The Simpsons – The Complete 20th Season, Blu-ray (2008-2009)

by | Jan 16, 2010 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Simpsons – The Complete 20th Season, Blu-ray (2008-2009)

Studio: Twentieth-Century Fox Home Entertainment (1/12/10)
Video: 1.33:1 full frame (Episodes 1-9); 1.78:1 widescreen (Episodes 10-21)
Video Resolution: (Episodes 1-9) 1080p up-converted; (Episodes 10-21) 1080p HD
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA; Spanish, French and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese
Extras: "The 20th Anniversary Special Sneak Peek" by Morgan Spurlock
Box Set Length: 456 minutes
Movie Rating: ****         Video Rating: ****        Audio Rating: ***1/2

“The Simpsons” is the prime-time, Emmy award-winning television show currently in its twenty-first season on the Fox network.  In addition to being a cultural phenomenon since the early 1990s, the animated family has also starred in their own feature film at the box office.  The animated series with adult-oriented humor follows the hilarious misadventures of Springfield’s favorite family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.  “The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season” features the family and their fellow Springfield residents engaging in plenty of comic hijinks, plus this season includes celebrity guest stars such as Anne Hathaway, Jodie Foster, Ellen Page, and Kelsey Grammar.  Highlights from the twentieth season include a spoof of ‘The DaVinci Code’ in the episode “Gone Maggie Gone”; Homer and Ned Flanders becoming bounty hunters in “Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes”; and the Simpsons taking a family trip to Ireland in “In the Name of the Grandfather”. 

The entire twenty-one episodes from the 2008-2009 season are included on two discs.  (Disc One: Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes; Lost Verizon; Double, Double, Boy in Trouble; Treehouse of Horror XIX; Dangerous Curves; Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words; Mypods and Boomsticks; The Burns and the Bees; Lisa the Drama Queen; plus the special feature: The 20th Anniversary Special Sneak Peek by Morgan Spurlock.  Disc Two: Take My Life, Please; How the Test Was Won; No Loan Again, Naturally; Gone Maggie Gone; In the Name of the Grandfather; Wedding for Disaster; Eeny Teeny Maya, Moe; The Good, the Sad and the Drugly; Father Knows Worst; Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D’Oh; Four Great Women and a Manicure; Coming to Homerica).

Rating the overall quality of episodes in this set, I think “The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season” is a winner having more good ones than bad.  Being the first Simpsons television season released in high-definition, it is a must-have for fans, with my only reservation being that the lone special feature included in this release is a four-minute sneak preview.  In contrast, the standard DVD releases for Seasons 1-12 contained numerous special features including commentaries, deleted scenes and featurettes.  It’s entirely possible then that the twentieth season may be re-released as a special edition sometime in the future.  Highly recommended.     

The high-definition video quality for this set needs to be given two separate scores.  The video quality of the first nine episodes, which aired before the show’s transition to high-def, is good and similar to that of the previous standard DVD season releases.  Images are clean with decent detail, and colors are vivid and bright.  Other than some occasional image instability, picture defect mastering is solid with no major flaws or compression artifacts.  The video quality of the remaining twelve episodes, which aired after the show’s transition to high-def, is very good and mirrors that of “The Simpsons Movie” Blu-ray.  Images are crisper and displayed in much greater detail.  Colors are vibrant (with more ‘pop’) and hues are fully-saturated.  Picture defect mastering is well-done, although a few instances of image instability are still evident.  The overall audio quality for all of the episodes is good with the English DTS 5.1 surround track serving as the basis for this review.  The soundtrack mix favors the forward soundstage.  Dialogue is always intelligible and properly positioned in the center channel.  The surround channels are minimally utilized for sound effects and the music soundtrack.  The LFE channel does not get a lot of use, but has nice punch when given an opportunity.

-Calvin Harding Jr.

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