Quantcast

Gravity Falls: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

Gravity Falls ran on both Disney Channel Disney XD (Where Star Wars: Rebels also aired) during its broadcast run from 2012 to 2016. In 40 episodes it gained a real strong following from people of all ages. I found myself seeing a lot of acclaim for it from some surprising but trustworthy sources. I had always meant to give it a go, but never got around to it…UNTIL NOW! Wanting to start fresh from the beginning and not trying to sift through OnDemand and streams, Shout! Factory is delivering the complete series Blu-ray set on July 24th. Disney and Shout! Factory teaming up? Crazy! This 7-disc set will also come with a host of impressive extras including and almost 2 hour documentary and commentaries on all 40 episodes. If you’re a fan, don’t hesitate to secure yourself a copy via the Amazon pre-order link below!

Film 

Twin brother and sister Dipper and Mabel Pines are sent to the small town of Gravity Falls, Oregon to spend their summer vacation with their great uncle (“Grunkle”) Stan. Upon arrival, Grunkle Stan enlists the siblings’ help in running The Mystery Shack, a self-owned tourist trap that overcharges unsuspecting customers. While Dipper has a hard time getting used to his new surroundings, Mabel’s upbeat optimism comes in handy in her quest to find true love.

But there may be more to Gravity Falls than meets the eye as Dipper and Mabel encounter strange occurrences and weird creatures. When Dipper stumbles upon an elusive book, he discovers it is the answer to uncovering the town’s mysterious happenings. Soon, Dipper and Mabel realize they must rely on each other to navigate this unfamiliar place. Meanwhile, Grunkle Stan guards a secret of his own — one that just might hold the key to unlocking the deeper mystery that is Gravity Falls.

“The Simpsons and Twin Peaks had a baby, and its on the Disney Channel” was the pitch the show’s creator gave it, though I’d say it does have a touch of The X-Files’ kinda season narrative bouncing between monster of the week and mythology episodes. Gravity Falls isn’t the first of such kind, but it has the impressive feat of being equally enjoyable for kids, teens and adults. There are things the adults will appreciate more as is the same for the kids. Laughs will come together and will come separately with the belly jiggles coming to different degrees. The balance on such things is fantastic and impressive. If you’re into more Cartoon Network/Adult Swim cartoons or if you’re more into Disney Jr/Nick Jr…it doesn’t matter, you’re going to love it. Also, if you’re into the mystery shows like that of Lost and the like, check it out.

I had known of Gravity Falls and been recommended Gravity Falls, but this set finally got me to check it out. And I was instantly taken with it. Things in it, the animation, the characters, the light references are all familiar yet new and original.  Instantly I came into it wanting to see this whole thing through. The world created was one I was having a silly time with yet also intrigued by its mysteries. But it wasn’t until the back to back of Episode 9 (“The Time Traveler’s Pig”) and Episode 10 (“Fight Fighters”) from Season 1 that made this a show I’m going to have a lifetime of fondness for. The show was always smart, silly and funny, but it really stepped up its game and showed that they can run with the best. Hell, I was on the floor laughing during most of the jokes in “Fight Fighters” struggling to come up for air. It may be the series high for me, but the remainder was still fantastic.

While I expected to like Gravity Falls, I didn’t expect to be as taken with it as I was. I’ll be going back through this series whenever I’m able and I’ll also stop when scrolling through channels to watch it if its own. I’m also very excited to see what the future brings for creator Alex Hirsch as his little piece of brilliance here has me looking forward to see what’s next. And a big thank you to Shout! Factory for sending me this to review, as I finally had to stop and take it in as I’d been meaning to for a few years. What a treat!

Episodes

Gravity Falls: The Complete Series contains all 40 episodes from the show’s 2012-2016 airing.  For a listing of every episode please click HERE.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Gravity Falls looks just as good, if not a little uptick better than when it airs on HD television. Here, its a bit more confident in its movements in and strength of color. You can see all the good background details and such as well as showcasing a crisp, sharp picture. This is about as far as this show is going to get and the likely the best presentation on home video we may ever be given.

Depth:  While a flat 2-D animation, the spacing between a focal character and more static background is pretty apparent. No motion issues occur at all.

Black Levels: Blacks when in animation are, well, solid black. They look nice on outlines and the shading done is very good. No crushing on display at all.

Color Reproduction: Like a lot of the cartoons today, things tend to follow a simpler color palette with more solid primary animation tactics rather than lots of texturing and depth. Colors in this image prove bold, adding a nice full touch to the picture.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The disc defaults to the 2.0 audio. Which, that one is actually more than sufficient enough in giving a fun, full presentation of the show. The 5.1 one does add some, but this one feels more focused up toward the front of the screen. Sound design is pretty well done and features some good intricacies in a nice balanced mix joining the score and vocals.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Music beats, explosion-type things, energy bursts, destruction, stomping…any kind of noise that is going to bring some bump gets a nice representation from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: As mentioned, this is a very front heavy mix for the 5.1 option. Sound travel is very accurate as well as the volume placement to match the onscreen activity. Rear channels provide some added elements to the score and environments with little in the way of unique sounds to build a scene.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

Gravity Falls: The Complete Series is a 7-disc Blu-ray set. Inside the box, you’ll find an envelope addressed to Dipper with a nice little note inside. Every episode contains an audio commentary track with creator Alex Hirsch and select members of the cast and crew.

Disc 7: Bonus Features

One Crazy Summer: A Look Back At Gravity Falls (HD, 1:46:38) – A 7-part complete series retrospective documentary that features interviews with Alex Hirsch, actors Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal, director and storyboard artist Matt Braly, writers Jeff Rowe, Shion Takeuchi and Josh Weinstein, composer Brad Breeck and over a dozen additional members of the cast and crew. Everyone here is completely honest, there is no stone left unturned and the series is dissected within and outside of the show. For a fan of ANY show of film, this is the kind of loving effort you hope to see given to it one day.

The Hirsch Twins (HD, 16:07) – Alex & Ariel Hirsch remember their own summers growing up. The two talk about what it was like growing up with a twin and how Alex tried his best to put everything he could about his real life sister into Mabel in the show. Its a cute and fun discussion that really shows how their relationship is the foundation for Gravity Falls and inspires the characters.

Between the Pines (HD, 22:06) – Behind-The-Scenes special for the series finale that aired on Disney XD

Deleted Scenes (HD, 1:02:03) – After a little sing-song intro, they are presented via a powerpoint presentation in a dark room with the camera situated on a table a little ways a away.

Shorts Interstitial programming that ran on Disney XD between seasons 1 and 2.

  • Dipper’s Guide to the Unexplained (HD, 13:28) – Stan’s Tattoo, The Mail Box, Hide Behind, Candy Monster, The Tooth, Lefty
  • Mabel’s Guide to Life (HD, 11:56) – Mabel’s Guide to Art, Mabel’s Guide to Dating, Mabel’s Guide to Fashion, Mabel’s Guide to Stickers, Mabel’s Guide to Colors
  • Fixin’ It with Soos (HD, 4:35) – Cuckoo Clock, Golf Cart
  • TV Shorts (HD, 5:05) – TV Shorts 1, TV Shorts 2
  • Mabel’s Scrapbook (HD, 4:50) – Petting Zoo, Heist Movie

Promos

  • “Old Man” McGucket’s Conspiracy Corner (HD, 5:52) – Preview, Triangles, Stan’s Brother, Relation-shipping, Laptop Code, The Ice Man, Medallions, Government Agents, 6-18, One Eye, Cryptograms.
  • Creepy Letters From Li’l Gideon (HD, 2:41) – Letter #1, Letter #2, Letter #3, Letter #4, Letter #5
  • Soos’ Stan Fiction (HD, 3:53) – Antarctic/Mykonos, Secret Apartment/Union Station, Axolotl/Mexico, Behind the Scenes
  • ‘Pocalypse Preppin’ (HD, 4:16) – Food Stockpile, Survival Tools, Science, Inventory, How’d This Happen?, Checkers, I Remember, Governor McGucket
  • Mystery Shack: Shop at Home with Mr Mystery (HD, 12:35) – Jar of Eyeballs, Aztec Calendar, A Fez, Deer Teeth, Mystery Box, UFO on a String, Nacho Necklace, Gag Reel, Diving Helmet
  • Grunkle Stan’s Lost Mystery Shack Interviews (HD, 7:29) – Preview, Tyrel Jackson Williams from Lab Rats, Billy Unger from Lab Rats, Kelli Berglund from Lab Rats, Jake Short from Mighty Med, Bradley Steven Perry from Mighty Med, Jacob Bertrand from Kirby Buckets, Mekai Curtis from Kirby Buckets, Cade Sutton from Kirby Buckets, Zendaya from KC Undercover, Joey Bragg from Liv and Maddie, Tenzing N. Trainor from Live and Maddie, Cameron Bryce from Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything, Spencer Boldman from Lab Rats
  • Gravity Paws (HD, 5:44) – Puppy Super Fan Spot #1, Puppy Super Fan Spot #2, Puppy Super Fan Spot #3, Puppy Super Fan Spot #4, Behind the Scenes, Gravity Paws Theme Song, Gravity Falls/Gravity Paws Theme Song Side By Side Comparison
  • Journal 3 Infomercial (HD, 1:03) 
  • Season 2 San Diego Comic Con Trailer (HD, 1:03) 

Easter Egg (HD, 10:43) – Accessed by pressing left while the cursor is highlighted on “Shorts”. Alex Hirsch and Ian Worrell compete to see who can best draw the Mystery Shack from memory. In what seems like real time, they talk about how long its been since they drew it and what it sorta means to them.

Summary 

Gravity Falls is the perfect hybrid of children’s television that also has an incredible appeal for adults as well. Its almost age free with both the humor and the narrative. While it may be par for the course for them, Shout! Factory has put together and monstrously impressive set for the 40-episode show. While it has a terrific presentation, its the loaded and enriching bonus features that truly make this set outstanding. This set leaves no stone unturned and no question unanswered. If you like the show, this is a MUST HAVE.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments