Warner Bros. // 1981 // 319 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // October 30th, 2008
"You Smurfin' to me?" -- Travis Bickle, Smurfing Bull
"You will let me know when those Smurfs stop screaming, won't you?" -- Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Smurfs
"No, I am your Smurf!" -- Darth Vader, Gargamel Strikes Back
The Smurfs are back with 20 episodes from the classic '80s TV series to round out the first season, and The Smurfs: Season One, Volume Two doesn't disappoint.
They're blue, they're bad (not really, but it rhymed!), and they're back! Papa, Brainy, Smurfette, and the other 100-odd Smurfs return in The Smurfs: Season One, Volume Two with new adventures aplenty. Join the little blue gang as they face the likes of Gargamel, Hogatha, Bigmouth, the Abominable Snowbeast, and even a rampaging robot Smurf!
This two-disc release includes the original broadcast versions of the last 20 episodes from season one, rather than the often abbreviated versions seen in syndication, spread over two discs as follows:
"The Magic Egg"
"Smurfette's Dancing Shoes"
"Supersmurf"/"The Baby Smurf"
"The Fake Smurf"/"Paradise Smurfed"
"The Purple Smurfs"/"Haunted Smurf"
"The Magnifying Mixture"/"Foul Weather Smurf"
"Painter and Poet"
"The Abominable Snowbeast"/"Gargamel, The Generous"
"Now You Smurf 'Em, Now You Don't"/"The Fountain of Smurf"
"Spelunking Smurfs"/"A Clockwork Smurf"/"The Smurfs and the Money Tree"
In the late '70s, NBC television executive Fred Silverman's daughter had a Smurf doll that her father had bought for her while they were on vacation in Colorado. The little girl was so fond of the doll that Silverman decided that a series based on the Smurfs might make a good addition to the NBC Saturday morning schedule. Little did Silverman know that his programming decision would grow into a Saturday morning crown jewel that would become ingrained in the childhood memories of many kids who grew up in the '80s.
Besides being popular as toys, dolls, figurines, books, and other collectibles, The Smurfs really secured their place in pop culture with their Saturday morning cartoon incarnation, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. Not only was The Smurfs TV series successful on its own, but it also spawned semi-regular TV specials based around different holidays. The show enjoyed great success and was nominated for several Daytime Emmy awards, taking home the award for Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series for the 1982/1983 season. After a successful run of nearly a decade, the show was finally cancelled due to decreasing ratings.
Like many popular series, The Smurfs really garnered the bulk of its fans in syndication and the show continues to air on TV stations around the world. The Smurfs is now distributed by Warner Bros., and the company plans to release all episodes of the show on DVD, beginning with The Smurfs: Season One, Volume One earlier this year, and now rounding out the first season's DVD debut with The Smurfs: Season One, Volume Two. Interestingly, the Australian market already has access to nine volumes of The Smurfs that include 52 of the show's 256 episodes.
It seems there's even more in store for our little blue friends in the future as Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation are currently in production on a live-action/animated Smurfs theatrical release. Producer Jordan Kerner (Charlotte's Web) obtained the film rights for Sony, and David Stem and David Weiss, who wrote the second and third installments in the Shrek franchise, are in negotiations to write the screenplay. The genesis of the current project began during a holiday conversation with Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman/CEO Michael Lynton, who grew up with "Les Schtroumpfs" (the French name for the characters) in the Netherlands. Lynton"s fond childhood memories set the wheels in motion for the new project which may ultimately result in a film franchise.
Warner Bros. served fans well with the release of The Smurfs: Season One, Volume One earlier this year, and it's a pleasure to say this latest release doesn't disappoint either, at least on the audio and video front. The picture quality is actually quite amazing, given The Smurfs: Season One, Volume Two includes source material that is now 27 years old. The colors are vibrant and the quality of the animation is better than many current animation TV shows. Again, given the age of the source material and original tracks, the audio presentation is excellent overall, free of any distortion, noise or hiss. Warner Bros. really have done an excellent job on the audio and video presentation of this release.
The sole additional feature is a 16-minute featurette called "I Smurf the Smurfs!" that explores the history and development of the show, as well as including brief comments and memories from a seemingly random group of folks that includes Debbie Allen and Candace Cameron (yes, I'm serious!).
The down side to this release? Warner Bros. continues to release partial seasons -- a rather unsmurfy thing to do, if you ask me.
Clearly only the second DVD release of The Smurfs with many more to come, The Smurfs: Season One, Volume Two rounds out the series' first season in suitably smurfy fashion. Too bad they put Gargamel in charge of the extras!
If you're a parent with small children, it's easy to recommend that you introduce your children to the wonderful world of The Smurfs. And with some of the marginal children's programming that abounds today, a visit with this beloved '80s TV treasure is a safe bet indeed.
Review content copyright © 2008 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 319 Minutes
Release Year: 1981
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "I Smurf the Smurfs!"
* Official Site
* 50th Anniversary site