"They fight for freedom wherever there's trouble, G.I. Joe is there! G.I. Joe a real INTERNATIONAL hero!" Wait, what? I know I'm not that old, but I do remember watching this show as a kid, but do not remember the American hero part being changed over to international hero. Not a big deal, but pretty glaring as I watched the opening credits roll. G.I. Joe Series 2: Season 1 takes place several years after the animated feature film hit video store shelves.
Series 2 picks up as Serpentor is trying to lead the fractured Cobra organization back to greatness. After the events in the animated film, Cobra Commander is still a snake, but with some clever planning from his loyalists Destro and the Baroness - he'll be back in charge in no time. After all, he was "once a maaaaaaaaaan." Sorry, bad joke there. Wink. I should also state that the first 5 episodes are of a mini-series called Operation Dragonfire and don't really have anything to do with the rest of the season afterward.
Honestly, with the exception of a few familiar Joes, I could not begin to tell you who was who or why. The Cobra team was a different story, because they kept more of the familiars in there albeit with some changes. Cobra Commander had a new spiffy metallic outfit, Destro was now gold as opposed to silver, Baroness was still the same, and Zarana was still rocking the punk rock biker chick look. Don't really know who anyone else was. I noticed that Lady Jay and Duke were in there for about five minutes and they were reduced to secondary characters - the same with Sgt. Slaughter.
The stories didn't seem to carry any depth at all, not that I was asking for an Oscar worthy storyline, but episodes like Granny Dearest and Stuck On You are beyond unwatchable. Maybe I was just sore that Sunbow Studios no longer did the animation for this series? DiC Studios took over and made it on a low budget. It does show, too. The color palette is horrible at times. I don't think I've ever seen purple explosions and smoke come of out of burnt vehicles before. Everyone's uniform seems to clash here and there and the paintjobs for some of the cool tanks and planes are laughably "rainbow-brite."
It is what it is, but my nostalgia got the better of me, so it's not as bad as all that, even though it is. If you're curious then go for it, I'd suggest tracking down the earlier seasons by Sunbow and the animated film and take your time with those, because G.I. Joe Series 2: Season 1 can wait.
Operation Dragonfire - Disc - 1 Operation Dragonfire Day 1, Operation Dragonfire Day 2, Operation Dragonfire Day 3, Operation Dragonfire Day 4, Operation Dragonfire Day 5
Season 1 - Disc 2
United We Stand, Revenge Of The Pharaohs, Granny Dearest, Victory At Volcania Part 1, Victory At Volcania Part 2, The Nozone Conspiracy, Pigskin Commandos
Season 1 - Disc 3
Cold Shoulder, Injustice And The Cobra Way, General Confusion, Night Of The Creepers, That's Entertainment, I Found You...Evy
Season 1 - Disc 4
An Officer And A Viperman, D-Day At Alcatraz Part 1, D-Day At Alcatraz Part 2, The Mind Mangler, BIOK, Stuck On You
Video: G.I. Joe Series 2: Season 1 is presented in 480p (upscaled to 1080p); full frame 1.33:1 preserving its original broadcast aspect ratio. The show aired in 1989 and it shows. Time, for the most part, has not been good to this set of Joes. Colors are wild and tend to be inconsistent, washed out, band, and pulse. Edge enhancement runs rampant and sharpness levels are pretty terrible. The DVD presentation does not do any favors to show - then again, I was not expecting it to. You've been warned.
Final Thoughts: G.I. Joe Series 2: Season 1 does not hold a candle to the original series or animated film. Then again, several years lapsed before the studios went back and revived the show. The storylines were extremely weak and the animation was subpar. As far as this DVD goes, the technical specifications are atrocious and the lack of special features is criminal, especially for a show like this. If anything, this DVD set serves as an archive. Rumor has it that there will be a Series 2 boxed-set that will collect seasons 1 and 2 with added extras. Unless you are an uber fan of the show and all things G.I.Joe then I would pass for now.