zimdvds zimdvds

Invader Zim on dvd

This is an unabashed plug for one of my all-time favorite TV shows. Nickelodeon just released the complete Invader Zim on DVD in two volumes and they were kind enough to send me Season One to review.

I always thought highly of this series, but watching it again this weekend reminded how good it truly was. And in light of the last ten years of subsequent shows on Nick, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network, it now plays like a TV animation masterpiece. I laugh long and hard at incidents, situations and visuals on this show, and if there is any justice it should be ranked alongside the likes of South Park and The Simpsons. I mean it.

Invader Zim barely lasted two seasons and has been relegated to cult status among animation buffs and devotees of Jhonen Vazquez’s comic book work. The show was too dark and subversive for Nick’s core demographic — and much of the humor flew past the heads of their younger viewers — but in retrospect Vazquez and his director Steve Ressel did everything right. The episodes never play it safe, nor are predictable. It marches to its own drummer – and that’s as it should be. And I can’t let this review end without mentioning the contributions of two personal friends: Richard Horvitz, who is perfectly cast as the manic voice of Zim; and my Cartoon Dump partner, Frank Conniff, who served as Story Editor.

Invader Zim was one of the last of the era of truly creator driven series and deserves to sit beside The Ren & Stimpy Show and Spongebob Squarepants as one of Nickelodeon’s best. These new DVDs sets are presented raw – no frills, no bonus materials – but deserve a place on your DVD shelf. I highly recommend it. Amazon link: click here.

  • hannah

    i remember if you bought the box set that came with the house, it had some kind of bonus disc on it.

  • Andrew

    Never got a chance to watch it when it was on the air (I didn’t get cable television until last year–and even now, I still don’t watch much TV), so I’ll be glad to look at these now. Hope it’s as good for me as it is for everyone else!

  • Graham

    Why bother?

    Media Blasters already released the whole series back in 2004. And their release actually had bonus features and unedited versions of the episodes that were originally tampered with on their TV broadcast.

    Why get this cheap rerelease when you can get the original with more content?

    • Paul B.

      Graham, have you *tried* getting hold of that boxset? Any advert that shows it at a sane price (i.e. less than $1000 US at the time of typing this!) turns out to be bogus. For example:
      …right now finds only one hit, and that leads us to a dead link on enterplayment.com (one of several such dead links on that site… Hm…)

      Ebay? There’s *one* boxset currently being offered, at a starting price of $199. By the time the auction’s over that’ll be up around $1000 again.

      And yet Nick/Viacom/whoever can’t see the sense (or the profit) in selling the original set of disks again. Maybe it’s a rights issue over the commentaries, or something stupid like that, but those things can *usually* be settled if you just flash enough cash… It must be possible to re-release this show with at least *some* of the original extras – or maybe even some new ones!

  • Invader Zim has always been an inspiration to us! It really is completely unique!

  • Brokenshell44

    Even though I wasn’t the BIGGEST fan of “Zim”(I think it’s awesome, and it did get screwed over by Nick, but I’m just not obsessed with it like everyone else), I’d rather take that than all the crap Nick is shoving out nowadays.

  • erlab

    This would be the perfect example of an underrated masterpiece if only for one thing: Jhonen hated working on it. His relationship with the network was extremely sour. I wonder what he thinks of this years-delayed move.

  • Really? I watched it once or twice. The design, the story and the characters didn’t feel different from multitudes of other kids’ cartoons made in this time period, and the humour seemed to consist of the simple equation “overreaction=funny”. (just look at the cast pictures on Wikipedia – everyone is screaming)

  • Yikes… maybe I shouldn’t have said that. 9.1 rating on IMDB?

    Nevertheless, something about this show just rubs me the wrong way… actually, it’s a rather good example of prototypical “American cartoon characters” as described by Nicholas in an earlier post on Cartoon Brew…

    “American characters always look like they are trying too hard to be entertaining, and I would prefer to keep away from somebody like that. They are egocentric, demanding, hyperactive, loud, over the top, in your face caricatures who might occasionally be funny but nobody in their right mind would want to spend any time with such a nuisance in real life. They look like they would be pulling your hair and screaming in your face and forcing you to do ridiculous things. So whether it’s the Incredibles or Duffy Duck, or Family Guy, I often watch them with mixed feelings of amusement and certain distaste, as one would watch a circus clown, kind of: do your tricks, some of them are funny, but please don’t get too close.”

    Not all American shows have characters like this, but most of the classics do, and Invader Zim certainly does. For those of us who don’t like them (and it seems that we’re not many), they are a major turn-off that the show’s positive elements can’t overcome.

  • INVADER ZIM was an amazing and imaginative concept that went came and went quickly due to mismanagement and a faulty studio policy of giving far too much power to new, inexperienced “Producers”
    and “Directors.” Being at Nickelodeon at the time, the Final Checker sat in the cubical behind me and told me of all of the associated problems displayed on the Exposure Sheets that were based on inexperience. In spite of suggestions offered, many times they were ignored. There were massive retakes due to a lack of exerience and realization of some very complicated setups involving multiple exposures and intricate camera moves. And while management tried to reason with the unit, in its enthusiasm, the problem of the “artiste” primadonna many times stood in the way of enlightenment, rejecting the advice coming from outside of their “inner circle.” This was unfortunate since there were qualified people at the studio who could have been of service to the production to enhance the efficiency of production while retaining the quality being sought, and the studio did nothing to act on this. At the same time, the ZIM unit exercised an apparent “age bias” with the attitude that they and only they knew what they were doing. And in the process, a lot of money was spent on “on the job training.”

    As a result, countless costly retakes due to technical errors, or changing in the minds of the directors after scenes were approved for production resulted. And this used up the budget that could have allowed the series to go on for another season or two. So from a corporate viewpoint, the costs of this series was too prohibative in spite of the results.

    In short, surface impressions are always different from the reality of the situation. INVADER ZIM was not canceled due to any other
    reasons than the fact that it was, unfortunately out of control. And while I know some people are not going to want believe this, THAT is what happened.

  • Autumn

    I already own these on DVD with the bonus features. A little confused as to why they’re being released again, but I won’t complain. I might just buy these up just to send a message to Nick that it wouldn’t hurt to bring this back on the air, even if it’s just as re-runs. Show them at night if you’re too chicken to air it during the day.

  • FigmentJedi

    I’m really glad I got the Media Blasters sets and not these mediocre DVD on Demands.

  • I recently borrowed a friend’s copy of the 2004 DVD edition to take a trip down Nostalgia Lane, and while it didn’t have that same novelty that blew me away the first time when I was 11, there were a few forgotten jokes that doubled me over in laughter all over again.
    The fact that a show that seemed so novel, so subversive, so are-they-really-showing-us-this-because-if-so-it’s-awesome to little kid-me is turning ten
    next year completely blows me away. Well done, sirs.

  • I also have the original dvd’s, but totally agree, this was an awesome series with totally unexpected stories that kept me coming back for more and laughing all the way.

  • And now that I’m seeing Ray Pointer’s comment, I find this point on Zim’s cancellation extremely interesting. I can’t say that I’m happy to hear that its untimely demise was due to some poor judgment on the creative and production side of the show, but in a way it’s a more satisfactory answer than the widely-spread half-truths about the corporate suits reacting to the horror they believed that they had unleashed on their child audience. (Though creator Jhonen Vasquez’s “rediscovered” tape of a focus group in which the children do nothing but scream is pretty entertaining).
    Nah, I’m sure this stuff happened, and everybody makes bad calls. Ray’s comment kind of humanizes the behinds the scenes process, and as an outsider on the industry I appreciate that.

  • FP

    Sorry to hear production problems were what brought the show down. I loved the ZIM show. It reflected the stress of real life in a hilarious way. Almost every character was about to f*ckin’ EXPLODE with frustration and screaming anger. Adding space stuff and monsters and explosions into the mix was very appealing.

    Odd about the new DVD release. I’ve had the whole series+bonuses for years. Why not just re-release the old set?

  • I somewhat agree with Niffiwan. The first episode was genius, but subsequent episodes were just… weird for weird sake, utilizing the same “shock without substance” style that Family Guy’s been using for a while. And joke wise, it seemed that more than a number of them were stretched out way too long for entire 12 minute episodes. (Yes, Zim is stealing organs. And? It never went anywhere with it.)

    I actually believe the show was better off with doing a full 24-minute episode (the pilot, the one with Zim using other planets to “roll over the Earth”) instead of its 2 x 12-minute episodes, which lacked real structure. I guess part of me think the whole thing’s a bit overrated.

  • lampshade

    I have some nitpicks concerning Invader Zim but it’s still pretty nice overall.

    Stay away from the fans.

  • It’s nice to see Nickelodeon embracing the genius of Invader ZIM almost eight years after pulling the plug on it. I guess someone at Viacom realized there’s still some milk to squeeze out of that fat green Irken cow.
    Too bad they couldn’t be bothered with anything regarding presentation or content; even the cover art looks like it was yanked from a fanboy’s DeviantArt gallery, but the DVDs will look great next to the GIR hoodies at Hot Topic.

  • That was a pretty good show. But why make a new barren DVD release? The previous one had lots of extras. Just reprint that.

    The commentary tracks revealed why the show failed, I think… almost every track veers toward the “here’s another piece of crap we got away with… we really weren’t trying here” variety of comments.

    They sounded like the show was rather an inconvenience for them.

  • Well, first, while I like Invader Zim, a TV show’s Imdb rating is even less indicative of how good a television show is than their movie ratings. While the movie ranking suffer from hype making newer movies always rate higher than old ones, TV shows are almost always given high rankings since only fans will be looking for them. Also some shows have their rankings inflated by being rated early on, only to still have a high ranking after the show has jumped the shark.

    Anyways, I don’t see the point of this DVD release at all. The previous one had commentary, animatics, and making of shows. If you were lucky enough to get the bonus disc, you also got audio recorded for unmade episodes as well as the uncensored X-mas episode. Not that that episode was very censored in the first place.

    Also this new release is much more expensive than the $19.99 budget 3 disc release that was on shelves the last few years.

    I guess the Nick release will look much better than the MediaBlasters release since these episodes will be spread about 6 discs instead of the previous 3. Probably suffer from much less compression artifacts as before.

  • Clueless

    @ Graham, Mediablasters is no longer stocking it from what I can read on their website: http://www.media-blasters.com/TitleDisplay.cfm?upc=631595066371

    Eitherway, I wouldn’t bother with DVDs or any physical media. I got a couple of seasons of the Simpsons that skip and just blank out…just not worth it, wish they had some download service like Steam.

  • George

    You all with the Media Blasters DVD sets, check what they’re going for on eBay. They’ve been out of print for about a year now, the House set for about 3 or 4 years. The House set was fetching over $400 (the one with the “exclusive” Gir figure)!

    A re-release was certainly necessary, as the demand (based on eBay prices) suggests, but to release it again with no bonus material is kinda crappy, Regardless, it’s great that those that missed out the first time around will get another opportunity to own this fantastic series.

    Speaking of Zim, I was at Hot Topic just yesterday, and my jaw dropped at the slew of Gir merchandise they continue to carry and sell!

  • Scarabim

    I agree with Niffiwan. After reading rapturous commentaries s on the ‘net about Zim, I made a point of watching an episode that Nick aired on Halloween a couple of years ago. And my reaction was mostly…meh. THIS is worthy of such adoration? It was just mostly loud and dark. *shrug* Big deal.

  • I love INVADER ZIM. =)
    Just to point it out, the creator did a series of posts on his blog about the series: http://www.questionsleep.com/mindspill/?p=1208 . Its long, but some of them make you laugh like the cartoon did.

  • A.C.

    It’s unfortunate that the MediaBlasters release with the special features is out of print and that this new release is featureless. I’m glad I got the MediaBlasters DVDs a few years back, because one of the most enjoyable parts about it was the hilarious commentary. The voice actor interviews also contributed to me wanting to become an American voice actor, rekindling a desire that had died when I stopped loving every cartoon from Japan that came my way. Richard Horvitz’ humor and attitude really made me fall in love with the idea (Andy Berman’s too, actually).

    This release will probably be great for the casual fan, but not for the nuts like me who want to be a part of the industry. Glad Nickelodeon is paying attention to some of their fanbase, though.

  • skid

    Thanks for reminding me about this show, I gotta hook up the dvd player and watch it again now. I used to be such a huge fan then I just forgot about it. :(

  • Tekena

    Little kids understood the humor, I did and I was 10

  • Lenord VI

    “They are egocentric, demanding, hyperactive, loud, over the top, in your face caricatures who might occasionally be funny but nobody in their right mind would want to spend any time with such a nuisance in real life.”

    A perfect description of network executives.

  • FP

    Yes, Zim is stealing organs. And? It never went anywhere with it.

    Eh? That was, like, maybe, the best episode. DARK HARVEST, I think it was called. Viewers who think the show was pointlessly “loud and dark” aren’t really paying attention. ZIM is hilarious on top of its other attributes.

  • “Invader ZIM” was such a great show because it was so specific in its worldview and tone. Every element on the show worked towards Jhonen Vasquez’s deranged vision, and at no point did it resemble anything else on television.

    And I disagree with people who call the show’s humor “random”; there really was an internal logic that hung the show together, but it was so bent that most people couldn’t fathom it.

    And yes, “Dark Harvest” was the best episode.

  • N Lowe

    Actually, I thought “Zim Eats Waffles” was the best episode.

  • Dave S.

    Good, maybe this will drive down the price of the older Media Blasters release to something a lot more affordable.

  • @FP

    I know it’s considered the best episode. And it’s not like I don’t get it – this is from someone who loved the odd gloriousness of Liquid TV and the more deranged stuff on Adult Swim – but I don’t see a potent comic point to “Zim’s overdoing it with organs”.

    Don’t get me wrong, there were some good moments – the backup hall pass, and the brief conversation between Dib and Zim in the middle of the episode – but other than that, it’s him stealing organs and Dib trying to stop him. Which as a action piece is fine – the action in fact was pretty nifty in the show – but as funny? As a “deranged vision”? I’m not seeing it. Or, I should say, I’m not seeing -why- we should be seeing Vasquez’s vision.

    Ren and Stimpy and Rocko’s Modern Life had “deranged” viewpoints, but managed to surpass them by being funny or BIZARRELY endearing. Zim had just weird for weird sake. And Lucky Jim – I got Invader’s Zim logic, but to reiterate my earlier point, I’m not sure -why- that logic was appealing or worth engaging it. Not for comedic purposes, IMO, and it didn’t exactly go anywhere with the types of things it sought to satirize (except for maybe the school’s lack of concern for the children). If the previous comments are any indication, heck, even the show producer’s didn’t have too much invested in the show.

  • Invader Ohm

    Frank Conniff was barely the story editor. I worked on the show since its inception, and Frank was there maybe three times, ever.

  • Invader Ohm

    Ray Pointer is full of shit, and it’s obvious he was jealous of those of us working on the show, instead of the banal baby-garbage the rest of the studio was churning out at that time.

    I mean really, other than Sponge Bob, the rest of Nick was a hellhole. People would’ve killed to be on our show, but most of you hacks had no skills whatsoever when it came to understanding the art direction of our show.

    The show WAS NOT brought down due to mismanagement of the artists. My team was either right on schedule or ahead of schedule for the entire run of the season. AND we were pumping out artwork that outpaced the rest of the studio not only by quality, but quantity as well. Often producing 200% more art than any other show I’ve ever worked on.

    Were things like x-sheets a nightmare to work with? Yes. But what we were trying to do at that time had mostly never been done before.


    We were the first to deliver files via FTP.

    When most of the “seasoned pros” barely even knew how to turn a computer on, we were pushing boundaries and coming up with ideas related to computer 2d/3d and motion graphics that had not been done before on a tv production.

    So, sorry Ray. But you’re wrong. And I can see how bitter you are.

    The younger kids came and and took you all to school. And while you were drawing pictures of Dora or whatever bullshit and complaining about all of us younger kids wearing all black scary clothing, we were doing kickass art that not only won us awards, but also landed us in the Smithsonian permanent collection.

    So blah!

  • “Actually, I thought “Zim Eats Waffles” was the best episode.”

    Wow, I had forgotten about that one. That is a great episode.

    I’ve always liked that it was hard to come to a consensus on the best episode; everybody seemed to have their own unique favorite. I’m also very partial to “GAZ: Taster of Pork,” an episode that many people seem to hate.

  • Invader Ohm

    ps Ray

    I’d love to hear just who on our staff didn’t have experience and needed “on the job training”.

    I know that my entire team had been working in TV animation for over ten years.

    Our Producer was highly experienced.

    Our timers were highly experienced.

    Our entire storyboard staff were all experienced and highly skilled pros.

    Storyboard Supervisor who then became Art Director, went on to create Avatar: The Last Airbender (oh, but that was no big deal!)

    Our BG layout and color team were all highly experienced. As were character and prop designers and the clean up crew.

    The only person who didn’t have experience in tv animation at that time was Jhonen, the creator. And to think even for a nanosecond that with the giant pro support network around him, that he wouldn’t be able to rise to the task of creating and producing such a monumental show, is absurd at the very least. The guy is one of the smartest and most thoughtful guys I’ve ever met in animation, and his knowledge of production is lightyears beyond most of the “seasoned pros”.

    btw: We had people of all ages on our show. We skewed young, but that’s because younger generations had a very keen understanding of graphic novels and underground comic books. Not because of any other perceived notion of “bias”.

    If I had to tell you how many utterly garbage portfolio of “seasoned pros” I had to weed through I’d stab myself in the eye with a wacom stylus. (*hint that’s that thing we use to draw pictures on our computor boxes!)

    Again with the Blah!!

  • George

    I love “The Wettening”, it’s one of my favorites, as I’d be hard pressed to pick “a” favorite.

    I find the payoff of The Wettening is exceedingly hilarious, I think about it and chuckle despite not having watched the episode in some time. The caricature of Jhonen choking on his fish, the window washer being forced to crash through the window he’s working on and getting swept away along with the hard at work animators inside the building.

    And to say nothing of course of the man who just bought and took a bite from his hot dog only to have it, and himself, swept away by the deluge. I love the way he screams, and the fast animation of that sequence.

  • YuiYamana

    I got the series from Media Blasters back in 2008. Unfortunately the 2nd set “Progressive stupidity” was used and the first disc tends to skip. So I would maybe buy the first set or these to get the episode I can’t watch. But the fact it has no features or commentary from Jhonen or the voice actors makes me think ‘forget it’ I’ll deal with the skipping. In short, Media Blasters did it better and Nickelodeon can kiss my grits.

  • Angry Anim

    Invader Ohm,

    Let it go, dude. Holy moly.

  • robiscus

    “The guy is one of the smartest and most thoughtful guys I’ve ever met in animation, and his knowledge of production is lightyears beyond most of the “seasoned pros”.”

    Then Jhonan should have thought better than to launch an insult DIRECTLY to the face of the head of the network during a meeting in New York. That kind of thing gets any show annexed. He scuttled the entire staff with that childish and ridiculously unprofessional stunt.

    There are lots of posts in here making this show out to be the victim of a network that didn’t support it and the real fact of the matter is it was the victim of a self destructive prima donna creator who self sabotaged the show. Its why you haven’t heard hide nor hair of Jhonan since.

  • Bob Harper

    I had the box set with the house and bonuses and sold it on ebay for $400.00 Zim was one of the most original shows for the proposed target audience. I honestly don’t know what other shows at the time for that age group that were remotely doing what Zim was doing as far as pushing the envelope of darkness. The animation was top notch, the writing was bitingly funny and it is a shame that it got cancelled.

    I feel if it was a production out of control, then Nick would of shut it down sooner or do what they did with Ren and Stimpy, clean house and start over.

  • Yeah, don’t bother with this DVD set. Get the MediaBlasters set from 2004, if you can find it. It was loaded with cool extras and commentaries on almost every episode. Nick sucks for making this cheap ripoff set.

  • If there were justice in the world, the facts that these not only lack the commentary but are in fact *recordable* DVDs that will degrade if exposed to light would be legal justification for pirating the real ones. Shame on you, Nickelodeon.

    If you have the originals & they develop skipping problems, get them repolished! The handheld buffers work reasonably well, & many DVD rental places & libraries have fancier equipment.

  • Tha Hyena

    I’ve been following this blog for a looong time, but this is the first time that I leave a comment, because I’m a big Invader Zim fan.

    Here’s my personal experience about this show: since little I loved animation, I grew up watching Disney, Warner Brothers and MGM (all the old good classic), even more important for my humor taste: The Simpsons.

    The first time I saw the promotional commercial for this show (Invader Zim), I was completely excited about it (the style and colors was something I never saw before, and it was about an alien!, I always loved alien-stories).

    Anyway, the time passed and finally I could watch it; of course when that happened, it wasn’t something I spected, the first episode I saw was “Bestest Friends”, the ending shocked me, I thought it was too dark for me and left watching the serie, after a while I decided to give it one more chance, the episode I saw that time was the one with the alien-babys, once more it “scared” me, and left the series again…

    I left the series TWO times, but there was something about it that I liked… that’s when I saw other episodes like “The Nightmare Begins”… I LOVED that one, and gived the show another oportunnity, I couldn’t watch the entire serie back then, I had the chance to watch all the episodes in 2008 (in english, I’m from South America and I saw the spanish version), watching it in it’s original languague made me like it even more!.

    9 years have passed since the first time I saw it, and I still like it!, I wanted to share my personal history, to say that getting used to that serie was like a process to me. Now I can’t deny that I’ve been really influenced by that show, I had to add it to my personal faves, hehe.

    By the way, I was 14 when I watched the show for first time, not that young, huh? I know… hahaha

    Sorry for the long post and bad english, but I wanted to give my point of view about it, also I checked the link that Dilly left here, I guess the rumor about “finishing some episodes” it’s just that, a rumor.

    Invader Ohm: I think that for being someone that never worked into animation before, Jhonen V. has a great imagination and talent, I admire that.

  • diego

    John K teached me to hate Invader Zim,
    but being honest with myself, I must say it was a great show,
    I understand what Kricfalusi’s got against Invader Zim anyway,
    and it may be valid, but is not the law.

  • Hal

    Are these DVD sets WORSE… or BETTER?
    Its a toss up between DARK HARVEST and BAD RUBBER PIGGY in my book. They’re among the best tv animation I’ve ever seen in terms of laughs per minute and both spiral out of control beautifully to their unexpected conclusions. Glad I listened to all the Hot Topic kids and gave this series a chance.

  • Compn

    holy crap, i’d love to hear what the insult was that jhonen made to the nickelodeon head.

    also i’d like to hear more about its cancellation. jhonen has been mute on the subject. his blog posts are really cryptic.

    this is the same nickelodeon who couldnt handle ren and stimpy (one of my childhood favorites) or avatar (it changed timeslots weekly) or any other show with any semblence of quality. remember what happened to doug?

    my fav episodes: nanozim, dark harvest, wettening, rise of zitboy, lice.

    unfortunately, i went to hot topic to pick up a shirt when zim was airing only to find abominations. screw hot topic. giant plush dolls indeed.

  • Compn

    @Kevin Johnson : sorry you dont like zim. for some reason i really enjoyed it. to each his own.

    at least we can agree on mtv’s liquid television. i’ve been collecting liquid television and cartoon sushi shorts/episodes, its sad that most of those go unwatched. such great animation. its where aeon flux started! probably impossible for mtv to get the rights for all those shorts on dvd.

    @Sean : imdb has fallen victim to popular opinion. no longer is it the advanced critiq it once was. ditto metacritic and rottentomatoes. looking at the current imdb top 250 list is just abysmal. you might want to check out criticker, its pretty advanced and has given me some good recommendations.

    its sad these new zim dvds have no bonus features. the media blaster ones have some odd breaks in the commentary hmmm…

    i heard nick wanted to make zim stay more in the classroom and less in outer space.

  • I didn’t watch a lot of Zim. The drawing style wasn’t especially attractive to me and I found it a little too talkative and loud overall.

    It wasn’t bad, it was kind of an imaginative concept and the character personalities were ok, but I won’t certainly say it was as good as Ren and Stimpy.

    And not to bring John K’s concepts again, but this didn’t look too creator-driven to me, it really looked like it was a writer driven show, though maybe the cartoonist wanted a complex story and that’s what it feels more “scripted”.

    Maybe Jhonen is as much a writer as he’s a cartoonist, I don’t know. And maybe I should watch more episodes to make a proper judgement. I don’t think it was bad, I enjoyed it to some extent, I just didn’t find it that great.

    But I must admit there is something I really liked about Jhonen Vasquez’s work. I bought the Johnny the Homicidal Maniac comic book and I found it hilarious. I kinda like his drawing style better when it’s black and white and without the hight pitched voices.

  • It kind of irks me that Invader Zim has a DVD re-release, yet Rocko’s Modern Life gets best-of DVD-Rs and The Angry Beavers can only manage iTunes.

    I’m not judging the merits of Nickelodeon shows, just that the IZ fans are serviced enough with the MediaBlasters set. The Maxx and Daria have earned DVD releases. The Angry Beavers should follow suit, “Bye Bye Beavers” and the “Alley Oops” ‘shut up/shush up’ brouhaha notwithstanding.

  • I was the voice of GIR on the show and I was a background painter. I don’t remember Ray, and I don’t think he was on our show specifically, but I can see the angle he is arguing from. He’s doing what all experts do when they are asked to describe a problem; they relate it to their specific field. Yes, there were retakes, but from what I saw, not any more retakes than any other show before or since. Although, what makes me laugh about Ray’s comment is the “experience” crack. He illustrates perfectly the overt resentment that crew on other shows displayed towards the ZIM crew for being young (at the time) and not as experienced in animation as people who smoldered in resentment from having spent years trapped on shows they hated.

    My day usually began with me doing voice over in the morning, then going to my office and coloring backgrounds for eight hours, then going home and coloring backgrounds for another four. But, in a sense, Ray is right. My own inexperience left me unprepared for the animators work week: having come from comics, I couldn’t believe they gave us weekends off! So I colored backgrounds on the weekend too. A lot of other crew members on ZIM worked even harder, but not because we were behind. We did a very good job of keeping the show on budget and on time. We took stuff home because we loved the show.

    As far as Jhonen “insulting an executive to their face,” that just didn’t happen. Jhonen is a very playful character and his humor works through every action he makes – and some people just can’t process satire.

    Jhonen wrote, and re-wrote a heck of a lot of the show. He also re-stoyboarded a good deal of important scenes. Frank was there too, and though I don’t know the extent in which he contributed script-wise, I do remember having a very good time voice acting with him on the Saucer Morons episode.

    But really, since you’re all interested to know what just happened on ZIM, I’d like to point you to Jhonen’s blog, where, for the entire month of April, he posted a ZIM “fact” a day.

    There, you can find:

    “Facts” on Richard Horvitz: http://www.questionsleep.com/mindspill/?p=1229

    “Facts” on Frank Conniff: http://www.questionsleep.com/mindspill/?p=1585

    “Facts” on me: http://www.questionsleep.com/mindspill/?p=1776

  • I knew stuck my neck out for stating what I was told from those who were dealing with the problems. Jealousy had nothing to do with it. And if you read my opening remark, I was most complmentary of the show.

    I am in agreement that it was indeed a shame that it did not go on. As I said it was a management/mismanagement issue. But the fact is that the unit did indeed exceed their budget, and that was cause for concern with Viacom. And by the way, I have no irregularity problems because I maintain a good diet. How about you?

    It is indeed frustrating in trying the do the right thing when you have a company that fails to do that.

  • Michael F.

    Although I would endorse finding the older sets for their special features over these I do endorse Jerry’s approval. Also, Hamstergeddon, Mysterious Mysteries and Dib’s Wonderful Life of Doom are my favorites.

  • Rambam

    First time poster. Long time lurker.

    Invader Zim is probably my all time favorite cartoon. The show pretty much encompassed everything that I liked as a kid (and still do). So much so that if I had made a cartoon it probably would have been similar to Zim. Even the type of humor on the show was something that I liked as a kid, even now. I got most of the references on the show since it was the type of stuff that I watched as a kid. I also loved the fact, even as a kid, that some of the episodes bordered on a mini-horror-movie (i.e. Dark Harvest).

    All in all the show made me aware that there are other people out there that like monsters and paranormal stuff (mind you I was only 11 when the show first premiered). Since there were virtually no one else in the area I lived in that liked that kind of stuff. The people I knew who did like the show mostly liked it for GIR (there’s nothing particularly wrong with this I just liked the show for another reason) and the random humor that apparently persisted in the show.

    In terms if Nickelodeon re-releasing new DVDs it’s nice to know they’re aware of the show, but from what I’m reading the quality of the DVDs don’t seem that great. I don’t even know if it’s even worth buying them.

  • Pincushion12


    Get the original Media Blasters Invader Zim release with all the commentaries and bonus materials intact. Get it off Ebay if you must.

    Don’t even bother with this. It’s not worth the discs it’s printed on. These sets are nothing but a waste of money, when there’s a relatively easy to find set that’s far superior.

  • Jeffers

    I remember seeing some really cool looking action figures from this show a while back. Anyone have those? I kind of resent that I have to share my fan status of this show with all the stupid Hot-Topic kids. I guess that I just can’t believe that they appreciate the show the way we cartoon geeks do. I feel the same way about Nightmare Before Christmas.

    I don’t care whos fault it was for the shows cancelation, but I would like to share my sincere thanks to anyone who contributed to it being made. You should be proud of the show, it really is exceptional!

  • Anger and silence are great building blocks for funny. For me, the funniest moment in any cartoon is in Duck Amuck, in the silence before Daffy flips out (there are several such moments; take your pick). Since ZIM is a ball of anger, and the series’ reactions/jokes were often timed with pauses or long stretches of silence, I thought the show was hilarious.

    Of course, if it were universally beloved, then it wouldn’t be poking much fun at anything. That goes for the art, too, which skewered airheads as both cutesy and grotesque.

  • Nosy Rydell

    I find it funny, really, how some of you seem to…I don’t know, blame Jhonen for everything. He just got involved in a project that apparently didn’t turn out how he expected, and you guys think you have the right to be all angry at him (and hell, the rest of the awesome team) for the cancellation of the show. It’s truly none of your business why it got canceled, and there’s not much you can do about it. It’s not like they owe you anything, either, so you shouldn’t get all “give us more Zim, Joanin!!!!”. Luckily none of you here have.

    Think about it for a second. Someone offers you the possibility to make a show. “Great!”, you think. You prepare yourself mentally for a wonderful adventure and BEEP. All of a sudden people are rushing you to work. “Okay, all good, fair enough, I signed up for this…” you say to yourself. And you actually have a fun time. Until people start getting pushy and interfere directly with your style of work.

    “If you work with a company you have to do exactly what they say or it will never work”. Well, okay. I suppose if you’ve been in the industry for a long time you get that.
    But comic artists…They’re like free range chickens. Nobody tells them to lay their eggs in any specific place. They’re mainly used to being their own masters, you know, doing it all themselves with nobody to boss em around (minus deadlines).

    So try to get in this guy’s shoes. And also, don’t be saying negative things about him when you haven’t met him. It’s really rude. Like the insult thing. Then again I suppose when he read that he probably laughed, because Rikki Simons here says it didn’t happen. Laugh in the face of ignorance!

    And if you keep comparing Invader ZIM to Ren and Stimpy you’ll never get anywhere, because I don’t think ZIM was trying to be “the new Ren and Stimpy” or anything like that.

    So this is mostly about Jhonen. So what? I don’t like people spreading nasty stuff around about people I respect. He did what he thought was best and if you were fans at all you’d respect and support his decisions.

    I really do have a lot of fun writing these sermons.

  • FP

    So production problems didn’t bring the show down?!?

    I tried reading some of Joe-han Vaskezz’s blog to get the “facts”, but it seems like all his stories end with vast screaming piles of dead children in the office. I’m not sure those accounts are entirely true…

  • For the record I didn’t want to compare Zim to Ren and Stimpy in style. I just say I didn’t find it as good in quality. But I haven’t watched a lot of episodes so I could be wrong.

  • Nosy Rydell

    FP: Ah, yes, well, I think there were several factors to it.

    Roberto: Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who mentioned them in the same sentence!

  • “But the fact is that the unit did indeed exceed their budget, and that was cause for concern with Viacom.”

    I’m sorry, Ray, even if that were true, it wouldn’t be true for every single episode, and the clear majority of our episodes were on budget. Sitting in a cubical near a guy who checked our dope sheets probably isn’t an all encompassing eye for all knowledge of a show’s myriad struggles.

    But thank you for your passion.

  • Vzk

    Can someone show me where did John K put down IZ?

  • You guys, Invader Zim wasn’t canceled because of production problems or anything involving the incompetence of Jhonen or anybody on the crew.

    It was canceled because Zim was one of the most expensive shows Nickelodeon was producing at the time, and the low ratings at the time weren’t justifying the costs of producing the show. That’s really all there is to it. And Nickelodeon really didn’t hate the show as much as you guys want to believe they did.

  • I only worked at the magazine, but I remember a lot of people in other departments at Nickelodeon being really enthusiastic and supportive of Zim. More so than a lot of other shows that went on to last longer. It certainly felt like “the suits” wanted/expected it to be a hit. And even years after, people talked about it with fondness. Where as other shows just seemed to drop off the face of the earth. And I still get kids who ask about the one Zim comic the magazine produced (which Jhonen did an amazing job with).

  • Mark McDermott

    No place else to post this, but in the latest DVD release story, so hope a moderator catches this and gets more details.

    Amazon just recommended to me a forthcoming release of “Rocky & Bukkwinkle & Freids, Season 4.” 2 discs, 19 episodes, due out August 17:

    R&B stories expected: Painting Theft (6 segments)
    The Guns of Abalone (4 segments)
    The Treasure of Monte Zoom (8 segments)
    Goof Gas Attack (8 segments)
    Banana Formula (12 segments)

  • cupcat

    Does anyone know if this was ever released in Europe? I want to watch this in Sweden without having to buy a region-free DVD player…