A group of ordinary Joes are forced into a position to save the world from the evil Cobra Industries, who appears to have no wrongdoing to the public, after a spy mission turns the Joes into fugitives trying to clear their name.
When I watched the one-hour series premiere of G.I. Joe Renegades on The Hub during its premiere in November 2010, I did so not because I loved the G.I. Joe franchise or because I was expecting to become a new fan, but simply because I was interested in checking out the fledgling network’s new programming. Little did I know I was about to get hooked on a great animated action series.
As I said, I’ve never seen nor owned anything G.I. Joe-related before Renegades premiered. Of course I had heard the brand’s name before, it’s pretty hard not to have, but I was never interested in checking it out – either the toys or the shows and movies. So I went in fresh. Not knowing who these characters were or what their back stories were about. Not knowing what was changed in this new incarnation or whether any of these characters or storylines were new creations or not.
What I found was a great TV show with nice animation, solid action and well-written storylines. After watching the premiere episodes (“The Descent, Parts 1 and 2”), I was ready for more. In fact, it became of those shows where you were excited that a new episode was coming on that day. A rarity for me these days where most networks go for comedies with nothing to look forward to or “monster of the week”-type action shows that don’t require you to tune in for each episode. G.I. Joe Renegades was different – it was good. Great, really.
After the premiere, many places I read online seemed to already have a problem with the characters’ designs. I didn’t at first, but on closer inspection, the facial features of most of the characters are nothing to write home about. However, it didn’t take anything away from the great animation or storylines for me. The characters could look better, but it doesn’t really detract from the show’s other qualities. However, Snake Eyes (the full-suited ninja) looked great, but I guess that’s because you couldn’t see his face.
The 13 episodes you’ll find on this two-disc DVD set are great. There’s three, two-part episodes – the aforementioned premiere, “Return of the Arashikage,” which tells the fascinating back-story between Snake Eyes and white-clothed ninja opponent Storm Shadow, and “Homecoming” which takes Duke, the leader, home to protect his family from Cobra. The other seven single episodes will also have you glued. “Rage” is especially enjoyable with its big, mechanical “exo-armor” suits. Who doesn’t like giant fighting robots?
The DVD packaging itself is appropriate. The cover has your two main good guys, Duke and Snake Eyes, and two main bad guys, Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow. The back features another pose of Snake Eyes, can’t get enough of that ninja, and a few screenshots of the series.
The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) with 5.1 Surround sound and 2.0 Stereo, which all make for a clean picture and great sounding experience. No gripes there. Sadly though, there are zero special features to be found on this set.
For a standard DVD price, it’s a good buy. Especially if you’re not sure you’re going to like it or don’t have any other means of watching the show on TV or through Netflix. A second volume DVD set has just recently been announced, which will contain the second half of this great series (13 more episodes). However, if you have a Blu-ray player, you may want to wait until September and pick-up the complete series Blu-ray set. It’ll cost you a little more than buying the two DVD sets, but if you have the option, it’d probably be better to have true HD than non-HD anamorphic widescreen DVDs.
The only bad thing I can really say about the show doesn’t even relate to the actual program content itself but rather the company behind it. Not renewing this great adventure past its first season is a shame. At least you do get some conclusion at the end, but more could (and still should) defiantly be done here. Show your support either way and pick it up today. Definitely recommended!