Before next month's megabucks movie, see how the Hasbro toys became screen stars in "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero " Season 1.1." The 1983 cartoon series was a huge hit, especially with my little brothers. That may be why I never took a shine to it, but what I scoffed at then provided some smiles now.
Even if it existed to sell toys, the show had more going for it than other animated series of the day " notably, ambitious story arcs, bold coloring and high adventure. Plus, don't overlook the very cool character design " although an elite military force, the G.I. Joe team members look not unlike superheroes. View them as such, and the 22 episodes here become infused with even more comic-book-style action.
The theme song is still memorable. The rote sound effects still amuse. The evil Cobra's leader still hisses and snarls. In short, the fun remains.
Shout! Factory's extras are worth shouting about. Aside from a sheet of rub-on tattoos, there's plenty of retro jolts to be found with a 1963 Toy Fair presentation reel of the original 12-inch dolls; the cartoon's tip-heavy PSA shorts; series writer Ron Friedman discussing the show; and, best of all, a handful of the TV commercials for the action figure line, with the kids' faces creepily blurred.