Duckman: Seasons Three and Four (1996)

Genre(s): Animation / Comedy
Paramount || NR - 1077 minutes - $49.98 || January 6, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-01-22


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Everett Peck (created by)
Cast: Jason Alexander


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Walk Cycles, Expressions, and Pencil Tests
  • Unaired Pilot with Everett Peck and Gregg Berger
  • Storyboard Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 7
  • Full Frame (1.33)
  • English (Stereo 2.0)
  • Subtitles: NA

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.::THE FILM::.

Back when I was a kid, apparently I was like seven when “Duckman” came out; I stayed up until after midnight when it came on every weekend because of how much I loved the show. Then I learned what a VCR did and never stayed up past nine after that. If you’re asking yourself what a VCR is, it was some terrible technology that died, thankfully, and now we have something called DVR that records shows. I’m not really going anywhere, so onto the review.

Duckman (Jason Alexander) is a private detective with absolutely zero detective skills what so ever. Even if the clues are placed right in front of him, he still manages to find a way to get distracted such as by a big-breasted woman walking in or a porno magazine within eyes glance. He owns a detective agency with his partner Cornfed Pig (Gregg Berger) where, as already stated, they rarely solve cases. Cornfed is the exact opposite of Duckman, in the sense that he’s a pig and Duckman is a duck.

Small joke, sorry. Cornfed is the smartest person in the trio of characters, he’s quick witted, funny, and makes jokes that require you to think every once in a while. Duckman lives in a house with Bernice (Nancy Travis), his deceased wife’s sister, his children Ajax (Dweezil Zappa) and Charles/Mambo (Dana Hill/Elizabeth Daily), and finally Grandma Ma. Charles/Mambo is a two-headed duck, while Ajax is, well, stupid.

A slew of other well-known celebrities also have a few supporting roles throughout the show as well. Dr. Ben Stein (Ben Stein... duh) plays Duckman’s neighbor, and at times, a pain in the neck for him as well. Duckman’s nemesis in most of the episodes is the evil King Chicken (Tim Curry). There’s a few more, but I don’t want to spoil all of them for you.

Sadly though, the DVD starts off with the weakest episode from the entire series, “Noir Gang,” and nearly ruined the show for me. It’s a drudgingly boring episode that I didn’t laugh once at (the only episode I did so in) and almost made me stop watching. Thankfully, Duckman returns to his roots in the second episode, “Forbidden Fruit.”

In this episode, Duckman is accused of sexual harassment. Yup, you read that right, and he’s as shocked as you probably are that a loud mouth duck who oogles women at every chance he gets is accused of such a crime. A hilarious episode just because of the concept, but the cast and characters work out well. There’s also a jaw-dropping funny scene with Fluffy and Uranus, the two secretaries at his work, and their house.

Overall, season three and four is the stronger of the series. It’s a shame that it wasn’t picked up for syndication or more episodes, but it came out at a bad time. Had it come out a few years later, I honestly think Duckman would still be on today. It makes light of pop culture references (there’s one about mad cow disease that made me cry I laughed so hard) similar to shows today in the television world. If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch this show. I would recommend starting though with the first two seasons, otherwise you may be a bit lost in a few episodes.

Noteworthy Episodes: “Forbidden Fruit,” “Ajax and Ajaxer,” “Ebony, Baby.” Seriously, watch the last one. Duckman makes a freaking joke about a video game, “Mortal Kombat,” that had me not being able to breathe from laughter.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Unaired Pilot with Everett Peck and Gregg Berger (16 minutes): The unaired pilot is shown with video from the original drawings from the show. Too bad the entire cast didn’t show up for this, as Peck and Berger aren’t really entertaining.

Walk Cycles, Expressions, and Pencil Tests (1 minute): A basic run-through of how Duckman is made along with other characters.

Storyboard Scenes from 'I, Duckman' (3 minutes): A storyboard for the episode.

It’s a shame that Alexander or the rest of the cast didn’t bother to do anything extra for the show. A commentary or two would have been nice.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

This looks fantastic. There’s really no other way to describe it. The animated characters are at their finest in this DVD presentation, as they appear crisp and colorful. The only downside is that a few episodes have major contrast issues, mainly on the fourth and fifth disc. I’m not sure exactly why, as one episode appears brighter than others. Besides that there are no complaints.

Alright, it’s a dialogue heavy television show, so don’t go expecting any sort of giant audio references here. It does however do a fine job, as dialogue levels are fine throughout. There are a few issues once the episodes end, as the loud logo from the studio plays and it booms. The levels for that are much higher than the actual show, so there were several times where I had to turn it down once the episode ended as to not get freaked out by the loud noise. The 2.0 track is a bit disappointing though, as a 5.1 track would have helped it a little bit more. But it still does okay.



.::OVERALL::.

“Duckman” is a fantastic show that just didn’t fit in at the time when it was released. More than a decade after its debut, it’s still one of the best television shows of all time. The technical side is well put together, sporting a nice crisp animated picture and a little above average audio for an older television show. The special features are a bit of a drag, as though commentaries from the cast would have been nice. Overall, “Duckman” is well worth the price tag. If you haven’t bought the first and second season set, then buy the set that contains all four. It’s cheaper. See? I did some investigating of my own for ya!