"The New Adventures of Superman" Two-Disc DVD Review
June 26, 2007 by James Harvey
A piece of history comes to DVD as Warner Home Video finally releases The New Adventures of Superman to DVD. And no, this isnít new episodes of Superman: The Animated Series or anything along that road. Warner Home Video is going way, way back to the 1960ís to bring a classic cartoon for a whole new generation of fans. Of course, it remains to be seen if current day fans will even want to see these cartoons. Letís see if the synopsis below piques anyoneís curiosity.
In 1966, Superman, Lois Lane and Perry White were animated into 36 action packed 6-minute episodes that were the forerunner shows leading into subsequent animated hero programming on CBS. The 6-minute vignettes that comprise The New Adventures of Superman depict Superman and Lois Lane in animated form for the first time since they were immortalized in the iconic Superman live-action short films of the 1940s. The series also marked the animation debut of Jimmy Olsen and classic Superman villains like Lex Luthor and Brainiac. The 2-Disc Collector set features 36 action-packed episodes with the legendary super heroes and great bonus features.
I remember watching these cartoons as I was a kid, on some beat-up VHS collection. It didnít have all the episodes, but it had a few. And the memory of those few I had on VHS came rocketing back when I saw them once again on DVD. Initially, I was very enthused to be watching these cartoons again, but soon any nostalgia factor wore off and I realized, once again, that these were not the cartoons for me. I was somewhat fascinated by the ďanimated radio playĒ feel The New Adventures of Superman had going for it, despite it getting a bit repetitive after awhile.
However, I have to admit that the classic Fleischer cartoons still hold up much better than these toons. I hate comparing cartoons of different eras together, but I felt it was justified here. I understand the importance of this series and the effect it had on upcoming toons, or the generation from which it came, but that still doesnít justify any quality issues it had. Still, I have to admit that the cheap animation style can be somewhat charming, even though that charm wears thins as repeated animation becomes very easy to point out after viewing this disc.
Much like The New Adventures of Batman DVD, which streets the same day, the packaging for the DVD is mighty fine. Itís color and looks great alongside The New Adventures of Batman. Some may complain about the slimcases that Warner Bros has been using lately, but I think itís a great tactic. The set looks sleek and sharp and is not at all bulky.
The DVD itself it a commendable set. The audio and video is the best it can for cartoons as old as these. The video is . . . pretty ugly actually. There are scratches, dirt, all of it, and it can really clutter up the image from time. Itís not horrible, but it can get distracting at time. All of that comes from the film itself, but the actual transfer is good. Audio is essentially the same, with all the sound coming from one mono track. The featurette on the site covers the Superman comics and cartoons of the 1960s. Itís a nice brief look at a different era that I think will leave fans clamoring for more.
For all the fans who have never seen The New Superman Adventures, Iíd have to say Rent It before deciding whether or not to purchase it. However, to those who are big Superman fans and have been counting the days for this release, I can easily Recommend this release. The New Superman Adventures has an odd, goofy quality that hopefully fans will appreciate on this new DVD collection.
The New Adventures of Superman is now available on DVD.