The Simpsons-Greatest Hits (1989)

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Released 31-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-The Simpsons Complete First And Second Seasons
Trailer-The Simpsons Film Festival & Backstage Pass
Trailer-The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror & Risky Business
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 112:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Neil Affleck
Bob Anderson
Mikel B. Anderson
Wesley Archer
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
Marcia Wallace
Phil Hartman
Tress MacNeille
Pamela Hayden
Maggie Roswell
Russi Taylor
Doris Grau
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Alf Clausen
Ray Colcord
Danny Elfman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Italian
Norwegian
Spanish
Swedish
French Titling
German Titling
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes, Patty & Selma of course!
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during two episodes.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    On this DVD we are presented with five milestone Simpsons episodes including the very first episode, the 100th episode, the 200th episode, the highest rated episode 'to date' and the episode in which Maggie speaks for the first time (her voice incidentally was provided by none other than Elizabeth Taylor). Each episode includes a brief introduction at the start explaining these significant milestones in the Simpsons history.

    I must confess that I thought I had seen every episode of The Simpsons (more than twice) but upon watching the very first episode on this DVD I realised that after all this time I'd missed one. Having said that I didn't miss out on much - the comedy has definitely improved over the years. The episodes here are:

Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire

    The 1st episode. This is where it all began way back on December 17th, 1989. Nearly all the characters are introduced here, from Mr. Burns to Barney Gumble. And having never seen this episode before I now know how Santa's Little Helper came join the Simpson family! No more lying awake at night wondering anymore.

Sweet Seymour Skinner's Badass Song

    The 100th episode. When Bart brings Santa's Little Helper to school he inadvertently gets Principle Skinner fired when the dog escapes into the ventilation system and Superintendent Chalmers pays an unexpected visit to the school. Skinner then re-enlists in the Army.

Trash Of The Titans

    The 200th episode. Homer gets into strife with the local garbage men and decides run for sanitation commissioner to replace the current commissioner (voiced by Steve Martin). As part of his election campaign Homer goes to a U2 concert where he shows up on their giant TV screen. The boys from U2 (Bono, Edge, Adam and I think Larry) and their producer Paul McGuiness kindly donated their voices for this episode.

Bart Gets An 'F'

    The highest rated episode 'to date'. When Bart is informed that if he gets one more 'F' he will have to repeat the fourth grade he has to pull himself together and study in order not to fail his next exam. To do this he makes a deal with the class nerd Martin to show him how to study. In exchange, Bart shows Martin how to be cool.

Lisa First Word

    Marge tells the story of Lisa's first word and how Bart was initially very jealous of his new born sister. As mentioned previously this is also the episode where we hear Maggie speak for the first time.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Like the previous Simpsons highlights DVDs, the video quality varies depending on the age of the episode. The transfer is presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and naturally is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The Simpsons has never been particularly sharp in my experience owing to its NTSC source, so it comes as no surprise that the episodes here are a little on the soft side. Once again the first episode is the one that suffers most. Shadow detail is somewhat difficult to review in this case as it is purely at the mercy of the animators. It all depends on how many shades of grey and black they use.

    The colours are a little faded in the older episodes. There is definitely an improvement in colour richness in the later episodes, in particular Trash Of The Titans.

    As with previous Simpsons releases there is some dot crawl present throughout all of the episodes but it is particularly abundant throughout the first episode. It is most noticeable around the whites of the characters' eyes and around the yellow credits. White and yellow seem to be most vulnerable to the dot crawl. It is far less of a problem in the later episodes but is still visible during the opening title and the closing credits of all of them. What interests me most about this artefact is that it does not appear to be present during the broadcast of the Simpsons on TEN Digital. The TEN network appear to be getting a proper component, digital or even film source rather than a composite source. It makes you wonder why the same source could not be used for these DVDs.

    There are no problems with MPEG artefacts although the previously mentioned dot crawl does have a tendency to imitate the Gibb effect. The bit-rate certainly indicates that it has not been over-compressed in any way. Interlacing errors do make a brief appearance during the first episode at 19:49 for about 10 seconds or so. There may be other moments as well but I didn't spot them. There is the usual scattering of small film artefacts throughout all of the episodes, again more so during the first episode, but none of these are particularly distracting. There are no major issues with aliasing.

    There are a number of subtitles present, as are listed above. The English subtitles are very accurate - only a few non-critical words are missing in order to shorten sentences.

    This is a dual-layered disc. The layer change is located between the episodes. The main file size is 5322 Mb.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 (surround flagged) and is very good for what it is. There are also four other alternate languages to choose from which are listed above.

    The are no problems with dialogue or audio sync, with the exception of the first episode which has inherently poor sync (this has nothing to do with the transfer).

    The music of the Simpsons needs no explaining - just about every person in the western world would recognise it.

    The rear channels are used infrequently for music and ambience, particularly if you use Dolby Pro Logic II as I have. Of particular note is during the song in the credits at the end of the first episode you can hear the characters singing from behind you (those with a centre back speaker will notice it gets used a bit here).

    The subwoofer has very little if no use at all with this disc.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

    Six trailers for other Simpsons DVDs. All are 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This particular highlights disc does not appear to be available in Region 1.

Summary

    If you're planning on buying all the Simpsons season box sets as they come out I see little reason to buy any of these highlights DVDs unless you're only interested in one particular episode. In the time you wait for the box sets these episodes will have been repeated on TEN many times over.

    The video quality is good. Shame about the dot crawl though. Why only a composite source could be found for the DVD transfer I'll never know.

    The audio quality is up to usual Simpsons standards.

    The extras are all but completely absent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Hooft (My biography. Go on have a read...)
Friday, April 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-655A [SACD & DVD-A], using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe CT-1170 (66cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D1011, THX, 7.1, DTS-ES 96/24 & DD EX. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D1011, THX, 7.1, DTS-ES 96/24 & DD EX
SpeakersFront & Centre: Monitor Audio Bronze 2, Surrounds: Sony SS-SRX7S, Surround Back: Paramount Pictures Bookshelf Speakers

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