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.

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Jerry Beck

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