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Cartoon Network: Holiday Collection DVD Review

Buy Cartoon Network: Holiday Collection on DVD from Amazon.com Cartoon Network: Holiday Collection (2011-2012)
Series & DVD Details

Featured Series: "Adventure Time", "Regular Show", "The Amazing World of Gumball"

Directors: Larry Leichliter, JG Quintel, Mike Roth, Mic Graves / Writers: Kent Osborne, Somvilay Xayaphone, Sean Szeles, Kat Morris, Benton Connor, Hilary Florido, Ben Bocquelet, Jon Foster, James Lamont

Voice Cast: Jeremy Shada (Finn), John DiMaggio (Jake), Tom Kenny (Ice King/Simon Petrikov, Gunter, Snowman), Niki Yang (Beemo), Hyden Walch (Princess Bubblegum), Maria Bamford (Wildberry Princess), Pendleton Ward (Shelby, Snowman) / J.G. Quintel (Mordecai, Hi Five Ghost, Greedy Employee), William Salyers (Rigby, Larry Ranger), Sam Marin Pops, (Benson, Muscle Man), Mark Hamill (Skips), Ed Asner (Santa Claus), Thomas Haden Church (Quillgin), Roger Craig Smith (Thomas, Egg Nog Ranger, Computer Minion), David Ogden Stiers (Mr. Maellard), Kurtwood Smith (Gene the Vending Machine), Courtenay Taylor (Audrey), Fred Tatasciore (Bear) / Logan Grove (Gumball Watterson), Kwesi Boakye (Darwin Watterson), Kyla Rae Kowalewski (Anais Watterson), Teresa Gallagher (Nicole Watterson), Dan Russell (Richard Watterson), Brian Blessed (Santa Claus)


Running Time: 81 Minutes (58 - feature presentation, 23 - extras) / Rating: TV-PG-V
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Surround 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired; Not Closed Captioned; Episodes Originally Aired December 2011 - December 2012
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2014; Suggested Retail Price: $14.98
White Keepcase; Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)

Buy Cartoon Network Holiday Collection on DVD at Amazon.com

So great is my love for Christmas-themed television that I am now asking to review compilations of episodes of shows I've barely even heard of, let alone ever seen. Such multi-series compilations have yielded some of my more enjoyable and memorable reviews.
They're never any longer than a single disc, so even if a show or an episode doesn't do much for me, there's another one to discover and try in less than a half-hour.

Boasting that too rare variety factor, Cartoon Network Holiday Collection gathers four Christmas episodes from three of the animated basic cable channel's comedy series. The shows are popular enough to have run multiple seasons and elicit DVD and even Blu-ray releases. While it may be tough for me to find the time to review an entire season, I was glad to carve out a single night to get a brief first taste of multiple shows.

Though I wouldn't call myself a fan, I am at least reasonably familiar with a number of Adult Swim offerings. What at night becomes Adult Swim is Cartoon Network from morning to primetime. While I have written more about kid-friendly animated television series than most people, my appreciation for yesteryear shows has not evolved into an appreciation for many 21st century 'toons. But holidays bring out the best of some TV series, so as long as I'm giving these shows a shot, why not take a chance to catch them at their best?

The Ice King is embarrassed after crashing Finn and Jake's viewing party of his buried secret tapes. Mordecai and Rigby encounter a wounded, slimmer than expected Santa Claus in Regular Show's "The Christmas Special."

I truly can't say if I'm catching "Adventure Time", "Regular Show", and "The Amazing World of Gumball" at their best, nor can I say that I enjoyed their Christmas episodes enough to be compelled to see more of them. My exposure to them met my expectations for colorful, irreverent comedy. They are far less crude than their Adult Swim counterparts, but also less daring and unpredictable. There's the occasional display of wit, but without knowing anything about these characters, the entertainment is difficult to sustain.

Here are the featured episodes:

1-2. Adventure Time: "Holly Jolly Secrets, Parts 1 & 2" (11:48 & 11:47) (Originally aired December 5, 2011)
Finn and Jake find and watch the Ice King's buried stash of secret tapes.

3. Regular Show: "The Christmas Special" (22:40) (Originally aired December 3, 2012)
While getting more soda for Benson's Christmas party,
Mordecai and Rigby encounter Santa Claus, who has been injured by vengeful head elf Quillgin. They and others have to destroy a box of dark magic that threatens to ruin Christmas.

4. The Amazing World of Gumball: "Christmas" (11:41) (Originally aired December 4, 2012)
On Christmas Eve, the Wattersons run over a dirty man the kids are convinced is Santa Claus.

VIDEO and AUDIO

The presentations likely resemble those of the series' more inclusive DVD releases. The generally simple animation fills the 1.78:1 frame, exhibiting nothing worse than some minor ringing and compression artifacts (which seem avoidable given how little content is here). Sound is offered in just Dolby 2.0 Surround instead of the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes you'd expect. Still, it is crisp and fairly lively throughout. English SDH subtitles are kindly included.

Clarence manages to have arcade fun on a budget in "Money Broom Wizard." A "balanced" pancake breakfast is repeatedly endangered in "Steven Universe."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

In a generous yet self-serving move, some of the considerable disc space left unused by the feature presentation

is filled by bonus non-holiday episodes of two of Cartoon Network's newest shows.

5. Clarence: "Money Broom Wizard" (11:30) (Originally aired April 21, 2014)
In this series about playful kids, Clarence and his two best friends hit the Pizza Swamp for some arcade gaming on a budget with their eyes on the prize counter.

6. Steven Universe: "Together Breakfast" (11:31) (Originally aired November 11, 2013)
While his fellow crime fighters are out, Steven makes a "balanced" breakfast, but his efforts may be in vain.

Fittingly, the disc opens with ads for "Adventure Time": The Complete Third Season, "Regular Show": The Complete Third Season, and "The Amazing World of Gumball": The Party.

The main menu runs through an instrumental "Jingle Bells" twice over a static variation on the inspired sweater-like cover art.

Joining the green disc inside the white keepcase, the lone insert advertises Cartoon Network video games, apps, and DVDs.

In the Christmas episode of "The Amazing World of Gumball", the Watterson kids are convinced this concussed vagrant is Santa Claus.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I didn't particularly like any of the episodes assembled in Cartoon Network Holiday Collection, but the sum of them makes for a pretty harmless animation hour that casual fans of the channel and of these shows may appreciate more than complete season sets. Though light on content and value, the disc is about as reasonably priced as any new DVD and thus makes for a passable stocking stuffer for those of a certain age or mindset.

Buy Cartoon Network Holiday Collection on DVD at Amazon.com

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The Santa Clause: 3-Movie Collection Elf Unaccompanied Minors
Holiday Treats: T.V. Sets Christmas Treats: T.V. Sets Disney Channel Holiday

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Reviewed November 3, 2014.



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