, don’t get me wrong, but this episode is a one-trick pony which succumbs to itself very quickly. “Canada on Strike” is also another weak episode, the second weakest of the season. Outside from these two noticeable episodes, I found the others really enjoyable.
I just want to point out the episode “About Last Night,” included in this collection, is a particularly noteworthy episode for a very special reason. Since I don’t want to spoil this episode too much, I’ll be brief. I recommend that you check out this episode and then check out the great bonus feature in this set which will explain how South Park managed to pull this specific episode off. Like I said, I’m not going to spoil anything about this episode and you’ll see why when you give this season a spin.
I guess what I find great about this season is how South Park has evolved since the first episode, and somewhat aging along with the fan-base while managing to attract new viewers as well. The show has become a great look at modern life and, surprisingly, remains a great look at modern-life. Even past seasons manage to remain up-to-date and current with our everyday sociology, which just shows just how in-tune the creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker with both pop culture and the world around us. I just find it interesting how it can manage to be so accurate without smashing us over the head over nay given topic (unless it’s really necessary like, again, in “Britney’s New Look”). Thankfully, the show also knows when to have a little, such as episodes like “Eek! A Penis!” and “Super Fun Time.” There’s a great balance this season which proves, yet again, that Stone and Parker are at the top (or nearly at the top) of their game.
For those curious, the episodes in this release include “Tonsil Trouble,” “Britney’s New Look,” “Major Boobage,” “Canada on Strike,” “Eek, a Penis!,” “Over Logging,” “Super Fun Time,” “The China Probrem,” “Breast Cancer Show Ever,” “Pandemic,” “Pandemic 2 – The Startling,” “About Last Night,” “Elementary School Musical,” and “The Ungroundable.”
South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season contains a lot of gems to be found, most of which I didn’t even touch upon in this review. If you haven’t had the chance to catch them on television, now is your chance to check out another great season of South Park. For fans of the show, purchasing this season is a particular no-brainer. While there may not be any break-out episode hits like in previous seasons, there are more than enough hilarious episodes to keep anyone entertained for over five hours. More than ever, South Park continues to be more relevant than ever, holding up a crooked mirror to society and making fun of us the entire time. South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season comes Highly Recommended as it manages to continue to evolve but never lose the sharp edge that makes this one of the best shows on television today.
For the first time, Paramount Home Video has released South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season/ on both standard DVD and Blu-ray, and wow, does this show ever look good on Blu-ray. The packaging for the Blu-ray is nearly identical to the DVD packaging save for the Blu-ray banner. I’d also like to point out that, on the Blu-ray version at least, Paramount has corrected the text on the spine and basically flipped it to be properly aligned. While this means the spine will be different than the previous DVD releases, it’s finally aligned on the package properly. It’s a good looking package, one that South Park fans will find quite pleasing.
As for the audio and video quality of the release, this is probably the best South Park has ever looked. There are some noticeable defects but, even compared to the previous DVD releases of South Park, there is a noticeable jump in quality. The video itself, in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, looks really nice in high-definition. An incredible amount of detail really becomes apparent thanks to this high-definition release. However, there are some transfer issues like color banding and motion blur. It’s a noticeable improvement in video, but some problems still remain. The audio is also pretty surprising too. While the show really isn’t made for the TrueHD experience, it still sounds pretty amazing here, with explosions coming out loud and clear and dialog as crisp as can be. It’s a pretty solid sound mix and, overall, Paramount Home Entertainment has given South Park a good, not great, audio and video.
Fans should be more than pleased with the level of bonus material for this release. First off we get the standard Mini-Commentary Tracks for each episode, and it’s refreshing to see so much information packed into these short four – five minute bursts of commentary. Even after all these years, these mini-commentary tracks are still effective and worth checking out on every single episode. After that we get “The Making of ‘Major Boobage'” featurette, a closer look at the production of the Heavy Metal-inspired episode. “Six Days to South Park” runs over an hour in length and provides a look at how an episode comes together over the span of a week. We see an episode at various stages in production, providing a lot of great behind-the-scenes material. We follows this up with the “Behind the Scenes – ‘About Last Night'” featurette, providing a look at how the creative team scrambled to finish this episode in less than 24 hours? And why? Well, pick up the set and found out! And naturally, and listed as an extra, each episode is uncensored without a single bleep to be found.
A Digital Copy of the entire twelfth season is also included.
Paramount Home Entertainment has done a stellar job with the Blu-ray release of South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season, bringing in roughly three hours of extras, not including the uncensored audio or Digital Copy, that fans will undoubtedly enjoy. Not only is this another enjoyable season, even if it is not the best, but there’s an ample amount of bonus material to support it. If this is the first of many more seasons of South Park to be released on Blu-ray, then I think we’re going to be in for some stellar releases for the foreseeable future. Paramount Home Entertainment has put together a nice looking package that not only provides us with a nice amount of new material, but also shows there’s still room for improvement. While there are some flaws in the transfer, South Park has never looked better and I’m sure some fans will be blown away with what they see. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that the Blu-ray release of South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season comes Highly Recommended.
South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on March 10th, 2009.