Dexter’s Laboratory: The Complete Series DVD Review: As Inventive As Its Main Character

With its origins in an animated short film he made while attending CalArts, Genndy Tartakovsky created Dexter’s Laboratory, a sci-fi sitcom about the funny misadventures of boy genius (bordering at times on evil genius) Dexter (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh, and then Candi Milo). Dexter’s hubris is the frequent cause for his downfall as is his underestimating older sister Dee Dee (voiced by Allison Moore or by Kat Cressida). He also has frequent run-ins with slightly smarter boy genius Mandark Astronomanov (Eddie Deezen).

Buy Dexter’s Laboratory: The Complete Series DVD

Season One on DVD has previously been available and now the Complete Series is collected on DVD. The episode guide that comes with the set breaks the series into six seasons, yet most information I found online, such as IMDb, only list four seasons. Not sure what running order the episodes are presented as they don’t appear to be in production order nor airdate order.

The episodes are typically broken into two and three mini episodes. In addition to the exploits of Dexter, the first season featured, “Dial M for Monkey,” about a lab animal of Dexter that he is unaware has another life as a superhero, and “The Justice Friends,” superheroes Major Glory (spoofing Captain America and Superman), Valhallen (Thor), and Krunk (Hulk), who are also roommates.

There are a few crossover episodes. In “Star Spangled Sidekicks,” Dexter and Dee Dee watch Major Glory on TV and tryout to become his sidekick. In what was intended to be a series finale but ended up just being the second season finale, “Last But Not Beast” sees Dexter, his family, and characters from “The Justice Friends” and from the “Dial M for Monkey” fight an axe-faced kaiju that Dexter accidentally releases from a Japanese volcano. “Dexter’s Wacky Races” brings everyone together in a cross-country race reminiscent of the 1968 Hanna-Barbera show. In another nod to the past, Dexter assists Blue Falcon (Gary Owens) and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder (Frank Welker) with more than they bargained when he helps with repairs in “Dyno-Might.”

Dexter’s Laboratory was a launching pad for a talented group of animators. Tartakovsky left after Ego Trip, a movie intended to be the series finale after Season Two (but appears at end of Season 6 Disc Two), to work on his new show, Samurai Jack. Notable names animation fans will recognize who worked on Dexter include Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls), Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents), Rob Renzetti (My Life as a Teenage Robot).

Chris Savino (The Loud House) was picked by Tartakovsky to be the showrunner for the last two seasons. In addition to Cavanaugh retiring from voice acting soon after Savino’s tenure began, the show looks different under his control due to the use digital ink and paint as well as different designs for the characters and the backgrounds.

Another notable name is Tyler Samuel Lee,a seven-year-old who won a contest that allowed him to write, narrate, and perform Dexter’s voice for Dexter and Computress Get Mandark!”The backgrounds look like they were drawn in crayon by a child. The audio has a loud hiss and Tyler’s mom makes a brief appearance.

Dexter’s Laboratory: The Complete Series is as inventive as the titular character and each episode packs a lot of laughs. Recommend for fans of animation and comedy.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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