Spongebob Squarepants: The Complete First Season

Spongebob Squarepants: The Complete First Season (2003)
Paramount Home Video
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Featurettes, Games, Music Videos and more

I don’t expect everyone to be familiar with Stephen Hillenburg’s yellow little character Spongebob Squarepants, but those who are, probably appreciate the series’ quirky sense of humor, educational values and sheer fun factor. There is no such thing as a bad Spongebob episode and as such the first season box set that Paramount is delivering here is filled to the brim with some true underwater cartoon fun.

The show is presented in its original fullscreen aspect ratio on this 3-disc box set and a comparison with previously released versions of some episodes show that the image quality has actually been improved. The video artifacting is not nearly as distracting as on earlier releases and as such the box set makes a great impression with strong colors, a stable image and sharply defined outlines. Free of edge-enhancement and compression artifacts, this is the way you want to see this show.

The audio on the disc is also without flaws, presented as a Dolby Stereo track. Free of defects or distortion, the audio comes across as much in-your-face as it can be, getting the best out of the great voice cast that brings the characters of Bikini Bottom to life.

A few of the episodes feature a commentary by cast and crew members, but as on previous releases I found these commentaries once again to be fairly unmotivated. The commentators clearly have nothing to say and sometimes there is an awkward silence as they struggle to fins something to talk about. So, you can safely skip these.

On the third disc of the set you will find some featurettes, which are of much more value. The first one explores the origins of the show. Stephen Hillenburg explains how he turned from a marine biologist into a cartoon director while other cast and crew members fill in the stories how the idea was fleshed out and pitched to the network.

Another featurette introduces us to the voices of Bikini Bottom. Finally you can put faces to the characters from the show and as expected, the real people don’t look anything like you would have expected. Complete with recordings session footage and interviews, this is a great and charming little featurette.

The disc also features a drawing lesson, a series of music videos, karaoke and other little, exciting tidbits for children and fans, making this a great release.

’Spongebob Squarepants: The Complete First Season’ is hitting the bull’s eye. It’s a complete season, in top quality with a few great extras to round out the presentation. Fans of the show simply can’t swim around this one… I’m ready! I’m ready! I’m ready…