Judge Neal Masri's favorite episode of this cartoon is when Kevin tries to drag the super pooch into the vet for his annual shots.
From the same planet as Superman comes the world's first Superdog! Think of him as Scooby-Doo with superpowers—but without the speech impediment and stoner pal.
Krypto (Sam Vincent, Ed, Edd N Eddy: The Mis-Edventures), last puppy of Krypton, was the childhood pet of Kal-El (for the uninitiated, Kal-El would be known as Superman after relocating to Earth). As a mere pup, he is launched into space on a craft that eventually makes its way to Earth. For reasons left unclear, Krypto arrives on Earth years after Superman has already grown up and established himself as Earth's premier superhero.
Immediately upon arrival, the dog (who became full grown during his voyage to Earth) discovers he has superhuman (or supercanine if you prefer) powers. He can fly, has super strength, and can see…in color! Krypto quickly hooks up with a kindly boy named Kevin (Alberto Ghisi, Final Destination 3) who adopts him and takes him home. Through the use of a conveniently packed intergalactic communicator, Kevin can understand Krytpo and speak with him.
Krypto quickly discovers his destiny as a superhero when he saves a boat full of zoo animals from drowning. After that, the premise is pretty much established for the series. Krypto maintains a secret identity as a mild-mannered housedog, pulling out his cape for occasional doggy derring-do.
A couple of the classic Superman characters are present. Superman (Michael Daingerfield, Flight 93) has what amounts to a cameo in the origin episode. He appears just long enough to ask Kevin to adopt Krypto and care for him on a day-to-day basis. Lex Luthor (Brian Dobson, Go-Bots is also here. He is portrayed as evil, but in an appropriately cartoonish rather than a scary way. Of course, Lex has an evil pet to act as a foil for Krypto. Luthor's pet iguana (I think) speaks like a strange combination of Paul Lynde and a SoCal surfer. Interesting choice. All the baddies are more silly than scary, which is entirely appropriate for a kids show like this.
Five episodes of Krypto the Superdog are presented on this disc. The first two are a two-part origin story telling how Krypto got to earth and how he came to live with Kevin. The remaining three episodes involve things like Krypto getting a super flea, dealing with Lex Luthor's expansion ray, and a gang of bully dogs who victimize other Metropolis animals.
Not being familiar with Superman canon, I can't say how far back the Superdog character goes. I have vague recollections of seeing a flying dog hanging out with Superman, but I'm not sure how close this cartoon stays to the original character. I can say that Krypto is good fun for the kids. Each episode is approximately 12 to 15 minutes long and well within the attention span of all but the smallest kids.
In this era, no animation happens without a significant reliance on computers. That being said, Krypto the Superdog has a somewhat retro hand-drawn look that reminds me a bit of seventies Hanna Barbara shows. The full screen image is crisp with no compression concerns. The Dolby Surround track is pretty tame without much in the way of surround usage. Effects and music make occasional use of the subwoofer.
The extras are sparse. A brief piece called Intro to Krypto gives a succinct intro to the main characters and the show's premise. It also briefly mentions Bat Hound who, judging by his costume appears to be Batman's dog. He is nowhere to be found in any of the episodes on this disc. There is also a piece titled A Hero Like No Other featuring various incarnations of Superman over the years. This feature ends with the teaser for the upcoming Superman Returns. The producers of this DVD tipped their hand here. I would imagine promotion of the new movie is the raison d'être of this disc.
Krypto the Superdog is a light-hearted and kid friendly introduction to the Superman universe. This show is aimed directly at young children. It does not have the layer of irony and in-jokes that make the best of the Pixar films accessible to both young and old. I didn't get much out of it, but I am saving the DVD for my two-year-old. I think in a couple of years, he'll have a blast with it.
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