Titan Maximum: Season One

Very few shows cram as many laughs into as few minutes as “Robot Chicken” manages on a weekly basis, so when Adult Swim announced the latest stop-motion project from two of the show’s creators – Matt Senreich and Tom Root – it looked like the late-night network had another hit on its hands. But despite pooling the talent of several “Robot Chicken” all-stars (including Seth Green and Breckin Meyer), “Titan Maximum” falls flat on its embarrassingly unfunny face. Unlike the sketch comedy format of its predecessor, “Titan Maximum” features a contained narrative about a group of heroes called the Titan Force Five that pilot the titular robot in order to protect Earth from a never-ending onslaught of danger. It’s essentially a parody of every giant robot show ever made – although as a child of the 80s, it’s hard to compare it to anything other than “Voltron” due to the color-coded cast of characters.

But while the show shares the same comedic flavor of “Robot Chicken,” it’s just not as funny in an extended format. Unable to draw on decades of pop culture, the writers are forced to rely on the interactions between its characters, which are pretty one-dimensional. Heck, one of the newest recruits is a monkey who doesn’t even speak, and although it’s funny the first couple times they cut to him for a reaction shot, the gag get old really quick. Meyer and Green both have fun in their respective roles as the narcissistic team leader of Titan Force Five and his former right-hand man turned adversary, but the rest of the cast is more annoying than anything else. At least Warner Bros. was kind enough to load up the DVD release with lots of extras – including commentaries on all nine episodes, cast and crew interviews, production featurettes and more – because it would have been hard to even recommend to fans of the show if they hadn’t.

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The All New Super Friends Hour: Season One, Volume Two

With each subsequent “Super Friends” set that emerges from the Warner Brothers vaults, my childhood memories are tarnished a little bit more. I spent more Saturday mornings in front of the television that I’d care to count, held rapt by the adventures of Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Wonder Twins, but as I revisit those adventures now, I’m really, really disappointed with how poorly they’ve held up for me. Maybe it’s just because the world of superhero animation changed so dramatically with the premiere of “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992 that it’s hard to take the Super Friends’ adventures seriously anymore. That’s not to say that you won’t find yourself experiencing plenty of fun flashbacks with the heroes’ various puzzles, magic tricks, and safety lessons, but the segments with actual storylines will result in little more than giddy laughter at their ridiculousness.

There’s only one special feature, but as ever for these “Super Friends” sets, it’s a good one: “The Wonder Twins Phenomenon,” which features talking-head contributions from Doug Goldstein and Tom Root (“Robot Chicken”), Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn (“Attack of the Show”), super-writer Paul Dini, original “Super Friends” writers Alan Burnett and Rich Fogel, and animation historians Jerry Beck and Andy Mangels. Everyone offers their usual blend of childhood reminiscences, first-hand experiences from the animation trenches, and complete and total snark…and, in truth, the combination is exactly what The Wonder Twins deserve. There’s even a brief discussion about Zan and Jayna’s predecessors, Wendy and Marvin, and how inappropriate it was for a couple of powerless teenagers to follow these superheroes around. Say, where did Gleek always manage to pull that bucket from? Never mind. I don’t really want to know.

Click to buy “The All New Super Friends Hour: Season One, Volume Two”

  

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