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The Springfield Times: Season 1 DVD Set

This document lists archived official news, as well as some unconfirmed rumors, regarding The Complete First Season DVD set.

More: Season 2 >> | Current DVD News >>

September 28, 2001

After receiving the region 1 set, I did some comparison with the R2 one.

The most notable difference is that the R2 set is missing the commentary track for the unaired "Some Enchanted Evening" outtakes. It must have been left out by mistake, because it's hard to think of a valid reason for leaving out something short like that deliberately.

However, since it is not informative at all and basically only contains the producers saying how bad the animation looks over and over again, R2 set owners need not feel that they're missing out anything of high importance.

Minor differences: R2 (Finnish) box and disc labels are more shiny and look cooler. The material is divided differently on the three discs: R2 set has three episodes on the last disc, whereas R1 carries one. The images in the spine are not identical. R1 set has pictures of characters' heads only, while the images in the R2 spine include their bodies, too.

September 26, 2001

The release in France has been pushed to October 10.

The French trailer can be viewed at The Simpsons Park web site. Also see a gallery of international covers.

The set is now the top-selling DVD item at Amazon.com and other major retailers around the world.

September 25, 2001

The worldwide launch of the first set has started. The Simpsons Complete First Season was released today in the US, and yesterday in the UK.

To celebrate the event, a review is available on our main news page.

Also see these new reviews:

Nutshell

Release Dates:
· USA Sep 25
· Europe Sep 24-28
· Australia Oct 3
· France Oct 10

Contents:
13 episodes with commentaries, video outtakes from an unaired version of 7G01 (R1: with commentary) and audio-only outtakes from Albert Brooks' appearance, 4 original scripts with notes, animatic, early sketches, 5 foreign language clips, the first Tracey Ullman short, a BBC documentary, and an ABC News report and magazine covers as easter eggs.

Press Release:

· English
· Finnish

Reviews:
· DVDlaunch
· R2 Project
· DVDfile.com
· Dvd.Net.Au
· DVDfever
· IGN
· DVD Breakdown
· Obi's Reviews
· DVD Info (Belgium)
· FS Film (Finland)
· DVDForum (Sweden)
· More:
  [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Trailer:
· United Kingdom
· France

Screenshots:
· R2 (Scandinavian)
· R2 (French)

Where to get it:
· R1 Amazon.com
· R2 Amazon.co.uk
· R4 EzyDVD

Easter Eggs:
1) In the latter "Special Features" menu, push 'left.'
2) In the "Art of The Simpsons" menu, push 'left.'



September 16, 2001

A look at the R1 set by Obi's Reviews:

Simply put this is another solid offering from Fox and they continue to set the example for the rest of the industry to follow. I am also of the opinion that the only way to offer long-running television series on DVD is one season per set. This method is not only cost effective for the collector but it is also sparing on the shelf space. [Read the full review]

Also, a review in Swedish available at DVD Forum.
Thanks to Jakob Sørensen

September 14, 2001

A QuickTime trailer of the first DVD set is available at the Fox UK site.

[View trailer]

September 13, 2001

A detailed review available at DVD Breakdown:

Some minor flaws in the source material are the result of the inking process used at the time (as is explained in the audio commentary), but this is never distracting, and I think it's safe to say that these episodes have never looked better than they do on this DVD. The original stereo soundtrack - the first season didn't even have matrixed Dolby Surround when it originally aired - has been remixed to a bright, nicely judged new Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix, proving that Fox has spared no expense in bringing the show most directly responsible for their TV network's success to DVD in the best possible way.

[...]

A few mino quibbles aside, Fox has outdone itself in the production of these extra features for this long-awaited DVD release, which should prove a high-point of the year for Simpsons fans the world over.

Source: DVD Breakdown (Courtesy Jakob Sørensen)

[Read the full review]

September 8, 2001

Australian EzyDVD is offering a free copy of The Simpsons Guide to Springfield for those who pre-order the DVD set (R4).

IGN is the site providing the latest DVD review. Click here to read it.
Source: IGN (Courtesy Jonah Flynn)

September 5, 2001

A review has been posted to the British DVDfever site:

The programme has always been made and presented in 4:3 fullscreen and once you get past the occasionally-crude animation, it mostly looks damn good, save for some backgrounds that come out in patches because it appears that the encoding isn't quite up to scratch.

Originally filmed in stereo, there aren't quite as many special effects applied here than there are in later series, but what is has been enhanced with a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix throughout the entire series. This was quite unexpected but most welcome. Even in the scenes where not much action happens, the clarity is the dialogue greatly benefits from this treatment.

[Read the full review]

Playcentric.com is taking advance orders for $22.51 (CAD$34.69).
Thanks to Christopher Ebert

September 3, 2001

Yet another review, this time by DVDlaunch:

Video: shorts, dirty old transfers! Presented the way they have and always will be on television, in 1.33:1 full frame, I'm absolutley amazed and in awe of how good these episodes look. It just boggles my mind to see how cleaned up they are, considering how much I'm used to the old, muted transfers in syndication that look not so spectacular since they've been played over and over.

[...]

Audio: Woohoo! "The Simpsons" remixed in 5.1 Dolby Digital? Count me in! I was excited to hear about the episodes being remixed in the original specs, and I am really surprised how good these new mixes sounded, considering how long ago these were made, some of the sound material could be questionable about being mixed into.

Source: DVDlaunch (Courtesy Jakob Sørensen)

[Read the full review]

September 2, 2001

In Australia, the first season DVDs will be released on October 3rd. They will retail at A$79.95 (roughly US$40) The chapters, bonuses and format is the same as the US version.
Source: DVD Now (Courtesy Jeffry Kam)

After getting their hands on the third disc, the good folks at R2 Project have posted a full review of the set.

August 31, 2001

Another review of the season one set, made by Dvdfile.com:

Presented in its original 4:3 full screen television aspect ratio, these transfers certainly offer a clear improvement over most over-the-air broadcasts, even if they can't quite overcome the limitations of the source material.

[...]

Fox offers us Simpsons fans newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks for every episode, and like the transfers, the results are fine considering the material. As these shows were originally produced in mono only, these remixes sound inorganic and processed.

[...]

In all, this is a nice set and good first start. I found the video and audio quality decent but not great, and the supplements rather lightweight. But for only $39.95 list, this is still a solid triple. I expect even better from future Simpsons collections, so bring 'em on!

[Read the full review]

A review for fans in Belgium is available at DVD Info.
Thanks to Jakob Sørensen

August 30, 2001

Screenshots of the first set's French edition are available at The Simpsons Park web site.

The set will be released in France on September 26.

August 28, 2001

An Australian DVD site has reviewed season 1 boxed set:

Whilst the original season had its share of teething problems in getting the look right, the DVD presentation is more than adequate for archival purposes, but diehard fans are going to want blood if they are expecting a transfer as sparkling as that seen on Lion King 2. The image here is fairly soft and suffers from some analogue edge enhancement.

[...]

Woohoo! So the audio does not suffer from its age. In fact, we are given a 5.1 Surround mix for each and every episode culminating in being able to hear The Simpsons like never before. Most noticeable is the opening title sequence, which seems to have had a remix that gives a fresh and dynamic approach to the theme song. No it doesn't sound different, just, Mmmmmm, sweet.

[...]

It's hard to get really excited about this release, but this is The Simpsons and you have to have it right? D'oh! I mean Woohoo! It's the beginning and things will hopefully improve from here. More extras are needed, better use of the dual layered formatting is required and easter eggs that are interesting would be great too [...]

Source: Dvd.Net.Au (Courtesy Jonah Flynn)

[Read the full review]

August 27, 2001

To access the easter egg (ABC News Special Report on the Bart Simpson T-Shirt controversy), click "left" in the second "Special Features" menu. When Bart's T-shirt changes color, press "Enter."

August 18, 2001

A fresh batch of preview screenshots is now available at http://simpdvd.cjb.net/.

August 17, 2001

We now have a list of commentaries on disc 3 (R2):

Commentaries (Disc 3)

“The Crepes of Wrath” - Director Wesley Archer and Writer George Meyer;
“Krusty Gets Busted” - Matt Groening, Director Brad Bird and Writers Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky;
“Some Enchanted Evening” - Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and Director David Silverman;
Thanks to Petri Teittinen

August 7, 2001

R2 project has reviewed the first two discs of season 1 boxed set.

In terms of quality we can confirm that the picture quality on these disks is first rate. The picture is much better than broadcast quality with bright colours, sharp edges and no sign of smearing due to the encoding of the quick moving images. There is a slight colour bleed which is perhaps down to the animation process.

[...]

Each episode on the disks features a commentary track although Matt Groening does not appear on each one. The commentary is buried under the language option which is perhaps a little strange, other studios normally put these under the extra features. Fox instead have chosen to point the extras features menu for each episode to the disks global extras.

[...]

There's lots of funny memoirs, insights in to the making of the shows and more behind the scenes insights than even the biggest fan could handle. You'll hear about how the characters got their names and how the look of the has changed over the years. Matt and all the participants point out inside jokes whenever possible and there are plenty of remarks that make you go "Ohhh, so that's where that came from !".

[...]

Both disk feature a couple more extras as well, Disk 1 features two scripts and a third resides on disk three. These are now plain text only pages but photographic reproductions of the actual scripts complete with annotations from the writers. This is an absolutely first rate presentation of the scripts, definitely the way this feature should be presented.

Commentaries (Discs 1 & 2)

“Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” - Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and Director David Silverman;
“Bart the Genius” - Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and Director David Silverman and Writer Jon Vitti;
“Homer's Odyssey” - Matt Groening, Director Wesley Archer, Writers Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky;
“There's No Disgrace Like Home” - Matt Groening, and Writers Al Jean & Mike Reiss;
“Bart the General” - Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and Director David Silverman;
“Moaning Lisa” - Matt Groening, Director Wesley Archer, Writers Al Jean & Mike Reiss;
“Call of the Simpsons” - Director Wesley Archer, Writers Al Jean & Mike Reiss;
“The Telltale Head” - Director Rich Moore, Writers Al Jean and Mike Reiss;
“Life on the Fast Lane” - Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and Director David Silverman;
“Homer's Night Out” - Matt Groening, Director Rich Moore and Writer Jon Vitti;
Information and image courtesy of: R2 Project

[Read the full article]

Note: Contrary to the advance information in the press release, episode "Moaning Lisa" is available on disc 2, and episodes "The Crepes of Wrath" and "Krusty Gets Busted" are on disc 3, at least in this region 2 (Europe) release.

July 31, 2001

During the weekend, The Simpsons Complete First Season was the best-selling DVD item at Amazon.com. By the time of writing this, however, its rank has dropped to #4.
Source: Amazon.com (Courtesy Jonah Flynn)

The press release in Finnish is now available.

July 18, 2001

In Germany, the first set (R2) will be released on September 27. Amazon.de is taking advance orders for DM 119.
Source: Amazon.de (Courtesy Oliver Schöttke)

A Swedish DVD forum has posted several new photos of the packaging. Click here to view them.

July 13, 2001

Final version of the official press release is now available.

According to DVDstreet, the UK (R2) set will be released on September 24, 2001 with a list price of 39.99 (their price 34.99).

In Denmark, the first set (R2) will be out on September 27.
Source: DVDtown.dk (Courtesy Jan Nielsen)

July 10, 2001

In Finland, the first set (R2) will be released by FS-Film on September 28.

July 4, 2001

Play247.com is now offering the region 1 set to European customers for only 17.99, including shipping! Sounds too good to be true. Let's hope the pricing won't change.

July 2, 2001

Online retailers are starting to take advance orders for the first set. Amazon.com has currently the best price ($29.98).

June 19, 2001

Offered at the suggested US retail price of $39.98 ($49.98 Canada), the Simpsons Season 1 DVD Collector's Box Set will take the form of 3 dual-layered DVD discs (1.33:1 full frame), each with episodes presented in English 5.1, and Dolby Surround in English and French. English and Spanish subtitles will also be available.

Disc 1

“Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” (7G08 - December 17, 1989);
“Bart the Genius” (7G02 - January 14, 1990 - official series premiere);
“Homer's Odyssey” (7G03 - January 21, 1990);
“There's No Disgrace Like Home” (7G04 - January 28, 1990);
“Bart the General” (7G05 - February 4, 1990);
“Moaning Lisa” (7G06 - February 11, 1990);

Bonus features: Original scripts with notes by Matt Groening for “Bart the Genius,” “Bart the General”, and “Moaning Lisa.”

Disc 2

“Call of the Simpsons” (7G09 - February 18, 1990);
“The Telltale Head” (7G07 - February 25, 1990);
“Life on the Fast Lane” (7G11 - March 18, 1990);
“Homer's Night Out” (7G10 - March 25, 1990);
“The Crepes of Wrath” (7G13 - April 15, 1990);
“Krusty Gets Busted” (7G12 - April 29, 1990);

Disc 3

“Some Enchanted Evening” (7G01 - May 13, 1990);

Bonus features: Original script with notes by Matt Groening for “Some Enchanted Evening,” outtakes from the unaired version of “Some Enchanted Evening,” an excerpt of the animatic version of “Bart the General” (1m:49s) with commentary from Matt Groening and former director David Silverman, Albert Brooks Outtakes from “Life on the Fast Lane” (3m:43s), the BBC “America's First Family” television special (4m:48s), an ABC News Special Report on the Bart Simpson T-Shirt controversy (1m:45s), the first-ever Simpsons short to air on “The Tracey Ullman Show,” five foreign-language clips, a stills gallery of early Simpsons sketches, and magazine covers.

A second DVD boxed set featuring all 22 episodes from the series' second season may be released in time for the Christmas season.

[Read the full article]

[Press release]

June 14, 2001

According to a Variety story, the first set will be released in the USA on September 25, followed by two sets a year. Season 1 set will be priced at $39.98.

A follow-up set of the second season may be released in time for the holidays, with two more sets being released each year thereafter, according to Peter Staddon, Fox Home Entertainment senior vice president of marketing.

With only 13 episodes in the first season, the first three-disc set will be fleshed out with loads of extra material, including the original shorts that debuted on “The Tracey Ullman Show” and a never-before-seen lost episode. Unlike the first three seasons of “The X-Files” that each take up seven discs and are priced at $149 (seasons four and five are in the works), “The Simpsons Season 1” will be priced at $39.98.

But the price and number of discs will go up for subsequent seasons that each had 26 or more episodes.

[...]

There will also be no interactive gaming features, so as not to take away from the popular video games featuring “The Simpsons.”

But the first boxed set will include seven foreign-language clips, showing, for instance, Homer and Bart as dubbed in Japanese.

Also included will be Albert Brooks outtakes, a BBC special called “America's First Family” and an ABC News Special Report on the Bart Simpson T-shirt controversy.

Other extras include original scripts, commentary for each episode, early sketches, magazine covers and stills.
NOTE: The “lost episode” refers to a collection of deleted scenes rather than a full, never-before-seen episode. The “lost” Ullman short “Nazis on Tap” was never animated. Only the script, the voice track and some character design was made. Several scenes of the Simpsons episode “Some Enchanted Evening” were re-animated before first airing, but not the whole episode. In other words, to our knowledge, there is no full lost Simpsons episode to include.

Also, according to the prior sources, the set will not include a wide collection of Ullman shorts. Only the presence of the first appearance of the family, “Good Night” has been earlier confirmed.

June 12, 2001

DVDWeb.it was informed by the 20th Century Fox Home office in Italy that the first box set of three discs will be released worldwide on the week starting September 24. Special attention will be given to the packaging which is said to have “high-tech” features. The cover image includes the Simpsons family being sucked into a DVD vortex, while the individual discs will have images of different characters printed on them.

In Italy, the first boxed set will cost LIT. 99.000, exactly as much as the three-disc R2 Buffy set (approximately 40 in the UK).

May 5, 2001

According to the BBFC online database, the first boxed set will feature a 1m:45s easter egg, over 8 minutes of never-before-seen outtakes (of which 3m:43s reportedly is to involve Albert Brooks' past involvement with the series), a 1m:49s excerpt from an unknown episode's “animatic” pencil animation test, the first Simpsons interstitial broadcast April 19, 1987 on Fox's “The Tracey Ullman Show,” and a mystery item entitled “America's First Family” (4m:48s). Fox demonstrated its thirst for fan feedback concerning such bonus contents earlier this year with an official ePoll.com questionnaire.

While no official estimates for the first boxed set's release date have materialized, a suggested date of September 2001 has been quoted by The R2 Project, backed up by The Digital Bits' own report of a likely third quarter 2001 retail date.

Meanwhile, The Simpsons Archive has verified with the Los Angeles-based production house charged with creating multi-language subtitles for the DVDs that general production of the first boxed set is now underway.

[Read the full article]

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Last updated on December 8, 2001 by Jouni Paakkinen (jouni@snpp.com)


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