Our reviews of Space Ghost Coast To Coast: Volume Five (published October 6th, 2008), Space Ghost Coast To Coast: Volume Three (published May 7th, 2005), and Space Ghost Coast To Coast: Volume Two (published January 26th, 2005) are also available.
A '60s superhero. A microphone. A legend.
There are a few folks in Hollywood we know will never host a talk show. Carrot Top. Most all of the Baldwin brothers. Moose, the canine star of Frasier. I think that on the top of my list would have been Space Ghost, the cheaply animated super hero from the 1960s born of the mind of Hanna-Barbara (they created a few other inconsequential, unknown characters like Yogi Bear and some guy named "Fred Flintstone"). And yet, Space Ghost has done the impossible: he was able to snag a hosting gig on the coveted Cartoon Network; fitting, I suppose, since he is without question an ink and paint kinda guy. Set in what appears to be some far-off space station, Space Ghost chides his guests with inane questions (why is it superheroes always come off as egotistical morons?) and exchanges zingers with his bandleader, the dreaded Zorak (kind of like a cross between a mantis and Kate Moss) and his producer, Moltar (who may be perceived as Darth Vader's distant sixth cousin twice removed). And what could a group of zany animated superheroes possibly bring to the late night table? I'm glad you asked: zaniness the size of Jupiter and two of its moons! Witness as Space Ghost probes the mind of not one, not two, but three actors from the TV show Gilligan's Island! Recoil in terror as Judy Tenuta croons accompanied by her hair-raising accordion! Thrill to the likes of Hulk Hogan, Michael Stipe, and Adam West revealing their most intimate details! And by intimate details, I mean witty banter. Yes, it's all here on Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, a show that proves laughter is truly out of this world.
Included on this two disc set are the following episodes:
Let's just put this on the table: Space Ghost: Coast to Coast is an acquired taste. When I first started watching this show, I wasn't amused. And then something happened…old Space Ghost got me. I started to smile. Then I started to chuckle. I can tell you exactly when it happened. During one of the earlier episodes, Space Ghost interviews the punk rock band The Ramones (Marky Ramone, Joey Ramone, etcetera). As they all introduce themselves by first and last name, Moltar and Zorak chime in as well ("I'm Moltar Ramone." "I'm Zorak Ramone"). It's a moment, I realize, that is only funny if you're watching the show. This is the moment when I sat back and really started enjoying this subversive, odd little talk show. Space Ghost: Coast to Coast is featured on the Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" programming, which means while kids can watch it, it's the adults who are most likely to understand and appreciate the gags.
In this first volume of the TV show (a hit on the network and still in rotation), we're given many odd and funny moments, including Space Ghost interviewing such quasi-celebrities as "Weird Al" Yankovic, Michael Stipe of REM fame, Terry "Monty Python" Jones, the Jerky Boys (what ever happened to those guys, anyway?), "The Late Shift" author Bill Carter, The Bee Gees, wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan, rocker Slash (of Guns 'n Roses fame), and other semi-famous faces, though a question begging answer is "what's Susan 'Stop The Insanity' Powter doing here?" These are all folks who apparently weren't able to get a booking on Letterman, Leno, or even Craig Kilborn. When you break it down Space Ghost: Coast to Coast is really just a one-trick pony: it's Mr. Ghost asking inane questions and the stars looking remotely baffled and laughing at the lunacy of it all. One of the more entertaining aspects of the show is watching various celebs attempting to plug a book, movie, show, etcetera, and finding Space Ghost to be less than interested in anything they have to say, and more fascinated by the fact that he's a superhero. Ah, but it's all in good, subversive fun. How can you not laugh at a show that not only attempts to entertain but also enlighten, as when one episode pauses to teach viewers the magic that is Spanish! Of course, the real star here is the bafflingly detached Space Ghost, possible cousin of The Tick. Space Ghost, whose job description includes "flying and saving plants from peril," makes for a unique interviewer—the guy puts Letterman to shame any old night. For a night you won't soon forget—which may be a good thing, may be a bad thing, depending on your viewpoint—Space Ghost: Coast to Coast is your ticket to ride.
Space Ghost: Coast to Coast is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, the show's original aspect ratio. Overall this is a fine looking transfer that boasts strong colors and black levels, or at least as strong as a cheaply animated TV show can look. Though they're good looking pictures, I wouldn't say these are fantastic transfers—there are a few inconsistencies in the images (an overall lack of detail and sharpness). However, considering what this is (was Hanna-Barbera ever known for quality anything?), the transfers will do just fine. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 in English. There isn't much to any of these sound mixes—it's all front heavy without any directional effects. Then again, none are needed. Also included on this disc are English, Spanish, and French subtitles.
Greetings, Earthlings! Special features galore are in store for you, starting with a batch of commentary tracks by producer Keith Crawford and Mike Lazlo, creator Khaki Jones, and more wacky folks giving you lots of information on how the show was created (based, of course, on the original 1966 TV show), what it was like working with such a suave superhero like Space Ghost, and other fun tidbits about the show. All of the commentaries included on these discs are fun, goofy, and rather enjoyable. The commentaries are available only on the episodes "Elevator," "Batmantis," "Story Book House," "Girlie Show," and "Fire Drill." Also included on this are some original sketches and artwork from the conception of the show, as well as a disturbing "Zorak Does Jingle Bells" music video that must be seen to be believed.
Fun fact alert! The original Space Ghost and Dino Boy TV series featured the voice talents of talk show legend Johnny Carson, Tim Matheson, and Ted "Lurch" Cassidy.
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