DreamWorks Animation has been very successful translating its animated movies into television series, first with The Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk, and now with its latest entry, Monsters vs. Aliens. The animated television series, which airs on Nickelodeon, has released its first DVD, a compilation of 15 episodes from its first season, Monsters vs. Aliens: Cloning Around.
For folks unfamiliar with the backstory, in the film Monsters vs. Aliens bride-to-be Susan was hit by a meteorite that contained a substance called quantonium, which caused her to grow to an enormous size. After being jilted at the altar by her fiancé, Susan (now dubbed Ginormica), joined a top-secret team of monsters who have pledged to protect the Earth: the goofy B.O.B., a brainless blob of blue jelly, mad scientist Dr. Cockroach, whose head looks just like his name, and The Missing Link, who is part ape, part fish, and all wisecracks. The group teamed up to protect the Earth from an alien invasion and Ginormica found a new home and true friends.
The series picks up after the events in the Monsters vs. Aliens film. Team Monster are hanging out, relaxing at their headquarters, Area Fifty-Something, when another alien spaceship arrives. While trying to calm the hysterical President Hathaway, General W.R. Monger and the gang soon determine that the spaceship contains the alien Coverton. He says he wants to make peace with Earth, but may be in cahoots with another alien on a not-too-friendly mission. Coverton and his naughty antics feature in all of the disc’s episodes.
Monsters vs. Aliens the series has some new actors voicing the roles of Team Monster: Susan/Ginormica (Riki Lindhome), Dr. Cockroach (Chris O’Dowd), B.O.B. (Eric Edelstein), and The Missing Link (Diedrich Bader). The rest of the main voice cast is rounded out by Jeff Bennett as Coverton, Kevin Michael Richardson as General Warren Monger, and James Patrick Stuart as President Hathaway. Apart from the introductory episode, “Welcome to Area Fifty-Something,” which features Coverton’s arrival on Earth, the disc’s 15 episodes are paired:
“Welcome to Area Fifty-Something”
“It Came … On a Field Trip” and “Educational Television”
“Danger Wears a Diaper” and “The Toy From Another World”
“Flipped Out” and “The Wormhole Has Turned”
“The Bath Effect” and “The Fruit of All Evil”
“The Two Faces of Dr. Cockroach” and “The Thing With One Brain”
“Fremeny Mine” and “Maximum B.O.B.”
“Night of the Living Dog” and “Attack of the Movie Night”
The show’s images, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, although not as sharp and delineated as the feature film, are bright and colorful and look good on a large-scale, high-definition television screen. English, French, and Spanish subtitles, and closed-captioning are available, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound quality is high. The 15 episodes run almost three hours, with a total running time of 176 minutes. The Monsters vs. Aliens: Cloning Around package also includes a code for “B.O.B.’s Super Freaky Job” game app for iOS and Android.
Team Monster are a great group, and it’s impossible not to smile while watching their escapades, especially when B.O.B. uses his jelly to comic effect. Monsters vs. Aliens: Cloning Around is a lot of fun, but it definitely seems aimed squarely at the younger set, as opposed to another recently released collection from the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness series, which had jokes that might appeal to kids and their parents.