Featured TV on DVD Review: Robot Chicken: Season Six
Why do I do this to myself? I loved the first few seasons of Robot Chicken, but I dropped most of my cable channels a couple years back. (I only watched 3 of the 40 or so channels in the package, so it wasn't worth the money.) When I got a chance to review the show, I jumped at the chance. But now that I've seen the sixth season, I realized I'm stuck. How do you review a TV show that is comprised of short sketches? Some of these sketches are so short that it would take longer to type the setup than it would be to watch the entire skit and you would certainly spoil the joke in the process. (On that note, don't go to the Wikipedia page for season six. They spoil some jokes in the episode descriptions.) So while the show is really hard to review without spoilers, will it be an easy recommendation?
It has been a while since I've seen the show. I don't remember exactly what the last season I saw was, but it had the original opening (Mad scientist uses roadkill chicken as part of his demented experiment) and not the new opening (robot chicken uses dead mad scientist as part of his demented experiment). The average show is mostly really short skits, 20 or 30 seconds, sometimes a little longer, sometimes even shorter. You have about seven or eight of those per 11-minute episodes. There are also five or six longer skits that each run between 1 and 2 minutes. (I'm basing this on the first two episodes. I'm not going to rewatch the entire season taking down time stamps for each skit. I'm not that anally retentive.) There are a lot of episodes with running jokes, while one episode this season is a themed episode. That would be the 13th episode, Robot Chicken's ATM Christmas Special. On a side note, this is the only Christmas special I have reviewed all year and it isn't a truly Christmas release. Usually I get Christmas releases in September, sometimes August. I'm not complaining.
The season is just as good, perhaps even better than I remembered it. There are a few skits that miss their mark or have a joke that is stretched too thin, but that's rare. Usually, the skits are right on the mark and quickly move to the next bit. It even looks better than I remember it. According to one of the audio commentary tracks, they are using smaller cameras now, so they can get closer to the action, which allows them more freedom in what they can shoot. It certainly helps get some unique action scenes.
Additionally, the Blu-ray is loaded with extras. All episodes have audio commentary with Seth Green and plenty of others. It is mostly the producers (Matthew Senreich, Douglas Goldstein, Tom Root, etc.), but also many of the voice actors and others.
There are also 50 minutes of featurettes, starting with a 10 minute season overview / making of featurette. There's a short behind-the-scenes look at choreography of an action scene from the season. They Came To Play is a six-minute featurette about all of the guest voice actors on the show. Our First Ladies is a six-minute featurette about all of the female writers on the show. Kirkman on Kirkman is a two-minute look at Robert Kirkman's guest appearance on the show. Outtakes! is a four-minute behind-the-scenes featurette on the voicework, which is mostly actors making mistakes. My First Time... is a two-minute look at the guest stars making their first time appearance on the show this season. The Dirt on Seth and Matt is a two-minute featurette with many of the guest stars making fun of Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. The Inside Joke is a two-minute featurette on a private joke / insult that writer / director Zeb Wells wrote aimed at fellow writer Mike Fasolo that somehow was turned into a skit. The Benefits of Robot Chicken is a three-and-a-half-minute long featurette on if the writers have ever used their job to pick up ladies or gentlemen. Who the F* is Zeb is a six-minute featurette about Zeb Wells, the new director for the show. Post-Apocalyptic Future of Holidays is a five-minute making of featurette for one of the skits in the season.
In addition to the featurettes, there are 13 minutes of deleted channel flips that were dropped from the season. They are in animatic form. There are three episodes with Chicken Nuggets, a skit-specific commentary for select skits. There are five deleted scenes that were fully animated before they were cut. There is nearly an hour of deleted scenes in animatic form.
The Blu-ray's technical presentation is good, all things considered. It is not a very visually flashy, but the level of details is great, as are the colors and black levels. Likewise, the audio is good, but the 5.1 surround sound track isn't exactly the most active track I've listened to.
The Blu-ray costs $8 or 33% more than the DVD, which is a good deal for a TV on DVD release.
Robot Chicken: Season Six is incredibly funny and while the price per minute is a little high for TV on DVD, there are a ton of extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray. There are more than enough extras to be worth picking up.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2013-10-07