archie-josie-sl.jpgHey gang! Rand has jumped back into the Filmation world to deliver his thoughts on a show that proved comics adaptations didn’t have to mean super heroics. The Archie Show ran from 1968 and was an instant ratings success, leading to several follow up series and spin offs. Now that initial run has been brought to disc in an Archie Show Complete Series DVD set that packs in 2-discs’ worth of episodes and some welcome supplements. “Before I knew it, I was eight years old again and enjoying the adventures of the teens from Riverdale”, says Rand, adding that, “it really was essential that this series be made available for Filmation fans on a wide basis”. Although the package doesn’t come from Filmation regulars BCI/Eclipse, the extras run along the same lines, with “special packaging and a good interview segment” with producer Lou Scheimer. Sounds fun!

From more or less the same universe, Josie And The Pussycats might never have been made (this time by Hanna-Barbera) but for Archie‘s success. A product of around a decade later, Josie was a typically “hip” program, again filled with songs, this time following the prototype of Girl Power long before the Spice Girls lay claim to the term. Now issued in a Complete Series set, the show retains the goofy but fun vibe and seems to have impressed Rand, who says the “release of all sixteen episodes is my first exposure to the show. I figured it to be just another 1970s cartoon about funny teens, so I was pleasantly surprised to find how much I enjoyed it”. Rand points out the similarities to Scooby Doo and includes a tribute to Josie‘s overlooked creator Dan DeCarlo, adding that this new collection (and a profile featurette) is a “fitting tribute” to him, and “classic Hanna-Barbera”. May I also add that it has one heck of a catchy theme tune as well, with a thumping, funky bass line!

Over in our Contest Corner, we’ve a new giveaway up and running for tomorrow’s release of TailSpin: Volume 2, Disney’s high-flying Jungle Book inspired animated comedy adventure. Be sure to fly your entries into us by next weekend: the contest closes on Sunday 18 at midnight ET.

Finally today, we jump to the here and now of theatrical animation – okay, make that “performance capture” – for The Hollywood Reporter‘s take on Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf. I’m a huge Bob Z fan, though have to agree with even hard-corers that he seems to have lost his way since Contact ten years ago. There were good tricks and performances in Cast Away and What Lies Beneath, but The Polar Express is such an emotionally cold Christmas fable that it’s emotionless computer characters couldn’t pull it back from the brink. I still have the same issues with the dead eyes and Botox’ed skin of the synthespians of Beowulf, but by all accounts Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary’s screenplay is solid and this has been called Zemeckis’ best in years. I have high hopes for his Jim Carrey collaboration on next year’s A Christmas Carol, but for right now, I’m looking forward to this new rendering of the epic old English poem.

Stay tooned! – Ben.