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Following on their release of the UNDERDOG COLLECTOR’S EDITION, Sony Wonder and Golden Books Family Entertainment have released THE UNDERDOG CHRONICLES ($20) on DVD. THE UNDERDOG SHOW was always a childhood favorite, and I am glad to see that even more of the classic canine character’s exploits are being release in the most collectable home video format ever. Like another superhero named Superman, Underdog lived a double life- as humble, lovable Shoeshine Boy and as the cape wearing super do-gooder that the entire world loves and admires.

THE UNDERDOG CHRONICLES offers three complete Underdog adventures, which have been edited together from individual segments, instead of following the cliffhanger format of the original television shows. The Ticklefeather Machine finds Underdog facing his arch nemesis Simon Barsinister and his henchman Cad, when Simon unleashes his latest invention, which leaves its victims laughing uncontrollably and unable to vote against Simon For Dictator. In Guerrilla Warfare, Underdog offers to personally guard the world’s most famous painting against theft, which forces Riff Raff and his criminal network to use guerrilla warfare tactics to steal the painting. In Zot, Underdog finds himself an unwilling bridegroom to the Princess Glissando of the planet Zot, when her father King Klobber threatens the life of Sweet Polly Purebred. THE UNDERDOG SHOW originally featured the vocal talents of Wally Cox as the title character and Norma McMillan as Sweet Polly Purebred.

Sony Wonder and Golden Books Family Entertainment have done a nice job with transferring THE UNDERDOG CHRONICLES to DVD. Presented in the full screen aspect ratio of the original broadcasts, the image on the DVD is very clean and free from the most glaring signs of age. Minor blemishes are the most serious flaws in the image, which has been digitally cleaned up to remove any glaring faults. Colors generally have a muted quality, but there are sequences where some of the hues are a bit stronger. There are no problems associated with digital compression artifacts on the cleanly authored DVD. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is free from audible distortion and noticeable background hiss. Dialogue is crisp and completely understandable. The fidelity of the original recordings is somewhat limited, giving the music and the sound effects something of a canned quality.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD’s delightfully appropriate interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the individual episodes, as well as some supplements. Since the presentation on the DVD has abandoned the serial/cliffhanger format of THE UNDERDOG SHOW, a number of the animated shorts that would have appeared between the chapters can be viewed as part of the supplements. These animated shorts feature one adventure with each of the following characters from THE UNDERDOG SHOW: Commander McBragg, Go-Go Gophers, The Hunter, King and Odie, Klondike Kat, Tennessee Tuxedo and Tooter Turtle. Additionally, the supplements also include and interview with Underdog creator Joe Harris, in which he narrates an original Underdog adventure entitled The Nug Of Nog that features animated storyboards. THE UNDERDOG CHRONICLES is also DVD-ROM enabled, with access to screen savers and audio clips.

THE UNDERDOG CHRONICLES is fun for kids and fun for long time fans of the character, who are looking for a little trip down memory lane. The Sony Wonder and Golden Books looks and sound just fine, although I kind of miss the cliffhanger format of the original shows. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing even more Underdog on DVD sometime soon.


The Underdog Chronicles


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 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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