10 February 2016

TV DVD Review: "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero": Season 1.1

Rated: "General Audiences" (manufacturer's advisory)
Starring: Michael Bell, Neil Ross, and Chris Latta
Released: 1983 - 1985 (TV premieres) / 2009 (DVD)
Synopsis: G.I. Joe is the code name for America's special missions force; together, they defend the entire planet against the ruthless terror organization known as COBRA, who will stop at nothing to take over the world and put an end to the Joes once and for all! It's going to take everything the Joes have got to defeat COBRA and restore peace and order to the world...but, will it be enough?
Based on the line of toys from Hasbro.

The Good: What a ride! This show may have been before my time, but it definitely kept me hooked! The early episodes were better; they had more convoluted stories that kept me on the edge of my seat! Even though you know who will win in a series like this, sometimes it's hard to see how until they actually do.  The animation was great, and the voice work was very well done.  Fans of old-school Saturday morning serials should check this one out.

The Bad: As good as this is, there was one issue: A lack of closed captions or English subtitles makes this inaccessible for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers.  That seems to be a common issue with Shout! Factory releases; hopefully, the studio will work on that in the future, if they haven't already.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Kissing, flirting; totally innocent romance. 4/5
  • Nudity: Some guys are seen shirtless; others in tribal outfits; one or two female characters show cleavage.  All of it is made less sultry by the animation style. 4/5
  • Language: No actual profanity, but name-calling and lesser terms such as "butt" are present throughout. 4/5
  • Violence: By today's standards, this would likely be rated "TV-Y7" for fantasy violence.  The Joes, COBRA, and various other individuals are hit, kicked, shot at, thrown, etc., countless times; however, there's no blood, and the makers go out of their way to show that there are no fatalities. 2/5
  • Drugs: Occasional smoking. 4/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Along with the violence, COBRA could be scary for some kids, and there are numerous scenes of peril.  Emotional intensity is present at times, and themes of terrorism may hit a raw nerve for some viewers. 2/5
  • Other: A lack of closed captions or subtitles makes this inaccessible for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers. 4/5
Conclusion: Prior to watching the first Michael Bay film a few years ago, I was largely unfamiliar with this franchise; other than a game on my Commodore 64, I had next to no experience with G.I. Joe at all.  However, watching this makes me want to check it out some more; while I won't bother collecting the toys, I really enjoyed this show.  I'm glad I already have Season 1.2 in my collection; I hope to watch it fairly soon!

Score: 4.5/5

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