G. I. Joe A Real American Hero Season 2.0

G. I. Joe A Real American Hero Season 2.0
This is where things started to get weird. For decades, Hasbro trumpeted their G. I. Joe toy line for its accuracy in replicating the minute details of U.S. military uniforms and assorted gear. By the time the three-and-three-quarter-inch line was released in the early '80s, much of that accuracy had been thrown out the window, but most of the figures and accessories being produced were at least reasonable, if exaggerated, facsimiles of their military counterparts. But as the accompanying television series was entering its second season, sci-fi and fantasy began to take over as garish outfits, killer robots and genetically modified characters were quickly introduced during the season's first five-episode run: "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" The episodes introduced a new Cobra leader created from the DNA of history's most famous leaders (Caesar, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, etc.). The ensuing power struggles between Serpentor and Cobra Commander (reminiscent of the Megatron/Starscream dynamic in the original Transformers cartoon) provide some of the most interesting scenes in an otherwise dull, dated and preposterous series. But Cobra always had the more colourful characters, so this kind of thing is to be expected. What wasn't expected was the decision to let Sergeant Slaughter (a star in the WWF, at the time) join the Joes. His gravelly voice and jingoistic attitude are a bit much to take, setting the tone for the questionable direct-to-video movie that was produced at the end of this season. The ever expanding cast of characters forces many compelling personalities to the background for most of the season; some get their own episode to shine, while others remain buried. Surprisingly, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow (whose comic book counterparts have long been fan favourites) are given little screen time and zero characterization. The requisite vintage toy commercials and "Knowing is half the battle" PSAs are again included, as is a mini-doc on the legacy of G. I. Joe. (Shout! Factory)