TV on DVD: Tom and Jerry Tales -- The Complete First Season (2006)

Now Available to Own

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Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection
Tom and Jerry: Greatest Chases, Vol. 2

Unlike, say, Joseph Hanna and William Barbera's other series such as Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, and The Jetsons, there wasn't a whole lot of room for plot development when it came to their admittedly one-premise animated shorts starring Tom the cat and Jerry the Mouse.

Yet, there was always something dazzling about the figurative room full of dominoes that went zig-zagging downward as Tom persistently chased Jerry in all kinds of settings just like Warner Brothers' Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner but with a broader imaginative scope.

In fact, they tied Walt Disney Animation Studios' Silly Symphonies line of shorts for the seven Oscars that Hanna/Barbera's theatrical Tom and Jerry shorts earned in its heyday. And with this in mind, it was a smart move for this CW incarnation of the series to go back to its golden age in using the same format, length, and feel of those theatrical shorts to present three different situational chases that were all thematically tied together either in setting, season, or some unifying topic to fill its thirty minute slot.

Vibrantly animated and sharply colored, 2006's Tom and Jerry Tales was both executive produced and boasted some story contributions by Joseph Barbera in this complete first season until the man's passing a few years back.

The set makes a great blend of old and new to introduce youngsters to the originally MGM developed characters we came to adore in a format with which we're familiar but with a fresher coat of paint and higher pixel count to amp up those famous Keystone Kops style endless chases.

From interrupting a Picasso like painting monkey at the zoo in the two disc set's opener through the magician based finale, over the course of thirteen episodes equaling thirty-nine short cartoons that run just under three hundred minutes, you'll be treated to some first rate chases that hearken back to older plots you may know by heart along with some surprising directions that the series creators employed to bring this show into the twenty-first century. Impressively, even with the updates, the animators all the while retained the spirit of the original.

Needless to say, it's a tough feat to combine the new and old all around but it's far more successful than some of the newer incarnations of Scooby Doo we've seen over the past few years.

And while it's safe to predict that purists will still want to go back to some of the vintage collections released by Warner Brothers over the past few years, this is nonetheless a great way to appease multi-generational tastes in bringing everyone from grandparents to children together for some very funny and quite fresh installments that breathe new life and generate new interest into the art of the animated short.


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