It's hard to complain about the English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track on this DVD, even if a 5.1 mix might have been kind of fun. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and there's some fun channel separation in the mix. There aren't any problems to report with hiss or distortion and the levels are all properly balanced. Optional subtitles are provided in English, French and Spanish.
As tends to be the norm with Robot Chicken releases, this two disc set is stacked with extra features and it's obvious from the 'across the board' enthusiasm that the cast and crew of the show really dig what they do for a living. Let's start with the commentary tracks - there's one supplied for each of the twenty episodes contained in this collection courtesy of... well pretty much everyone involved in the show with the odd guest star. Guest star, you say? Yep. None other than Billy Dee Williams himself pops up on one of these tracks to give his input on the show and his contribution to the series. In between a lot of in-jokes and good natured ribbing we learn about where some of the ideas came from for the various skits seen in the collection as well as what went in to bringing these stop motion/toy bits to life. Fun stuff.
The rest of the supplements are spread across the two discs in the set as follows:
The Chicken Nuggets section includes four parts: #41 Werewolf Vs. Unicorn (11:41),#43 Squaw Bury Shortcake (12:03),#44 Rabbits On A Roller Coaster (12:57) and #45 Tapping A Hero (12:37). All four segments include video commentary intro/outro segments from members of the creative team putting this material in context. All four are well worth watching as they include plenty more of the screwball humor that the show is known for.
Also on the first disc is a brief one minute Gag Reel and one minute's worth of VFX Comparions that show before and after and in progress shots of some of the skits while they were being worked on.
Moving right along, there's also a wealth of extra excised/unfinished/alternate material here. There are two Alternate Audio clips included, both quite brief, for the Mumm-Ra Donald Faison skit and the Law & Order: KFC Seth Green bits. Both are amusing to check out, despite their short running time. More substantial is the selection of Deleted Animatics which includes excised bits for twenty-two different bits. The Deleted Scenes section includes eight different bits that were chopped out of the broadcast episodes, one of which is the unusually funny Superheroes Tonight - Jeopardy which will definitely tickle the funny bone of comic book fans and Jeopardy devotees alike.
Giving us an interesting inside look at how and where Robot Chicken is made is the Studio Tour (11:33) guided by Seth Green and Matt Seinreich. This gives us a look at where the mayhem all comes to life and shows off some of the miniatures built for the show and includes some interviews with members of the writing staff. Complimenting that are the eleven different Video Blogs that have been compiled here. These brief snippets touch on different aspects of how the show is put together by covering writing, voice work, set and puppet design, animation, directing, visual effects, lighting, puppets, and of course, the toys themselves.
Static menus, and chapter stops are included on both discs.
Robot Chicken: The Complete Third Season sticks to the formula that has made the series a cult hit. Anyone who enjoyed the first two releases already knows they want this and those who haven't given the series a shot and who appreciate quirky, distasteful and wonderfully irreverent humor ought to give it a shot. Highly recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.