Flintstones: The Complete First Season
Golden Collection - 1960-1961 (2004) - Hanna-Barbera
by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
Approx. 737 mins (28 episodes at 26 mins each), NR, full frame
(1.33:1), 3 single-sided, single-layered discs, 1 double-sided,
single layered disc, Digipack packaging (with slipcase), 2
featurettes (including All About the
Flintstones and Wacky
Inventions: Season 1), The
Flagstones - original pilot "episode", 9
vintage TV commercials and promo spots, DVD preview trailers
(for Scooby-Doo Where Are You!;
Seasons 1 & 2, Tom &
Jerry and the Looney Tunes
Golden Collection), animated program-themed menus
with music, episode access (28 episodes - 7 episodes per disc),
languages: English, French and Spanish (DD 1.0 mono), subtitles:
English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned
1960, Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones
became television's first prime-time animated series. The show was a
simple take off on the tried and true formula already made popular
by TV's The Honeymooners,
which depicted the day to day life of a pair of working-class
married couples, and particularly the constant schemes and
misadventures of the men in this equation. To make the formula its
own, The Flintstones set its
story in the Stone Age, complete with cave men and dinosaurs. The
show was an instant hit with TV audiences, and appeared in first-run
broadcast for 6 seasons.
Born as I was in 1967, it wasn't until the mid-to-late 1970s that I
discovered The Flintstones.
The show became a weekday afternoon staple for Generation X-ers. A
typical afternoon went something like this: get home from school -
check - get snack - check - watch The
Flintstones, The Jetsons
and Jonny Quest - check. You
followed that up with a game of whatever sport was in season with
your friends and a tour of the neighborhood on your Big Wheel... and
life was good. Now, we can finally relive a little of those glory
days of youth on DVD, with The
Flintstones' entire first season.
On disc, every one of these 28 original episodes look and sound
fantastic. There's some film grain apparent, as well as the
occasional bit of dust or scratch on the emulsion, but it's clear
that these episodes have been carefully restored to arguably better
than their original brilliance. The colors are vibrant, and the
contrast is excellent, with deep blacks and plenty of detail. Simply
put, you've never see these episodes looking this good before. The
audio quality is also satisfying, presented in the original mono.
The track is no frills, but it's always clear and clean, and
supports the video well.
The extras aren't exactly plentiful, but they're at least
interesting. All of the bonus material is included on the B-side of
Disc Four (the first three discs are single-sided, but Disc Four is
a flipper). You get a short featurette on the history of The
Flintstones called, appropriately, All
About the Flintstones. It's fluffy, but you do get some
valuable background information, and there's nice archive footage of
the show's creators and voice talent. Particularly cute is video of
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera singing the show's theme song. A
second featurette, called Wacky
Inventions, covers the Stone Age substitutes for
real-life gadgets that appeared on the show during its first season.
Probably the best bonus item here is The
Flagstones, the show's very brief pilot episode. It's
just a couple of minutes long, and most of the voice talent is
different than the final product, but you get to see the very first
appearance of Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty. Finally, the disc
includes a series of original TV spots featuring the Flintstones
characters selling products like Alka Seltzer, One-a-Day Vitamins
and Post Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles breakfast cereal (aahhhhh... Cocoa
Pebbles). There are also the requisite preview trailers for other
Warner Bros. animated DVD releases, but those don't count as extras,
so screw 'em.
Light and fluffy though the extras may be, my only real complaint
with this set is the packaging. The discs are housed in a folding,
Digipack-style cardboard and plastic case, with a slipcover. The set
looks nice, but the discs are difficult to remove from the plastic
trays in the package. If I was giving this to kids, I'd probably
just take the discs out and put them in CD jewel cases so the
packaging (and the discs) didn't get wrecked in the effort of your
average 10-year old to pry them out.
That one small complaint aside, this is a pretty nice little set.
When I popped in Disc One, and was immediately treated to the show's
classic first episode, The Flintstone
Flyer, I was absolutely hooked. Finally, THIS is the
format we've been waiting for with classic animated shows like The
Flintstones on DVD - complete season sets - in which
every episode is included for you to enjoy. My only question now is
how long Warner's going to take to get them ALL out on disc, 'cause
I can't wait for the show's all-time greatest episode, Dr.
Sinister, which appears in Season Five, and of course
The Great Gazoo in Season Six.
A judo, a chop chop chop...!