Another season collection of The Simpsons has arrived in timely manner. As usual, with it comes a massive collection of extras. If there’s one thing that these sets are consistent with, it’s the quality of extra material they add onto the DVD package. However, I can’t say the same about the quality of the series itself. While previous season, up to season eight or so, every episode on the collection was watchable. Here? Not so much. There are some winners, yes, but there are a couple stinkers, too. But, is this collection worth picking up, especially for The Simpsons fans? Well . . . yeah. Onto the synopsis . . .
The hijinks and humor of America’s favorite family continue on August 7th when The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season comes to DVD from Fox Home Entertainment. Arriving on the heels of the show’s historic 400th episode and the theatrical debut of The Simpsons Movie, this DVD collection features all 23 episodes from the laugh-out-loud tenth season and boasts an impressive roster of outstanding guest stars including Elton John, Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger, Ron Howard, Dolly Parton, John Madden, Troy Aikman and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.
Like the above says, there’s a host of guest-stars. Some work, some don’t. Well, I’d say the majority don’t, as they seem mostly in the vein of “Oh my god! It’s . . .,” and then insert the name of the actor. There’s a few humorous ones, most notably Mark Hamill. It seems this season, more than ever, the series fell into the trap of just throwing in big names for no reason, most of which having nothing to do with the plot of the actual episode. And if they’re worked into the plot of the episode, it rarely works. Again, save for Hamill’s cameo (which is pretty much the highlight for the episode “Mayored to the Mob.”).
Now, I could easily go on about the diminishing quality of the series, but that’d be beating the perverbial dead horse. Yes, the show’s decline is obvious. Some, however, liked how the show changed. Instead of great personal, almost real, episodes in the earlier seasons, we now get more wacky adventures, most of which are focused on whatever zany job Homer gets. Again, “Mayored to the Mob” is an example. However, not all these episodes are a total lose, but pretty every episode is not completely 100%, either. Episodes like “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace” and “Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo” aren’t all that bad . . . but then the bizarre ending comes up. I get a giggle out of seeing the likes of Godzilla, but . . . it’s lame. And it doesn’t seem very Simpson-y to me. Or The Simpsons that I enjoyed the most, in particular. The episodes from the second, third, fourth and fifth (and a handful from the sixth, seventh, and eight) seasons are especially dear to me. Another episode, “Monty Can’t Buy Me Love,” just goes off the deep end in the same fashion, with the episode turning into a hunt for the Loch Ness monster. What?
There are a handful of episodes that really work, like “They Saved Lisa’s Brain,” and “Bart The Mother,” though they feel woefully out of place with most of the other episodes. And, even though they tried, the “Simpsons Bible Stories” episode and the annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode fall flat. Some episodes even try to balance the wacky with the down to Eath stuff, like “Lard of the Dance.” A nice episode with Lisa trying to fit in . . . that’s sort of ruined with the whole Homer/Bart subplot. The episodes are a mixed bag, really, but some fans really dig these episodes (as I assume it was during this era they started watching The Simpsons). Long time fans usually just shake their head at anything touched by Mike Scully, and I can see why.
Now, the episodes themselves are a mixed bag, but what of the extra content? As usual, it’s pretty damn stellar. The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season is packed with numerous bonus features, include yet another special introduction from Matt Groening, audio commentaries on every episode with Groening and “Simpsons” executive producers, writers, actors and directors, deleted scenes with commentary, multi-angle animation showcases, original sketches, commercials, a special language featurette, “A Glimpse Inside” (A Bit From The Animators), The Simpsons Movie DVD sneak peek and some more bits here and there!
The extras are good, of course. I will say I was let down in the sneak peek of The Simpsons Movie DVD, which was no more than an animatic. I can only assume, and hope, the DVD release for The Simpsons Movie will be a nice two-disc affair, packed with the same type of extras we’ve come to expect on the season collection. As for the extras found here, they’re all pretty stellar. A fair amount of the deleted scenes are humor, though I can see why they were excised. The commentaries are on the same level as before, though you can tell they’re running out stuff to talk about. The added stuff like sketches and commercials, etc., are great to see, and add to the overall value of the package itself. If you don’t like the episodes, the extras are at least worth it.
And, like before, the DVD collection also includes unique packing options – a special Limited Edition Bart Simpson box, as well as a collectible illustrated gatefold digipack.
I can see why The Simpsons remains the biggest selling TV-on-DVD series to date, since there’s so much to offer the fans. Whether it’s fans of the older episodes, the “Mike Scully” era, or what have you, these appeal to just about everyone. The extras are, of course, top notch across the board. The audio and video remain the same, the quality hovering just above the television presentation. All episodes are, of course, unedited. Overall, I’d have to Recommend this release. For completists, it’s a no-brainer. Fan of the older episodes may want to avoid this, but could at least check out the extras. It’s a solid collection of extras, covering episodes that divide the fanbase. It’s worth picking up, in my humble opinion. And Fox has released the DVD at just the right time, on the coat tails of their wildly successful The Simpsons Movie release. Go on out and add The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season to your collection.
The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season is now available on DVD.