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The good news: the show's finally available as a single complete-series set. The bad news: it's not all that impressive a release....
Shout! Factory / 1200 Minutes / 1994-1997 / Unrated / Street Date: October 8, 2013
Beating Monsters Inc. to the punch by a decade or two, the cult-adored animated series Aaahh!!! Real Monsters follows young whippersnapper ghoulies of various shapes, sizes, and physiologies as they learn the craft of scaring kids. On the first episode of this Complete Series set, three of our main monsters find themselves with a bunch of demerits from school – they’re doing so poorly that they are denied participation in Halloween (kind of a big deal in this world). It’s a real bummer.
Of course, the kids decide to buck authority and go on a scaring spree anyway, and this lands them in hot water. The antics that ensue stay pretty steady over the discs here: the argument that the earliest episodes on Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Complete Series are better than its final ones, but as a retro 90s flashback, these are pretty fun. And this release comes at a perfect time – Mathew Klickstein’s new book Slimed!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age has become a quick hipster favorite, and the Nick renaissance is indeed in full bloom.
The question, though, is whether these episodes have aged particularly well. Viewers who grew up with these things constantly on in the background will never be able to quite pull the rose-tinted glasses off enough to lend them a fair and unbiased reevaluation, and I doubt whether the attention spans of the post-Dora generation would tolerate their zany, lackadaisical sense of timing. Well, at least we have a platform to test this with Aaahh!!!: Real Monsters: The Complete Series.