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Spider-Man: The New Animated Series - The Complete First Season DVD Release



Spider-Man: The New Animated Series - The Complete First Season
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Street Date: May 24th, 2004
Episodes:
Disc 1 - Heroes And Villains, Royal Scam, Law Of The Jungle, The Sword Of Shikata, Keeping Secrets, Tight Squeeze, Head Over Heels, The Party
Disc 2 - Flash Memory, Spider-Man Disabled, When Sparks Fly, Mind Games Part One, Mind Games Part 2

Review
by Stu

Before I go into anything here, I'd like to start with saying, I like this cartoon, and apparently, I'm one of few, unfortunately. The featureetes are the bulk of the features and they've been both informative and enjoyable. The producer of the show talks about getting Spider-Man from script onto screen, but, he's not alone. Stan Lee, Spider-Man co-creator and executive producer talks about updating him for modern audiences and is amazed at how beautiful Mainframe makes the show look. Neil Patrick Harris is interviewed, and he talks about juggling the roles of Peter and Spider-Man, and how he believes they should sound like polar opposites, one a shy, quiet man, the other, a confident wise ass superhero we all know and love. There's a lot of behind the scenes stuff in these featureetes, including how they make the beautiful animation and even some the test footage that Mainframe did, as well as some pre-production artwork, which actually looks a lot like it was taken from Ultimate Spider-Man, which was the original plan before a little thing called Spider-Man: The Movie changed the shape and direction of the series.

One of the major disappointments on the disc is that the teaser trailer for Spider-Man 2 wasn't included, particularly as it was rumored to months before the disc was released. There are trailers for this show, the original Spider-Man film (God knows why) and a previously unseen trailer for Activision's new Spider-Man game, based on the Spider-Man sequel. There's also the trailer fluff, typical of most DVDs.

It was great hearing about how they made Spidey move and fight better than ever before. They are perfectly honest about how they create them, and explain what procedures they use to save costs, and the pressures the show came with, as they had higher ups at Sony, Marvel and MTV all having different visions for the show. They acknowledge several different areas of what they wanted the characters to be, both visually and character-wise.

The commentaries where a highlight, as they had the show's executive producer/director Aude Paden in all of them, and guests where brought in for various episodes, most of whom where greatly entertaining. It was great hearing about how they made Spidey move and fight better than ever before. They are perfectly honest about how they create them, and explain what procedures they use to save costs, and the pressures the show came with, as they had higher ups at Sony, Marvel and MTV all having different visions for the show. They acknowledge several different areas of what they wanted the characters to be, both visually and character-wise. Some of them bored me, they talked too much about un-interesting aspects such as talking about the various layers of developing a city, whilst other, such as hearing Stan Lee, Brian Michael Bendis and Neil Patrick Harris where great. From the sounds of it, they have no idea if they'll be producing a second season, but from the sounds of it, they want to, and they want it to be closer to the comics.

The guests make the commentary really. The 2 in which Neil Patrick Harris makes an appearance are my favorites, as he generally sounds interested in what they are talking about, as well as talking about voice acting in general, which, as someone who has watched more cartoons than he dare count, is cool to hear. I've just always loved seeing what voice actors look like, I don't think they are credited enough in thier industry.

The blooper reel was funny, despite being so short. I wasn't sure what to expect from this, as they are animated, and animating the characters costs a hell of a lot of money. The last one was the highlight for me personally; I really wish they could've done more. Amazing Spider-Facts is the same style feature they have on the Spider-Man movie disc, if you turn it on, little pop ups come every so often and give you an amazing spider-fact. I would've preferred a text commentary, but that's more personal because I have a hard time reading the little blurbs.

The presentation on the discs is great, with a high quality, widescreen transfer which simply makes an already fantastic looking series simply look gorgeous. I like my widescreen transfers, and this has set a new standard as to what I expect. The cover doesn't lie, this truly is "Mastered In High Definition." As far as transfers go, Spider-Man The New Animated series is the dogs bollocks.

Hopefully, other TV shows will be treated this well on DVD, as it has raised high standards, which will more than likely crush most of it's competition. Now, if they could just get a network to air a second series and release that, 13 episodes simply isn't enough.