"Robot Chicken Season 5" Filled With Accessories
In the vast landscape of television, there is one bright spot on a dark night. Adult Swim regularly features both the amazing and the forgettable, but a few comedies appreciable by all ages and demographics have hit the right spot. One of the longest running (and that means five seasons in this landscape) is Robot Chicken, the Twisted Toyfare Theater-come-to life brain child of Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. By Season Five, the series has turned into a well-oiled machine, cranking out hit after hit. Do things become stale at this point?
A few times in this season, the crew trio break from the mold of stop-motion animation and do something different. Notably, this comes down to two sketches. One features the impact of the Konami code in Contra and features flash-based animation, attempting to mimic the 2D sprite-based nature of the game (contrasted with the earlier video game sketches, such as Halo/Donkey Kong which attempted to recreate game graphics with action figures). Another, surrounded by both flash-based animation and stop-motion animation, pitches Yogi Bear into Japan and turns it into a live-action series featuring Power Forest Rangers. It’s exactly as it sounds: Seth Green and company dress up in tight spandex and become knock-off Power Rangers in the hills of California, fighting a monstrous Yogi Bear.
It’s as awesome and horrible as it sounds.
With regards to breaking the mold, while most of the sketches are rather solid and what you’d expect from Robot Chicken, the season opener and ending have a little fun with the loose continuity of the show. The season premiere’s sketch, a timely remake of Saving Private Ryan, collects and destroys many of the recurring or memorable characters from the series run, such as ***** Puddin’, Composite Santa Claus, and more. The season finale, also the show’s 100th episode, features a story focusing on the title Robot Chicken and the mad scientist who has imprisoned him. In a rather impressive feat of stop-motion kung-fu intentionally reminiscent of Tony Ja’s The Protector as Robot Chicken fights his way through hordes of enemies to reunite with his loved one.
If anything can be universally praised about the Robot Chicken DVDs and Blu-rays, it’s the sheer number of extras included with each set. This release features commentary on every episode; a few episodes’ worth of deleted animatics (not stop-motion animated, but storyboard animated) with most explained by the creators of the sketches; a few episodes peppered with video commentary; some deleted scenes that were completed; a few featurettes ranging from the celebrity voice actors to a taco-eating contest; and even an MP3 of “Blue Rabbits ****ing” from their Avatar parody. Notably, the set even includes two sketches previously unseen in various releases due to copyright concerns: “Beavis & Butt-head Join the Teen Titans” and “Final Destination: Riverdale”. As usual, they even include various promos for the show, collecting some from international airings that aren’t owned by Adult Swim.
Robot Chicken is consistently funny, and unlike its live-action counterpart Saturday Night Live it hasn’t gotten stale with age, but has only improved. Surprising turns as seen in this season are active attempts to not rest on their laurels. An incredible DVD release continues to prove that they’re out there to support their fans and not just crank out new episode after new episode, and this set can’t be highly recommended enough.