“Static Shock: The Complete First Season” dvd review


The first season of Static Shock is finally on DVD, but is it worth your money?

Static Shock was one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid. It introduced me to my favorite superhero, and drove me deeper into my superhero obsession. So, I was ecstatic (pun intended) when I stumbled upon the season one DVD set on Amazon.

For those who are not familiar with Static Shock, it’s an animated series based on the Milestone comic of the same name. The show revolves around Virgil Hawkins and his adventures as a superhero after an incident called the Big Bang gives him superpowers.

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It became a popular Saturday morning cartoon during the Kids WB programming block, and went on to join the DC animated universe. This is the first time a full season of the show has been completely collected on DVD in its entirety (it was first made available digitally in 2011).

As far as the set itself goes, it’s pretty disappointing. Most of the content and art is recycled from a 2004 DVD release, Static Shock vol. 1: The New Kid. The 2004 release has the first six episodes of the season and a small handful of special features. The art from that release is the art used for the full season one release. The only difference is the subtitle change from The New Kid to The Complete Second Season.

Photo Credit: Trey Norwood

The same applies to disc one of the two-disc set. Disc one is just The New Kid rebranded as disc one of The Complete First Season. The six episodes featured are the same six that were first released back in 2004, with the same handful of special features as well as the same options for subtitles. The episodes, special features, and subtitles all have their own individual menus with “Play All” as the first selection on the main menu. This, however, is not the case for disc two.

Disc two is just a cropped version of the image shown on disc one, with the episodes listed on the right side of the screen. “Play All” is at the top of the episode list, and the option to turn on subtitles is at the bottom. Also, unlike disc one, there is no background music playing on the menu—just the cropped image and black words on a relatively colorful background. The rather underwhelming quality carries over somewhat to the episodes themselves.

Photo Credit: Trey Norwood

The audio on the first three or four episodes on the first disc sounds a bit off. The music sounds a bit louder than the rest of the audio, and the sound quality of the voice acting is second-rate. Any time a character speaks, the difference in the quality of the voice is distracting compared to the rest of the audio. I didn’t notice any issues with the sound design on the second disc, but it could be that my ears adjusted.

The quality of the video is satisfactory. Since it’s not a blu-ray release, it obviously isn’t going to be in high-definition or look incredible. But the quality is good enough that you won’t be disappointed or distracted like I was with the sound.

The special features aren’t all that special. “Map of Dakota” is a virtual tour of Dakota City, Static’s hometown. The tour takes you through all the landmarks featured in the show, and is narrated by Gary Anthony Sturgis who plays Ebon.

Photo Credit: Trey Norwood

“Static’s Gadgets” is a narrated featurette about the various gadgets Static uses throughout the season. “Front Page Bios” is the only special feature that is not narrated. It’s just a slideshow (set to the theme from the show) of all the characters and their most memorable line from the first six episodes.

“Static Shock: Bad Guy Beat” is a game that involves choosing two or three options to defeat various villains. Since it’s on the first disc, the villains are ones that appear only in the first six episodes. The game is from the 2004 release after all.

The only other gripe I have with this set is that both discs have barcodes prominently featured on the art. However, Amazon does make it a point of telling you that you’re purchasing DVD-Rs. This is a Warner Archive release, which means you place your order and WB prints and produces whatever show or movie is in your order. In the case of Static Shock, it seems that Amazon is handling the production of the set on their own.

Photo Credit: Trey Norwood

If you’re buying this purely out of nostalgia, I can tell you right now that you will be disappointed. The show itself doesn’t hold up too well. While I don’t feel like it’s terrible like some of my other favorite childhood shows (I can’t stand Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers now). A lot of the dialogue just doesn’t hold up.

The quality of the animation is also inconsistent between episodes. Inconsistent animation quality is a problem during the episodes themselves as well. Characters will go from smooth and expressive in one frame to stiff and cheap looking in the next.

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Overall, I’m not upset I purchased this set. Although the presentation is underwhelming, it’s nice to have one of my favorite shows from my childhood on DVD. If you’re a fan of both the show and the character, then I’d suggest buying Static Shock: The Complete First Season. If you’re buying this solely for the nostalgia factor, you’ll more than likely be disappointed. Nostalgia fiends should buy at their own risk.