The Complete First Season
Studio: Warner Brothers
U.S. Rating: Not Rated
Canadian Rating: Rating Pending
Length: 629 minutes
Genre: Animated Comedy
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 1.0 mono
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Closed Captioned: Yes
Release Date: May 11, 2004
Show Rating: /
Starring Voices: George O’Hanlon (George), Penny Singleton (Jane), Janet Waldo (Judy), Daws Butler (Elroy, W.C. Cogswell), Mel Blanc (Cosmo S. Spacely)
Additional Voices: Jean Vander Pyl, Don Messick
Warner Brothers has released The Jetsons: The Complete First Season as part of their Hanna-Barbera Golden Collection. Season One contains all 24 episodes spread on 4 discs as well as special features too! In 1962, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera set out to make another evening entertainment show, preaching nothing but giving laughter in people’s homes. The story is of George Jetson, a 21st Century man, and hard working Digital Index Operator putting in his required three hours of work time a day. He is under scrutiny from his penny-pinching boss as he tries to prove to him that he does more than sleep on the job at Spacely Space Sprockets. He needs the money! His lovely wife Jane has a terrible time at home doing housework…I mean instructing robots to do the housework. She must keep her fingers exercised so she can keep pushing buttons for her machines to make breakfast and dinner, and she must have more money to satisfy her daily shopping routine. It must be nice to be a future work-at-home mom!
Both George’s and Jane’s parenting skills are good. They are very kind to their daughter Judy and their boy Elroy. Judy is the typical teenager who is obsessed with boys, rock stars, clothes, and loves to hang out with her friends. She attends Orbit High School, and her musical taste isn’t George’s favorite either. It’s loud, and reflects the parent-child tastes of the early ‘60s (or any generation for that matter). The ‘60s saw a greater diversification in rock instruments, usually three electric guitars and sometimes an electronic piano. It was quite different from the Big Band music from decades past or the earlier rock and roll bands of two guitars, drums, and acoustic piano and bass, and even a saxophone. It’s too bad George Jetson didn’t get a taste of today’s loud music of electric/alternative and thrash metal! That aside, despite the differences in the two generations, they get along very well.
To complete the family, Elroy is the six and a half year old Jetson who’s the smartest one of the group. An exemplary student, he loves anything that is a gadget and a robot. He has the most attachment to Rosie the robot maid, chats with friends on the 14 MGY Oscilloscope (far more advanced than MSN Messenger!), and tends to sneak up on George by wearing his space boots and walking on the ceiling. They all live as one happy family with their attention-loving dog Astro at the Skypad Apartments. They enjoy all of the convenient technologies of the 21st century (some that we’ve seen, and others that seem a little far from the near future). While all of their technologies may never work, it's always fun to see their frustrations when technology fails. I guess that will be one thing in the future that will never change!
Each episode offers a funny view of life in the future with each character having their strengths and weaknesses. Each episode also includes the original laugh tracks that were removed in the ‘80s. The Episodes are listed here, and each feature their original opening and closing credits:
-Rosie The Robot
-A Date With Jeff Sreamer
-The Space Car
-The Coming of Astro
-Jetsons Night Out
-The Good Little Scouts
-The Flying Suit
-Elroy’s TV Show
-A Visit From Grandpa
-Astro’s Top Secret
-The Little Man
-Jane’s Driving Lesson
-Miss Solar System
-TV or Not TV
The four-disc set is jammed tightly in a thin plastic case. It was very difficult to pull out. I had to open the opposite side of the case and push the set out from the other side just to prevent myself from damaging the inner set while trying grip it and pull it out. Once in my hands and out of the plastic case, the four discs fold out from the middle (two on one side, two on the other) and there are episode names, pictures, and trivia on the flaps. After reading this, I popped the discs in. This is what I found in quality that is consistent of all episodes.
VIDEO QUALITY /
I’ve never seen this cartoon look so good. There are very few blemishes on this release for an image quality that will stun you as you watch it. My only source of viewing this was the re-runs on the network stations in the mornings back in the ‘80s. While I never judged picture quality back then, nor did I have a fantastic TV, based on clips seen in the special features area of older and worn out footage of the series, I am imagining this is what it used to look like on cable and worse. Aside from a little bit of film specs, the contrast between whites and blacks are excellent. All of the colours are vibrant in comparison to the older footage, and sharpness is exceptional with no distracting edge enhancement (except on the special features). The animation is not blurry like other animations I’ve seen recently on DVD. I still think the Loony Tunes shorts restorations look a touch better than The Jetsons release, but for all this is worth, this is a must have.
AUDIO QUALITY /
This is a Dolby Digital 1.0 mono release. I am happy to see Warner releasing the monaural audio in the center channel rather than split up in left and right channels. I prefer having the audio anchored in the center speaker if it is mono based. The dialogue through my Martin-Logan Cinema center speaker is clear as can be. It is also a touch on the thin side and it infrequently has distortion. The sound effects are great for the events on screen. Some are quite creative too. Even the music is played back with clarity and good fidelity, but it too is a little lean on the bass. My Mirage LFX-3 multi-channel crossover can take the bass from the center channel and re-direct it to both of my main channel’s subwoofers. In this scenario, as expected for such an old recording (but worth the fun checking out anyways), there was very little bass information below 80Hz except in one musical sequence.
SPECIAL FEATURES /
On Episodes 1 & 2 (on disc 1), we get a commentary by Janet Waldo, the voice of Judy Jetson. Her commentary is ok as she seemingly seems to be confused whether or not she should talk in her Judy Jetson voice or as herself as she talks about things in the episodes. I would have rather heard her speak in her real voice as she gives information because I felt like she was talking to children while most of her listening audience will certainly be adults. But her overly happy voice is cheery as she does give some useful information. At times she can be quiet for too long as we watch the show, and that my friend, is the uncomfortable silence…
There are a few featurettes to dip into on disc four. The Jetsons: The Family of the Future (8.42) discusses the show, the direction, the characters, and the similarities of what appeared in the show to what exists today. There is also old and newer interview footage of Hanna and Barbera mixed in.
The Nuclear Family Album is a multi-page featurette that gives a quick run down of who George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, and Astro are. No new information in here for fans, but maybe helpful to a first time Jetsons viewer.
Space Age Gadgets (4.50) talks about contraptions the characters use in this season for their entertainment, convenience, routine, and how its all prone to error. A three and a half minute featurette on Rosie the Robot Maiden is also included just to not leave her out. Trailers and previews of other Family Favourites are also included. What is not included are DVD-ROM features or an insert or any sort about the series.
The Jetsons is a classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon from the ‘60s that fans and preservationists should have on DVD because of the excellent restoration work done on the first season. I’m looking forward to more Hanna-Barbera cartoon releases in the future. While special features are a little slim, this is an excellent release. Be sure to pick it up.