Cast: Michael Cusack, Zach Hadel, Marc Menchaca (VOICES)
Release Date: August 29, 2023
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
Who are the Smiling Friends? They’re Pim, Charlie, Allan, and Glep and they’re here to make you SMILE!! And they guarantee to put a smile on YOUR face, if you buy this disc (*Smiles not actually guaranteed*). Watch 8 wonderful adventures into this fantastic, odd, beautiful, sometimes scary, but always amazing world. Plus, they go to Brazil in a special bonus episode. Get yours and start smiling today!
Please Note: Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Smiling Friends’ tells the curious stories of Pim, Charlie, Allan, and Glep who work at a local company with one goal; to make people smile. Unfortunately for this group of oddballs, that can be easier said than done. Join the Smiling Friends as they head out in one attempt after another to make at least one person’s day or world a little bit brighter, regardless of just how difficult it might be and whether they’re just struggling or have a gun already at their head (literally); okay, they actually might want to give up at times, but the intentions are good! Well, usually; but one thing remains certain, it’s always an interesting, amusing and often shocking time when they are hired.
The adult animated series ‘Smiling Friends’ hails from creators Zach Hadel and Michael Cusack who introduce us to the world of Pim, Charlie, Allan and Glep who work as employees at the Smiling Friends company whose sole intention is to put a smile on the face of anyone that needs it. The series is anything but light, normal animated fare and it’s quite a delightful treat of a twisted adult comedy that cleverly merges warm, bright colors and characters with some pitch black humor and twisted gags that somehow manage to click in the best way possible; serving up one hilariously twisted adventure after another for these friends to embark on (or suffer through).
The debut season sees our Smiling Friends forced to tackle everything from a popular TV frog that’s well on his way to being cancelled to a maddeningly mixed up vacation and a dangerous new competitor company called the ‘Frowning Friends’, and even one of the friends ending up in literal hell. It’s a wild, occasionally shocking and consistently hilarious good time. Anyone who appreciates a smart animated series with a twisted sense of humor will almost certainly want to make a point of checking out this series and should be pleasantly surprised with just how much enjoyable, twisted and hilarious fun it manages to offer.
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment brings all of the twisted fun and laughs home with their single disc Blu-ray release of ‘Smiling Friends: Season 1′ which features all eight episodes and the special from the debut season of the Adult Swim animated series. The release features nice high definition video presentations on every episode which are only complemented by solid multichannel DTS-HD MA soundtracks that should have fans of the show largely satisfied. Curiously, unlike most shows of this sort such as Rick and Morty, etc. the release features a mix of both uncensored and bleep free soundtracks on many episodes while other episodes within are bleeped and censored audio-wise. The pilot episode and the season finale, as well as the Brazil special are all fully censored and bleeped when explicit dialogue is uttered, yet the majority of other episodes in the middle let the F-bombs and other obscenities fly which may irk some fans who were hoping for a fully uncensored collection here. The release isn’t jam-packed with bonus material, but it does feature Audio Commentary tracks for every episode which many fans will surely appreciate and many fans of the series who would love to physically own the first season will probably want to consider picking up a copy of the release.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Smiling Friends: Season 1’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the first season’s episodes. The video presentations look quite good as a whole and bring the show’s fairly simplistic animation and style home satisfyingly without any massive issues or problems plaguing it throughout. The animated edges and often bright, vivid colors look adequately sharp and shiny for the most part and aside from a few instances of banding during more heavily populated moments and various darkly lit scenes, it all holds up rather well and shouldn’t elicit any real complaints from fans. Overall, these are largely solid high definition video presentations that deliver nicely throughout and shouldn’t have any trouble pleasing fans of the series or newcomers.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 9 Season One episodes, with just over half of the episodes being uncensored and bleep free. These multichannel soundtracks sound pretty good in their own right and deliver clean, sharp and enjoyable audio presentations that are absent of any glitches or issues throughout. While not by any means an overly aggressive series audio-wise, it does utilize all five available channels on multiple occasions in order to send some music, crowd chatter and a few action-like effects, plus some other tidbits throughout the various speakers and never allows it to conflict with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, these are solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtracks that may not be anything groundbreaking but still do their job well and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Smiling Friends: Season 1’ includes ‘Episodic Commentaries’ on all nine included episodes.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
‘Smiling Friends: Season 1’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray & DVD from Cartoon Network, Adult Swim & Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment
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