Steven Spielberg Presents Freakazoid!: The Complete First Season (DVD)
While logged on to the information superhighway, mild-mannered teen Dexter Douglas crashes, becoming overloaded with entirely useless information that transforms him into Freakazoid! This timid teen turned living live-wire continually confounds villains with his fast-talking comic routines and incredible physical gags.
Conceived by the same team that created Tiny Toons and Animaniacs and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the animated series Freakazoid! was ostensibly about a mild-mannered teen who transformed courtesy a computer virus into a raving lunatic who battled a bizarre gallery of criminals. But as anyone who watched Freakazoid! during its brief network run in the mid-'90s will tell you, that's not what the series was about; in fact, Freakazoid! really wasn't about anything at all. The adventures of Freakazoid were just one element in a rapid-fire barrage of pop culture references, visual and verbal non sequiters (plugs for non-existent toys, stock footage of Bavarian folk dances), and parodies of then-current movies and television series, including other Spielberg-produced cartoons. First-time visitors to Mondo Freakazoid! via this two-disc set will be treated to the sight of the title hero imitating the Emergency Broadcast System signal (before passing out), lessons on how to say obnoxious statements in French, and whole segments devoted to peripheral characters like The Huntsman, who is constantly thwarted in his crime-fighting pursuits, and the Jonny Quest spoof Toby Danger. Suffice it to say that few cartoons are as polarizing as Freakazoid!; viewers will either eat it up or find the whole thing bewildering, as many kid TV viewers during its brief network run. Those ready to take the trip with Freakazoid and pals will find all 13 episodes of its debut season in this set (in what can only be seen as a Freakazoid-like movie, the episodes "Candle Jack" and "The Cloud" are included twice). Three of the episodes feature commentary by producer Tom Ruegger, story editor John McCann and writer Paul Rugg, who also provided Freakazoid's voice. All three are also showcased in an amusing making-of featurette; even funnier is a collection of the show's promotional spots, which mercilessly lampoon a series of artsy cruise ship commercials while providing no actual information about the show itself. --Paul Gaita