The Fantastic Four: The Complete First Season

The Fantastic Four: The Complete First Season
The hour of darkness never ends for Fantastic Four fans: not only have a pair of movies sullied one of the main pillars of the Marvel Universe but now comes the news that there are worse fates than even Jessica Alba. This kiddie animation TV show piggybacks on those movies but is its own grade of terrible, recalling the dark ages of ’80s animation, with its lazy writing and limited animation; it’s of interest only to undemanding children and fan boy completists. The series crams one New-York-shattering trauma into every episode — be it mole people or aliens or Doctor Doom, the no-sweat FF will come to the rescue, with bland Reed and Sue Richards playing off the faux-wild Human Torch and lovably monstrous Thing. Alleged comic relief arrives in the form of an angry neighbour named Courtney, but both her petulance and the Human Torch’s insouciant one-liners are aimed squarely at an audience that finds Bazooka Joe hilarious. Various villains get themselves bent out of shape, and recurring threads reappear various episodes later, but this ain’t Last Year at Marienbad and so the excitement comes in the fact that they cared at all to try. Critical standards really aren’t applicable here — that the show is a marketing device is obvious to all but the most deluded, and its audience probably isn’t inclined to care anyway. But discerning fans will think they deserve better and should raid their back issues before plunking down good money for this. Extras include three fairly feeble "making of” featurettes, all aimed at kids and a photo gallery and a couple of commentary tracks by the participants. (Fox)