Return to Nowhere, Kansas where a faithful, yet scared stiff, dog protest his mistress from all manner of invaders. Warner Brothers brings the first season of Courage the Cowardly Dog to DVD, but it seems all the special features have been scared away.
Muriel (Thea White) and Eustace (Lionel G. Wilson) Bagge are animated denizens of Nowhere, Kansas. They live in an isolated house in the middle of Nowhere. Muriel’s pet is the purple dog named Courage (Marty Grabstein) who doesn’t live up to his name as he is scared of just about everything.
That’s probably not good since all manner of terrors come to Nowhere and threaten his beloved Muriel. He loves Muriel so because she cares for him and the grouchy Eustace only refers to him as “stupid dog.”
Courage the Cowardly Dog began his life as a 7 minute short, “The Chicken from Outer Space,” on the What a Cartoon Show from Hanna-Barbera on Cartoon Network.
The short was nominated for an Academy Award and creator John R. Dilworth massaged the concept into the series reviewed here (though taking it to another production company not Hanna-Barbera) which aired from 1999 till 2002.
What is fun about the show is the simplicity of it. Basically evil comes to Nowhere, usually threatens Muriel, and Courage has to “dog up” to save her. What is really fun about the show is that many of the threats ape sci-fi and horror movies and usually with a sharp sense of humor.
“Demon in the Mattress” has shades of the Exorcist, “Freaky Fred” channels Sweeny Todd, “Night of the Wheremole” apes werewolves, and even global warming gets a nod in “The Snowman Cometh.”
The evil chicken even returns for revenge in “The Revenge of the Chicken from Outer Space” which in turn goofs on the alien invader genre. Tim Curry even gets in on the fun in the “Gods must be Goosey” voicing the Goose God and voice actor Jim Cummings shows up several times.
Each episode has two fun-filled, parody inspired adventures. I know I enjoyed spotting all the references as well as the humor employed in setting them up.
Courage the Cowardly Dog is presented in fullscreen. The thirteen season one episodes are spread across two discs. There are no special features, unless you count English subtitles.
That’s a bit disappointing since they could’ve included the short that the show sprang from. I’d imagine that the switch from Hanna-Barbera might’ve caused some rights issues.
Courage the Cowardly Dog is a fun show and horror movie fans will delight in all the homages to them. It features memorable characters that are voiced with gusto.
Even the lack of special features shouldn’t keep fans from snatching this us as episodes have only appeared piecemeal on other releases. Here’s to hoping that it sells well enough to get all the seasons out of Nowhere.
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