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"Meet George Jetson...
his boy Elroy...
daughter Judy...
Jane, his wife... "

While it certainly was catchy, I guess you can say that THE JETSONS had one of the most simplistic theme songs in the history of television. Of course, the theme song had little to do with why I enjoyed THE JETSONS so much all throughout my childhood. Science fiction was one of my earliest loves, so as a sci-fi cartoon set in the future like THE JETSONS was something that I couldn’t get enough of. Now even though THE JETSONS originally ran a single season of twenty-four episodes, it became a staple of Saturday morning cartoon programming for years, and I tuned in time and again to watch those same twenty-four. With its popularity, THE JETSONS did see a revival in the mid 1980’s, with Hanna-Barbera producing a second and third season of the show, which padded out the show’s syndication package to seventy-five episodes. THE JETSONS also became an animated theatrical film in 1990, not to mention that its characters were featured in a TV movie where they meet certain denizens of a prehistoric town known as Bedrock.

Back in 1962, the Hanna-Barbera team was riding high on the success of THE FLINTSTONES, so they came up with a new animated series that would serve as a companion piece, although instead of the Stone Age, THE JETSONS would mine the 1960s concepts of the future for its comedy. With flying cars, and all the modern conveniences taken to extremes, THE JETSONS focused on the misadventures of likable family man George Jetson, his boy Elroy, daughter Judy and Jane, his wife, not to mention his penny-pinching boss Mr. Spacely and wisecracking mechanical maid Rosie the Robot. The vocal talent behind THE JETSONS featured George O'Hanlon, Penny Singleton, Janet Waldo, Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl and Don Messick.

THE JETSONS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($65) comes to DVD in a four disc boxed set that features the following twenty-four episodes: Rosie The Robot, A Date With Jet Screamer, Jetson's Nite Out, The Space Car, The Coming Of Astro, The Good Little Scouts, The Flying Suit, Rosie's Boyfriend, Elroy's TV Show, Uniblab, A Visit From Grandpa, Astro's Top Secret, Las Venus, Elroy's Pal, Test Pilot, Millionaire Astro, The Little Man, Jane's Driving Lesson, G.I. Jetson, Miss Solar System, Private Property, Planet Dude, TV Or Not TV and Elroy's Mob.

Warner Home Video has made all the episodes that comprise THE JETSONS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Keeping in mind these animated episodes are over forty years old, I have to admit they look quite good on DVD. Obviously taken from more recent masters of the show, as the syndication era episode title cards would seem to indicate, the transfers do show signs of age. Just like THE FLINTSTONES set, which is of roughly the same vintage, THE JETSONS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON displays some age related anomalies, like dust, nicks and printed in specks on the film elements. Of course, none of this is excessive or particularly bothersome. The image offers up as much sharpness and definition as one is likely to get from this type of 2D cell animations. Colors appear reasonably strong; with the occasional shot displaying more subdued looking hues. Blacks are generally accurate and the whites are stable. Contrast is quite good for animated television fare. Digital compression artifacts are usually well contained.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks do not suffer from any significant flaws and come across in a more than respectable manner. Background hiss and surface noise has been reduced significantly in the mastering process. Dialogue is solid and is rendered in a completely understandable fashion. Although the music lacks harshness or brittleness, there are obvious limitations in the fidelity of the vintage recordings. No other language soundtracks are provided on the DVD, English, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.

Music and a bit of animation serve to enhance the interactive menus, which provide access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. The highlight of the extras is the audio commentaries on the episodes Rosie The Robot and A Date With Jet Screamer provided by actress Janet Waldo, who voiced Judy Jetson. Although there are some gaps, it is really nice to hear Waldo share her memories of working on the series. On the video side, we have the other supplements. The Jetsons: The Family of the Future is a nine-minute program that looks at the creation of the show. Space Age Gadgets runs six minutes and highlights the modern conveniences that the Jetson’s enjoy. Rosey The Robotic Maid is a four-minute tribute to one of the show’s most popular characters. Nuclear Family Album provides character biographies and clips of each.

Since it was a childhood favorite, I am delighted that THE JETSONS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON has finally arrived on DVD. Warner has done a very good job with the show’s presentation on DVD, and while the supplements are light, they prove to be quite enjoyable. If you are a fan, you’ll want to add THE JETSONS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON to your personal library. Recommended.



The Jetsons - The Complete First Season (1962)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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