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"There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here…"

Talk about a blast from the past. Well, UNDERDOG ($20) is now available on DVD as a collector’s edition from Sony Wonder and Golden Books Family Entertainment. For those of you who don’t remember THE UNDERDOG SHOW (or are too young to have encountered it), Underdog was the animated canine equivalent of Superman, with enough changes to avoid any sort of copyright infringement. Underdog spoke in rhyme and when he wasn’t out saving the world, he was disguised as his alter ego the humble, lovable Shoeshine Boy. The woman in Underdog’s life was ace television reporter Sweet Polly Purebread, a heroine who required almost constant saving from one dastardly villain or another. The UNDERDOG DVD assembles three complete adventures into cohesive segments, instead of the serialized broadcast format. In Vacuum Gun, Underdog faces his arch nemesis Simon Barsinister, who has created to title device to help assemble his own criminal army. From Hopeless To Helpless features the criminal kingpin Riff Raff, who sends Underdog’s evil double out on a crime spree to destroy the hero’s reputation. In Underdog Vs. Overcat, Underdog squares off against the toughest cat in the universe, after the frisky feline makes off with Earth’s milk supply. The DVD also features four bonus Underdog shorts, which include the UNDERDOG pilot Safe Waif, plus Tricky Trap By Tap Tap, Simon Says and March Of The Monsters. THE UNDERDOG SHOW featured the vocal talents of Wally Cox as the title character and Norma McMillan as Sweet Polly Purebread.

Video quality UNDERDOG collector’s edition DVD is surprisingly good. The image on the DVD looks so good that it may have been digitally enhanced to eliminate the most glaring signs of age. Colors on the DVD are a bit more vibrant, than I remember them being on TV. The film elements appear to be free from serious markings and blemishes, although they are not perfect. Overall, the picture on the DVD is crisp and reasonably fresh looking. There are no signs of digital compression artifacts during the program. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack sounds as though it has had some noise reduction work done, in addition to some sort of enhancement to the music. Dialogue is crisp and reproduced with full intelligibility. The interactive menus are fun, with the interface taking advantage of animation and sound. Through the menus, one has access to the individual Underdog adventures, as well as scene selection within each. The interactive menus also provide access to the DVD’s extras, which include an interview with Underdog’s co-creator Joe Harris, an Underdog trivia game, Underdog theme song sing-a-long, archival show introductions, plus a look at other Underdog show characters. In addition to the video supplements, UNDERDOG also has some DVD-ROM features that include screen savers and audio clips.

Anyone who loves and remembers THE UNDERDOG SHOW from their youth will want to add this DVD to their collections. Hopefully, we will get to see some more UNDERDOG on DVD in the future, perhaps next time, with the addition of Go-Go Gophers, Tennessee Tuxedo and The World Of Commander McBragg.


 Underdog (Collector's Edition)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 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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