Next to HE-MAN, THUNDERCATS, TEENAGE MUTANTS TURTLES and VOLTRON, probably my favorite cartoon of all-time was THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, which launched in 1986 as a direct sequel to the blockbuster movie starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Looking back, it’s hard to say whether my love for the animated series was because it was just that damn good, or if it was because of the kinship it created with my brother, either way it has filled a hole in my childhood that will never be forgotten.
I’ve tried numerous times to find old episodes online – ranging from Ebay to torrent sites – the closest I got was a DVD that claimed to be the first season, but was only a disc filled with random episodes (in terrible quality nonetheless). Now thanks to Time Life, I’ve got my grubby little mitts on THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION, which rocks a whopping 147 episodes (including the episodes with the moniker “Slimer! And The Real Ghostbusters”).
Obviously, I haven’t watched all 147 episodes (that would take, what, 50 hours?), but I slammed through quite a few over the past week. Being that I’m now 28-years-old, I was quite sure the show would be as disappointing as THUNDERCATS and HE-MAN are now, but I stand corrected. THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS is a solid show, with some seriously creepy plots that to this day would make great movies. “Knock, Knock” features a plot that could have easily inspired Clive Barker’s THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, opening with an incredibly frightening door that exclaims, “Do not open until Doomsday.” The episode “Citizen Ghost” tells the story of what happened immediately following their battle with Gozer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, while also giving us a reason why Slimer resides at the Ghostbuster’s headquarters. “The Boogieman Cometh” is still terribly frightening and features one of the scariest creatures ever to be on THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS.
A cool feature is that many of the episodes give you the option to watch an introduction from many of the people involved in the series. When the intros are a hit, we learn great things like how “The Twilight Zone” was a major inspiration for the show, while when it misses we have to listen to an idiot play a “Knock, Knock” joke on me. Can you seriously tell me you had NOTHING to say about the episode? Those intros were infuriating, while the good ones (that give a little insight) are few and far between.
Another idiotic extra feature is that on some episode you can isolate the music and effects tracks, leaving you an episode without dialogue. Why in God’s name would you need this? In case you have a party and want to rock cheesy ‘80s cartoon music in the background?
Thank God for the video commentary tracks, although I wish they had the guest host in the small window and the cartoon large, not vice versa. Another pretty incredible bonus feature is the never before aired original promotional pilot for The Real Ghostbusters, which explains the concept behind the logo and various images in the introduction before the cartoon.
The packaging is phenomenal as all of the DVDs are enclosed in tin casing within a firehouse box. Everything fits perfectly and nothing requires jamming or special arranging to get it all back inside.
Overall, the episodes look gorgeous (considering the crap I brought on Ebay) and the sound quality is pretty solid for an old DVD release. If anything, for a whopping $179 this box set is worthwhile for the hardcore fans that want to watch the episodes over and over again. If you’re looking for in-depth, well-produced extra features, you will NOT find them here. The biggest disappointment comes in the fact that the extras were rushed and thrown together as an added bonus to the cartoon, but where I’m coming from that’s just a little something to sweeten an already perfect deal.
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