Space Ghost Coast to Coast-Volume One (1994)

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Released 6-Jun-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Audio Bites-Episode Commentaries
Gallery-Original Artwork
Featurette-Music Video with Zorak
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 161:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring George Lowe
C. Martin Croker
Andy Merrill
Case Custom Packaging
RPI $34.95 Music Eddie Horst
Dave Hughes
Mike Cahill


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement Unknown
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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Plot Synopsis

   What happens when a classic 60's Hanna-Barbera superhero gets his own late-night talk show? Pure, unmitigated chaos.

Featuring guest stars ranging from Hulk Hogan to "Weird Al" Yankovic, from Adam West to Fran Drescher, Space Ghost Coast to Coast is the universe-wide talk show hosted by hero Space Ghost! He's joined by bandleader and past enemy Zorak, the "lone locust of the apocalypse", and producer/evildoer Moltar, both who seem much more interested in his destruction than running the show. What ensues is a post-modern, Dadaist treat, as Space Ghost struggles with poor reception, bad interviewing skills, frequent attempts on his life, and Lassie, to deliver possibly the weirdest talk show in the history of all mankind.

In 1994, long before the Adult Swim block was developed on Cartoon Network, there was Space Ghost Coast to Coast, an off-the-wall series of shorts that took the aged Hanna-Barbera superhero and his surrounding characters and reinvented them with oddball non-sequiter humour and complete nuttiness unlike anything else on TV. The show was a cult hit, and would serve as the blueprint for future Adult Swim toons like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law. Combining animation with real life interview footage, the creators of the show remixed actual interviews with various guests, changing the questions asked so that their answers make no sense. The characters reactions to this nonsense varies from being startled to accepting it in full. Indeed at times the show is completely incoherent, and will be interrupted for bizarre events like ordering pizza or universal destruction. This all works to varying effect; some episodes are downright hilarious, whereas others are extremely tedious and drag on and on.

Fortunately, each episode is only 11 minutes long, meaning even the bad episodes don't go on too long, and there's guaranteed chuckles in each short. Space Ghost Coast to Coast is, like most of Adult Swim, an acquired taste - some people will have no idea what the heck is going on here, and quite rightly - but for those into the strange and surreal humour, this is a treat, and it's fun to see where all of the later shows originally developed from. With this set, it's also good to see the show evolving across all 16 of these initial episodes - the early episodes were bizarre but not all that funny, and the show alters to find its oddball niche, becoming very fun and very strange. Although not my favourite Adult Swim cartoon, Space Ghost Coast to Coast is easy to recommend, and is definitely worth giving a chance - don't be quick to drop this just because the first few episodes don't quite gel. Guaranteed funny later!

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Transfer Quality

Video

   The video is presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

   After the awful, awful R1 Adult Swim DVD sets, I'm pleased to say that Space Ghost Coast to Coast looks fabulous on R4. Although the image is a little soft, this looks very good for TV, combining detailed live-action footage with colourful, vibrant animation with little interlacing or aliasing issues. The animation is clean, lacking any noticeable artefacts, and the horrid aliasing that jagged every edge on the R1 sets is completely absent here. This is the best Space Ghost has ever looked.

   Black levels are good, though there is a little bit of noise in both colourful and dark scenes. Occasionally there is some minor blocking errors in the background, but none of these really detract from the experience. I'm extremely happy with the quality of the video transfer.

   There are no subtitles.

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.

   Space Ghost Coast to Coast sounds excellent; the mix serves up dialogue, effects and music superbly, even including a bit of surround encoded into the track. Every line is perfectly audible, as is every explosion and insane sound effect, with no problems with dropouts or sync.

   However, what really impressed me was the use of bass in the background to set the atmosphere for, well, no atmosphere; the always-present background "space" sound keeps the scene set as the wackiness prevails, always reminding you that you're not on this planet and thus the normal rules don't apply.

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

Extras

Animated Menus with Sound

   The menus are static images of Space Ghost and Co. set to the nifty theme music Hit Single, as performed by avant-jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock and his drummer, Lance Carter. They look nice and set the tone, with lots of detail in the picture.

Episode Commentaries on Elevator, Batmantis, Story Book House, Girlie Show, and Fire Drill

   The commentaries include several people from behind the scenes, including writers, producers, executive producers et al., but unfortunately are not very entertaining. I have to imagine there was a wealth of discussion and crazy and controversy that went into putting this effort together, but no such stories are shared in these commentaries; instead, we get to hear small irrelevant details pointed out, who wrote what, and plenty of laughter at jokes we're excluded from understanding. It may appeal to fans, but even then, it's a stretch, and that's a shame.

Original Art (2:09)

   Scored to Hit Single and other music from the show, this is a quick clipshow of final footage alongside the original sketches and storyboard art. Again, this has limited appeal to anyone but die hard fans, and even then, there's not a lot here. Presented in 1.33:1.

Zorak Does Jingle Bells (1:13)

   This is exactly as it sounds - Zorak sings Jingle Bells, poorly. You can never have enough Zorak, making this a sensational extra! In extra soft 1.33:1.

Trailers - Piracy PSA (0:31), The Brak Show Season 1 (0:30), Ben 10 Season 1 (1:11), Powderpuff Girls Season 1 (1:13), The Best of He-Man and Masters of the Universe (1:01)

   A collection of trailers for other Madman animated DVD, these are mostly irritating shorts that tell us nearly nothing about the series they're trying to sell. In the original 1.33:1.

R4 vs R1

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

   Aside from a bonus trailers, the R1 and R4 versions of the DVD are identical. But avoid the R1 versions like the plague - the Adult Swim sets from R1 are plagued with horrible, horrible aliasing issues, making our lovely PAL transfers worth the local purchase.

Summary

   It's likely you've never seen anything in your life like Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Depending on your sense of humour, that can be a good thing or a bad thing.

   The video very good, with lovely mix of bright, clear animation with live action.

   The audio is also very good, with a nice sense of surround and atmosphere.

   The minimal amount extras are, unfortunately, awful, in both quantity and quality.

   "I am the lone locust of the Apocalypse! Think of me when you look to the night sky!"

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ryan Aston (Bioshock)
Friday, August 17, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG LH-D6230, using Component output
DisplayBenq PE7700. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationLG
Speakers B&W LCR 600 S3 (Front & Centre); B&W DM 600 (Rears); B&W ASW500 (Sub)

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