The Flintstone’s: The Complete First Season

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Fred Flintstone has it all, a great job, a loving family, and wonderful neighbors, but somehow, everything he does lands him in some kind of trouble. He just wants to come home from a hard day’s work, sit down to eat a thick steak, and maybe go bowl a few frames, but without fail, his plans end up foiled. He sometimes tries to come up with plans to get rich and improve his lifestyle, but he often louses things up somehow. Even plans as simple as pretending to be sick in order to escape a trip to the opera, comes back to haunt him. His wife Wilma tends to all of his needs, but never lets him get too big for his britches, so she knocks him down a peg or two as needed. Whenever he does manage to sneak in some fun, he usually do so with his best pal, neighbor, and source of frustration, good old Barney Rubble. The two somehow wind up in some tight situations, from causing trouble with their wives, to hatching get rich quick schemes, even building a shared pool goes downhill. After each dismal failure, the two try to be mad at each other, but every time, they end up back as best friends. A slew of misunderstandings haven’t rifted the two families yet, which is a small miracle. So Fred takes his lumps, no doubt about it, but he is always better for the journey. Heck, even when his pet Dino gets out of control, Fred only loses his temper for a few minutes at a time. What kind of wild plots and crazy schemes will Fred embark on next time, and who will wind up bailing him out of trouble?

This was the first animated series to be shown in primetime, but audiences weren’t put off by that fact, as The Flintstones was an instant success. The madcap adventures of Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty are part of our shared culture now, with endless toys, merchandise, and offshoots released. The Flintstones spawned a number of specials, shows, and in recent times, the characters were brought into the world of live action feature films. But this is where it all began and without question, the original The Flintstones is the best of the lot. The premise might be prehistoric, but the tone of the characters was quite modern, even in the 60s, as our leads were based on famous characters. Yes, The Honeymooners was an obvious inspiration on The Flintstones, but this is no carbon copy of that show, not even close. The show is your basic sitcom, with situations most of us can relate to, such as neighbor troubles, marriage issues, and overall personal slapstick moments. But The Flintstones has a fresh texture, thanks to the prehistoric setting and of course, the fact that the show was animated. The prehistoric angle allowed for infinite visual gags and verbal jibes, which provided some of the show’s funniest moments. One of the best elements of The Flintstones are the creative methods to bring modern devices to the Stone Age, such as a pelican that serves as a washing machine. These neat inventions really add depth and humor the series, not to mention a special brand of comedy not seen in other shows. I never expected The Flintstones to find a release on DVD, but Warner has answered fans and delivered a complete season collection. In addition to all the episodes from the first season, we get some cool supplements, such as the lost pilot episode, titled The Flagstones. I cannot recommend this classic series enough, so fans of Fred’s antics should rush out and snatch up The Flintstones: The Complete First Season.

Video: How does it look?

The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. This first season was aired back in 1950, which means the material is well over four decades old. As such, it is hard to expect much, but Warner has outdone themselves with these transfers. The prints do have some grain and worn spots, but that is to expected in this case. I mean, for a forty year old television series, especially an animated one, the source materials are in quite good condition. The cleam print results in a much sharper image than you’ll see on televised reruns, which is a treat. The grain can be thick at times, but in truth, it never forces much softness, so there is little cause for concern. The colors have held up well too, so Fred’s loincloth is as orange as ever, while the other hues also look terrific. No worries with contrast either, thanks to smooth and consistent black levels. So in the end, this classic series has never looked so good and without question, fans are certain to be delighted with the end results.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio is not too remarkable, but then again, this is a mono option from a 1970s television show, so we shouldn’t expect miracles. I didn’t hear much in terms of hiss or other age related flaws however, aside from a handful of minor instances. The music comes through well, though as is often the case with mono, seems kind of thin, while the various sound effects are as well presented as we could expect. The main element here is dialogue, which is clean and clear at all times, no problems in the slightest there. This release also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The original pilot episode, titled The Flagstones is included here, as well as two informative featurettes. One spotlights the creative inventions found in the series, while the other offers a broad, retrospective look at the entire series. You can also view some network promos and early commercials, in which Fred hawks assorted products. The infamous cigarette ad isn’t found here, but the other spots are fun to watch.

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