Friday, January 22, 2010

Return to Springfield

The Simpsons—The Complete 20th Season (Fox)
So what if The Simpsons has continued its slide down from its giddy heights of a decade ago? Even now, at its best, the show is laugh-out-loud funnier than anything else on television: Treehouse of Horror is always a hoot, and the parade of celebrity cameos (like Denis Leary, Joe Montana, Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway, Ellen Page and Jodie Foster) is always good for a few chuckles. Since the show began being broadcast in hi-def in the middle of the season last year, the first nine episodes will have that square, less eye-popping look of non-HD transfers.

Those nine episodes are on the first disc; the second disc is given over to the dozen hi-def episodes, when the celebrated opening got a noticeable makeover and the in-jokes about HD came fast and furiously each week. Unlike previous season releases, there are no commentaries or other fun extras; rather, there’s a brief sneak peek of the recent 20th anniversary special hosted by Morgan Spurlock. Creator Matt Groening also drew new Blu-ray menus, and the cool packaging features a layout of so many characters from the show that even the most die-hard fan might not name (or even recognize) them all.

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