DVD: Space Ghost Coast to Coast Season 2
Depending on the type of people that you spend your time hanging around with, you may very well have found yourself discussing the potential existence of life outside of that on Earth. Invariably, during these discussions, some stalwart cynic will pose the question, “Well, if there is intelligent life out there in the universe, then why haven’t they contacted us?”.
The answer to that question is simple: Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
During the early nineties Mike Lazzo created the pilot episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast by combining footage from the 1960’s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Space Ghost and Dino Boy, and interview footage of Denzel Washington. The show was picked up and began airing on the Cartoon Network in April of 1994 and spent the majority of its eight season run on terrestrial bound cable networks. However, there is no doubt that during that time episodes were inadvertently transmitted out into the universe where they were received by advanced life forms who, no doubt, immediately classified our planet as a ‘no fly zone’.
While is is true that Space Ghost Coast to Coast’s bizarre nature may have cost humanity the secrets of unlimited sustainable energy, eternal life and world peace the fact is that we, as a species, are far better off now than we would have been had Mike Lazzo’s creation not been unleashed.
What constitutes the Space Ghost Season 2 DVD is actually 14 episodes which originally aired as the majority of season 3. This is however the second DVD volume; the first contains 16 episodes which aired prior to these.
I have to admit that watching this two DVD set is my first real introduction to Space Ghost Coast to Coast (SGC2C). I was aware of the show and had seen small grabs here and there, but hadn’t truly been exposed to it. What’s more I had no idea that the show was more than a decade old and that it had played such a fundamental part in paving the way for so much of the television that I enjoy today.
Terms like ‘random’ and ‘unpredictable’ are often used to describe shows like Family Guy and Aqua Teen Hunger Force (a show which owes its origin to SGC2C), but neither of those shows can hold a candle to the utterly erratic course of a SGC2C episode. As such the show can be heavy going, but once you’ve warmed up and are in a ‘Space Ghost’ place — and you are getting enough oxygen — there’s some absolute comedy gold to be found in this collection.
Long since retired from his role as a Superhero, Space Ghost hosts his own talk show, complete with his archenemies Zorak and Moltar working as band leader and show producer respectively. At this stage the nature of series is unknown to most of its guests, who are filmed responding to a series of questions, and many have no idea how the footage will be used: The shows writers take the footage and write the episode around the interview footage, often completely changing the questions and comments that the celebrity is responding too. This ‘bait and switch’ style of writing along with editors use of, out of context, awkward or confused expressions tend to make the guests appear disoriented and further adds to the nonsensical tone of the show.
Suffering this fate in these 14 episodes are the likes of Penn Jillette and his silent partner Teller, Carrot Top, Matt Groening, Janeane Garofalo, David Grohl and Elvira. There’s also a fantastic dedication episode to the late ‘out there’ jazz guitarist, Sonny Sharrock, who provided the music for the early series of SGC2C.
There are some neat extras on this DVD set, like the complete / uncut interview footage with Simpsons creator Matt Groening (which gives a great window to the way the interviews are later manipulated), most of Mike Lazzo’s original pilot (all the Denzel footage has been removed because it was too expensive to use), and some preliminary pencil drawings of new animations created for the series. For mine though, the stand out extra is the fact that every single episode is accompanied by a commentary track.
In keeping with the series, the commentary tracks are just as unpredictable as the episodes themselves. Some are manned by writers and other production crew, some by a mix of cast, producers and writers, some by guests who have graciously returned more than ten years after recording their interviews, and there is even one by various characters from a range of Adult Swim shows.
Space Ghost Coast to Coast may be too baffling for alien species to comprehend, but If you’re a fan of shows like The Brak Show (review coming soon!), Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, and Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, or if you’re a fan of the kind of awkward, pregnant silences that frequent show’s like The Office, or even if you just want to know why there is still war, famine and a growing concern for the environment then you owe it to yourself to check out SGC2C. [source] [source]