And then…it was over…well, not quite over, but as over as one can expect from-
Oh, alright. With the recent release of the Looney Links DVD set, the gang of Tiny Toon Adventures now have (almost) all their half-hour antics on DVD, time-capsuling an era that signaled the resurgence of Warner Brothers as an animation powerhouse, thanks to the likes of executive producer, Steven Spielberg. (note: the keyword in that previous sentence, was ‘almost’).
However, the hope that many had that the series would be given a dignified exit on DVD, hasn’t come to pass.
As I noted in my review of the previous DVD release, Crazy Crew Rescues, it seemed that Warner Brothers was only interested in releasing this set just to complete the previous volumes that had come out almost 4 years prior. The Looney Links set also suffers from the same half-@$$ed presentation, of minimal disc art, and DVD menus so sparse, one would have assumed this thing was put together by bootleggers (heck, I think the stuff the bootleggers at comic conventions put together would probably be a step up!).
The most glaring problem in this latest release, has to do with whoever was in charge of ‘quality control.’ It concerns an episode on disc 2, titled Weekday Afternoon Live. Halfway through the episode, it suddenly cuts to footage from another episode, titled Toon TV. As someone who probably watched these episodes several dozen times, it definitely threw a wrench in my viewing.
As of this writing, a small trickle of complaints is happening on the Internet. I’m scheduled to send my copy back to WB, and will update this review when (and if) my replacement set comes in, along with any updated information regarding the company’s intent to rectify the situation.
While most of the episodes are good/passable, there’s a couple that stand out in my mind all these years later:
Toons Take Over – after growing tired with their daily, monotonous comedic antics on Tiny Toons, Buster, Babs, and Plucky have had it. Taking a page from most Hollywood types being typecast, they decided to write/produce/direct/star in their own cartoon.
The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain – Elmyra gets her ‘inner-Elvira’ on, hosting a screening of The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain, in which Babs, Shirley the Loon, and Fifi le Fume’s slumber party in the scary woods is ruined by Buster, Plucky, and Hamton. However, they are soon to discover something lurking in the darkness.
Another notable segment deals with one more remembrance by Plucky Duck, as we get Baby Plucky being taken to play ‘Minister Golf’ by his Dad. Hilarity ensues showing the trials and tribulations of parenthood, but Baby Plucky’s swan-song isn’t as good as his previous two appearances.
Visually, I loved the gags in the episode titled, The Return of Batduck. Plucky attempts to get Tim Burton to cast him in the next Batman film (this episode was made in 1992), and the episode is chock full of visual gags based on Burton’s work. Even the music of the episode reflects Danny Elfman’s sensibilities at times. There’s even a rather dated gag showing Sean Young crazily trying to get Tim to consider her to play Catwoman (note: that gag is based on a true incident involving Young).
One would hope the series would have gone out in style with its cast. Instead, the series ended with the rather mediocre, It’s A Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special. The story just doesn’t feel ‘all there,’ but what really will stand out for viewers, is Buster Bunny’s voice (even I was puzzled when I heard it in 1992).
Apparently, Charles Adler (who voiced Buster Bunny throughout much of the series) had creative differences with some of the staff, and resigned from his part as the series drew to a close (for more information on this, please refer to the following interview with Tom Ruegger).
In the end, Looney Links is one of the first DVD sets I’ve reviewed that I just can’t bring myself to recommend. It’s like trying to put your hand in a crocodile’s mouth: you do so at your own risk. This is given the fact that the second disc in the set seems to be processed incorrectly, and we don’t know how many ‘bad discs’ have been sent out, or what the spread of WB Home Entertainment’s plans will be to rectify the situation.
For now, heed my words…you have been warned.
*UPDATE 7/6/13* – Well, I received a package back from Warner Bros today, with a note claiming they have included a replacement disc. After checking out the episode Weekday Afternoon Live again, I found that this replacement disc also had the same issues as my previous one. As it stands, I’m waiting to hear about what the next course of action WB will take regarding this.
*UPDATE 7/24/13* – Third disc’s the charm, apparently. After I emailed Warner Bros after the last disc I received, they acknowledged that there was an error in the process, and that I’d be sent a replacement asap. The disc arrived the other day, and Weekday Afternoon Live is now playing in all its glory.
At this point, I can’t be sure if the company has recalled the Looney Links DVD sets that were sent out or not. But, I would like to give a little PSA to those of you who buy or have bought this set, so you can be sure your disc is right.
This is the image 12 minutes, and 23 seconds into the episode, Weekday Afternoon Live. After it fades to black, watch for the next image (which should be one of the two following images).
If the next image is this (looking like the previous one, just cropped closer), then your copy is as it should be.
If it is followed by this image (from the episode “Toon TV”) , contact Warner Bros to get a replacement disc.
As stated above, this lapse in quality by Warner Bros definitely makes me wary regarding recommending the set. I’ve decided to include the above information to help many fans of Tiny Toon Adventures, in hopes that if you do purchase Looney Links, your episode collection is as perfect as possible.