Beavis and Butt-Head:
The Mike Judge Collection Volume 1
(Region 1 3 Disc DVD Set)

Paramount/MTV 88174
Total time: 214 mins (main feature) 100 mins (extras)

In case you don't know who Beavis and Butt-Head are, a quick recap: they were to cartoon characters who would basically be not very well educated, try all the time to "score with chicks" even though they had not enough social skills, and be fed a TV diet of music videos that they would comment on. When it was first shown, parents were up in outrage about it, saying it was wrong and things like that, but the people who actually understood it realised that this is what people were like at school and that Mike Judge was a comic genius. Regardless of what side of the fence you sat on, it was certainly a programme that you noticed.

Many of the episodes have already been released on VHS video before, but for licensing reasons, the episodes were shown without the music videos that came with them on first transmission. This in turn led fans to be up in arms about why they couldn't get a complete set "as is". In reality that probably isn't ever going to happen, but I guess some of the music videos with commentary would have been nice back in the day.

When I heard that the episodes were finally going to get a DVD release, initially I was excited because it would be nice to have them. Unfortunately, not in its entirety with music videos and comments, so that didn't look good. On the up side though, it was promised that some of the videos would feature as bonuses, so it gave us fans something to look forward to when the DVDs were released.

What's here is volume one of what looks like a three volume set in all. Inside the nice boxed package (die cut so you can see the faces of Beavis and Butt-head in the inner box) are the three discs plus a note from Mike Judge himself, and this is what it says, it might also explain why you won't ever get every episode:

Dear Customer,

Thanks for buying this DVD. I've often said that there's about a third of Beavis and Butt-Head that I think is great and I'm really proud of, another third that is okay, and then another third that's really awful and embarassing. A while back, I talked with the folks at MTV and we agreed to put out a DVD set that would contain the two thirds that didn't suck and call it "The Mike Judge Collection". This is the first volume of that two thirds.

Thanks and enjoy,
Mike Judge.

So, there you have it, from the man himself. Now what that'll do to pacify any fans is one thing, but to give you an honest overview, there were some episodes that were pretty lousy, and although it'd be nice to have them all for completeness' sake, in reality would you just want to fast forward past the ones you didn't like? I thought about that long and hard as I was watching the discs. Discs 1 and 2 are basically the episodes (20 per disc, so 40 in all) and Disc 3 has all the extra features which I'll come to later on.

One thing you'll notice is that the picture quality is as good as it could be, considering the date of the original episodes and also the fact it was only a 4:3 transmission. And although the sound's only in Dolby Digital 2.0, that's all it realistically could be without some serious re-mastering. As it is, there's also something which you should pay attention to most of all: quite a few of the episodes are "Director's Cut" versions. Now this is going to divide several of you fans. On the one hand, it's the episodes as Mike Judge himself would probably want you to see them. On the other, it means that a few seconds here and there are missing. One I noticed straight away was in the episode "Dream On", where the dream sequence with our two heroes singing a dream to the Brady Bunch theme isn't there, which for me is actually the best bit of that episode.

No doubt some fans will nit pick about this to their heart's content, but we have to ultimately accept that this is the way that Judge wanted them, and we're not going to get them any other way. C'est la vie, but this can be a little disappointing in parts.

Disc 1

Disc 1 has twenty quality episodes on there, many of which were early formative episodes of the series. Fifteen of the twenty episodes are Director's Cuts, but from watching them compared to my VHS episode tapes, most of them have hardly been edited that much, which is a relief. Highlights for me on this disc include "1-900 Beavis" where the two phone a sex chatline, "Madame Blavatsky" where they visit a fortune teller, the excellent "The Final Judgement of Beavis" where they re-enact Iron Justice and Beavis falls unconscious and visits heaven, and "Pool Toys" where disguised with glasses on they get to do a bit of DIY in Mr. Anderson's pool, and it all goes badly wrong!

Disc 2

If you thought Disc 1 was good, well Disc 2 gets even better. On this disc is the sole reason a lot of people are going to buy this set, namely "The Great Cornholio" considered to be the best Beavis and Butt-Head episode ever, not least when Beavis's alter ego The Great Cornholio goes around the school and asks "Are you threatening me? I need TP, bungholio". Even better is that it's not a director's cut either, the full episode. Fantastic! Not just that but with quality episodes like "Mr. Anderson's Balls" as the two keep snatching Mr. Anderson's golf balls off the golf course, "vs. the Vending Machine" where they spend ages trying to get their goodies out of the broken machine, "Safe Driving" where driving education with Buzzcut reaches another level, and "Liar! Liar" where Beavis under pressure admits to killing a bunch of people once, for a joke, and ends up being a criminal of some repute. Shame really they couldn't have had the music videos in this one just for the Rollins Band's "Liar" in there. Out of the twenty episodes, eight are Director's Cut versions.

Disc 3

Disc 3 is all the extra stuff that you get and nicely tucked away on an extra disc without getting in the way of the episodes themselves. And for the first time, some music videos with their comments on. Although there's only eleven on here (way too few) some of the video comments are classic, as Beavis impersonates the singer from Moist singing "Push", and pretends to be Phil Anselmo from Pantera's father when commenting on Pantera's "This Love". There's a nice mix of musical styles and comments, mainly I think picked for the excellent commentary by Beavis and Butt-Head instead of musical merits, but that works reasonably well. You also get promos for the series, a featurette "Taint of Greatness", the first part of the Beavis and Butt-head journey that'll be probably included in the other volumes; the Thanksgiving special, and also appearances on MTV's music video awards. A nice little collection of extras, and the music videos have to stand out here.

Overall Impression

So overall, what do I think? If you like the show, you'll probably like the set. However, I can see many purists asking Mike Judge just why there's so many Director's Cuts and why there couldn't be more music videos on there to appease the fans. That said, forty episodes and eleven videos, plus more extras, for a reasonable price isn't that bad. And you do get them in the highest quality possible to watch whenever you like. However, could someone at MTV also tell the disc makers that people don't want to watch endless adverts before playing the episodes? That bugged me and it'll bug others too.

In short, worth it - just for the quality episodes alone: but it could have been better.

Warren's rating: 74%