Cartoon Network // 1999 // 150 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Michael Rubino (Retired) // October 6th, 2008
Space Ghost: "This next question is brought to you by Ol' Kentucky Shark, of Kentucky Nightmare Talkshow Liquor Corporation. You might remember him."
Williams Street and Adult Swim continue to slowly release the entire run of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast with the arrival of Volume Five: The Kentucky Nightmare DVD. Despite the ominous packaging and online-only availability, this release is on par with the previous seasons -- even as these episodes slowly ebb towards sheer madness.
The latest volume of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast (SGC2C), available only at Williams Street's web site, collects the brief and sporadic sixth and seventh seasons of the show. These two seasons aired over a three year period on Cartoon Network, from 1999 through 2001.
Disc One (Season Six)
* "Chambraigne" Guest: Bob Costas, Al Roker
* "Snatch" Guest: Steven Wright
* "Girl Hair" Guest: Hanson
* "Sequel" Guest: Captain & Tennille
* "Curling Flower Space" Guest: Jerry Springer, Sarah Jessica Parker
* "Table Read"
* "Fire Ant" Guest: Conan O'Brien
* "King Dead" Guest: Jon Benjamin
Disc Two (Season Seven)
* "Kentucky Nightmare" Guest: Willie Nelson
* "The Justice Hole" Guest: Dave Thomas
* "Knifin' Around" Guest: Bjork, Thom Yorke
* "Flipmode" Guest: Busta Rhymes
* "Sweet for Brak" Guest: Tenacious D
The sixth and seventh seasons of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast are certainly the craziest yet (and with only one season left to release on DVD, I think it's fair to assume it will only get nuttier). By this point in the show's run, Space Ghost and company are just a shell of their former talk-showy selves. The cheesy late night intros to the show are gone, and the interviews are complete afterthoughts to each episode. Then again, did they ever really matter? Don't think for a second that SGC2C has jumped the shark (although it did explode a number of them), because this set is as hysterical as ever.
SGC2C is responsible for much of what Adult Swim has become -- it even helped create three of the spin-offs in the original programming block lineup -- and "The Kentucky Nightmare DVD" pretty much encapsulates the show's continued shift towards the absurd.
Season Six features classic episodes like "Chambraigne," where Space Ghost starts using shampoo that makes you smarter, and "Sequel," where Birdman has to guest host while Space Ghost is stuck in intergalactic prison. But is also has its share of strange diversions like "Table Read," which is an intense and thoughtfully filmed live action table read of the "Fire Ant" episode; they managed to fit a multi-camera setup and a crane in what looks like a meeting room just to film the actors practicing their lines. Then there's "Fire Ant," which devotes the last 10 minutes of the episode to Space Ghost crawling on his hands and knees chasing after an ant. There really isn't a clunker on the entire disc -- and even when I thought an episode was starting to drag, like "Curling Flower Space," something insane shows up, like the CGI flying saucer from the band Boston. It was a solid and consistent season that leads into an even crazier and more experimental seventh season.
The second disc, which contains the six episodes that make up Season Seven, is quite bizarre -- mainly because when it's all said and done you'll have watched one of the episodes four times. The season starts with the DVD's namesake, "Kentucky Nightmare," which is a hysterical episode involving Willie Nelson, dead sharks, and a bear. This is the episode which makes its return in "Mommentary," and again with two other commentary tracks. The idea behind the "Mommentary" episode is that the creator's mothers came in and recorded a commentary track while watching the episode. They don't seem to really understand what's going on, and hilariously only connect with the show when Willie Nelson appears on the scene. It doesn't get much more adorable than that. Other notable episodes on this second disc include "Sweet for Brak," which features Tenacious D, and "Knifin' Around," featuring Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Bjork (who plays Space Ghost's wife for some reason).
The special features in Volume Five are numerous, if a little unusual. There are the standard recording session videos, and raw interviews with Conan O'Brien and Busta Rhymes, but there are also two commentary tracks for "Mommentary." The first track is a commentary of the mothers' commentary, where the show creators sit down and comment (loosely) on what their moms are saying. It's a fairly entertaining track, but not nearly as endearing or funny as the original mom commentary. Taking things a step further into the realm of meta, there is another commentary track titled "Mommentary Jelly Bean," which features the creators eating food and chatting while watching their commentary on "Mommentary." Essentially there's four layers of sound playing at once, which is incredibly hard to sit through. At one point in the Jelly Bean track someone says, "If you're still watching this you're an idiot." Funny in theory, but that track doesn't pan out. Also included in the special features is the alternate ending to the episode "Snatch," which was a promo commercial asking people to bid on their own private alternate ending on eBay. Finally, there are a handful of funny promos involving Space Ghost botching some historic quotes. All of these special features are fleeting and rather shallow, but taken at face value they're worth a look.
Despite being an online-only release, the packaging and presentation of the set are still top-notch by Adult Swim standards -- and by that, I mean intentionally kind-of-bad-in-a-good-way. The video is decent enough, but suffers from the blurred edges, choppy animation, and overall sloppiness that most of the "recycled" Cartoon Network shows wear like a badge of honor. The sound, which is in Dolby Digital Stereo, comes in pretty good. There's nothing here that's going to wow you; but really, who is going into this thing expecting to be wowed by A/V quality?
SGC2C certainly isn't going to be for everyone, especially if you're a mother in your mid-to-late 50s. And for fans of the original concept behind the show (a has-been Hanna Barbara super hero hosting a late night talk show), you may be disappointed in the direction the show drifted towards in its later years. The humor is absurd and scattershot, and often the guest on the show is only in the episode for a couple of minutes.
Like most other things that have come out of Williams Street and Adult Swim, this one is for a specific breed.
Space Ghost Coast to Coast: Volume Five is another excellent release by Williams Street, and will look great next to The Lost Episodes and the previous retail releases. Seasons Six and Seven are a strange bunch, for sure, but they're also absurdly hilarious. If you are a fan of anything on Adult Swim today, then you probably owe it to your self to pick this set up.
Really, it's worth owning just to be able to watch "Mommentary" at a moment's notice.
Review content copyright © 2008 Michael Rubino; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Cartoon Network
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 150 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Snatch" Alternate Ending
* Table Read Extras
* Conan Raw Interview
* George Lowe Record
* Clay Croker Record
* Busta Raw Interview
* Mommentary w/Creators Commentary
* Mommentary Jelly Beans Commentary
* Space Ghost Episode Guide