Shout! Factory // 1988 // 300 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // June 27th, 2012
This '80s rock cartoon revolves around Jem, who is the mysterious lead singer and front-woman of the rock group "Jem and the Holograms." She is also Jerrica Benton, owner/manager of Starlight Music that helps to run a charity orphanage and home for girls in trouble. In this third and final year of Jem and the Holograms things come to a glamorously rocked out dramatic pinnacle introducing a third band to shake things up. As The Holograms and The Misfits begin to question where their careers are going, a new super group called The Stingers comes to town and causes a commotion by upstaging our usual crew. Immediately a bidding war commences between Jem's alter-ego Jerrica Benton and the Misfits manager Eric to sign them. Meanwhile, their new lead singer Riot is out to date Jem without realizing she is also Jerrica. Jem and Jerrica's purple haired boyfriend Rio is feeling left out in the cold, and lead Misfit Pizzazz is jealous enough to dye her hair green.
Jem was a show designed around a line of dolls, and it never should have been as good as it turned out. The series was produced by the same team that created G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and the Transformers. A staff writer for those two cartoons named Christy Marx was charged with creating the stories, and she did a bang-up job combining girl fantasy, action, and music video production. The animation was produced by a Japanese studio, and has a nice anime quality to it ahead of its time. Jem and the Holograms followed a structure of three video segments that showcased pop rock songs mixed in with an ongoing plot that often had a sense of continuing story. In Season Three they shortened the run of episodes, and changed that iconic "Truly Outrageous" theme song to the decidedly less catchy "Jem Girls." Other than that, not much changed with what was seen as a winning formula.
Previously Shout! Factory put out two or three collections of Jem and The Holograms including a box with seasons one and two as well as the entire run of the show. This is the first time Season Three is out on its own, and it is the shorter season at only thirteen episodes. Video quality is decidedly '80s cartoon. Colors seem a little washed out, and the focus is a touch soft. Extras on this set only include a video jukebox feature and none of the featurettes or commentaries found on the more expansive complete set.
It's nice to see Jem and the Holograms: Season Three finally getting a release for those fans who need to complete their collection without having to purchase the complete series. Jem and her gang remain as much fun as they were back in the late '80s. Rumor has it a live action movie may be in the works, but I can't imagine how a studio or feature film could toy with this formula that worked so well as a cartoon for the small screen.
Guilty of being truly outrageous, Jem and the Holograms are free to go.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Video Jukebox