Title: M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series
Studio: Shout! Factory
Review by: Archie Easter
M.A.S.K. was one of my favorite series as a kid. I mean, we’re talking about an animated show about an elite team of guys that drove transforming vehicles that shot lasers. I don’t see how any red blooded American boy could have stood a chance against it circa 1985. I was therefore surprised to find out that the fine folks at Shout! Factory would be releasing the entire series on DVD.
For those not familiar with the show, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand — I know, bear with me here — is lead by multimillionaire Matt Trakker to defend the world from the nefarious schemes of the evil corporation VENOM. Matt develops a series of power granting masks, as well as a number of transforming weaponized vehicles that all feature the latest in cutting edge technology. Laser cannons? Check. Anti-matter beams? Check. Missiles that latch onto enemy vehicles and propel them in the opposite direction? …Check? The writers of the show definitely weren’t afraid to get creative with the weapons or masks’ abilities, and that was one of the things that made it so entertaining to watch, even for a kid’s show.
Its recipe to hook kids and into buying toys aside, the show was actually pretty entertaining. The best way to sum it up is that it would be the likely result of tossing G.I. Joe and Transformers in a blender and setting it to puree. Actually, it was arguably better than the aforementioned two shows because kids basically had the best of both worlds; laser-shooting strike teams that also happened to ride in transforming vehicles.
M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series features the entire run of the original show — 65 episodes — spread across 12 DVDs. The quality of the transfer is fairly impressive, with only a few minor specs here and there. Shout! Factory has been doing a great job with many of these classic cartoon DVD releases, and the quality of this M.A.S.K. set is no different. It was basically like watching the shows back in the ’80s all over again. As soon as I saw the intro again along with the classic i80s rock theme-music, the nostalgia came flooding back in waves.
This set is a bit light on extras, however what’s here is fairly good. Each episode features the original PSA that ran at the end of the show, just like the original airing, and two retrospectives were created in honor of the series coming to DVD. The first, titled “Unmasking M.A.S.K.” features two former writers on the show discussing what it was like creating episodes of M.A.S.K. and the general writing process at DIC back when the show was being produced. While interesting, it’s just a shame that we couldn’t get a bit more backstory on how the initial concept of the show was created and a few more interviews or commentary tracks.
The other video features a number of stand-up comics as well as producers of other shows reminiscing about the series and their experiences watching the show as kids. It’s a pretty funny stuff, and definitely worth watching. Overall, M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series comes highly recommended. Although there aren’t a great deal of extras, the show is still a fun watch and fans of the series will definitely want to get their hands on this set to relive the show in all its 80’s dipped glory.
For more info, visit shoutfactory.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the DVD courtesy of the studio for review purposes.