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Dungeons and Dragons: Complete Animated Series!





basementgamesltd
Hey All,

I thought I'd set a post aside to reflect on an old, but classic anime in honor of Gary Gygax. My friend came home with this DVD set of DnD: The Animated Series about 6 months ago and I've watched most of it. I'll tell ya, it's kinda tough to get used to at 1st, especially being adapted to many of today's intense graphics in animated cartoons/animes.

Anyways, the people at BCI Eclipse have established themselves as masters at releasing cartoons on DVD with great care, no small feat given Filmation's reputation and the time-compressed PAL masters that Hallmark left behind before destroying everything else (or so the story goes). With Dungeons & Dragons, though, things were much more hopeful, just so long as the artificial commercial breaks, mystifying edits, and the awful new theme that Saban created for recent re-airings were absent.

Naturally, Murphy's Law had to kick in, in the form of The Walt Disney Company.

Nine episodes (every episode from "City At The Edge Of Midnight" until the finale, with the exception of "The Traitor", "The Last Illusion", and "The Dungeon At The Heart Of Dawn"-one third of the show's 27 episodes, for those counting at home) have had three pieces of music-one "oasis" theme and two fast-paced, dramatic battle themes-replaced. All three were penned and conducted by Rob Walsh. To the experienced fan of the cartoons of Marvel and Sunbow, this replacement comes as a surprise, since Walsh's music was never removed from Rhino's Sunbow releases, where it is extremely prevalent, to the point of even totally supplanting that of Johnny Douglas.

What makes this especially aggravating is that the UK DVDs were untouched, "The Dungeon At The Heart Of Dawn" (a Walsh-heavy episode) is untouched, and Disney has created new music that is really bad, a maddening choice considering that the majority of the missing cues have been replaced by the familiar music of Johnny Douglas (and other than in "The Dragon's Graveyard", where Walsh's music is vital, the change is not immediately recognizable). We don't deserve this unexplained set of changes, and BCI *really* doesn't, because they have done an awesome job assembling features for this set.

First and foremost of these extras is a radio play rendition of Michael Reaves' unproduced (and nigh legendary) series finale, "Requiem". While Katie Leigh (voice of Sheila, the thief) is the only original cast member present, the voices assembled (especially for Hank and Dungeon Master) are close matches. Second are two commentaries (moderated excellently by Andy Mangels) and a very nice documentary. Third is the alternate/rare footage, but there are only two of the episode previews, and the best of the series openings (for the second season) looks like an ancient PAL transfer (sped up and zoomed in). Fourth is a plethora of scripts, storyboards, and other documents from the series' production. Also present is a fan-made production and extensive (and I mean *extensive*) character and object biographies (with appropriate clips from the series).

If not for Disney's imposed meddling with the soundtrack, this set would qualify as the best '80s cartoon released to date. It has a great deal of special features, excellent packaging, and even manages to (finally!) bridge the gap between the actual D&D game to the series. While I would have liked to have seen all of the "Today on Dungeons & Dragons..." previews (or at least known that this was an issue, so I could have contributed the two or three extras I have on barely-acceptable VHS tapes) and the season 2 opening at its proper speed and resolution, these seem like minor concerns when compared to the unnecessary music replacement on this set. Shame on Disney for downgrading an excellent purchase to three-quarters of what it should be.

Keep it real...
Felixurban
used to watch it with my DM and fellow players every Saturday morning as a kid. Smile I hate to hear about the music but this seems to be a common thing for a LOT of tv shows of the pre-dvd era and even some older movies. I'm a huge zombie movie fan and it's breaks my heart that I have to change audio tracks during certian parts of "Return of the Living Dead" Part 2 becasue of this music issue (for some reason it seems the changes are only made in the English tract and NEVER in the other language tracks or the commentary track). I guess there are legal reasons for all that, but it stinks! Also, we should have a moment of silence for the passing of the man (Gary Gygax) himself.
Sad
BlackroseDigitalDesigns
Thanks for the fantastic review and all the research you put into it. Great job, it has definitely put that collection on my wish list.
kriszara
I second the tipping of the hat to Gary. Thanks for the great game!
My daughter grew up watching the D&D cartoons. When she started playing with us at 5 years old her first character was named Presto.
I was very happy to find the dvds for her. It is a lot of fun to watch and see them attempt to defeat the bad guys every episode without killing anyone.
Kristine
Knightly Games has great deals on comics and games.
blk3
I used to watch this as a kid. Good thing there is a DVD released that way it can be preserved for future generations. Today's animation style seems really really different from way back. Everyone seems to go for the anime look this days.
gcaughill
basementgamesltd wrote:
Hey All,

I thought I'd set a post aside to reflect on an old, but classic anime in honor of Gary Gygax. My friend came home with this DVD set of DnD: The Animated Series about 6 months ago and I've watched most of it. I'll tell ya, it's kinda tough to get used to at 1st, especially being adapted to many of today's intense graphics in animated cartoons/animes.

Anyways, the people at BCI Eclipse have established themselves as masters at releasing cartoons on DVD with great care, no small feat given Filmation's reputation and the time-compressed PAL masters that Hallmark left behind before destroying everything else (or so the story goes). With Dungeons & Dragons, though, things were much more hopeful, just so long as the artificial commercial breaks, mystifying edits, and the awful new theme that Saban created for recent re-airings were absent.

Naturally, Murphy's Law had to kick in, in the form of The Walt Disney Company.

Nine episodes (every episode from "City At The Edge Of Midnight" until the finale, with the exception of "The Traitor", "The Last Illusion", and "The Dungeon At The Heart Of Dawn"-one third of the show's 27 episodes, for those counting at home) have had three pieces of music-one "oasis" theme and two fast-paced, dramatic battle themes-replaced. All three were penned and conducted by Rob Walsh. To the experienced fan of the cartoons of Marvel and Sunbow, this replacement comes as a surprise, since Walsh's music was never removed from Rhino's Sunbow releases, where it is extremely prevalent, to the point of even totally supplanting that of Johnny Douglas.

What makes this especially aggravating is that the UK DVDs were untouched, "The Dungeon At The Heart Of Dawn" (a Walsh-heavy episode) is untouched, and Disney has created new music that is really bad, a maddening choice considering that the majority of the missing cues have been replaced by the familiar music of Johnny Douglas (and other than in "The Dragon's Graveyard", where Walsh's music is vital, the change is not immediately recognizable). We don't deserve this unexplained set of changes, and BCI *really* doesn't, because they have done an awesome job assembling features for this set.

First and foremost of these extras is a radio play rendition of Michael Reaves' unproduced (and nigh legendary) series finale, "Requiem". While Katie Leigh (voice of Sheila, the thief) is the only original cast member present, the voices assembled (especially for Hank and Dungeon Master) are close matches. Second are two commentaries (moderated excellently by Andy Mangels) and a very nice documentary. Third is the alternate/rare footage, but there are only two of the episode previews, and the best of the series openings (for the second season) looks like an ancient PAL transfer (sped up and zoomed in). Fourth is a plethora of scripts, storyboards, and other documents from the series' production. Also present is a fan-made production and extensive (and I mean *extensive*) character and object biographies (with appropriate clips from the series).

If not for Disney's imposed meddling with the soundtrack, this set would qualify as the best '80s cartoon released to date. It has a great deal of special features, excellent packaging, and even manages to (finally!) bridge the gap between the actual D&D game to the series. While I would have liked to have seen all of the "Today on Dungeons & Dragons..." previews (or at least known that this was an issue, so I could have contributed the two or three extras I have on barely-acceptable VHS tapes) and the season 2 opening at its proper speed and resolution, these seem like minor concerns when compared to the unnecessary music replacement on this set. Shame on Disney for downgrading an excellent purchase to three-quarters of what it should be.

Keep it real...


Can you post the DVD names and titles, and where to buy them online?

Thanks,
Greg
Leandrokun
Wonderfull.. Surprised
amperx
seriously? wow although out of your review, still thanks for the info, gonna get a copy of that one definitely Very Happy
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