When Dexter Douglas goes out on a date with his girlfriend Steff, it obviously can’t be a normal affair. Why shouldn’t it coincide with a night that his arch-nemesis, The Lobe, feels particularly antsy and insists on going out to dinner? When Dexter Douglas goes to the Museum of Antiquity with his family, it can’t be a dull family vacation. Why wouldn’t Duncan, his older brother, destroy an ancient amulet, releasing Invisibo, an invisible pharaoh, to chase Freakazoid?
An absolute treasure, Freakazoid! remains hilarious and fun to watch over a decade after its cancellation. Perhaps it’s the fact that, instead of cheap pop culture shots, Freakazoid! was more inclined to reference Hollywood legends or, for the younger set, rival WB shows like Pinky and the Brain or Animaniacs. The humor is smart yet random, the villains are unique; overall, this show was unlike any thing else that is or has been on television.
Young nerd Dexter Douglas "freaks out" and Freakazoid, a character unlike any Seth McFarlane could imagine, is born. He somehow manages (with assistance from the script, cue cards, animated Steven Spielberg, announcer Joe Leahy, mentor Roddy MacStew, and police sergeant Mike Cosgrove) to always defeat the villain while making very little sense in the process. Freakazoid! is the random humor of Family Guy with a focus. It isn't just strange, it's also smart. It isn’t just inserted into the story, it is woven in. Freakazoid! never hides the fact that they came up short for their episodes—they embraced it. The writers used it as an excuse to create longer, more detailed musical numbers (“Bonjour Lobey”) and have cameos by Yakko Warner or mock themselves at a comic book convention forum.
Most importantly, though, Freakazoid! is still funny. The broad humor doesn’t feel dated. It was easy to be sucked in to watching the entire series, laughing as the episodes flow into one another and the jokes and references keep coming in a steady, and consistently funny, stream.
Audio & Video
Freakazoid! is presented as it was aired, in full screen. The episodes have no thrills or remastered effects, but luckily, the show itself shines.
DVD Bonus Features
The DVD also has a few special features, including “A full season’s worth of commentaries (in five minutes)” which is exactly what it sounds like and enjoyable to watch, an original demo tape of composer Richard Stone’s “Bonjour Lobey”, and my personal favorite, the "Liebeslied Für Normadeus" Featurette. "Normadeus", the last episode, is packed with all the characters the show has featured. The entire Douglas family, Freakazoid’s sometime sidekicks and butler, quiet Emmet Nervend, and a host of great villains - including Armando Guitierrez (voiced by Ricardo Montalban), Cobra Queen (Tress MacNeille) and boyfriend Cave Guy (Jeff Bennett), Longhorn (Maurice LaMarche), and of course The Lobe (David Warner). "Liebeslied Für Normadeus" entwines the epiphany that birthed the episode “Normadeus” with the realization of the inevitability of the show’s cancellation, and how a fitting series finale almost materialized from nowhere, giving the series and those who worked on it a fulfilling ending for a wonderful show.
Freakazoid!, like many other cartoons, seems to be building a small army of new fans in its retirement, much like Family Guy, Futurama, and The Tick. Perhaps it was animation before its time, submitted to an audience not ready to embrace the irreverent nature and open field of possibilities of cartoons (“kids stuff”) while their kids were too young to be power buyers in the entertainment market. Oh, and of course, the increased exposure we have from the internet further allows us to help revive those old shows we remember. Luckily for us, that will convince more and more studios to give us DVD collections of our favorite cartoons. Freakazoid! Season 2 is an excellent addition for any DVD collection that needs a bit more hilarity.
"Freakazoid!: Season 2" is on sale April 21, 2009 and is rated NR. Action, Animation, Children & Family, Comedy. Directed by Dan Riba, Jack Heiter, Peter Shin, Ronaldo Del Carmen. Written by Paul Rugg, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, Melody Fox, John P. McCann. Starring David Kaufman, David Warner, Edward Asner, Frank Welker, Joe Leahy, Maurice LaMarche, Paul Rugg, Ricardo Montalban, Tim Curry, Tress MacNeille.