A twenty year anniversary is a very special occasion, especially in the world of television. It's a rare feat for a television program to stay on air for 20 solid years and still deliver ratings. Only a scant few shows can claim such fame. The Simpsons is one such show. In commemoration of this feat, 20th Century Fox has skipped past 7 other seasons to present the complete 20th Season via a 4 DVD box set.
The box sleeve offers a throwback to the Tracy Ullman show days, as the Simpson family is portrayed on the sides as they first premiered to the public. On the front, you get a simple white background with the box set title in clear windows. The 20 is cleverly broken up with a silhouette of Homer demonstrating his parenting skills with Bart. However, it's the inside sleeving that is most eye catching.
Removing the sleeving will reveal a box with hordes of Simpsons characters from past and present. Open the box and the DVD sleeving will reveal even more Simspons characters, a whole 6 panels worth in fact. It's impossible to say if every last character can be represented in such a compact space... but there's no harm in finding out.
On the inside of the sleeving, you will find the 4 DVDs behind each of the Simpsons' faces, along with the DVD summary guide tucked behind the family pets. Sadly, the usually witty foreward from creator Matt Groening is missing this time, replaced by a simple quote from Homer. Also, most of the special features that normally grace the DVDs is not included this time around. However (in case you missed it), Disc 4 does offer a sneak peek of the 20th Anniversary special.
As for the DVDs themselves, each disc features one (or two) family members. Each family member (Homer & Bart on Disc 1, Lisa & Snowball II on Disc 2, Marge & Maggie on Disc 3 and Bart on Disc 4) are drawn on a chalkboard before your eyes. Just when you think it's done, it'll fade out and another drawing will start. There are 2 to 3 drawings per disc (you'll know it's done when Groening's signature appears).
For the twentieth season, the episodes were pretty average. Three episodes stand out. "Take My Life, Please" was the first Simpsons episode to be produced in high definition, and also introduced the new HD intro sequence. "How The Test Was Won" (when Superintendent Chalmers AWOLs the underachievers to boost test scores while Homer tries to prevent injuries due to him forgetting to pay his insurance premium) and "Eeny Teeny Maya, Moe" (when Moe's internet fling visits him and turns out to be only 3ft tall) stand out as the best episodes. This set also includes "Treehouse of Horror XIX", which wasn't one of the best ones out there.
OK, so alot of the extras you're accustomed to in a Simpsons DVD set aren't here. No big deal. A 20th Anniversary anything is a special thing and this box set is no exception. Now, hopefully we can get back on schedule and expect the 13th Season DVD to roll along soon.
The Simpsons: 20 Years/The Complete Twentieth Season