Judge Dennis Prince has learned that in space, clingy tights still aren't very flattering to the male physique.
Our reviews of Space Ghost Coast To Coast: Volume Five (published October 6th, 2008), Space Ghost Coast To Coast: Volume One (published December 17th, 2003), and Space Ghost Coast To Coast: Volume Three (published May 7th, 2005) are also available.
S.G.: So, Matt, are you beginning to feel my super-human influence? It should
If you didn't acquire a taste for Space Ghost: Coast to Coast with the release of Volume One, how could you possibly expect to find anything vastly different awaiting you in this follow-on release, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast Volume Two? The simple fact is, it's no different at all—and then again, it's not at all the same. Sort of. Have I confounded you? Are you stunned? Confused? Do you feel kind of tingly?
Back in 1993, when cable television's Cartoon Network was eager to produce new programming to interject between their classic re-airings of The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, and Josie and the Pussycats, a drought of good ideas produced only this rather dry offering: an off-color, off-kilter "talk show" featuring Hanna-Barbera studio's most famous intergalactic crime stopper, Space Ghost. Something of a poor man's Johnny Carson—badgered by his insolent band conductor Zorak (the mantis-thing) and routinely undercut by his indifferent director Moltar (a helmeted molten man)—"S.G." must navigate his way through 15-minute stints of treachery and tomfoolery as he attempts to interview guest stars beamed into his Ghost Planet studio. But don't lay the blame entirely upon Zorak and Moltar, because, unfortunately, S.G. has become aggravatingly preoccupied with his own stature, in the sense of both fame and physicality. This usually derails any possibility of conducting meaningful conversations with guests like rock band Metallica, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, and perpetual cutie-pie Susan Olsen of The Brady Bunch fame.
Honestly, it would seem that such a show, played strictly for zany laughs and fueled by non-stop irreverence, could easily excel. The core idea of taking classic animation clips from the 1966 Hanna-Barbera adventure show (minus Jan, Jace, and Blip the monkey) and repurposing and restaging them to depict S.G. behind a talk show host's desk, impatiently rapping his handful of blue note cards, certainly had legs and true comic potential. Unfortunately, the show simply misses the mark too often. Again, it's concocted from the sort of crass sophomoric humor that is likely a hit among a small circle of J.D.-jiggering frat boys who can't stop their own self-induced uncontrollable laughter; the rest of us look on and wonder which one of these collegiate comedians will be the first to double over and barf the rest of the night away, the remainder sure to follow in time. Recall your college days—maybe even your high school days—where a clique of insolent and typically snotty dudes reveled in their own self-proclaimed comic genius, verbally condemning and castigating all the other "lame-o's" who were too dense to understand the joke. Yeah, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast is a lot like that. If you don't think it's funny…well, you must suck, lame-o.
Now, in all fairness, some of the shtick does work and actually is funny. Look to the "Switcheroo" episode for some fun exchanges between S.G., an evil imposter, Susan Olsen, and Halloween-time hottie Elvira. The "Glen Campbell" episode (no, the country legend doesn't appear on the show) features some excellent banter with Matt Groening, and is likely the best show on this two-disc set. Sadly, shows like "Sharrock," "Late Show," and the horrid live action retardation of "Woody Allen's Fall Project" must have been funny to the show creators, but they're clearly the only ones laughing (and we're standing by laughing at them for it). Admittedly, if SGC2C (a clever acronym, wouldn't you say?) is an acquired taste, a few viewings—and repeat viewings—may have you learning to laugh along with show creators George Lowe, Andy Merrill, and Michael Lazzlo (plus the gaggle of goofballs responsible for the remainder of this silliness). But, if you still don't find the humor that's supposed to be on display here, that's perfectly understandable, too.
As the show was in constant creative flux throughout its inexplicable eight-season run, you'll find this second volume contains some slightly better work when compared to the fledgling content of SGC2C Vol. 1. About midway through the third season the show's humor finally began to evolve, and the overall format began to settle down a bit. Also, the show drew some reasonable guests (some current idols plus many has-beens)—but probably only because those folks feared not being aboard the latest "hip" craze. Although I wouldn't necessarily call SGC2C "hip," I will acknowledge that it definitely drew an audience (again, check the campus dormitories for the common denominator here). The release of the episodes to DVD, however, invokes a whole new level of confusion and consternation. Volume Two begins with the 23rd episode of the series (the second to air during Season 3) and wraps up with the 36th installment and last episode originally aired during the third year. Specifically, here are the episodes you'll find within the two single-sided discs in this mini-box set:
Each episode is presented in full-frame format as originally aired. The transfers are quite vibrant, but aren't stellar in terms of quality. The audio is offered in a suitable Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix. It works.
As far as extras go, there's a decent batch of bonus goods on hand, though they're not all honest-to-goodness "goodies." Each of the 14 episodes here includes an audio commentary provided by various collections of the creators, voice actors, and crew members. If you're incredibly patient and a really good listener, you'll hear quite a bit about the production amongst the useless banter that permeates most commentary tracks here. There's also a pilot episode, pencil tests, a couple of extended episodes (running longer than the usual 15-minute duration), and, best of all, a complete unedited interview with Matt Groening. This was a particularly interesting extra that's fun to compare to the final edit that appears in the show. I would have preferred to see all of the raw interviews with the guest stars who appeared in each of the shows.
So by the time I made it through both discs, I found I sort of "got it" more than when I started, but much of it still just doesn't give me that tingly feeling. The steep price tag on this lean set ($29.98 retail) makes this a better purchase if you can buy it used at your local CD and DVD recycle shop, or you can hook up with a disenchanted merchant on eBay or Amazon. Better yet, I suggest you rent it first, then decide if it's the sort of entertainment that will tickle your funny bone enough to warrant an actual purchase. If not, then proudly chalk it up to enlightened consumerism.
"Well, you know what they say—'Any show you can walk away from is a good one.'"
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Audio Commentaries
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