While fans can complain and debate about the current string of Simpsons episodes, there’s no argument to be had for season six. This is one of the best, featuring some of the strongest writing, sharpest humor, and brilliantly constructed parodies. There’s not a single dud in this collection.
It’s impossible to pick just one, because everything here is flawlessly executed. Many fans will find their personal favorite here (like A Star is Burns, probably the only time a cross-over has ever worked on this level). One of the Emmy nominated episodes, Lisa’s Wedding, is a great look at how the family (and most of Springfield) adjusts to future life.
Sideshow Bob makes an appearance, Itchy and Scratchy robots go nuts, Lisa plays hockey, and Mr. Burns is shot in an end-of-season cliffhanger. There’s nothing this season doesn’t have, and if you’re even a mild fan of the show, this is probably the set you should own. It’s over 10 years old, yet not a single episode has aged a day. (***** out of *****)
Like the rest of the Simpson sets, the video isn’t special. The DVD format itself prevents the studio from avoiding aliasing, which is worse in certain scenes than others. Compression is an obvious gripe; the famous family couch with its deep red tone showcases the formats flaw in annoying clarity. Color is perfect, and the added clarity makes picking up small animation flaws a little easier than on TV. (***)
Every episode is presented in 5.1 surround. This is a major improvement over standard cable. Those low whispers and crowded chatter are easier to hear. It’s one of those instances where you’ll probably hear something new when you first watch these on DVD after years of cable. There’s not much in the way of surround work (or even bass), but it’s enough to give these episodes some new life. (****)
There has yet to be a disappointing season set as far as features are concerned. As always, each episode has commentary form various members of the team. Some episodes of course provide more to discuss than others. They’re always laid back, and enjoy themselves tremendously.
Episodes containing deleted scenes offer a nice option to view the scene in its original spot by pressing the enter button when an icon appears. If you don’t want to sit through them all, just head to the fourth disc and watch all 50+ of them at once (with or without commentary). If you want to watch a few scenes in a variety of languages, this now standard Simpson season set feature is still here.
Other features include a look at the Simpson airplane used to promote the show, a great America’s Most Wanted parody show that looks at who shot Mr. Burns, and various sketches, drawings, and hidden stuff. (*****)
There is controversy here, and that revolves around the packaging. It’s bad enough Fox chose to change it so it doesn’t match up with the previous five seasons, but this is just awful. Nothing holds these discs in place. The first time you open Homer’s head, they’ll likely fly out, along with all of the other items included. It’s all made of a flimsy, cheap, and easily breakable plastic.
They obviously received a few unhappy e-mails too. There is a way to get the “real” box that will hold the discs better and match up with the rest of the series. Of course, Fox managed to screw this up too. The phone number included in the box should be a 1-888 number, not 1-800. If you want to skip the phone ordeal, just go to the website. You’ll need to pay $2.75 for shipping, not to mention including a stack of information.