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The Flintstones: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

There’s a clear focus currently over at Warner Bros and Warner Archive Collection in restoring the old works of the Hanna Barbara animation that became a lengthy pop culture phenomenon starting in the 1960s. One of their greatest achievements was The Flintstones. Sure, we all know the theme, the characters, tag lines and more. But, think about what impact they’ve had in the fact that we still have Fruity Pebbles as common everyday breakfast cereal and who hasn’t preferred to have Flintstones vitamins when they were a little tyke? No, they don’t have the dominance they once had, but people have never forgotten The Flintstones and they still pass on from generation to generation. Warner Bros is bringing out every episode of the original series that introduced us to them (There were many spin offs as well) onto a beautifully restored Blu-ray release that also includes 2 movies as well (NO, not the live action ones we want to forget). You’ll be able to own it all starting October 27th!

Series

is boulder-sized fun for the whole family. Fans of all ages will crack up at the misadventures of the Flintstones and Rubbles, who consistently find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Living in the suburbs in the town of Bedrock, Fred Flintstone is a devoted husband who is employed at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company. He is married to Wilma, a smart, strong-willed red-headed beauty. Their next-door neighbors and friends are Barney and Betty Rubble. The four of them are always involved in variety of hilarious shenanigans of every-day living. Although they live in pre-historic times, they have modern conveniences but they are made from stone age materials and mainly powered by animals.  Since the stone age, The Flintstones has delivered entertainment that never shales to delight each new generation.

Primitive as they may be, ancestors to the modern humanity, The Flintstones was a monumental moment in television that hadn’t been seen before upon its arrival. The show was a cartoon in a prime time slot. One that adults could enjoy while still being for the whole family. It featured many relatable themes, character types and life things. The show also made a lot of pop culture references and put the prehistoric spin on many a event or real life occurrence. Sound familiar? Yeah, The Flintstones really laid the groundwork for programming that would later be The Simpsons and Family Guy after that. Fred Flintstone, Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin and Wilma, Marge and Lois…all very very similar characters if you look at it.

And The Flintstones were a big deal. And really, they still are. Everyone was attuned to what was going on. Their reruns ran for generations. Parents raised their kids on them. Now, today, maybe Scooby Doo remains the biggest, most relevant Hanna Barbara property (The Smurfs always creep up time to time, but that was based on a Belgian cartoon), but The Flintstones were king for along time. Their success was even attempted to be replicated with The Jetsons. Nonetheless, many spin-offs came out of the show as well. A popular one even focusing on teen Pebbles and Bam Bam.

Returning to The Flintstones for this review was a whole lot of fun. The show really holds up and has plenty of charm. It hits all the beats of a good sitcom while extending a lot more with visual humor due to the way the show is crafted. The characters are fun, endearing and the show really builds and adds in the right was both common and not. Its a truly groundbreaking moment in the landscape of television’s history and I really think any audience could still enjoy it today.

Episodes

The Flintstones: The Complete Series contains every episode from the original 6 seasons of the show and the movies The Man Called Flintstone and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown!

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, 1.78:1 (WWE: Stone Age Smackdown!, The Man Called Flintstone)

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/DetailThe Flintstones has been transferred, cleaned up and polished to a thing of complete beauty. These look almost as if you’re taking a gander at the art slides for it. You can see distinct sketching and strokes for color. Its a bold, striking image and has a nice little layer of grain, to boot. This is a very beautiful look even topping the likes of the other Hanna Barbara show, Space Ghost and Dino Boy, release from earlier in the month. I’m not sure it gets much better than this for The Flintstones on home video.

Depth:  While this is a flat, two dimensional animation, the advent of Blu-ray allows things to be a bit cleaner and more fluid in the movement category and the characters feel a tad more freeing. No distortions with rapid motions creep up at all during any of this that I was able to sample for the review.

Black Levels:  Blacks are quite deep, getting near natural levels. Black provides great outlining and accents on the characters with a solid, thick appearance. No information lost. No crushing.

Color Reproduction:  With a primary palette on display, the colors pop right off the screen with the oranges, purples, reds and more. They are all very solid and strong, with a bold appearance.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

**An issue has been reported regarding episode 17. Music and sound effects are missing from the episode. Warner Bros is looking into the issue**

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital (Series only), Spanish 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital (Series only)

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Dutch, Spanish

Dynamics:  Unfortunately, like a lot of these elder statesmen animated (And live action) television show releases, Warner Bros has opted to just go with Dolby Digital track. They’ve even done that with the 2 film here provided as a bonus. For all intents and purposes its fine, but they could have had a much cleaner, crisper sound to it all. This does the trick, but it could have breathed a bit better.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear, with a bit of their analog sourced age sounding in them. For what we have to work with and how they’re presented its fine.

Extras

The Flintstones: The Complete Series is a 10-disc set and comes with an episode index insert.

Disc 1

The Flagstones: The Lost Pilot (SD, 1:35) – A brief clip that is likely an animation/vocal/concept pitch for the series moreso than a full length pilot. Either that or this is all that remains from the pilot.

How to Draw Fred Flintstone (SD, 6:47) – Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara teach you how to draw Fred. This is sourced from an old VHS release of sorts.

Disc 2

Carved in Stone: The Flintstones Phenomenon (SD, 20:42) – This is a very historian-based retrospective look at the history of The Flintstones from its start to the phenomenon and legacy.

Disc 3

Songs of the Flintstones Album (SD, 27:57) – All the songs from this album set to slides from stills of the show. Some moments have some motion, some have sing-along text at the bottom.

Disc 4

All About the Flintstones (SD, 5:21) – A very very brief look back at making the show, includes some vintage clips of Hanna and Barbara as well as other cartoons and interview snippets.

Wacky Inventions (SD, 5:44) – Showcases many of the devices, modes of transportation and the like found in the show’s first season.

Disc 5

Bedrock Collectibles: Collecting All Things Flintstone (SD, 6:42) – An animator shows off his rather large collection of Flintstone memorabilia.

The Flintstones: One Million Years Ahead of Its Time (SD, 8:33) – Another reflective featurette where people talk about how it advanced the TV landscape and had qualities to it that wouldn’t be seen for a time in television.

Disc 6

First Families of the Stone Age (SD, 7:06) – This featurette analyzes Wilma and Betty, family dynamic, and their role in relation to how the TV landscape was at the time.

Hanna-Barbara’s Legendary Music Director Hoyt Curtin (SD, 7:05) – A quick retrospective of the music in the show.

Disc 10

The Flintstones Meet Pop Culture (SD, 11:29) – Stephen Baldwin hosts a little Flinstone history lesson that features talking heads and like made in wave of The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas movie that every loves to death.

The Great Gazoo: From A to Zetox (SD, 3:49) – A little tribute and history on Joanna Lee, who wrote The Great Gazoo episode.

The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown! (SD, 51:39) – Wow! This has been on Blu-ray before in HD with not only uncompressed audio, but 5.1 to boot. Here is is in SD with 2.0 Dolby Digital. Odd.

The Man Called Flintstone (SD, 1:29:00) – Another interesting choice to put this one in SD. Luckily due tot he animation style and such, its not a horrendous dip and looks solid aside from some noise.

Summary

The Flintstones is prehistoric, but ultimately timeless fun for everyone! Warner Bros has restored them beautifully and packed them together in this full set. The image looks strikingly genuine and very clean. Unfortunately they’ve opted for compressed audio, but it still works nonetheless and there’s decent bonus material where available. The inclusion of the WWE movie feels off, but oh well, that’s just merely a bonus. This indeed is one of the most collector’s of collector’s items for the Hanna Barbara material.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a 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. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

2 Responses to “The Flintstones: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Daniel Johansson

    Great review!
    Do you know if this is locked to region A? Can’t find any reliable info on that anywhere. I live in Sweden and would love to get this set. Have my hopes that is region free like The Jetsons release

  2. Greg Chenoweth

    Nice review. I was wondering if THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE movie has the original Wilma Flintstone Columbia Pictures opening with Wilma looking like the Statue of Liberty? This film when it showed up on DVD did not include this pose before the opening title started and it was presented in SD as well.