G.I. Joe: Renegades the Complete Series Blu Ray

It is a good day in the GeneralsJoes household. Any day that I can reach into my DVD rack and pull out a slim DVD case with a Blu Ray version of G.I. Joe: Renegades it is a great day.

From day one I thought G.I. Joe: Renegades got a bad rap from Joe fans because of the unusual art style that Clem Sauve used when designing the characters. The minimalist costume design rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way, but I think as the fans watched and as the fans saw the characters in action, many of them overcame those issues with the "look" of the characters.

The series was pretty daring, setting Cobra firmly in a Corporate infrastructure as Cobra Industries, with the "G.I. Joe" team being a group of soldiers on the run, framed for a crime they did not commit. Yes, it sounds a lot like the A-Team, which is something that fans were quick to point out, but as many creators stated, it was a purposeful comparison. An homage of sorts to something from our youth, and I personally didn't have a major problem with it. The story was still extremely enjoyable regardless.

What I really liked the best in this series was just watching the evolution of the characters as the series went on. It was a very episodic series, with each installment carrying over into the next one in a very conscious and purposeful continuation of this G.I. Joe universe. Along the way they meet many familiar faces, both on the good guy side and the evil side, and some of the new takes on the characters were quite revolutionary. From General Hawk to Destro to Zartan, to Tomax and Xamot, some characters appeared drastically different, but still very interesting.

Not just that, but the series was fun! Imagine that! A somewhat military themed animated series with some very deep characters, great action, and yet still maintaining an accessible atmosphere that was friendly to kids. It's a very rare thing that all of this can come together into one cohesive series that treats the G.I. Joe universe with the respect it deserves. I know many fans would argue that because Duke is drawn in an animated style that automatically means the creators "disrespected" G.I. Joe, but in my opinion that's flat out incorrect. Anyone who watched the series and admired the writing, and the desire to weave a rich and robust universe that appealed to all ages could see that the folks involved did an admirable job.

So what does that mean for this Blu-Ray set?

It's simple really. You need to buy it. You have to. It's not an option. If you own a machine that supports Blu-Ray, this series offers a wealth of joy and entertainment in one reasonably priced Blu-Ray high definition set, collecting the entire series into a set of discs. The disc presentation is very nice, with the animated art style present on the case and jumping out to grab the attention of the roaming consumer.

The set comes with three discs, with the episodes divided up evenly on those discs, spread out amongst the entire first season (which, of course, also ends up being the entire series). There is some great artwork on each disc as well, but that's just surface to the real highlight... the content.

I'm no Audio/Video expert, but to my untrained eye, watching the series on my Playstation 3 on a high definition television was the best version of this series I have ever seen. The colors were crisp, the lines were clear, the action was extremely easy to follow, and even though I've seen every episode of this series at least 3 or 4 times already, I couldn't help but sit down and watch even more of them. I especially could not resist Episode 12 - 13, Homecoming, Episode 17 Castle Destro, Episode 19 The Anaconda Strain, and of course the fantastic 2-part finale, Revelations. I was absolutely enthralled and thrilled, while simultaneously destroyed because I knew in my heart that this fantastic universe was so short-lived and is very unlikely to be visited again. So much potential for greatness unrealized, and it's forced failure is something that I'll hold over Hasbro's head for a very long time.

That's right, the Hasbro apologist has nothing to apologize for this time... G.I. Joe: Renegades deserved better.

Another draw for this set are the Special Features, which were actually pretty cool. I would have loved to have gotten some artwork of some kind, or some sort of presentation piece, but instead we ended up with a commentary for episode 26 (which was quite entertaining in and of itself), the promo pieces that ran on Hubworld.com, and in a great move, they also included the very touching tribute for Clem Sauve, who unfortunately passed away from cancer while the series was airing.

I know there have been almost non-stop complaints about the G.I. Joe: Renegades series since artwork was first shown, and at first I shared some of the artistic concerns. But to my eyes and in my mind, the series surpassed all of those concerns with the first two episodes and frankly never looked back. G.I. Joe: Renegades stands in my mind as probably the best media universe designed for G.I. Joe, and the most enjoyable animated series I have seen for the brand...and yes, that includes Sunbow. Mature, intelligent, but also accessible...I'm not sure Hasbro realizes how difficult it is to make all of that happen in an animated series for children, and I don't think they understand what they squandered by not giving G.I. Joe: Renegades even the smallest chance for success.

The series is excellent. The picture and sound quality are the best you're going to get. If you're a G.I. Joe fan, this is a must buy.