SpongeBob SquarePants premiered on Nickelodeon in July of 1999. The creation of a marine-biology teacher, SpongeBob SquarePants is the story of a likable, rather naive sponge living in Bikini Bottom with his friends. SpongeBob is a cook at "The Krusty Krab" where he works with his neighbor, and sometime-friend, Squidward the squid. Patrick, the starfish, and Sandy the squirrel join SpongeBob in his many adventures. SpongeBob SquarePants attracts 10 million kids between 2 and 11 each week, making it the most popular cartoon for that age group.
While I may find his laugh a little annoying, and he's quite stupid, SpongeBob manages to make me smile.
The video on the DVD is either very good, or great, depending on the season the episode is from. "Plankton," "Boating School," "Suds," "Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy II" and "The Chaperone" are all from the first season and don't look as good as the others. It's not that they look bad; they just contain a bit of noise while the others are almost flawless. Some of the non-animated footage appeared to have a bit of grain, but it's forgivable. I wasn't a big fan of the pirate intro for the "lost" episode ("The Sponge Who Could Fly"). It's a cartoon, please don't show an annoying man dressed as a pirate. The "Play All" feature is present in this release, as well as episode selections.
There's a nice surround track on this release. It sounds like the broadcast version of the show, if not a little cleaner. There are some nice directional effects used in these episodes, like when SpongeBob crashes the car in "Boating School." The rear speakers contain some music and some nice sound effects. There aren't any subtitles, but the show is closed captioned for the hearing impaired.
Commentary: The Sponge Who Could Fly
Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob) and Stephen Hillenburg (creator of SpongeBob) provide the commentary on this double-length episode. Hillenburg and Kenny give some insight into the show, and the recording of the episode.
The Sponge Who Could Fly Storyboard (22:01)
The entire episode as a series of storyboards.
SpongeBob's 7 Life Strategies (2:24)
7 "life strategies" that feature clips from the show.
Credits from the episodes on the disc.
Previews of "The Wild Thornberrys Movie," "The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius" and "Tak & The Power of Juju" video game.
In "Tales from the Deep," the previous SpongeBob DVD, we got to see the first appearance of Sandy the Squirrel, and on this disc we see the first appearance of Plankton. SpongeBob cracks me up, and these episodes are great to watch after a long, hard day at the office. I think it's really cool that Nickelodeon is continuing to include episodes that haven't aired on TV in their DVD releases ("The Sponge Who Could Fly" is the episode on this disc). The unaired episodes just give parents another reason to pick up the DVD for their little SpongeBob fan.