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The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season - Blu-ray / television series DVD / comedy series DVD / animation DVD / sitcom DVD review
THE SIMPSONS: THE COMPLETE TWENTIETH SEASON Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 1 stars
Featuring: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith
Creator: Matt Groening Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 12 January 2010 Runtime: 456 min. (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen , Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p HD, Aspect ratio 1.78:1/1.33:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - French, Spanish, Portugese), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese), All 21 Season 20 episodes, The Twentieth Anniversary Special Sneak Peek by Morgan Spurlock

The Simpsons are well into their twenty-first season, and while they're not quite as cutting-edge as in their first few seasons, the show still entertains. The Complete Twentieth Season takes the Simpson family on many an adventure. Lisa (Yeardley Smith) gets another short-lived best friend (Emily Blunt). Homer and Grampa (both voiced by Dan Castellaneta) buy a pub in Ireland. Marge (Julie Kavner) gets a job as a baker in an erotic bakery, and Bart (Nancy Cartwright) takes Denis Leary's cell phone and naturally wreaks havoc. This year's Treehouse of Horror XIX riffs on Transformers, The Great Pumpkin and Mad Men.

The episodes as a whole are not bad, par for the course in the last few seasons. What I find unforgivable is the assembly. The Simpsons usually get the royal treatment with commentaries, storyboards, deleted scenes, an intro by creator Matt Groening, and every manner of extra stuff that can get crammed on there. This feels like a rush job to get the last season out and pull in some of the Hi-def Blu-ray premium dollars. The twentieth season was the first season to broadcast in high-def, starting with episode 10 (of 21).

The HD episodes sport a new intro that takes advantage of the high-resolution and the wide screen. Also new in the high-def episodes: the integration of computer graphics used for some elements (cars, boxes, things that rotate and are more difficult to animate traditionally), previously done in Groening's Futurama and The Simpsons Movie. These changes are welcome and intriguing, but they deserve some explanation - the kind of explanation we would have gotten had this season been given the royal treatment we're used to seeing.

Blu-ray affords a new dimension of technology that could be utilized for commentaries, but this opportunity has been overlooked. Disney has done some wonderful things with picture-in-picture commentaries, and the commentary for Watchmen is fabulous. BD Live features could also be implemented here, and I guarantee it would thrill Simpsons fans everywhere. It's what I expected from a Simpsons season release, but instead the ONLY extra feature is a preview for the 20th anniversary special put together by Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me, 30 Days), which broadcast two days before the DVD/Blu-ray release of Season 20.

I know that somewhere in the dark bowers of Fox a proper release of season 20 is being plotted, I just wish they would have waited instead of rushing to get this to the street - if a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well. I'm afraid I must use my best Comic Book Guy imitation and proclaim this the "Worst Simpsons effort ever."
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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