For nearly thirty years, The Simpson’s has been my favorite television show. I don’t know what it is about that little yellow family that keeps me glued to the screen, but it’s something. I can’t (and probably don’t want to) count the amount of hours that I’ve spent in front of the TV chuckling to the antics of the citizens of Springfield. In recent years I’ve also become quite the fan of Family Guy, a much more irreverent spin-off of The Simpson’s, but nonetheless funny in its own right. I’ve yet to really figure out how Fox is releasing these seasons. In the beginning it was very easy as they started at Season One and kept going up.
Though this is being released in 2017, this season was part of the 2006-2007, most memorable as The Simpsons Movie came out that summer. The season-finale 400th episode, “You Kent Always Get What You Want”, “24 Minutes” with guest star Kiefer Sutherland, Treehouse of Horror XVII with the sepia-tone classic “The Day the Earth Looked Stupid” and much much more. Guest stars include Michael Imperioli, The White Stripes, Tom Wolfe and Natalie Portman and classic episodes include the Emmy-nominated “The Haw-Hawed Couple” and WGA winner “Kill Gil, Volumes I & II.”
Video: How does it look?
While the newer episodes are presented in HD, this was among the last to be shown in the original 1.33:1 full-frame ratio. I watch these reruns pretty much every day and the first thing that really struck me was the color. It’s much more rich and robust than the somewhat pale over the air broadcasts. As any animated title, it does look better than a live action movie and we lose the artifacting and can focus on the pristine quality of the prints used.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track more than suffices, though some of the other seasons are available on Blu-ray and feature a DTS HD Master Audio track. The episodes I watch on TV are usually of sub-par quality, though so long as I can hear the dialogue that’s all I really need. Surrounds are used here and it does give the show a bit of depth. Episodes like “Treehouse of Horror” do sound exceptionally good, though let’s face it – those watching The Simpson’s for the audio quality alone are people you don’t want to associate with! Only kidding. Again, it’s a step up from the reruns that you’ll see on TV, and about on par with the other seasons on DVD.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Welcome Back, Loyal Fans – Series creator Matt Groening gives us the skinny on the set. He mentions that on April 8, 2015 there would be no more DVD’s of The Simpson’s! The fans complained and two and a half years later – “you’re now one step closer to filling that gaping hole on your shelf.” Enjoy!
Audio Commentaries – As in previous seasons, every single episode has an audio commentary. These are available on each disc (obviously) and features Matt Groening and company doing their trademark rambling.
Deleted Scenes – Available with an introduction and playable with or without commentary, the quality leaves a little to be desired, but as always – a nice inclusion nonetheless.
Bonus Episode – “22 for 30” – This episode, from Season 28, has been included here as a “bonus episode”. I have no idea why, but there must be some marketing reason as to its inclusion.
Multi Angle Animation Showcase – A picture-in-picture features is used (both in storyboard and animatics) that use the episode “The Mook, The Chef, The Wife, and Her Homer” to toggle using the angle button. Yes, the angle button – the least-used button on your remote. It’s interesting and some might enjoy it. I didn’t, but some might.
Special Language Feature – Again, using the above episode, you can use your audio button to change the language from English to German, Czech, Italian and Hungarian.
A Conversation with Fat Tony – Joe Mantegna, who has been the voice of Fat Tony for the entire duration of the series, discusses some history of the character, the only time he’s used his real voice (in the TV adaption of “Bart the Murderer”) and other anecdotes.
The Bottom Line
It was said that “DVD is a dying market” and that The Simpson’s wouldn’t be released on said format. Audiences seemed to have the final say there as this release is definitely “old school.” Truthfully there is a difference in quality between Blu-ray and DVD, but for rabid fans of this show (and yours truly is one), I’m just happy to have it on a disc – be it DVD or Blu-ray.