“He’ll fight for freedom wherever there is trouble, G.I. Joe is there!” And now, thanks to the fine folks at Shout! Factory (no doubt inspired by the upcoming film), the classic 1980s animated series has been re-released on DVD. For those who might not remember, G.I. Joe is a team of highly-trained soldiers assigned to defend the world against a terrorist organization known as Cobra. The good guys were comprised of Duke, Flint, Scarlett and Snake Eyes (as well as a host of other interchangeable Joes), while the baddies included Cobra Commander, Destro, The Baroness and Zartan. The characters themselves are probably more memorable than the actual show (you can thank Hasbro’s long line of action figures for that), but even though most of the episodes don’t stand out, they’re still entertaining – especially when compared to the junk on TV nowadays.
It’s not very often that a childhood favorite retains the appeal it did when you were younger, but “G.I. Joe” fairs much better because, with the exception of characters with stupid codenames like Snow Job, Barbeque and Beach Head, the series was essentially one big action movie that just happened to be animated. In fact, it even debuted with three annual miniseries (“The M.A.S.S. Device,” “The Revenge of Cobra” and “The Pyramid of Darkness,” all collected here) before going into syndication as a weekly cartoon. The first seven episodes of Season One have also been included in the four-disc set, while an interview with writer Rob Friedman and a handful of “Knowing is Half the Battle” PSAs highlight the modest collection of bonus features. Diehard fans will still be better off waiting for the Complete Collector’s Set due out later this month, but for those that would rather test the waters and see if “G.I. Joe” is just as great as they remember it, Season 1.1 is the perfect way to help jolt your memory.