Robot Chicken is an animated television series using stop motion, Claymation, and small puppets known mainly as action figures, and was created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. The concept is fairly simple. Take toys that every one of us has played with as a child, put them into outrageous situations, and see what happens.
The series airs on Cartoon Network during the late night Adult Swim time frame, usually two episodes in a half hour block. Each episode contains multiple short skits and is made to appear like someone is flipping channels on their television, catching snippets and fragments of various shows. Some skits can be as brief as a couple seconds and others a couple of minutes. Usually, the last skit in each episode is a little longer than the rest.
Some of the longer ones that stood out were G.I. Joe going to Afghanistan to fight a real war and finding that their silly cartoon shenanigans did nothing but get them all killed in the real world, Captain Kirk finding out that he had space herpes and then had to go around the galaxy to all the creatures he slept with to inform them that they needed to have themselves checked for S.T.D.s, and Steven Spielberg remaking all of his old movies into one big one where Private Ryan, E.T., Jaws, Tin Tin, and others shared the big screen all at the same time.
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p High Definition 16x9 2.4:1 Dolby TrueHD with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The video is bright and vivid with no noticeable flaws. The quality may be lost on viewers as the subject matter is a lot of plastic and clay which doesn’t always lend itself to perfect quality itself.
The disc includes 20 episodes including commentary and a lot of Special Features that are broken into sub categories. The “Featurettes” section contains all of the live-action material covering such topics as the various guest voices throughout the season, how the creative process works, and what it’s like to have female writers on the show. “Deleted Flip Channel Animatics” is a bunch of deleted scenes that only made it to the sketch version and were never completed. “Chicken Nuggets” is an interactive version of three episodes where every time a Robot Chicken outline appears the viewer can click the enter button and the show will break in with a commentary clip.
“Deleted Scenes” are scenes taken out to accommodate the standard time frame the episodes had but were never put back in during later episodes. “Deleted Animatics” is quite similar to the “Deleted Flip Channel Animatics” with the exception that each one has an introductory commentary about why that particular animatic was never fully developed into an actual skit for the show.
Just by the nature of the show, it seems pretty simple to make and easy to do, but after watching some of the Special Features, it’s actually a lot harder than it looks and the artists and writers put a lot more thought and energy into every aspect than you would think. Obviously, that’s one of the big reasons it works so well. It also helps that each joke is quick. If the joke fails the channel quickly changes to something else and the unfunny moment is easily forgotten.
Robot Chicken is great for adults to see their childhood in a different light and in a different way, but while the show is animated and looks like it would be for kids, it is certainly not. There is a lot of sex, violence and curse words which makes it not a family-friendly program.