DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Critic - The Complete Series
The Critic - The Complete Series
Columbia/Tri-Star // Unrated // January 27, 2004
List Price: $49.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Shannon Nutt | posted February 18, 2004 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
THE EPISODES

The Critic is one of those shows that you can highly enjoy, yet still understand why it wasn't more of a mainstream success. Created by Al Jean and Mike Reiss, The Critic brings us the character of Jay Sherman (voiced by Jon Lovitz), a movie critic who has the same insecurities that most of us critics have (trust me!). In other words, he's overweight, balding, can't get a date, is a single parent, and nobody in America likes any of his reviews (I can particularly relate to that last part!).

While each episode tells its own little story about Jay's life (mostly dealing with his incompatibility with women), the best parts of The Critic are the "in-jokes" and movie reviews that Jay does during the show – which parody mainstream Hollywood releases. To give you just a few examples, one episode shows Marlon Brando cast as Mr. French in "Family Affair: The Movie"; while another episode has Al Pacino in "Scent of a Jackass" where his noted "Hoo Ha!" line gets a good ribbing.

Some of the storylines of the episodes also follow the plot of mainstream movies, as when Jay gets kidnapped by an obsessed fan in Season One's "Miserable", a funny send-off of the mainstream movie, Misery.

But perhaps the funniest episode is the one that features the real voices of a number of notable critics. In Season Two's "Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice", the world's (former) most popular critical team splits up and Jay tries to partner up with either of them…soon realizing that Siskel and Ebert were only meant for each other. It's a hilarious show, that seems somewhat all the more poignant since the great Gene Siskel is no longer with us.

But for all the good things that The Critic is, it still has plenty of moments that just don't work. When the show is making fun of Hollywood and the movies, it soars. When it's trying to deal with relationship and family issues, it – for the most part – falls flat on its face. And since only movie buffs like us (which I assume most of the regulars at DVD Talk are) are going to get a lot of the "in-jokes" the series provides, it's understandable why the show never really took off with the public.

THE DVD

The Critic comes in a fold-out cardboard holder, which slides inside a slipcase. There are three DVDs to this set, 23 episodes of the show and some cool bonuses which are mentioned below. There's also a four-page insert with brief descriptions of all 23 shows.

Video:
Before we get to the quality of the transfer, let's talk about the quality of the animation. It's not particularly great, but acceptable considering that this was a weekly TV Show. When compared to what's on TV today, I would say it's not up to par with The Simpsons but better than King of the Hill. About the same level as Family Guy, if I were forced to make a comparison. As for the transfer itself, it's pretty good, with plenty of color coming through and no real evidence of any glitches, dirt or other problems.

Audio:

The audio is presented in 2.0 Dolby and sounds quite good for this type of presentation. Nothing spectacular, but more than serviceable.

Extras:

A selected number of episodes include Commentary Tracks from the producers and an occasional actor or other participant in the episode. Sadly, star Jon Lovitz appears to have chosen not to participate in this release in any way, and you won't get to hear his comments on any of these tracks or in any of the other bonus features.

Disc Two contains some Storyboard Comparisons, that allows viewers to jump out of the episode "A Pig-Boy and His Dog" and see the scene from a storyboard, to animatic, to finished product by pressing a movie reel logo that pops up on the screen during the episode. If you choose to watch it, you'll return to the point where you left off in the show after viewing the storyboard comparison.

The rest of the bonus material is located on Disc Three and includes Trailer Parodies which is a montage of the movie parody trailers that appear on each show. Another montage of clips, entitled Top Ten List is basically the same – this time providing clips of some of the reviews Jay gives in various episodes. I've never been crazy about extras that basically provide clips that you get to see in the shows anyway, but if you want to check out the movie parodies in one place, these two selections are the place to go.

Disc Three also contains Creating The Critic, a 12-minute featurette on the creation of the show, featuring comments by Al Jean, Mike Reiss and a few others. Finally, there's a collection of ten Webisodes, which are 3 ½ minute "new" episodes that actually constitute a third season of the show. These shorts were created exclusively for the Internet and were never (to my knowledge) aired on TV…they are quite funny and a welcome bonus on this set.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Your average animation fan might want to rent these…but we're movie fans here at DVD Talk…and as a movie fan, it's hard not to love The Critic. This is one of those shows that could still work and work quite well if the focus remained on the movie parodies and Hollywood jokes and steered clear of the rest. Even though it's somewhat dated (but only a few years), there are big laughs to be had in The Critic and for that reason – plus the healthy supply of bonus material – I'm giving this one a big thumbs up.
Popular Reviews
1. Snowpiercer
2. Nightbreed: The Director's Cut
3. Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Complete Series
4. The Purge: Anarchy
5. The Vanishing
6. Mad Men: the Final Season-Part 1
7. La dolce vita
8. Gone With the Wind: 75th Anniversary Edition
9. Nekromantik
10. Deliver Us From Evil


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use