DVD Review – Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law season 2 box set

Once a second-rate superhero, Harvey Birdman is now a third-rate lawyer, with bad knees and a bad-attitude, working at an upscale law firm. It’s not clear whether Harvey ever went to law school, but he definitely knows the lingo and has a nice suit – even if he still insists on wearing his superhero get-up underneath.
As defender of ‘toons in trouble’, it’s his job to keep Shaggy and Scooby-Doo out of jail for possession, represent Fred Flintstone over alleged Mafia connections and lead the trial of Yogi Bear’s sidekick Boo-Boo, suspected of being notorious eco-terrorist: ‘The Unabooboo’.

Release Date: 7th December 2009

So… how to explain Harvey Birdman, Attourney at Law to someone who has never seen it.
Ok, I have it.
If like me you were a kid in the 70’s, imagine one Saturday morning your mum accidentally dropped an acid tab in your shreddies before sitting you down to watch your cartoons. It’s kind of like that.

Basically if you know your old Hannah-Barbera shows you will know pretty much everyone featured in this cartoon. Birdman himself had his own show “Birdman and the Galaxy Trio” where he fought crime and had science fiction themed adventures and many of this shows regulars including Mentok the Mind Taker and Reducto are taken directly from that. The difference being that Birdman now works at a law firm dealing with cases involving other cartoon characters from the 60’s and 70’s and is also a bit of an idiot. While it does give it that extra level if you do know the old characters being used I do think you could still enjoy it regardless as the scripts are really funny.

In the first three episodes of this dvd collection alone, Secret Squirrel is arrested for indecent exposure (watch any old clip of him pulling out a gadget, you’ll see why), the Jetsons come back in time to sue over environmental issues and Grape Ape is accused of taking preformance enhancing drugs at the Laff-A-Lympics. All against the surreal background of the Sebben and Sebben law firm where Peter Potamus is often caught in the act with various female interns and X the Eliminator is constantly trying to kill Birdman while also creepily stalking him.

This box set gives you all 13 episodes from season two of the show and features guest appearances from amongst others Inch High Private Eye, Yakkie Doodle, Quick Draw McGraw, Wally Gator and Droopy Dog who sues when his botox injections go wrong.

The dvd extras are a little haphazard. There are commentaries on a few of the episodes but the extra features themselves can be watched in about 10 minutes and do feel thrown together. The “Lets see the cast recording” feature for example shows Gary Cole, the voice of Birdman, but from a camera angle where his face is totally obscured by the stand he has his script on. Perhaps this was supposed to be intentional and clever, I thought it was just a waste of time.

That said, I did really enjoy this collection and laughed out loud… a lot. One very cool episode starts with the closing minute of one of the original Birdman cartoons. The bad guy is going to take over the world, Birdman blasts him and saves the day. We see the fallen bad guy as Birdman flies away, end of cartoon. Then we go back and hear the bad guy moan “I cant feel my legs!” and the rest of the cartoon is his damages law suit against Birdman. Just clever stuff.

I would say though that this show does have a weird sense of humour and while I loved it, I could totally understand someone else watching an episode stony faced and saying “I dont get it”. It might be a little too surreal for some people so I would definately advise people to at least check out a few clips online before stumping up the cash for this collection. For me this is like The Mighty Boosh in that it really appeals to my sense of humour but I wouldnt class it as being everyones cup of tea. Or vodka. Or whatever gets you going.

Stars out of
5 – 5

Dry Slaps – 1 for the weak extras.

GS Reviewer: Richard McAuliffe

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