Well, apparently the people at Adult Swim heard me and managed to cram a metric crap-ton of special features onto one Blu-Ray for Robot Chicken Season 6.
The stop-motion parody festival that is Robot Chicken has matured significantly in its six seasons. Not in terms of content (see Orville Redenbacher’s urinary issues in the Children of the Popcorn sketch), but in terms of production value.
When you compare an early season sketch like Villain Car Pool to this season’s final sketch, Appeasing the God, the differences are astounding.
A cursory note: These are clips from a show rated TV-MA. In other words, I would suggest saving these for when you get home, and not at work.
The earlier season’s camera work is very static, relying on hard cuts without a lot of panning. It’s a series of action figures moving very stiffly in relatively static scenes. It relies heavily on a combination of dialogue and nostalgia.
In the latter clip, you’ll immediately notice the significant improvements in the characters’ motion and the variety of camera angles and sets in play. This being a season-ending sketch, it’s going to have a lot more going for it, but it’s still an impressive parody of Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods. And yes, that is actually Joss Whedon voicing zombie Joss Whedon. And if I say his name a few more times, he might appear.
But enough about the actual show. It’s the special features you’re getting the Blu-Ray for, not the actual content.
The Blu-Ray features about an hour of features including a segment on the show bringing on its first female writers; a look at how a scene featuring Wilson the volleyball from Castaway was planned; and one on the parade of guest actors who voiced characters on the show. I’d list those actors, but I think Rhea Perlman described that list best: “It’s longer than my computer.”
On top of that is a mountain of deleted scenes, channel flips (short bits between sketches), and a few outtakes. Honestly, the sheer number of pieces that didn’t make the show are worth the price of admission and could be a season in themselves. That’s how much stronger the show has become.
My one gripe is the commentary tracks. Since the show is made up of a slew of sketches running anywhere from a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes, it would be near impossible to just have a separate audio track running through the show. A comment on a 10 second sketch could run over the next couple of sketches.
But the method they chose is very hit and miss. It’s essentially the episode running like normal until an icon pops up on the screen. Selecting the icon will start a cutaway video of someone behind the scenes (mostly Seth Green and Matthew Senreich) sharing some tidbit about what’s going on.
So take a show that’s already on the fast-cutting ADD-side and splash in about 10 or so of these segments in an 11-minute episode and you end up with an erratic blob of chopped up sketches that doesn’t work, whether you’ve seen the episodes or not.
That said, the collection of special features make this a must-buy for fans of the show, and probably worth a watch, depending on your sense of humor.