Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Vol. 3 – DVD Review

DVD Reviews, Reviews

Available at Amazon.com

Directed by
Ben Jones
Robert Renzetti

Gary Cole … Harvey Birdman
Chris Edgerly … Potamus
Thomas Allen … Peanut
Stephen Colbert … Phil Ken Sebben
John Michael Higgins … Mentok the Mindtaker
Grey DeLisle … Debbie
Maurice LaMarche … Apache
Peter MacNicol … X, the Eliminator
Phil LaMarr … Black Vulcan
Lewis Black … The Deadly Duplicator
Paget Brewster … Birdgirl

The Show:

Pushing the envelope is something the folks at Adult Swim should be pretty used to by now. From the general goofiness of Aqua Teen Hunger Force to the biting commentary of Moral Orel, the Cartoon Network lineup has constantly tried to keep the boundary moving outward as they riff on everything they can, while never losing sight of keeping everything as funny as possible. For three seasons, keeping things funny was never a problem for the makers of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, and in its third and final season, the show somehow was able to really take it to the next level.

From the first episode of this box set, we can see that the show runners pulled out all the stops for these last 13 installments, with Turner Broadcasting itself not even safe from the wrath of this show. Made up of footage from classic Birdman episodes, the first installment on this set, “Busy Day for Birdman,” sticks it to both the original series and to Turner Classic Movies, as we’re even given an introduction and closing hosted by Robert Osborne. The episode is a hysterical riff on the antiquated animation of the original Hanna-Barbera creation, and really shows you just how far away from the original series this show is.

From there we’re given 12 more of the funniest episodes of the series’ run on TV. Highlights include episodes such as “Shazzan,” where an old nemesis of our favorite judge, Mentok the Mindtaker (John Michael Higgins), returns to try and imprison him, with Harvey (Gary Cole) having to try and do what he can to keep him out of jail for all eternity. This scenario opens up the episode for a plethora of gags and flashbacks from Mentok’s awesome origin on a very Krypton-like planet with a very Marlon Brando-looking Dad to the Mindtaker being held in a cell very similar to the one that held Magneto in X-Men.

“Return of Birdgirl” has two ridiculous storylines going as Harvey decides to represent Johnny Quest guardians Dr. Quest and Race Bannon (Neill Ross and Thom Pinto) as they try to get a legal Civil Union, meanwhile Birdgirl (Paget Brewster) has to fight off the sexual advances Harvey’s boss, Phil Sebben (Stephen Colbert), without him finding out that she’s actually his real daughter. Cartoon Network’s own Justice League gets skewered as Harvey has to take his case to the highest court in the land, The JUSTICES League, complete with similar entrance. The episode also features one of the best and most inappropriate Say Anything jokes I’ve ever seen.

In addition to stalwart Birdman villains such as X, the Eliminator (Peter MacNicol) and Reducto (more Stephen Colbert), Lewis Black is hilarious as new/old heavy The Deadly Duplicator in the episode “Identity Theft”, in which several Hanna-Barbera characters realize that they’re basically just cheap knockoffs of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. The Duplicator makes things difficult for Harvey by not only replicating the former superhero several times, which in turn confuses the crap out of him, but also creates an army of Phil’s, who decide to hunt the extra Birdmen with reckless abandon. The highlight of the episode has Mentok turning his copies into a barbershop quartet.

While everything from The Incredible Hulk (“Incredible Hippo”) to employee training videos (“Sebben and Sebben Employee Orientation”) get lampooned, no episode really comes close to the hilarity of the series finale, a double-sized episode in which Harvey must re-try every case he’s ever worked, and then must regain his superhero mantle in order to save his city from a Doomsday-esque villain. The animation in this episode is the best the show ever produced, and the jokes are literally nonstop all the way through the episode’s ridiculous conclusion.

Voice work again is excellent across the board as Gary Cole’s awesome deadpan delivery is matched the entire way by the zaniness of every other single character – from Stephen Colbert’s over the top Phil Ken Sebben to Chris Edgerly’s uproarious turn as sex addict Peter Potamus. Also, as we have in other seasons, the voice work done to emulate the original voices of the Hanna-Barbera characters in each episode is amazingly accurate. Once again though, John Michael Higgins’ Mentok the Mindtaker completely steals the show, as his almost car salesman, sophomoric antics never seem to get old. If ever they do a spin-off, it should definitely be about Mentok.

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Vol. 3is the funniest installment of a series that was already hilarious. Though it never garnered the following of Aqua Teen Hunger Force or Robot Chicken the show’s ingenuity and sometimes even surrealistic comedy made it one of the best shows ever on Adult Swim. This last season only served to solidify that position and hopefully on DVD more people will realize just how funny the show really was.

The DVD:

The Video

The animation in this season was rather exceptional, and on this DVD it looks particularly good. The print is nearly flawless, highlighting the already fabulous work done by the animators. The show is presented in Fullscreen with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

The Audio

The Audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and also sounds very good. The dialogue is never too low or drowned out by the soundtrack, creating a really good balance.


Deleted Scenes – You get a handful of deleted scenes, but they’re in storyboard form, and not finished animation. Some are pretty funny, but you can see why they were cut.

Final Record – This is just a few minutes of outtake footage from various recording sessions. One just has the actors making ridiculous faces and screaming into the mike, another is a practical jokes where Chris Edgerly has to say seemingly hundreds of ridiculous names as Peter Potamus. The last has one of the actors doing an awesome Orson Welles impression.

Joke Timeline – The best feature on this set shows each running joke from the series, and when they happened in each episode. Examples of the jokes include Mentok’s “Beeewoop”, Potamus’ “Did you get that thing?”, and Harvey’s “I’ll take the case.”

Birdman Characters – This is a short, goofy montage of who the characters are on the show.

X, The Eliminator Comic Boo – This shows the origin of X, but you have to actually read it and it’s kind of annoying.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Vol. 3
(OUT OF 10)






Robert Sutton feels the most at home when he's watching some movie scumbag getting blown up, punched in the face, or kung fu'd to death, especially in that order. He's a founding writer for the movies section of Insidepulse.com, featured in his weekly column R0BTRAIN's Badass Cinema as well as a frequent reviewer of DVDs and Blu-rays. Also, he's a proud Sony fanboy, loves everything Star Wars and Superman related and hopes to someday be taken seriously by his friends and family.