The Simpsons – The 14th Season, Blu-ray Set (2002-2003/2011)
Studio: 20th-Century Fox Home Entertainment (3 Blu-rays) [12/6/11]
Video: 1.33:1 full screen color, 1080p HD
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Spanish & French DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Extras: Audio commentary on all episodes; “A Haunting Invite from Matt Groening”; Five featurettes (“In the Beginning”; “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll”; “The 300th Episode”; “The Halloween Classics”; “Foolish Earthlings”); two bonus episodes (“Treehouse of Horror V” and “Treehouse of Horror VI”); Multi-angle animation showcases; Sketch gallery; Deleted scenes; Special language feature
Total Running Time: 483 minutes
Series Rating: **** Video Rating: **** Audio Rating: ***1/2
The Simpsons is the prime-time Emmy award-winning television show currently in its twenty-third season on the Fox network. In addition to being a cultural phenomenon since the early 1990s, the animated family starred in their own feature film at the box office and also have their own amusement park ride at Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood. Some critics have said it is still the best series on TV. The animated series with adult-oriented humor follows the comic misadventures of Springfield’s favorite family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The Simpsons: The Fourteenth Season features the Simpson family and their fellow Springfield residents continuing in their patented style of comic misadventure, plus this season includes the celebrity guest voices of notables such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Tom Petty, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, Elliott Gould, Marisa Tomei, Little Richard, Adam West and Burt Ward. Highlights from the 14th season include Homer hiring a private detective to spy on Lisa to learn her likes and dislikes in the episode “The Dad Who Knew Too Little”; Homer moving out of the Simpson house after a fight with Marge, and into a condo with a gay male couple in “Three Gays of the Condo”; and Moe saving Maggie after she was thrown from the vehicle in a car accident and then becoming her babysitter in the episode entitled “Moe Baby Blues”.
The entire twenty-two episodes from the 2002-2003 season are included on the three discs. (Disc One: Treehouse of Horror XIII; How I Spent My Strummer Vacation; Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade; Large Marge; Helter Shelter; The Great Louse Detective; Special Edna; plus special features. Disc Two: The Dad Who Knew Too Little; The Strong Arms of the Ma; Pray Anything, Barting Over; I’m Spelling as Fast as I Can; A Star is Born-Again; Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington; C.E.D’Oh; plus special features. Disc Three: ‘Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky; Three Gays of the Condo; Dude, Where’s My Ranch?; Old Yeller-Belly; Brake My Wife, Please; The Bart of War; Moe Baby Blues; plus special features).
The show won several awards for episodes of this season including two Primetime Emmy Awards and a Writer’s Guild of America Award. I thought most of the episodes included in The Simpsons: The Fourteenth Season were good ones. As with previous seasons, there are a couple of weak episodes scattered throughout the collection intermixed with the gems. Similar to the Season Thirteen Blu-ray release last year, Season Fourteen includes a nice amount of special features. [I’ve never understood how animated films can have extensive deleted scenes…Ed.] Simpsons fans should not hesitate to add this latest release to their Blu-ray collections. Highly recommended!
The overall high definition video quality for this set is very good (though it is only 4:3, not 16:9). Images are crisp with excellent detail. Colors are super-vivid and robust with fully-saturated hues [as with most animation…Ed.]. Black levels are uniformly dark. Picture defect mastering is solid with no major flaws or compression artifacts. The overall audio quality is good. The soundtrack mix predominantly favors the forward channels. Dialogue is clean, intelligible and properly positioned in the center channel. The surround channels are selectively utilized for sound effects and the music.
—Calvin Harding Jr.
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.