As last week's review of '60s sitcom "My Mother the Car" promises, this post is on the 2-disc 16-episode DVD release "Best of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures." These releases cross two tiles of a DVD release wish list.
One can only hope that "Bill" and "Mother" distributor TGG Direct also discovers "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and "The Kids From C.A.P.E.R."
"Bill" belongs to the genre of '80s and '90s Saturday morning cartoon series based on teen comedies of the same (or very similar) name. These include the uber-awesome "The Real Ghostbusters," and the very entertaining "Teen Wolf" and "Back to the Future" series.
The simple premise of the "Bill" film is that the music of garage band Wyld Stallyns, consisting of high school boys Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan, provides the basis for a future Utopian society. Alex Winter and Keneau Reeves play Bill and Ted respectively and excellently provide their voices in the first season of the series.
The obstacle of Bill and Ted being slacker dullards at great risk of failing high school prompts the "future dudes" in the film and the series to send Rufus, played by George Carlin in the film and the first season of the series, to guide the pair and help them get out of scrapes.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of "Bill's" rocking theme song provides a great sense of the fun of the show. Sadly, the heavily ruling Wyld Stallyns does not perform this tune.
Anyone who scoffs at the film's concept should remember that a Chicago afternoon talk show host has greatly influenced American society for more than 20 years (including strongly impacting which books we read) and provided Barack Obama support that kept him in the running in the 2008 presidential election.
The first disc in the "Bill" DVD release consists of 8 of the 13 episodes from the first season; the second disc consists of 8 of the 9 second season episodes.
These episodes expand from the concept of the film (true fans do not acknowledge the most heinous sequel), which has our boys using a TARDIS-like time machine in the form of telephone booth to journey to any point in the past to acquire what they need to fulfill their promise as the future's guiding force. Alas, the telephone booth is not larger on the inside than it is on the outside.
The expanded concept has the boys making liberal use of the booth to get out of personal trouble. The pilot episode, which has the pair going to ancient China to replace a broken antique vase, is a prime example of this.
Arguably the best episode comes in the middle of the first season; "A Most Excellent Roman Holiday" has our boys traveling back to Rome of yore to obtain a translation for a most-hated Latin class full of "dweebs."
The scenes in which said dweebs gleefully delight in all things academic and the idiocy of their new classmates and in which Bill and Ted are clearly in their own personal hell alone make this episode most outstanding.
The scenes in Rome in which Bill and Ted outsmart gladiators (but not lions), participate in a chariot race, and inadvertently start a centuries-long fashion trend propel the episode into epic status.
The series also does a most bodacious job regarding the inevitable plot in which Bill and Ted reach a level of discouragement that literally begins shaking the foundations of the future. This prompts Rufus, who is undergoing a rapid "Benjamin Buttons"/Orkan aging experience to introduce the boys to a handful of historic figures whose success is based on intense perseverance.
In true Bill and Ted fashion, this review is being written without watching the season two episodes; the only significance regarding this is a desire to save them for a nice pick-me-up for a rainy day and/or Monday.
The time-traveling lesson from this release is that no one of any age should feel any embarrassment regarding enjoying cartoons like "Bill" that offer high-energy and animated in every sense fun. We need this escapism more than ever these days.
Party on Dudes and be excellent to each other.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding the "Bill" film or cartoon or Reeves' remarks regarding a new "Bill" sequel is encouraged to email me; you can also find me on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.