File this one under “no brainer” for collectors of all things Tom and Jerry. In September of 1990, Tom and Jerry Kids Show began a five-season run that yielded 65 episodes. The series’ concept was exceedingly simple. The longtime cat and mouse adversaries are depicted as much younger versions of themselves. As in their more familiar incarnations, they’re always at each other’s throats. Plenty of supporting characters join in the mayhem, including hound dog Droopy and his son Dripple, Spike and Tyke, the villainous McWolf, and even an alien dog with six legs named Urfo.
The two-disc set Tom and Jerry Kids Show - The Complete Season 1 marks the very first time the series has appeared on DVD. All 13 season one episodes are included, presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. There’s a decidedly (and understandably) youth-centric vibe throughout and the ultra-cheesy theme song is certain to turn some viewers off. But producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (the creative geniuses who created these characters, in case anyone forgot) have not sold out the cat and mouse by making them too cute. The mischief level is quite high, with enough cartoonish smackdowns to please longtime fans.
Each episode consists of three seven-minute shorts, allowing for a fast pace and lots of variety. Some segments focus on side characters rather than Tom and Jerry themselves. “Droopio & Juliet,” second segment of episode nine, is one such story. As the title suggests, it’s both a feature for Droopy the dog and a bit of a Shakespeare parody. Some gloriously dated pop culture references crop up too, as in “Maze Monster Zap Men” which finds Jerry trapped in a Pac-Man-style video game with Tom at the controls. “Cast Away Tom” even predicts some pop culture touchstones that hadn’t happened yet, with Tom landing on a deserted island, desperate for food. Okay, maybe it’s a stretch to suggest that it influenced Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away, but it’s fun segment nonetheless.
Tom and Jerry Kids Show - The Complete Season 1 may not represent classic material. It’s all silly fun aimed primarily for kids. However, after many repackaged compilations of vintage Tom and Jerry cartoons, it’s great to have a sometime previously unavailable—and at a budget price to boot.