The Simpsons-Springfield Murder Mysteries (1993)
|Category||Animation||Trailer-The Simpsons DVD Collection|
|Year Of Production||1993|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Twentieth Century Fox
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Simpson's Classics Collection is an extension of previous Simpsons releases in which four episodes are thematically collected from various seasons. Ideally a cheaper way to collect a handful of favourite episodes than by buying the season collections, this strategy is thrown somewhat awry by discounting strategies that allow retailers to price older boxed sets for less than individual discs.
Note that there's an extended, multilingual copyright piece at the end of each episode if you watch them individually. If you choose the "play all" option, this piece will only be shown once at the end of the fourth episode. Considering also a long (and only partly-skippable) advertisement against online movie piracy that precedes the menu on this disc (and all Fox discs, it seems), this is a fairly large imposition on anyone that has paid for a disc to sit through.
This collection contains four episodes with a murderous theme:
Black Widower - Episode 3x21
Selma's pen pal, Sideshow Bob, is released from prison and Bart is horrified when Bob asks Selma to marry him. The family feels that Bob has reformed, but Bart can't believe that Bob has given up his evil ways.
Cape Feare - Episode 5x02
In the last episode by The Simpsons' original writers, Sideshow Bob gets paroled again, and comes after his nemesis, Bart. The Simpsons are relocated under FBI protection, allowing an episode-long riff on both Cape Fear movies.
Who Shot Mr Burns? Part One - Episode 6x25
Stealing the elementary school's oil, blocking out the sun over all of Springfield, forgetting Homer's name. Mr Burns has alienated everyone in town, so it's no surprise - even to those who haven't read the episode's title - that Mr Burns is shot. But, in a reference to Dallas' equivalent season-ending cliffhanger, who pulled the trigger? Homer? Smithers? Tito Puente?
Who Shot Mr Burns? Part Two - Episode 7x02
Skipping the intervening special, Springfield's Most Wanted which was used as a precursor to the premiere of The Simpsons' seventh season, this episode resolves the cliff-hanger from Part One. Referencing everything from Dallas and Basic Instinct to Twin Peaks, find out who had an alibi, who shot the evil billionaire and the clues presented in the previous episode.
It's a pity, but frankly there is yet to be a DVD of The Simpsons that has a video transfer up to the quality of the series or the medium. It should be noted that the visual quality of the episodes presented here that are on already-released boxed sets is on par with the quality in those sets, which other reviewers have graded more generously than I.
The episodes on this disc are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
Cel animation for TV is somewhat behind the ball when it comes to presentation quality, and the quality of the DVD representation of Simpsons episodes has been the cause of many bits expended on forums and message boards. In short, on a good home theatre set-up, The Simpsons looks pretty ratty. Lines are fuzzy and soft, there's grain evident in every shot and there's dot crawl that could be used as a textbook case. This is present throughout every episode yet brought to disc, and it appears that it is inherent in the photography process that The Simpsons uses. That said, unless you're a purist (or looking out for such things because you're reviewing the disc), you adapt to the quality relatively quickly, and given the nature of the show it's rarely distracting.
The trademark colour palette used in animating The Simpsons is distinctive, but well-presented here.
Both black and white film artefacts abound throughout every episode - a common feature of cel-animated shows. There is also substantial evidence of cross-colouration, but this could be due to the filming process.
The English subtitle track is actually quite poor, not only skipping words and phrases unnecessarily, but also getting words wrong a handful of times each episode and using the (SINGING) tag whenever the characters are singing, even where the lyrics are plot-relevant or contain jokes. Being monolingual, this was the only subtitle track of the thirteen (plus multilingual 'sign translation' subtitles) that I considered.
The RSDL change is located between episodes.
In contrast to the video, the audio component of Simpsons discs is usually quite good, and this was no exception.
The five language tracks on this disc were all Dolby 2.0 Surround encoded at 192 Kb/s.
The English-language dialogue in all four episodes is clear and distinct and relatively (but not perfectly) well-synced to the animation. There are no audible faults or dropouts.
Danny Elfman's score and iconic theme are well-produced and add to the action but do not overwhelm it at any point.
The Simpsons is known for the three-dimensionality of its audio and this is identically well-reproduced in all five audio tracks (where sampled for this purpose).
The subwoofer was not troubled throughout the four episodes.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This disc appears identical to the Region 2 version, but no Region 1 version appears to exist.
The video is no worse than any other Simpsons disc, but unfortunately no better.
The audio is quite good, and contains Dolby Surround presentations in five languages.
There are no extras to speak of.
While this disc is a perfectly good presentation of these four episodes, equivalent to that in the season collections, the pricing of Simpsons discs at the time of this writing is unusual - season sets are available for anywhere between $30 and $60, and this disc has been seen priced anywhere from $10 to $30. In many cases the stores with the cheapest season sets are the same as those with the most expensive version of this disc. If you're a Simpsons fan who's likely to collect these episodes when they come out in season sets, this disc will be redundant. If, however, you can find this disc cheaply and aren't a completist, this is a way to pick up four of the better episodes easily.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-86PW300A. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-512.|
|Speakers||Wharfedale Diamond 8.3 fronts, Wharfedale Diamond 8.2 rears, Wharfedale Diamond 8 centre, Wharfedale 12" sub|