Christmas Time in South Park (TV)
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (28th November 2007).
The Show

When South Park started 10 years ago (it's hard to believe it's been a decade since the show premiered!) the series was an immediate hit, the unusual animation style that looks like paper dolls, the crude humor, bizarre characters and the fact the Kenny dies in each episode was a breath of fresh air in terms of adult themed cartoons. Cartoon Network had something special on their hands and it wasn't long before the series exploded world-wide. The series spawned a feature film, "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" in 1999 and countless amounts of merchandise from t-shirts and hats to action figures and video games. "South Park" is as much a franchise as "The Simpsons" (1989-Present) and "Family Guy" (1999-Present).
The city of South Park is populated by many weird and wonderful characters that include our main cast of kids Eric Cartman (Trey Parker), Kyle Broflovski (Matt Stone), Stan Marsh (Trey Parker) and Kenny McCormick (Matt Stone). The group of third graders each spend their days at school getting up to trouble, watching their favorite show "Terrance and Philip" and learn a valuable lesson at the end of each episode...oh and Kenny dies. The town also includes all the other classic characters like the stupid police chief, the redneck hunters, a strange teacher, and the family of the boys among others. I'm sure many people will relate to some of the characters featured in the show. It's easy with a character-rich population to pick out favorites.
The series is offensive at times and it's not afraid to be so, in fact as the series progressed it got more and more offensive including pot-shots at Scientologists (in a brilliant episode mocking Tom Cruise), and pretty much every religion especially Jewish people, homosexuals, disabled people, mentally challenged people, even the Pope! Nothing is scared and creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker take a cavalier approach to the series and for a decade it's paid off. As I certainly consider myself among the legion of fans the show has garnered.
This series has been readily available on DVD in season sets, but with the holidays just around the corner Paramount has seen fit to release this Holiday-themed collection of "South Park" episodes from previous season including the first, second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth seasons. The Christmas episodes have in my opinion been the weakest among many shows, however "South Park" tends to follow a different beat from a vastly different drum. In the first episode we are introduced to Mr. Hankey the Christmas poo, a character that would remain popular throughout each Christmas episode as the boys find themselves in many situations including spending a Christmas with Charles Manson, they make a video Christmas card with Jesus, Cartman helps bring Christmas to the kids of Iraq, Christmas is forgone when Ike is taken back to Canada, and the woodland creatures recruit Stan to build them a manger for their lord...a very dark one indeed.
These episodes feature some now iconic scenes and songs including the Holiday medley of "Kyle's Mom is a Bitch", the return of Satan and Christmas in Hell as well as the many moments featuring Mr. Hankey.
If you're a fan of the series I'm sure you'll already have these episodes as part of the season sets, I'm not really sure who would rush out and buy what is essentially a themed highlight disc, unless you really need a fix of something Christmasy and based in "South Park"...

The episodes included in this set are:

- "Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo" (1997)
- "Merry Christmas Charlie Manson" (1998)
- "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" (1999)
- "A Very Crappy Christmas" (2000)
- "Red Sleigh Down" (2002)
- "It's Christmas in Canada" (2003)
- "Woodland Critter Christmas" (2004)

Video

Presented in the original broadcast ratio of 1.33:1 this full screen transfer is patchy mainly because some episodes look better than others. The older the episodes the less impressive the transfer as they tend to suffer from some pixilation especially around hard lines that outline characters, colors are a bit flat and moire patterns can be seen. Newer episodes are much better in terms of colors, limited moire patterns show up and overall the presentation seems crisper. The episodes are clean without any dirt which is a good, overall it's an average presentation.

Audio

A single audio track is included in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, I wouldn't be surprised if these are the original broadcast soundtracks. The series would work well in 5.1 but these stereo tracks also do the trick, audio is clean and distortion free, music and cues are well rendered and sound solid. Depth is limited which is expected with stereo but overall it's a fine presentation without many complaints.
This DVD does not feature any optional subtitles.

Extras

Paramount has released this show with only a collection of start-up bonus trailers for "The Sarah Silverman Program: Season One" (1:22), "Drawn Together: Season Two" (1:27) and "Dr. Katz Professional Therapist: The Complete Series" (1:32)

Packaging

This DVD is packaged in a single-disc digi-pack.

Overall

The Show: B Video: C+ Audio: B Extras: F Overall: D

 


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