THE SIMPSONS: THE FOURTEENTH SEASON
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
With more than 20 seasons behind it, there’s plenty of new releases of “The Simpsons” on DVD and Blu-ray coming into the marketplace. The series is now up to its fourteenth season on home video disc, with the cover spotlight on the aliens Kang and Kodos as well as the features spotlight on the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes. Seems a little odd for a December release, but I can forgive that.
The season kicks off with the eighth “Treehouse of Horror,” one of my consistently favorite spotlight episodes of any “Simpsons” season. While some (including the cast) had suggested that the show was starting to wane in this season, it still seemed fresh to me. And that makes sense because it is still on the air, the better part of a decade later.
This season sees the 300th episode of the series as well as it becoming self-aware in many aspects. By the fourteenth season, “The Simpsons” had become a cultural icon, and it still zinged hilarious plot points like boob jobs, religion, rock and roll and general twisted thoughts on parenting.
I did enjoy the self-referential episodes, especially the 300th episode which sees Bart getting a new start, and for the most part, this 2003 season remains relatively timeless (though fads like spelling bees rear their heads occasionally in the episodes).
Like previous seasons, “The Simpsons: The Fourteenth Season” has some great special features, which is a treat for any show that lasts more than four or five seasons. Where other shows burn through their special features by the third DVD release, “The Simpsons” keeps going strong.
The season gets another introduction by series creator Matt Groening plus audio commentaries on every episode (a rarity in any show, especially one that is more than a dozen seasons in the can). There’s spotlight featurettes on the episode “It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll” where you get to see rock icons act embarrassingly out of place, “The 300th Episode,” “In the Beginning” plus deleted scenes, multi-angle animation showcases, original sketches and a foreign language feature.
The best special features on this three-disc Blu-ray include bonus “Treehouse of Horror” episodes as well as a series of introductions of these one-off spots with Marge Simpson warning of dangerous content. There’s also a look at Kang and Kodos, even though they aren’t prominently featured in the season at all.