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August 22, 2012

TV on DVD Review: Dan vs. - The Complete First Season (2011)

Creators: Dan Mandel, Chris Pearson

Voices of: Curtis Armstrong, Dave Foley and Paget Brewster

Dan thinks the whole world is out to get him, and he may just be right. From his crappy apartment at the Casa Paradiso, Dan, along with his easily manipulated best friend Chris and his hot genius wife Elise, will plot his elaborate personal vendettas against enemies both real and imagined. These enemies come in the form of... the dentist, ninjas, Canada, baseball, Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre, the entire state of New Mexico, George Washington and The Salvation Army, (just to name a few).

The voices of Curtis Armstrong (yes, the guy who played Booger in Revenge of the Nerds!), Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall), and Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) star in this underground hit from HUB, which features guest voice appearances by Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter (Family Ties), Tom Kenny (the one and only SpongeBob SquarePants), and Mark Hamill (Star Wars). From the first episode, where Dan wakes up to find his car scratched, finding paw prints and animal fur nearby and coming to the obvious conclusion that he is a victim of The Wolf Man, you pretty much get the gist of what this animated series is all about. A paranoid sociopath who spends his life in the pursuit of revenge against the world on a weekly basis.

Upon first inspection I thought this might be an idea which would quickly play itself out, but its actually pretty well written, with enough enough in-your-face and subtle humor to keep most adult-style animation fans looking forward to the next episode. And in all honesty I was on the fence with this one up until about the 5th episode. By that time the characters had grown on me and I could feel an appreciation for the frantic pacing and the idea of “the every-day man exacting revenge on modern day society” theme. I think one of the reasons this show works is because we all know somebody who thinks everyone and everything is out to get them. And lets be honest, we have all at one time or another fantasized about taking extreme measures in response to those every day little annoyances that pop up in our lives. Dan vs. gives us the opportunity to vicariously live out those devious little plans we wish we could carry out in real life. With each passing episode I slowly started to realize that Dan and I have more in common then I would probably want to admit to. He is a kindred spirit to everyone who feels they are the only one on the planet who knows whats “really going on”.

The show is done with flash-style animation, which is definitely an acquired taste and not something everyone is into, but the backgrounds are often very well done and more then once I found myself marveling at how slick the shading and overall artistic feel was.

For the most part Dan vs. keeps it pretty clean, no profanity, nudity or adult situations, so its pretty kid-friendly as long as parents aren't concerned with violent images, assault, kidnapping  and total and complete destruction of private and public property in the pursuit of revenge.

The 3-disc set from Anchor Bay is in 1.78:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and English subs. The lone extra in this box set is an animatics version of the “Burgerphile” episode. This should be of interest to anyone who is a fan of the animantics-style of animation.

Overall, your getting 450 minutes of fun here, adult-animation fans if your not familiar with this show I would say check it out, it may be right up your alley. For the most part its pretty clever and often quite funny.

Review by KennyB

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