Warner Bros. Animation (September 23, 2006 – May 5, 2007), Warner Home Video (February 13, 2010), two discs, 286 mins plus supplements, 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Dolby Digital 2.0, Not Rated, Retail: $19.98
The complete first season of the 2006 series, Tom and Jerry Tales, finally makes its way on DVD.
The Sweatbox Review:
Over the years, we have had differing opinions on Tom and Jerry Tales here at Animated Views. Like many other classic animation fans, we are sometimes inclined to see classic characters as somewhat static and part of a complete work of a particular animator. Those that love Tom and Jerry, for example, tend to see the comic duo as a complete collection of MGM shorts from the 40s and 50s (and some would include 60s as well). To consider anything beyond that to be on par with the classic shorts would amount to sacrilege in some circles. Of course, cartoon characters are corporate properties (as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit proved to be for Walt Disney) that have lives well beyond their “golden years.” Some go into inevitable decline as the franchise gets stale and badly mistreated. However, one could argue that some characters have a second golden age much later in their lives, much like the one Looney Tunes enjoyed with Tiny Toon Adventures in the early 90s. Tom and Jerry Tales falls somewhere in the middle, but it does lean towards a relatively good second (or would it be considered third?) coming of the popular characters.
Tom and Jerry Tales began as a revival of the Tom and Jerry franchise for Warner Bros. back in 2006 for the Kid’s WB block on The CW. The show usually consisted of three similarly-themed shorts combined into one episode. In the first season of the show, the themes ranged from animals to outer-space, while maintaining the core Tom and Jerry formula. The original formula is still intact from the original golden age shorts. Tom still wants to chase after Jerry in most of these cartoons, and Jerry is still trying to get Tom into trouble. The themes contained in the show’s first season include animals, city life, music, Halloween, prehistory, technology, the Middle Ages, winter, the beach, the ocean, construction sites, Tom-related stories, and amusement parks.
Each short follows a basic formula. They usually start with the set-up where we are introduced to the situation. This set-up is important as it defines the relationship between Tom and Jerry for that episode (are they friends, enemies, strangers, etc…?). After this setup, a new factor is introduced that changes the dynamics of the original relationship (a new character, gadget, or rule). The changing factor then accelerates the drama and usually leads to some sort of chase sequence filled with gags between Tom and Jerry. The inevitable conclusion then arrives where either Tom or Jerry or both come out on top at the end. The three shorts that make up an episode are the kept to the theme as mentioned previously.
Here are the episodes included in the show’s first season:
Episode One – All shorts in this episode have an animal theme, two of which take place in a zoo.
Tiger Cat – Tom is painted to like a tiger by an angry monkey and uses his frightening appearance against other animals in a zoo.
Feeding Time – Tom is a zookeeper tasked with keeping visitors from feeding the animals. Jerry tries to get Tom into trouble by constantly feeding animals.
Polar Peril – Tom and Butch, living in the Arctic, both want to catch Jerry who is protected by a polar bear.
Episode Two – All shorts in this episode are set in the city, and two are related to a hotel.
Joy Riding Jokers – Tom and Jerry take Spike’s car out for a spin when they are mistaken for valets.
Cat Got Your Luggage? – After making a mess, Tom must do different tasks while Jerry tries to get him into trouble.
City Dump Chumps – Tom and Jerry are transported to the city dump where Tom must compete with Butch to catch Jerry.
Episode Three – All shorts in this episode deal with music.
Way-Off Broadway – Tom and Jerry compete for dollars as performing street artists.
Egg Beats – Jerry makes his way into the country looking for a place he can listen to his music. When he arrives in Tom’s farm, he learns his music causes Tom’s chicken to lay eggs.
Cry Uncle – Jerry’s uncle Pecos comes over for a visit and keeps both Tom and Jerry up all night with his guitar playing.
Episode Four – All of these shorts deal with the supernatural since it came out for Halloween.
Bats What I Like About the South – Jerry meets a bat that looks like him and they trick Tom into thinking that he is a ghost.
Fraidy Cat Scat – Jerry lives in an abandoned mansion when Tom moves in and tries to clean it up. As revenge, Jerry decides to frighten Tom with a skull.
Tomb It May Concern – Jerry, as an archaeologist, discovers an ancient Egyptian tomb filled with treasures and Tom follows him. They are then both chased by an ancient mummy.
Episode Five – All of the shorts either deal with dinosaurs or ancient history.
Din-O-Sores – Tom and Jerry are shipwrecked on an island filled with dinosaurs. They then compete by befriending the biggest dinosaurs to force the other into serving them.
Freaky Tiki – Tom and Jerry are vacationing in an exotic island when they are threatened by a powerful volcano goddess.
Prehisterics – Prehistoric versions of Tom and Jerry chase each other while fighting the ice age and dinosaurs.
Episode Six – All shorts deal with Electronics or Technology.
Digital Dilemma – Tom builds a computer, but gets sucked into the computer along with Jerry during a storm. Their digital versions then challenge each other.
Hi, Robot – Tom finds a robot mouse and dresses it as a girl to catch Jerry.
Tomcat Jetpack – Tom, Jerry, and Spike are chasing each other when a jetpack falls out of a moving vehicle. Tom wears the jetpack and begins to terrorize the others.
Episode Seven – All of these shorts are set in the Middle-Ages.
Fire Breathing Tom Cat – Tom is tasked with defeating a fire-breathing dragon. The story takes a turn when he steals the fire breathing abilities from the dragon.
Medieval Menace – Tom chases Jerry throughout a castle, leading a climatic battle between dueling magicians.
The Itch – Tom is a tax collector in a medieval town while Jerry is a street musician.
Episode Eight – All episodes take place in Winter.
Ho, Ho Horrors – It’s Christmas Eve and Tom has a very vivid dream about chasing Jerry. Jerry then invades the actual dream to save his dream-self from Tom’s grasp.
Doggone Hill Hog – Tom, Jerry and Spike chase each other while sledding in the snow.
Northern Light Fish Fight – Both Tom and Jerry try to fish in the cold Arctic. When Jerry is successful, Tom tries to steal the fish.
Episode Nine – These shorts all take place in or lead to Outer Space.
Cat Nebula – Jerry is a space explorer and Tom is an alien trying to catch him. Nibbles makes a special appearance in this short as Jerry’s co-pilot.
Martian Mice – Tom and Jerry are abducted from a farm and Tom is mistaken for a chicken and forced to lay eggs for confused aliens.
Spaced Out Cat – Tom is trying to seduce Toodles when Spike rides in and steals her away in a motorcycle. In order to impress her, he decides to win a race to the moon.
Episode Ten – All these shorts take place on the beach or in the ocean.
Octo Suave – Tom is diving underwater when he is mistaken for a lady fish by an octopus.
Beach Bully Bingo – Tom and Jerry take a break from chasing and head to the beach, but end up having to compete with Butch and Spike for the girl’s attention.
Treasure Map Scrap – Tom and Jerry are on a raft looking for a sunken treasure ship.
Episode Eleven – The shorts here are set in construction sites.
Destruction Junction – Spike is running a construction site and hires Tom to help him out. Jerry then tries to get Tom into trouble by distracting him.
Battle of the Power Tools – Tom and Jerry win the lottery and decide to build their dream mansions side-by-side. Of course, it becomes a competition for Tom who wants to upstage Jerry.
Jackhammered Cat – Tom and Jerry spot a construction site buffet table but are prevented from eating by Spike who is guarding the site.
Episode Twelve– In these shorts, Tom becomes the focus of the story.
Tin Cat of Tomorrow – Tom is replaced by a robot mouse-catching cat and later teams up with Jerry to get rid of the robot.
Beefcake Tom – Jerry tries to stimulate an out-of-shape Tom to get back into shape.
Tom Cat, Superstar – Tom is a big star that quits showbiz and moves to a farm where Jerry is.
Episode Thirteen – The shorts take place in small-time amusement parks and fairs.
Piranha Be Loved (By You) – Tom brings his date to a fair where he tries to win prizes for his date. This includes a large piranha that ends up chasing him.
Spook House Mouse – Tom and Jerry chase each other into a haunted house where they are spooked by trick mirrors, roller coasters, and ghosts.
Abracadumb – Tom and Jerry perform a magic show on stage, leading to a duel between magicians.
Is This Thing Loaded?
Other than a couple of trailers for Scooby-Doo: Abracadabra Doo, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition, Tom & Jerry: Greatest Chases, Volume 2, and Tom and Jerry: Greatest Chases, Volume 3, there are no special features in this set.
This two-disc set comes in a standard black keepcase with an internal flap for the second disc. The cover art features a scene inspired by Tomcat Jetpack with Tom and Jerry both prominently featured. The back art also features Spike in addition the cat and mouse duo. There are no inserts included inside the case.
Ink And Paint:
With such modern animation, the quality of the print is excellent. The colors are vivid, the image is clean, and the animation looks great. This is modern animation with clean lines and vivid colors. Although originally produced in widescreen, the episodes have been included here in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio of their original US airing. In other countries, the show may have aired with more animation on the sides.
With pantomime characters, sound is very important as emotions and mood can be defined by the music. I have to say that the music in these episodes is very effective in setting the tone. Small musical notes and big orchestral sequences all enhance the action scenes without being disruptive to the story. It is clear that the musical directors wanted to pay homage to the classic Tom and Jerry shorts which featured music with excellent comedic timing. English and French Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks are available as well as English subtitles for the hearing impaired.
I was initially surprised that Tom and Jerry Tales was selected to be released in season sets by Warner. The volume sets must have done very well for them to have made this consideration. I have always enjoyed the show for what it is attempting to be. Of course, the classic Tom and Jerry shorts will hold a special place for people who grew up on the shorts. That does not mean there is no room for these new stories. The duo has been reinvented multiple times (with varying degrees of success) and they will so again in the future since Tom and Jerry Tales has come to an end. Sure, not all of the shorts are funny and there are a few questionable gags here and there, but overall the show is entertaining. I like the idea of showing three shorts with a unifying theme in every episode as it ties everything together. Fans of Tom and Jerry should at least give this a try before passing judgment. Overall, this is an entertaining set filled with great Tom and Jerry adventures that both children and adults can enjoy.
Animated Classic or Back To The Drawing Board?