Actors: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer Writers: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon Format: PAL Subtitles: English, Spanish Dubbed: French Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English Number of discs: 3 Classification: PG Studio: Twentieth Century Fox DVD Release Date: 29 Mar. 2004 Run Time: 352 minutes
DVD Special Features:
All 13 episodes
Dolby 5.1 Surround
Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
Bart the Genius
There's No Disgrace Like Home
Bart the General
Bonus Features: Original scripts featuring notes by Matt Groening for "Bart the Genius", "Bart the General" and "Moaning Lisa". All episodes are accompanied by commentary.
Call of the Simpsons
The Telltale Head
Life on the Fast Lane
Homer's Night Out
The Crepes of Wrath
Krusty Gets Busted
Bonus Features: All episodes are accompanied by commentary
Some Enchanted Evening Bonus Features: Original script notes by Matt Groening
Outtakes from un-aired version of an episode
Animatic of an episode with commentary by Matt Groening and David Silverman
The Making of The Simpsons "America's First Family"
Easter Egg ABC News Special on a reported controversy
"Tracey Ullman Show" First ever Simpsons to air on Tracey Ullman Show
Five Foreign Language Clips
Early Sketches Stills Gallery
From practically the first episode, broadcast in 1989, The Simpsons impacted on planet TV like a giant multi-coloured meteor. With a claim to being the defining pop cultural phenomenon of the 1990s--hip, fast, sharp and primary--there was nothing even in rock & roll to match this. The Simpsons is possibly the greatest sitcom ever made. Although the animation was initially primitive, never before had cartoon characters been so well drawn. There had been loveable middle-aged layabouts on TV before, but Homer Simpson successfully stole their crown and out-slobbed them all in every department ("The guys at the plant are gonna have a field day with this," he grumbles in "Call of The Simpsons" as he watches scientists on a TV news item who can't decide whether he is incredibly dense or a brilliant beast). However, in this first series he isn't quite yet the bloated man-child he would become in later series; instead he's a growling patriarch with a Walter Matthau-type voice. His sensible half Marge's croak, meanwhile, has yet to settle down, while the vast cast of minor Springfield characters have yet to find their place. Bart, however, was a smash from the start: dumb as Homer but spiky-haired and resourceful, he sets out his manifesto in "Bart the Genius"; while "Moaning Lisa" spotlights his over-achieving sister and is a good early example of the series' clever handling of melancholy bass notes.
Throughout its life there's always been confusion as to whether The Simpsons is a show for kids or adults, but with allusions in these first 13 episodes to Kubrick, Diane Arbus, Citizen Kane and (in a very satisfyingly anti-French episode) Manon des Sources, it should already have been clear that this was a programme for all ages and all IQs from 0 to 200. Dysfunctional they may have been, but the Simpsons stuck together, and audiences stuck with them into the 21st century. --David Stubbs
On the DVD: The packaging is good but the 13 episodes are spread very thinly here, with just five each on discs one and two . The commentary track is intermittently interesting though a tad repetitive, as creator David Groening is joined by various other members of the team. The third disc has some neat extra stuff, including outtakes, the original Tracey Ullman Show shorts and a five-minute BBC documentary, but is again fairly brief. The menu interfaces are pretty clunky, annoyingly forcing you to watch endless copyright warnings after each episode and with no facility to "play all". The content is wonderful, of course, but three discs looks like overkill. --Mark Walker
These discs are Region 2 (PAL) format, and will work on all modern Australian & European DVD players. Your DVD player may need to be multi-region enabled in order to view this (most players in Australia are). Please check your player before purchasing.