Sealab 2021
Season Two
Region 1 Edition

Starring (Voice): Erika Estrada, Harry Goz, Kate Miller and Ellis Henican
Warner Home Video
RRP: $29.98
Certificate: Not Rated
Available 01 February 2005

Meet the crew of Sealab 2021. A brilliant half-robot scientist. An insane captain. And a woman who bares her breasts for little to no reason. They all live in an underwater metropolis for reason, or reasons, unknown...

When I started to watch Season Two of Sealab 2021 I was a little unsure of what to expect. The premise seemed lazy - rehash an old animated series to appeal to a more modern audience. Also, having quickly undertaken some quick Internet research, it appears that this is not a collection of just Season Two episodes - and that they are not in original broadcast order.

When the DVD turned up for review I was shocked at how badly battered the box looked. Then, on closer inspection, I realised that it was designed to look like an old comic. This design looks fantastic, and when you open up the case there are a few pages of a spoof comic book Sealab 2021 story (complete with a spoof ad that old comic collectors will be familiar with).

My worst fears were realised when I watched the first episode, Der Dieb. There seemed to be no plot at all and the whole episode just limped along - painfully.

But this was followed with an episode that had me rolling around laughing, The Policy. This really shows how simple Murphy is. He runs up a huge credit card bill and in an effort to pay off his debt, he sends his unwilling crew in search of sunken treasure. The problem all started because Sparks insists on telling Murphy that a credit card was a "magical goodies creator."

The rest of episodes are an odd mix. All are funny, in their own right, but they range from an episode where the only thing changed from the original cartoon series is the voices, to episodes that have been totally reworked, to an episode that is mainly just a scene outside of the Sealab.

7211 is basically the original Sealab episode Collision of the Aquarius redubbed with the new cast. This episode doesn't work quite as well - mainly because it does just look like it's been redubbed and the jokes are few and far between.

Bizarro was my favourite episode. This sees the old sci-fi show cliché with the introduction of alternate universe characters called Bizarro. Quinn's Bizarro character is just too weird (and annoying) to be believed, but will have you laughing until your sides hurt.

Other great episodes include Tin Fins (which is a spoof behind the scenes show for a Sealabs 2021 movie); Hail, Squishface (a homage to both the original Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles and Aliens); and Fusebox (very funny episode where most of the show is one shot of Sealab's exterior in a power cut)

While Erik Estrada (who most of you will remember for playing Frank "Ponch" Poncherello in CHiPs) gets top billing, his character Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Gabriel Garcia Marquez, doesn't appear that frequently.

Extras on this collection include: A Tribute to Harry Oz (who played Murphy and tragically died of cancer in 2003); 20 Questions with the Cast (a girl in a bikini interviews the actors (who appear as their animated characters); Take a tour of 7030 (a quick look at the production company - where all the workers are bikini clad babes - yeah, right!); Rough Cut (a spoof run through of the episode Der Dieb using the bikini clad girls to read through the script); and Ronnie - Episode Review (a rough cut of an episode that never got made). There are also audio commentaries to all the episodes, but the sound is pretty poor and nothing really intelligent is said.

In conclusion, this collection is, for the most part, a hoot! Anyone with a sense of humour should get their hands on it.

Nick Smithson

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