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Shout Factory presents
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! (1989)

"Hi, are you the Mario Bros.?"
- Nicole Eggert

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 29, 2006

Stars: Lou Albano, Danny Wells
Other Stars: Sgt. Slaughter, Danica McKellar, Nicole Eggert, Magic Johnson, Cyndi Lauper
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 11h:00m:00s
Release Date: March 28, 2006
UPC: 826663976762
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D+ C-D+C- C-

DVD Review

There isn't much debating that the 1980s saw its fair share of cheesy kids shows. Due to the video game craze during the time (thanks to Nintendo), many of these programs were based on that entertainment medium. Kids lapped these shows up though, with The Legend of Zelda and its sibling show, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! appearing on Saturday mornings, albeit briefly, in 1989. Super Mario Bros. blended cartoons with live-action footage, with the sole purpose of cashing in on the franchise.

The series stars ex-pro wrestler Captain Lou Albano as Mario and Danny Wells as Luigi. This wisecracking pair of plumbers bounce about their house, getting themselves involved in some hairy situations that they usually bring about themselves. The live-action first half of each episode is followed by an animated adventure, with Mario and Luigi looking just like they do in the video games. These adventures usually take them deep into the Mushroom Kingdom, where they protect Princess Peach from their arch rival, King Koopa. Many, if not all of the characters from the video games show up in these animated sequences, which are slightly superior to the live-action material.

While the animation is nowhere near today's high standards, it's held up surprisingly well through the years. Kudos to the writers for ensuring that at least this aspect emulated the video game. However, I couldn't help wanting to control the characters on the screen. Playing any video game can be like controlling a cartoon, and with this show as well as The Legend of Zelda, you essentially have non-playable video games. This is one of the problems with many of today's movies that are based on video games, as they go so far as to show the action from a first-person point of view.

The live-action sequences are weak, but they have one redeeming quality, especially nearly 30 years removed from the show's initial airing—the guest stars that appear throughout the series. Nicole Eggert shows up (Charles in Charge, Baywatch) in the first episode, with other appearances by wrestler Sgt. Slaughter, Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), Magic Johnson, and Cyndi Lauper. Having these people show up is the ultimate trip down memory lane, and seeing them had me instantly wanting to find out what many of them are up to now.

There really hasn't been a TV series like The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! since its string of episodes ended not long after it began. Sure, animation has advanced greatly since 1989, and cheesy adult kid-oriented acting has been relegated to Noggin and other toddler-centric networks, but for the most part, we've been spared this sort of drivel. One thing this new boxed set did, though, is get me itching to dust the cobwebs off of my old Nintendo.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: All 24 episodes appear in their original format, and the overall quality is similar to the way these shows originally appeared. Unfortunately, they didn't look that great to begin with, and these transfers suffer from overly soft images, muted colors, and an overabundance of grain.

Image Transfer Grade: D+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is unspectacular, at best. The surrounds are rarely used, and the dynamic range is unimpressive, but the dialogue is crisp and clear, and meshes well with the rest of the mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 192 cues and remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series, The Best of The Electric Company, The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series, Undeclared: The Complete Series
Packaging: Cardboard Tri-Fold
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with Captain Lou Albano ("Mario")
  2. Super Mario Brothers Super Show! (The Worlds ) - Photo gallery
Extras Review: There aren't many extras here, but we begin on Disc 1 with a nearly five-minute interview with Captain Lou Albano. During this segment he reflects on his pro wrestling career and decision to make the jump to kids' television. The other two extras (aside from a collection of Shout! Factory previews) are a storyboard-to-screen comparison for the opening title sequence and a photo gallery showing some drawings. The storyboard-to-screen feature is also on Disc 1, and there's a different photo gallery on each disc in the set.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Hide your Princesses and Toads, because The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is back on DVD, thanks to Shout Factory. Their new four-disc set brings 24 episodes of the show to us in a nice package that fans are sure to enjoy. The audio and video are what we would expect from such an old show, and there are a few extras that will only appeal to the die-hards out there.


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