Hey folks, Valkor here and I'm taking another stroll down classic cartoon lane, with many thanks to the folks at Warner Home. And while I do appreciate them showin the love here at TOV, I'm not the biggest fan of their latest releases. The first being "Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch", which didn't do a thing for me. And the next is "Jabberjaw: The Complete Series", which, I think, works great when you watch it as a kid, but as an adult… yeaaa…
So for those that don't know, Jabberjaw is a 30 minute cartoon series that stars a 15 foot great white shark named Jabberjaw, who is not just a shark, but a shark that can walk on land, talk and play the drums. The band he plays with is called "The Neptunes" made up of Bif, Shelly, Bubbles, and Clamhead. The whole premise takes place underwater, in the far future of 2076 and The Neptunes are a travelling band hittin up places with water-themes names like Aquahama or Aquapulco. And each area they hit, they run into some sorta baddy that's looking to take over the world or some sort of evil deed. However Jabberjaw and the gang somehow or another get intertwined with the devious plot and they somehow thwart the evil doer's plan - wash, rinse, repeat for 16 episodes. Of course an episode doesn't go by where The 'Tunes get to belt out some of their hits, which also plays towards the end, when they try to escape the bad guy. I'd also like to point out a fun fact; the voice of Jabberjaw is none other than Frank Welker (we 80's guys know him as Megatron), where he does a Curly Howard/ Rodney Dangerfield spin on the character (Which is funny for about 5 minutes.. then it just gets weird). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on if you liked the series or not) the show only lasted for 16 episodes (so let's say one season), but Warner decided to add Jabber to their "Hanna-Barbera Classic Collections" on a 4 DVD set. Check out some highlights.
Dr. Lo Has Got to Go – The Neptunes have arrived in Aquahama, where Dr. Lo has unleashed a giant Godzilla-type sea beast named "Gorgon" to destroy the city. It wasn't initially large; it started out small, until Lo hit it with a special ray that made it grow. But Jabberjaw inadvertently stops the monster and now Lo wants Jabberjaw taken out before he tries to attack Aquahama again.
Help, Help It's the Phantom of the Kelp – An evil mastermind who goes by the name of "The Phantom" uses a special ray to grow kelp seeds, which he unleashes on a building where The Neptunes are playing. In an attempt to escape, they run into The Phantom, knocking off his mask and revealing his true identity. Now The Phantom wants them captured before The Neptunes can finger him for his crimes.
Hang On To Your Hat Jabber – The Neptunes are out shopping for hats for their next gig, when they bump into a guy who is not only part of the sinister group "The Brotherhood of Evil", but he's also carrying a special mind hat that he's bringing to his master – in a box that looks just like the box that contains Shelly's new hat. However the boxes get switched and now Jabber is the owner. The Brotherhood eventually get their hat back, but Jabber has grown fond of it. So of course, he wants it back.
No Helpin the Sculpin - The evil Sculpin steals an unfinished time machine and wants the guy that created it to fix it. Somehow Clamhead gets mistaken for the professor and is forced to finish the machine or else. The rest of the Neptunes step in and oddly enough they fix the time machine! But in an attempt to escape, Jabberjaw, Shelly, and Clamhead end up in the time machine, and are warped back into the year 1,000,000 BC. Of course they return home… with a little, I mean BIG surprise.
No extras are on the disc, just like the others in the Classic Collections set. And that's ok by me, because that means I get to jump into the TOV Breakdown that much faster.
First off, watching Jabberjaw is definitely a step up from watching Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch because it's more story oriented, whereas Wheelie is more like trying to squeeze in different situations where he would clash with Chopper and his gang. However Jabberjaw is more like a trippy Scooby-Doo. Think about it! Its set far into the future, you have a bunch of teens travelling from place to place, with a giant shark as a pet (as opposed to a great dane), all set underwater, in the future. My first question when I watched this series (mind you this is actually my first time viewing the show): What were the creators of this show smoking? Because wow! Toss in the fact that wherever they go these different bad guys just so happen to be there, trying to cause all sorts of chaos - and they decide to stick their noses in it or somehow become involved. But unlike Scooby-Doo, Jabber is a giant freakin shark! So he's kinda fun to watch because they toss him in these weird unshark-like situations. I mean he can walk on land and breathe oxygen, rides around in a car, and even sleeps in a sleeping bag. To me that's hilarious! Plus he's not deathly afraid of everything (like Scooby, where he'd bolt if you so much as yell boo!), because he's a freakin shark! I'm surprise the bad guys didn't just up and run at the sight of him and the end credits roll. But I'm going off on a tangent here. The show has it's moments of fun and I thought the music was kinda kooky, crazy, far out man. But then I'm a child of the 70's so… yea.
My gripe I had with Wheelie is the same gripe I have with Jabberjaw in that the series is too repetitive. Every episode follows the same formula to the letter; sure there are the differences of location, bad guy, etc, but it still follows the same premise from beginning to end. Scooby-Doo follows the same pattern and that's why I'm not a fan of his shows. I think most Hanna-Barbera cartoons followed this pattern. Yet I persevered and watched all 16 episodes. Would I dip in for a repeat viewing? Nay good sirs, I say nay! Also I wanna point out that while the show takes place in the future, it doesn't feel very futuristic. Like say The Jetsons with the robots, the button pushing, and the flying cars; Jabberjaw could have been taken out of the future setting and dropped into a more present setting and it would still look the same and feel the same. So really there was no need to put the character in the future. Hanna-Barbera has hippos, bears, and rabbits so a talking shark would fit right in.
My face after watching all 16 episodes… not a pretty picture and I won't go into detail.
OK, I think I hit Jabberjaw: The Complete Series DVD a little too low below the belt, because it isn't that bad; there are some fun moments throughout. Would I recommend this DVD? Hesitantly… I'd say yes, because if you like Scooby-Doo, if you were a fan of the show, or if you're looking for some light-hearted entertainment, then Jabberjaw is definitely up your alley. Out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving this DVD 2 stars. Nyuck, nyuck!