DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

The Simpsons – The Sixteenth Season (2004/2005/2013)

A continued delight for the longest-running scripted program on TV.

Published on December 20, 2013

The Simpsons – The Sixteenth Season (2004/2005/2013)

The Simpsons – The Sixteenth Season [TrackList follows]  (2013)

21 episodes; ran from Nov. 2004 thru May 2005
20th-Century Fox (12/3/13) 3 disc set
Video: 1.33:1 for 4:3 color 1080p
Audio: English DD 5.1 and 2.0, Spanish DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
Extras: “Greetings, Junior Scientiers;” Audio commentary on each episode by writers, actors & directors; Deleted scenes with commentary; “Live! It’s the Simpson,” Bonus episodes; Multi-angle animation showcase; Special language feature; Original sketches; Three bonus episodes; “Living in the Moment;” more…
Length: TT: 483 minutes
Rating: *****

Professor John Frink is on the cover of the latest set of discs covering a full season of the longest-running scripted program in TV history. This season ran around 2005, so they are doling out the seasons on disc and it will be some time before we get to the present one. Back at this time they were still doing the 4:3 squarish screen, so you’ll have to wait a bit to get to the ones designed for 16:9 display. Although there is one 16:9 episode – a Christmas program “Holidays of Future Passed,” which actually ran more recently. Two other bonus episodes are included: “Bart to the Future,” and “Lisa’s Wedding.”

Some feel the humor is less in these later seasons, but I found the episodes I watched here just as hilarious as some of the current episodes on the air. Nobody—least of all Saturday Night Live—seems able to satirize elements of the current lifestyle as stunningly as does The Simpsons each week. The staff thinks up the most outrageous subjects each week, and I am always thinking in the back of my mind what must be going thru the heads of the animation workers in South Korea who do the final animation work on each episode.

One of the Halloween season “Treehouse of Horror” episodes opens this series. Bart and Milhouse have a ball going PlayBoy style after Marge forces Homer to cut out all the girlie pixs in his magazine, in order to leave the culturally valuable articles. In “Sleeping with the Enemy” Bart and Nelson become friends, and Grandpa and Homer smuggle prescription drugs from Canada when they are no longer covered in the U.S. In another episode Homer becomes a minister when gay marriage is legalized in Springfield, and Homer predicts the end of the world in “Thank God It’s Doomsday.”

This is one of the few TV series where you might want to watch episodes more than once. Things go by so fast you can easily miss wonderful little asides and remarks that are really hilarious. (The English subtitles can help.) I never cease to be amazed that this show has lasted so long on the Fox network. The guest stints by various celebrities are also usually quite funny. Among them this season are James Caan, Lucy Liu, Liam Neeson and even Stephen Hawking. The note booklet has a separate page for each episode, though some are just sort of a Simpson hodgepodge without a simple summary of that episode.

TrackList:

—John Sunier




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