After a string of disappointing attempts to revive the franchise since the original 1980s animated series, G.I. Joe Renegades finally gets the franchise back in the battle with G.I. Joe Renegades: The Complete First Season, a 26-episode, three Blu-ray disc set. With plenty of drama, adventure and kick butt action that respects the source material, this is a series that both veteran Joes and new recruits are bound to enjoy.
Like Transformers, G.I. Joe was another of Hasbro’s iconic 1980s animated series back in the day. All of my friends used to collect and play with the toys and watch the animated series without a care in the world. Sadly after the series ended, different companies tried to revive the show with disastrous results. It wasn’t until 2009 when Cartoon Network released the more violent / adult-themed G.I. Joe: Resolute, along with the live-action film that same year, that people started taking the franchise seriously again. This leads us to one of the best takes on the classic characters in quite some time in the 26-episodes of the first – and hopefully not last – season of G.I. Joe Renegades.
I’ll admit that I was very skeptical at first upon learning about the show last year in 2011. After so many botched attempts to resurrect the series, I had just about given up all hope. But after taking a chance watching on it The Hub channel, I was pleasantly surprised to find out my skepticism was wrong. In a strange (but awesome) mix of G.I. Joe meets The A-Team, Renegades follows the adventures of the Joe team comprised of Duke, Scarlett, Tunnel Rat, Snake Eyes and Roadblock after they’re framed for a crime they didn’t commit by Cobra, who is now one of those evil organizations that hides behind making household products, medicine, etc. On the run from their former allies in the military, police and of course Cobra, the Joes constantly fight to survive while also searching for evidence to clear their names.
To go along with all the kick-butt action there’s also plenty of great storytelling and drama. I enjoyed how the series delves into the pasts of all the Joes, from Scarlett having father issues, to learning why Snake Eyes can’t talk. Everywhere you look, there’s a lot of interesting back story that’s bound to hook you into the show. And while there’s still no word of a season two in the works, season one begins and ends perfectly while still leaving just enough plot open for a continuation – if we’re lucky.
Thanks to the series getting the Blu-ray treatment, it’s even more easy to view and enjoy. My cable provider didn’t have the The Hub HD when this show aired last year, so watching it in high-definition is like night and day here. The colors and details come in razor sharp, giving everything that nice and crisp look that can only come from Blu-ray. The 5.1 DTS-HD audio is no slouch either, which serves to bring all of the dialogue and battle sounds to life with crystal clarity. In short, this is definitely one show that benefits greatly from being presented in HD.
As for the extras, there’s plenty of audio commentaries by some of the cast and crew spread out through the episodes here. There’s also an 11-minute original featurette that shows them giving their takes on being fans of the toys, the original 80’s animated series and working on this update. On a sad note, “A Tribute to Clement Sauve” features a retrospective with the crew remembering the lead character designer for the series Clement Sauve, who sadly passed away from cancer in 2011 shortly before the show aired. It’s a respectable and honorable extra that I was really glad made it to the set.
G.I. Joe: Renegades: The Complete First Season is an action-packed joyride filled with great storytelling and moving drama, all of which looks and sounds better than ever on Blu-ray. To fans who love the Joes and have been disappointed by previous attempts to resurrect Hasbro’s “other” marquee franchise, I can honestly say it’s finally safe to come back and even embrace G.I. Joe once again. Those new to the franchise will find something to enjoy here, as there’s plenty of things about the show that viewers are bound to like. Do yourself a favor and get in the know with this Blu-ray today. Because after all, knowing is half the battle.
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