Seasons 1-2 DVD
James (May 9, 2006) -
I first saw Dinosaurs back when it premiered in the spring of 1991 on ABC.
The show featured an edgy satire of human life, plus it had the most technically
ambitious and groundbreaking effects I had ever seen on television. The
show was thematically familiar yet like nothing I had ever seen before.
Needless to say, I enjoyed it. I was excited when I heard the show was finally
getting a DVD release. It had been almost a decade since I last watched
an episode of the show, and I couldn't wait to see my pals in the Sinclair
Over 15 years have passed since the show premiered and the episodes are
still as entertaining and relevant as ever (if not more so). The wit and
poignant satire alongside the great characters and technical innovations
makes this show an enjoyable treat to watch – regardless of your
The Complete First and Second Seasons" 4-disc DVD set brings 29
episodes (over 11-hours) of prehistoric comedy, plus an admirable selection
of bonus features.
twenty-nine episodes appear here, in order, uncut (running around 23 minutes
a piece) in their original broadcast form. The video looks fairly crisp
and clear - they are much better looking than the original TV broadcasts
and far excel any of the old VHS releases. "Dinosaurs" is presented
in its original 1.33:1 fullscreen (however the menus are presented in
1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen). The audio is nicely presented in a Dolby
Surround track and each episode also has an English subtitle track for
the hearing impaired. Disc 1 holds the five episodes of season 1 plus
the two main featurettes, and discs 2-4 hold all of the season 2 episodes.
The main menu on the discs takes viewers through a computer-animated cave
featuring a cave-painting of different characters by a crackling fire
while the upbeat second half of the theme song plays. When you select
"Play All" a giant animated Dinosaur egg comes down and shatters
open to transition the menu. The submenus feature the more dramatic first
half of the theme song along with handsome still-picture backgrounds.
episode is divided into chapter stops at each act break (where the commercials
would be) and there is a chapter placed after the opening theme of each
episode and before the end credits.
I was touched to see that the first episode retained the original memorial
tribute to Jim Henson at its beginning. Jim passed away less than a year
before the show debuted. Not only was the show one of the Henson Company's
first major projects after Jim's passing, but the idea for the show was
conceived by Jim.
previews for other Disney DVDs play at the start of disc 1 including "The
Muppet Show - Season 1", "The Muppets'
Wizard of Oz" and the Kermit's 50th Anniversary movie reissues.
looking at the back of the box you'll see three bonus features listed.
To some DVD aficionados that isn't exactly an overabundance for a 4-disc
set, but what they may lack in quantity, they make up in quality. These
features are all great and have an accumulated runtime of around 25-minutes
of new material. Both of the feautrettes are located on disc 1 and "Dino-eggs"
are spaced throughout all four discs.
I wish that there could have been audio commentary track or two on each
disc. There is so much to say about this show and the episodes - both
technically and creatively. This show was made for commentaries, and just
a few special audio tracks could have been a great addition to the sets
that would allow the cast/crew to share some of that great information
in a fitting forum. I would love to see more interviews, behind the scenes
information, show promos and, of course, the "I'm the baby (gotta
love me)" music video on the future season sets -- oh, and even more
hidden Dino-eggs too.
Pre-Hysterical Times: The Making Of Dinosaurs (runtime 13:25)
The first bonus feature is an all new behind the scenes featurette on
the show. This documentary runs just over 13-minutes and is packed with
information, interviews, and cool behind the scenes pictures and footage.
The featurette gives a look at the genesis of the show and how Jim Henson's
Creaure Shop brought the dinosaurs to life. Interviewees include: Brian
Henson, Bob Young, Michael Jacobs, Kirk Thatcher, Bill Barretta, Allan
Trautman, Peter Brooke, and John Criswell. This is a great little documentary,
however I personally would have enjoyed at least another 10 -15 minutes
(making it the length of an episode or longer). It would have also been
nice to hear from Kevin Clash (Baby Sinclair) and Stuart Pankin (the voice
of Earl Sinclair) as well. However what is here is great – I'll
admit I've already re-watched it a few times.
Creating Dinosaurs: The Sketches That Started It All (runtime
This all new featurette features character designer Kirk Thatcher showing
his original designs for the Sinclair family and talking about their evolution
and characteristics. This is a nice little feature, however some of Kirk's
story's double-dip into information for the "Pre-Hysterical Times"
feature. It's fun to watch, and even more fun to imagine the reptiles
with giant wigs.
Dino-Eggs (total runtime 8:05)
Dino-Eggs is a series of hidden DVD "Easter eggs" scattered
throughout the set. They range from ten seconds to two-and-a-half minutes
long. Each special bonus clip features reveals trivia facts, behind the
scenes insights, archival promotional material or just interviewees having
fun. I love DVD Easter eggs, and this set holds one of the best executed
uses of the concept. The eggs are not impossible to find nor are they
difficult to access; they are evenly distributed; and each hidden clips
is interesting and worth the time spent to uncover it. There are ten eggs
hidden across the four discs. For those having difficulty finding the
eggs, here is a list of how to uncover them.
On the main menu select the highlighted egg "O" in the Dinosaurs
logo (the cursor’s default start position) to see a brief introduction
to Dino-Eggs by Brian Henson. (0:20)
2. On the main menu highlight "Bonus Features" and press left
to reveal the hidden egg. Press enter to play a clip with Bill Barretta
talking about what it was like to be inside Earl Sinclair. (2:22)
3. On the bonus features menu highlight "Creating Dinosaurs: The
Sketches That Started It All" and press left to reveal the hidden
egg, Press enter to play a short clip where Michael Jacobs points out
something special about the character's names. (0:40)
On the episode selection menu, highlight episode 5 (Endangered Species)
and press down to reveal the hidden egg. Press enter to play a clip
of Bill Barretta and Allan Trautman chatting about Automatronincs. (0:23)
2. On the set-up menu highlight "Main Menu" and press right
to reveal the hidden egg. Press enter to play an "Ask Earl"
archive clip that asks "What's your favorite kind of dinosaur?"
On the main menu highlight "Set-Up" and press down to reveal
the hidden egg. Press enter to play an "Ask Earl" archive
clip that asks "What's the message behind 'Dinosaurs'?" (0:20)
On the episode selection, highlight episode 12 (Refrigerator Day) and
press down to reveal the hidden egg. Press enter to see Bill Barretta
with the Baby Sinclair puppet as Bill explains how the puppet works.
On the set-up menu highlight "Main Menu" and press left to
reveal the hidden egg. Press enter to see a clip of Bill Barretta and
Allan Trautman joking around about the hidden Dino-Eggs. (0:15)
On the episode selection, highlight either episode 21 (And the Winner
Is...) or episode 22 (Slave to Fashion) and press up to reveal the hidden
egg. Press enter to see Peter Brooke talk about the dinosuars' middle
On the set-up menu highlight "English for the Hearing Impaired"
and press left to reveal the hidden egg. Press enter to see Bill Barretta
share some behind-the-scenes photos for his personal album. (1:22)
packaging of this box set is nice. The box sports a close-up of Earl holding
an egg with Baby Sinclair peaking out. Rather than the more traditional
packaging, where the Digipak slides out the side of the outer cardboard
sleeve, the top third of the "egg" opens reveling Baby Sinclair
popping-out of the egg, and the Digipak slides out of the top of the outer
are no booklets or inserts in the case, but the inner Digipak features
the disc-by-disc episode/feature listing along with a note from Brian
Henson, Michael Jacobs and Bob Young. Each disc features a member of the
Sinclair Family on it (Baby, Fran, Robbie, and Earl). I’m not a
fan of the disc arrangement inside the Digipak. Similar to "The
Muppet Show – Season 1", the discs overlap each other meaning
that sometimes you have to remove two discs in order to get to the one
was, and still is, a genuinely funny and original show. The show appeals
to both adults and kids simultaneously. The first two seasons in particular
are true Henson gold, and probably include some of the best episodes of
the series. Any Dinosaurs, Henson or just 90s sitcom fans will love this
set. This great set and its 29 episodes will be a highlight of any DVD
collection. I can only hope that we see seasons three and four get similar
DVD treatments real soon.
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