Cartoons just aren’t what they used to be. Back in the day – the eighties for me – cartoons were just fantastic and some of the best to ever grace television. He-Man, The Real Ghostbusters, Shirt Tales, and Captain N are just a few of those shows that made my day after school let out, and especially my Saturday mornings – full of fun and entertainment. There was no need for going outside or any of that nonsense, when hour after hour of hand-drawn good times were gracing my television and making me happy to be a kid. Another one of those cartoons, though, that kept my attention all the time was one that produced tons of forever unanswered questions when I became an adult, The Smurfs.
Deep in the heart of the forest lies a small village consisting of mushroom houses and a good number of small blue creatures. They are blue from head to toe and wear white pants and hats. That is except for the man (?) obviously in charge who wears red pants and a hat. His name is Papa Smurf and he resides in charge of all the other Smurfs that live in Smurf Village and it is all simply Smurf-tastic. Each episode in the series would give us a look inside the daily lives of the Smurfs as they tried to deal with not only their small stature in a world of giants, but also other normal problems and challenges that would come upon them. Working together though would always be their first option for solving their issues and remaining in their happy existence.
The Smurfs had by far one of the coolest villains in an animated series ever in Gargamel and he always got the shaft. Not only would the Smurfs have to deal with all their problems like the vanity of Vanity Smurf – their one female in Smurfette – or the annoyance of Brainy Smurf, but they’d also have to constantly be on the lookout for Gargamel who wanted to capture them and eat them. I mean they are of such a small size that a handful of them would make for a great soup or sandwich for the human-sized Gargamel. Oh and let’s not forget some scraps or even a whole Smurf or two for his equally evil cat Azrael. There are other villains that have made their way into the forest at times to get their hands on the Smurfs, but more often then not it is Gargamel that is searching for them and always failing in his quest.
The episodes included on this DVD are a pretty good collection from season two that have a decent range and are all different. “S-Shivering S-Smurfs” introduces us to Tracker Smurf that helps the rest of the village get ready for a long and cold winter. Other episodes teach about the importance of self-confidence and working together showing that not only was this a show of fun but one of learning and able to teach good lessons. “The Haunted Castle” brings about the relationships that the Smurfs have gained with some humans over the years as they try to make their way out of a ghost-filled castle. But my favorite episode out of the five is “Turncoat Smurf” that focuses on Brainy Smurf and his aggravating self, but he may have actually stepped over the line this time and might not be able to work his way back into the fold.
The Smurf Who Couldn’t Say No
The Haunted Castle
The Black Hellebore
Our Smurftacular friends are show in 1.33:1 Full Frame format and each episode surely shows its age because it is obvious that nothing has been done to touch them up or make them look better at all. Not that it is awful quality, but far from DVD worthy.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital Mono Sound and while it isn’t an ideal setup; it more then does the job here. Again though nothing was made to enhance the sound for this release from when the series originally aired.
Meet The Smurfs – An array of clips give us a good look at Papa Smurf, Tracker Smurf, and Brainy Smurf complete with narration for a little added explanation as to why they are the Smurfs they are. This is short but very cute and a nice look at whom they truly are.
Trailers – Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection, Follow That Bird, Scooby-Doo Where Are You? Volume One, Tom And Jerry Tales Volume 6, The Real Adventures Of Johnny Quest, and The Wiggles Present: Dorothy The Dinosaur
I can’t have a good mind and give this disc a very good rating overall because it’s just not worth the money. The episodes are great and the series itself is a fantastic show that will bring back feelings of nostalgia for many adults and even have today’s kids mesmerized by the little blue men (not the group). Even the lone special feature is pretty good, even though it is very short. My issue is that the first season of The Smurfs was split up into two volumes each consisting of three and a half times the amount of episodes given here and they only cost about eight to ten bucks more a piece. True Blue Friends throws together five randomly chosen episodes from the second season which you know will be released in one or two sets shortly anyway. This DVD is nothing more then an attempt to sully the good name of The Smurfs since they rock so much and the only intention here is more dough. And that my friends is NOT Smurfy!
Warner Home Video presents The Smurfs, Volume 1: True Blue Friends. Created by: Peyo & Hanna-Barbera. Starring (voices): Various. Running time: 103 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: March 3, 2009. Available at Amazon.com