Judge Dawn Hunt wants to know who Jerry chases?
"Am I a little stinker or what?"
When people use the expression "a game of cat and mouse" they're most likely referring to Tom and Jerry without even realizing it, since the duo has been around since 1940. In 1990 it had been a decade since Tom chased Jerry in any new adventures. When it was decided the cat and mouse should once again grace the small screen, there was a twist. It wouldn't be the versions of Tom and Jerry people were familiar with, instead it would be the titular duo as kids. And thus Tom and Jerry Kids Show was born.
Tom and Jerry Kids Show: The Complete Season 1 brings together 13 episodes on two discs.
• "Flippin' Fido/Dakota Droopy & the Lost Dutch Boy Mine/Dog
What keeps the show from being repetitive (to a point) is the inclusion of other Warner characters. There's Droopy Dog (Don Messick, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!), his son Dripple (Charles Adler, Space Goofs), Spike (Richard Gautier, The Transformers) and his son Tyke (Patric Zimmerman, The Toxic Crusdaders). There're also nemesis McWolf (Frank Welker, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated) and annoyance Clyde (Brian Cummings, Adventures of the Gummi Bears).
But I have to ask…What happened to all the girls in this universe? None of these characters had female offspring? Something's rotten in the state of Denmark, I tell ya.
Questions of the overload of testosterone aside, each episode plays out in roughly the same way: there are three short stories. The first is a Tom and Jerry tale complete with chases and carnage. The second showcases Droopy and Dripple or Spike and Tyke, and the third once again highlights Tom and Jerry's antics. There's plenty to like about Tom and Jerry Kids Show: The Complete Season 1. Fans of the duo as adults will find this offering less violent which may cause some loss of appeal. But I appreciated that aspect of it, as well as Tom and Jerry changing things up every now and again and showcasing a level of actual friendship between them.
It's hard to justify a show based solely on characters hating one another (outside of reality TV). So it's nice that Tom and Jerry take some time to be friends. But the best part of the show is the lessons it teaches in the art of "show don't tell", since both Tom and Jerry are mute characters. Being able to keep an audience engaged without dialogue is especially difficult in today's snark-laden landscape and so I appreciate any well-crafted examples of just how it's done.
Tom and Jerry Kids Show: The Complete Season 1 is another in a long line of Hanna-Barbera influenced kids' shows, and though it didn't last long it's a worthy effort. The show didn't rely heavily on pop culture or dialogue, thus while it definitely looks like the product of the early '90s, it is it doesn't sound like it. Nor is it dated in the way a show which counted smart pop culture references as its bread and butter is. Kids of today may be as entertained by it as any currently broadcast show.
The video is perfectly serviceable though it does look dated. The quality differs but not beyond a few degrees here or there and can be attributed to the source imagery. It's markedly better than a VHS transfer and the palette is strong and balanced throughout, showcasing a world of slight hyperrealism wherein the characters live. It's a bit more golden, a bit less three dimensional at times and there are strongly angled shadows prominent everywhere. The audio is more than expected, honestly, with three different languages available, all which sound nicely leveled.
There are no special features to speak of, merely a couple of trailers for other Tom and Jerry properties.
Tom and Jerry Kids Show: The Complete Season 1 is an easy recommendation for those who grew up watching the adult versions and now want to pass on that love to a younger generation. It's less violent than its predecessor, so that's a plus, and the storytelling manages to captivate without dialogue, meaning you can have this on in the background and not have to worry about being interrupted by a lot of screaming.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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