DVD Review: “The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1”

The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1 (2009, Warners)
purchase from Amazon: DVD

Did you know that Star Trek wasn’t the first sci-fi series to develop a life after it was cancelled and earn a new life almost 20 years later? I didn’t. The Jetsons, the first animated family in space, premiered in 1962 as a prime time family show before immediately jumping to Saturday mornings. For over 20 years, the original 24 episodes played endlessly until the show’s producers, animation legends Hanna Barbera, decided to give their fans more adventures of George, Jane, Judy, Elroy and Astro, the family pet. The Jetsons Season 2 premiered in the fall of 1985 and now, the first 21 episodes of season 2 have been released on a 3 disc set, The Jetsons Season 2, Volume 1.

The second season took on a direction for the show. Now strictly a Saturday morning cartoon, the revived series was aimed squarely at children. The focus shifted from the adult adventures of George to more stories about Elroy and Judy. Additionally, there was an emphasis on computers and all the great, cool gadgets the future would provide. The second season also introduced a cuddly, furry creature called Orbitty, which became Elroy’s sidekick and the new family pet (Astro was always more of a human character; a space age Scooby Doo).

It’s important to know these facts going into The Jetsons Season 2, Volume 1 because if you were like me, expecting the same 60’s, cool cartoon that I grew up with in the 70’s, you’ll be in for a bit of a letdown. The second season of The Jetsons is purely kids stuff. The animation is glossy and slick, better than the 60s’ version, but there seems to be a little bit of soul and charm missing from the 1980’s version. Furthermore, the music was updated for the time and featured electronic instruments, then the current fad.

Still, this new version of The Jetsons was never intended for grown ups and the trust test of its appeal is how it will play to a kid in the 21st Century. I sat down with my 7 year old cartoon loving son to get his reaction.

He loved it. He laughed at the corny jokes, thought Orbitty was cute, and seemed to associate with Elroy. Everything the producers were pursuing in the 1980’s held true twenty years later. That, my friends, is the true testament of a great series. If it holds up for a modern audience, then it must have been doing something right.

Go out and find The Jetsons Season 2, Volume 1, for your kids. It’s safe, goofy fun and doesn’t contain any of the mean spirited humor that so many modern cartoons contain. Furthermore, the well produced documentary bonus feature, The Jetsons Return to the Future has plenty of little informational nuggets to satisfy the little ones curiosity and create fans for life.