This is just the second set I have that is in the "box head" style,
and I have to say, it is a LOT better than the Marge head for Season 7. The pros are that unlike the Season 7 (which was done
in the same style as S6), this one actually takes on it's own shape (ie: rather than being curved at the top like the other
two, this is in the shape of Maggie's spikes). The other pro is that they have made this one thinner than the previous two
editions, so it only takes up the same amount of room as the normal "digipacks" do.
On to the cons, and there is only one that I have; they still have these constructed in the way that
as soon as you open it you get a pile of plastic and cardboard falling everywhere. This is because the episode list is
on a cardboard cutout that fits onto the back of the Maggie head, so when the plastic slip is taken off, this falls of (it's
supposed to though). Then, when you open it, a cardboard slip falls out that is in the shape of Maggie's head that shows the
rest of the family taking a photo of her, then finally when you take the inner case out, another Maggie-shaped piece of cardboard (coloured
fully yellow) falls out too. So altogether, rather than two pieces like the digipacks (which is the inner case and outer case)
you have six pieces you have to put back in (being the two cardboard inserts, the inner head, the cardboard episode list,
the outer head and the plastic slip). There is, however, a pro that basically reverses this con -- the set is designed so
you leave the inner case with the discs out of the rest of the set while you watch (the other five pieces are solely
for display purposes).
Now, onto the inner head itself, which holds the discs and episode booklet. The front of it is coloured
the same green-blue colour that the alternate packaging is, and features a picture of Maggie sucking her pacifier. The spine
is made so it looks like the Simpsons logo is taped on, with the words "The Complete Eighth Season" made to look like it was
made using a label machine. The back shows Maggie taping Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II into a photo album (really
small nitpick, but am I the only one that's getting tired of Maggie being the only Simpson that ever appears on the back of
these head sets? [She's in a cage on the back of S6, and wrapped in film on S7]).
Opening it, you find the discs in a digibook on the right and the episode booklet on the left. Now,
the normal digipack of this set is themed around a "family album", and that's obvious in the head box too. The background
of the inside of the inner case is done in a "photo booth" style, showing various characters and character designs from season
8. The episode booklet follows the set theme, and is placed out in a photo album setup. It is, in my opinion, the nicest episode
booklet so far (for those who want to know but don't yet have the set, each page features and episode, and has a black-green
background. It features an episode description, scene description, commentary list, as well as an image from the episode
and a "momento" from the episode [ie: Bart's 'Santos L. Halper' card on the page for "The Canine Mutiny"].
The discs, as I understand, come in two different styles -- one is being called the "finger" discs,
and the other the "poses" discs. I wanted to get the finger discs, but unfortunately I got the poses ones, which features
a picture of a member of the family on each discs. The outer edge of the discs represents a camera lens.
Like Season 7, I hadn't seen a lot of these episodes for a long time, and some
I had never seen at all. With the episodes I had seen, I didn't actually have high hopes for these season, because I rather
disliked a couple of the episodes (like The Homer They Fall, and The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase).
-Treehouse of Horror
- You Only Move Twice A
- The Homer They Fall B
- Burns, Baby Burns B+
- Bart After Dark A
- A Milhouse Divided A
- Lisa's Date With Density A-
- Hurricane Neddy A-
- El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer B+
- The Springfield Files A
- The Twisted World of Marge Simpson B-
- Mountain of Madness B+
- Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(ANNOYED GRUNT)cious A-
- The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show A-
- Homer's Phobia B+
- Brother From Another Series B+
- My Sister, My Sister B
- Homer vs. the 18th Amendment A+
- Grade School Confidential A-
- The Canine Mutiny B
- The Old Man and the Lisa B
- In Marge We Trust B+
- Homer's Enemy A+
- The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase C+
- The Secret War of Lisa Simpson B+
So far this set looks like it hasn't gone through the DVNR process that Season 6 and 7 went through (but
note that I have been watching the set so far on a portable DVD player, so it's hard to tell, I will wait until I watch it
on my TV). I never realized before at how great some of the animation is on this season. Some episodes, like "The Old Man
and the Lisa", "Homer's Enemy" and "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson", the animation looks so good it actually looks
as if it was made Season 13-ish (one of my favourite seasons animation and model-wise). My prime example is Lisa (especially
in "The Old Man and the Lisa", where her character model looks great).
Overall, another great season, definitely one of the greatest animation-wise.
It once again follows the tradition of having commentaries on all episodes, and this may be my favourite
season worth of commentaries so far (especially with special guests like Alex Rocco and Kelsey Grammer on some episodes).
There is also my favourite special feature, "A Bit From The Animators", which is included on every disc (so there is four
altogether -- the most they have included so far on a set). I like these because the animators are actually really
funny and some of the stuff they draw on the screen is really entertaining. There is also animatics and other special animation
features, for the episodes "Treehouse of Horror VII", "Lisa's Date With Density", "Homer vs. the 18th Amendment" and "The
Secret War of Lisa Simpson".
Oakley and Weinstein definitely were very underrated during
their time as showrunners for The Simpsons, and it is a shame that they left. Season 8 is now in my top three seasons (the
others being Season 5 at #2 and Season 7 at #1, so O&W are the first showrunners to ever have all their seasons in my
top three). This would be just as good as Season 7 if they had improved on a couple episodes (namely "The Twisted World
of Marge Simpson" and the Spin-off episode). This set does provide 8 or so hours of great entertainment, along with other
special features to keep you occupied for a long time. It's great to now own these episodes.