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PARAMOUNT

SERIES INFO

Director:
Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Cast:
Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Writing Credits:
Various

MPAA:
Rated NR

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 220 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/13/2017

Bonus:
• “Season Commentary” from Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone
• “#Social Commentary” for All 10 Episodes
• Comic Con 2016 Panel
• Deleted Scenes
• Ads and Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


South Park: The Complete Twentieth Season [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 21, 2017)

How can South Park now have 20 seasons in the can? Damn, I’m old!

Amazing as it may sound, this Blu-ray set provides the series’ complete 20th season. I’ll examine all 10 programs in the way presented on the discs, which also is the order in which they were first broadcast. The synopses come from the package itself.

Disc One:

Member Berries (aired 9/14/16): “An Internet troll known only as ‘SkankHunt42’ terrorizes the girls of South Park Elementary. In response, the girls stage a shocking protest prior to their volleyball match.”

In an unusual movie, Season 19 offered an overall narrative arc that connected all 10 of its episodes. S20 goes down the same path, which disappoints me – while I admired S19’s ambition, the overarching theme didn’t really work, and the lackluster “Berries” doesn’t make me optimistic that this will change during S20.

Skank Hunt (aired 9/21/16): “’SkankHunt42’ continues to troll the school’s message boards. While the students and parents struggle to identify the horrific troll, the boys – suspecting Cartman – take matters into their own hands.”

At its best, South Park offers social insight, but here, it just goes down a dopey path. It trivializes the impact of bullying, a risky move that flops. Some of the moments with SkankHunt42 amuse but the episode’s overall presence sputters.

The Damned (aired 9/28/16): “As the presidential race heats up, Mr. Garrison tries to destroy his political chances. Randy suspects there is more to the memberberries than anyone thought and investigates.”

While I don’t expect or want South Park to simply be wacky fun all the time, S20 tries too hard to “go dark”. With a suicide and other grim elements, “Damned” continues that path, and it still doesn’t work.

Wieners Out (aired 10/12/16): “After the tragic death of Freja Ollegard, the country of Denmark vows to discover the identity of the troll. Gerald grows increasingly paranoid of being discovered and has no choice to meet with the mysterious ‘Dildo Schwaggins’”.

It’s always been a South Park trait to pound ideas into the ground, and that becomes a particular problem in S20. In the past, we’d deal with an overdone concept for an episode and then move on, but here we’re stuck with the same notions across the whole season. So far, that’s not been a recipe for success.

Douche and a Danish (aired 10/19/16): “The Danish develop a website called ‘TrollTrace’ which will recall everyone’s Internet history and identify trolls for who they really are. As it gets closer to launch, Gerald and other trolls band together to stop it before it destroys them.”

Halfway through the year, S20 enjoys one saving grace: the sight of Cartman with a girlfriend. Those moments add actual mirth to the proceedings, but the rest of the episode remains scattered and without much positive impact.

Fort Collins (aired 10/26/16): “Using a technique called ‘Emoji Analysis’, Heidi is able to identify that SkankHunt42 is not a student at South Park Elementary – but actually a parent.”

Six episodes along, I continue to dream that S20 will gel and start to prosper. Alas, “Collins” fails to ignite the year, as it offers another spotty episode. I’ve not completely abandoned hope for the season, but I’m close.

Oh, Jeez (aired 11/9/16): “It’s the day after the presidential election and to everyone’s surprise – including his own – Mr. Garrison is the president. Fearing TrollTrace’s power, Cartman decides to start a new life – on Mars.”

On one hand, it seems natural that S20 delved into the election. On the other hand, South Park spent so much time with the “Garrison equals Trump” analogy in S19 that the joke is old at this point. “Jeez” goes even farther down the tubes as it connects Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby in a theme tacky even by this series’ standards.

Members Only (aired 11/16/16): “President-elect Garrison undergoes a ‘transition’ to become more presidential.”

This episode’s big new gag: Garrison forces those who previously offended him to suck his dick. Add to that the continued presence of the annoying Member Berries and this becomes another weak episode.

Not Funny (aired 11/30/16): “TrollTrace goes live and the ability to look up anyone’s Internet history causes worldwide panic.”

With only one more episode left, “Funny” tries to heat up matters for S20, but it remains as limp as ever. Only the brief return of Mr. Slave adds life to this forgettable show.

The End of Serialization As We Know It (aired 12/7/16): “Cartman has seen what life will be like for him on Mars and tries to change Heidi’s mind about going. Ike and Kyle – with a little help from the Pentagon – come up with a plan to destroy TrollTrace.”

When Kyle tries to generate massive amounts of troll content, S20 reminds us why we like South Park. Too bad this becomes a rare glimmer of cleverness in an otherwise mediocre season, one that lacks the wit and insight we expect from the series.

This makes two subpar years of South Park in a row, both of which sputtered due to their attempts to tell one long story. Hopefully S20 ends this process and we go back to more traditional episodes in Season 21. I still admire the series’ ambition but the end result just doesn’t connect.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

South Park: The Complete Nineteenth Season appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these Blu-ray Discs. As always, the shows looked great.

At all times, the episodes delivered great definition. S20 provided consistently concise, well-delineated elements without a hint of softness. I saw no jaggies or moiré effects, and both edge haloes and source flaws remained absent.

With a wide variety of hues on display, S20’s colors excelled and boasted lively, vivid material. Blacks seemed deep and dark, while low-light shots appeared smooth and clear. The episodes delivered strong visuals.

Though not as good, the series’ Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio worked fairly well, though – as usual – I’d like more ambition. Most of the shows focused on the front channels, where we got good stereo presence for music and reasonable spread for effects.

The surrounds added some pizzazz during more dynamic scenes, but most of the time, they lacked a lot of ambition. This meant a mix that used the back speakers to flesh out the episodes in a positive but not memorable manner.

Audio quality seemed good, with natural, concise dialogue that lacked edginess. Music was full and bold, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Nothing here dazzled but the audio appeared perfectly acceptable.

As we got for Season 19, S20 provides a season commentary. This provides a single 26-minute, 50-second reel that covers the year as a whole.

Parker and Stone discuss challenges created by the season’s overarching narrative and other problems that cropped up along the way. As usual, they give us honest, compelling thoughts and make this a winning chat.

All 10 episodes include #SocialCommentaries. These provide text tracks that give us information about the creation of the shows as well as references to other episodes and cultural influences. The tidbits don’t pop up especially frequently, but they add some useful material when they do.

14 Deleted Scenes run a total of 11 minutes, nine seconds. We find them for “Member Berries (1 sequence), “Skank Hunt” (1), “The Damned” (1), “Wieners Out” (1), “Fort Collins” (1), “Members Only” (3), “Not Funny” (2) and “The End of Serialization As We Know It” (4).

Given my general disaffection for S20, I didn’t expect much mirth from these cut sequences – and I was right, as they’re largely forgettable. I wouldn’t call any of them bad, but they don’t add much.

On Disc One, we get a video game trailer for South Park: The Fractured But Whole (2:12). We also see two promo clips: South Park By the Numbers (1:10) and South Park: We’ve Been There (1:04). Though these are all ads, they’re fairly entertaining.

Disc Two offers a 2016 Comic Con Panel with Parker and Stone. In this 54-minute, 55-second piece, Parker and Stone discuss aspects of South Park history, with some emphasis on show-related videogames. Most of the chat comes via a moderator, but we get a lot of audience questions as well.

The “Panel” mostly works well, though I’d prefer more emphasis on the series and less on the games. Still, we get a fairly good overview of South Park topics and find an enjoyable chat from Parker and Stone.

As was the case with the prior year, Season 20 of South Park stretches a mix of narrative threads across all 10 episodes. As was the case with the prior year, S20 of South Park doesn’t really work, as the attempt to deliver an overall tale fails to coalesce into anything particularly insightful or entertaining. The Blu-rays provide excellent visuals along with decent audio and a handful of supplements. I hope S21 goes back to the series’ “standalone episode” model, as these season-long stories don’t show South Park at its best.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.75 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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