DVDs in Review: #37 - Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law: Volume One

As the region two release of this DVD set is imminent I thought I'd review the region one version as that's the one I have.

The Show:

I've been into some general detail about the show in the Why You Should Watch feature on it, so I'm going to talk about the specific episodes included in this set. If you want broader strokes about the show click that link.

Volume One contains, funnily enough, the first thirteen episodes that cover Harvey Birdman's early adventures/cases while working for Sebben & Sebben. Over the course of this volume Harvey deals with the problem of a wide range of classic cartoon characters in the courts of law. This volume also introduces us to many of the other core characters; including Harvey's boss Phil Ken Sebben (Falcon 7 from Birdman), Harvey's sidekick Avenger the eagle, his clerical assistant Peanut, co-worker and general philanderer Peter Potamus, nemesis X the Eliminator, Judge Hiram Mightor, Judge Mentok the Mind Taker, Attorney's Myron Reducto, Stan Freezoid, Evelyn Spyro Throckmorton and Vulturo. Oh and of course, Bear.

The episodes deal with in order:
Bannon & Quest's custody battle (Johnny Quest), Apache Chief's hot coffee incident (Super Friends), Shaggy & Scooby being busted for drugs (Scooby Doo), The Unabooboo (Yogi Bear), a case of intelectual property theft (The Neptunes), A mafia mob boss (Flintstones), Murder (Blue Falcon), X's attempts to get Birdman's crest (X, The Eliminator), skin cancer caused by over exposure to the sun's rays (Birdman is solar powered), a stuntman being sued for imitable stunts (Ernie Devilin), a very short detective suing for wrongful dismissal (Inch High Private Eye) and a case of an out of control buggy (Speed Racer).

Really there's just no way to express how enjoyable and funny this show is, poking in a good natured fashion at a lot of old classic cartoons that many adults will have watched as a child growing up. Each episode runs for about ten minutes and is packed to the feathers with gags, puns, non-sequiturs, practical jokes and low brow humour of every kind. It's a great show and the first batch of episodes are all brilliant.

The Other Stuff:
Volume One (and indeed all of the three volumes of this set) is a fantastic little package, the external box is cardboard styled like faux leather, complete with added wear and tear to make it look more like a law book.

Isn't it lovely? Then you slide out the interior box and it's made to look like the internal pages of one of Harvey's own books.


Fold that out and you get this.

Which is absolutely choka-block filled with stuff to read. The production of this set really is just fantastic, a lot of other companies could learn from this set. It's a real tactile experience getting the DVD down off the shelf to watch, you just can't help run your fingers across the cover and read the little notes on the interior box. This is amongst the best packaging I've ever had the pleasure to own. There is a downside, because it's all constructed of cardboard it is a little more prone to damage/wear and tear on the corners. Mine is already dinged.

First of all, I have to give big props to the main menu; it's not the most exciting thing to look at, but it more than makes up for it's looks with the music. They've put the full length version of Wesley Wills's song "Birdman kicked my ass" playing over the top of it, it's fantastic that the main menu has something like this. Too many menus are half assed attemptes with broken animation/music loops loops that have just part of the theme song playing on them.

As for Extras, there are a decent amount of them on here, let's have a list:

• Deleted Scenes from Deadomutt and Trio's Company
• Live Action version of the opening credits
• Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law Movie Trailer
• Casting What Ifs? Stephen Colbert and Todd Barry as Harvey
• Pencil Test and Final Animation Comparison on Shaggy Busted
• Tab Can Redux, with lyrics
• The Wind Beneath his Wings
• Commentaries for: Very Personal Injury, The Dabba Don, SPF, The Devilin Made Me Do It (2 versions), Trio's Company

The Region 2 version will apparently retail for £19.99 in the UK with a run time of 154 mins plus extras. It's a hefty 13 ppm, which is far from the best ratio I've reviewed so far. A price of around £10 would be a better one to pay, so you might want to wait for it to drop a little before buying.

Runtime: 154 mins
Region: 0 (Yes, that's right. Volume One is region free!)
Sound: Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

The Final Word:


3 comments so far.

  1. Aaron 23 October 2008 at 09:30
    It's £11.99 on Play.com

  2. Rev-Views 23 October 2008 at 09:54
    No reason to hold back then!
  3. Aaron 23 October 2008 at 14:57
    Yep, pre-ordered my copy already!

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