DVD: The Brak Show Volume2
Looking at the production credits for The Brak Show, it becomes immediately apparent that you’re in for more of something that you either love or hate. Personally, Adult Swim has played host to some of my favourite animated shows of my adult life, so right off the bat I know I’m going to like anything that comes from there. However it is easy to see how the irreverent and always absurd style, which permeates so many of the shows which sport the Adult Swim brand, can be a little hard to warm to.
The Brak Show tells of Brak’s teenage life in suburbia with his alien mother and his Cuban father (A parody of Desi Arnaz from I Love Lucy?). During the series Brak shows little sign that he will eventually become a Super villain — although Space Ghost does show up and attempt to arrest Brak for future crimes — instead Brak spends his days interacting with the bizarre cast characters living in his neighbourhood. These include Clarence, a dumpy alien creature who is such a huge fan of Brak’s that he attempts to actually take over Brak’s life, and Thundercleese, Brak’s war-loving robot neighbour whose answer to any issue seems to be all out attack.
Evidently the premise for The Brak Show is to parody the style of classic American Sit-Coms, in the vein of Leave it to Beaver and My Three Sons. By the time the series has reached its final 14 episodes however, the wheels have fallen off that idea completely: The content found on the Volume 2 DVDs has degraded into the kind of random shenanigans that make these shows so much fun to watch.
When I say ‘these shows’ I’m not just talking about shows that come under the Adult Swim banner, but more specifically the group of programs which follow on from Space Ghost Coast to Coast. In fact many of these shows ‘exist’ in the same universe and often characters from other (sometimes long-cancelled) shows make appearances in currently running ones. Brak appeared in several episodes of Space Ghost, as did his ‘best friend’ Zorak. As I mentioned earlier, Space Ghost himself makes several appearances in episodes on this DVD set and there’s also an extremely brief appearance by Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s Meatwad… but you have to be paying close attention to pick that one up.
Where The Brak Show differs from many of the shows that it shares its lineage with is that its characters are actually likeable. Unlike the schmucks who populate shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force (and I say that lovingly, as I’m a huge ATHF fan), Brak and his family are actually quite charming. Even Dad, Brak’s nonsensical, out-of-work-since-1984, father manages to remain endearing as he spouts sexist and often incoherent advice… “Do you understand the words that I’ve said to you so far?”
This is actually a really hard DVD set to review, because I just want to say “Get it!”. It is extremely short on extras. And what I mean by “short on” is that there are none (although the Madman guys do always pack a bunch of trailers on their releases). What this 2 DVD release does contain is the last 14 episodes of The Brak Show, in production order. But those 14 episodes contain some absolute gold and were more than enough to win me over. [source] [source]