Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
It would have been easy to just take my review for Peanuts by Schulz, Volume 1: Snoopy Tales and copy and paste it generally into a review here with a couple tweaks. Warner Bros. is releasing Volume 2 of the new series under the subtitle of Go Team Go! with over two hours of sports-themed shorts. I lauded the first volume for capturing the comic pace of the strips instead of being in the tradition of the TV specials. The two hours of that volume were very entertaining. Can they take one of the key themes of the strips - sports - and make it interesting and varied enough to hold up over these two discs?
The 19 episodes cover a number of sports including baseball, ice skating, tennis, and football. It would have been easy to just concentrate on baseball but the variety is appreciated. In reality, the strips used a number of sports too. Most of them were linked to Snoopy and his alter-ego exploits. The TV specials are famously associated with holidays but a majority of them actually are more similar to this collection - sports like baseball, track, and ice skating all receiving specific specials. These shorts are also lifted directly from strips and in a word they are charming.
"Tennis" - This one is my favorite of the collection. The tennis strips in the '70s and '80s were some of my favorites and this is a direct reference with Snoopy playing with Molly Volley in doubles against Crybaby Boobie. Charles' obsession with tennis and ice skating come across in the tiny details of these strips. Snoopy is the "everyman" tennis player who always thinks he's John McEnroe but only plays like we would in the same situation.
"Autumn" - I like this one because it combines some of the entertaining school strips with a small nod to football. Peppermint Patty is the star here, especially her enthusiasm for playing football in the rain and mud with Marcie. This is more of what I would want with the collection - more like the variety of the strips than stuck to a single theme.
"Doing It Right" - Much like the previous one, I think this one appeals to me because it's got non-sport variety. It has my two favorite two-person combos. There's a great chemistry when Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown are together. She's much more Alpha when they are in public, but put the two of them together and it's much more of a couple and she becomes so much lighter. I love her asking life advice from him. And you get a few scenes of Lucy and Linus. The two are together in the strips much more than they've been represented in the TV Specials. Here you get a real flavor for the power struggle of the two.
If I have any complaints, it's not too far off my loss of patience with the strips. I don't like extended kite jokes. One, it's not a "sport" so I don't know how it makes the cut here. And two, there's usually a long set-up for a pretty basic joke. There are at least three here, including "No Strings Attached" that just don't hold up to the baseball and tennis shorts.
If you have that nostalgic love of the strips, these first two volumes are a perfect companion to the books. I can't really differentiate one over the other for preference. Fans of the TV Specials might expect more production. These work for me because they are more stripped down. It's fair to call them "old fashioned" but that doesn't demean their quality or humor. Excellent addition to the Peanuts family of animated products.