Gravity Falls: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Bill Hunt
  • Review Date: Jul 13, 2018
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Gravity Falls: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

Director

Various, series created by Alex Hirsch

Release Date(s)

2012-2016 (July 24, 2018)

Studio(s)

Disney XD/Disney Television Animation (Shout! Factory)
  • Film/Program Grade: B+
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: B
  • Extras Grade: A

Gravity Falls: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Disc)

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Review

Dipper Pines (voiced by Jason Ritter) and his twin sister Mabel (Kristen Schaal) are a pair of California preteens sent by their parents to spent the summer with their great uncle (aka “Grunkle”) Stan in the small town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Stan’s rustic home holds a dubious roadside attraction of paranormal and supernatural curiosities, all of which are obviously fake. But Dipper and Mabel soon discover that paranormal and supernatural occurrences are very real indeed in Gravity Falls. And when Dipper finds an unusual journal hidden in the forest that attempts to chronicle these forces, he takes it upon himself to unlock the mysteries of the town. It’s an effort that will lead Dipper, Mabel, and their friends on a stranger adventure than they can possibly imagine.

Gravity Falls was created by Alex Hirsch, based loosely on his own childhood years growing up with a twin sister, mixed of course with wild flights of fantasy and imagination. The series began on the Disney Channel in 2012 and proved wildly popular, eventually making the transition to Disney XD. Some 40 episodes were produced in all over two seasons. The show has a goofy and off-kilter quality that naturally appeals to children, but there are clever touches meant to appeal to older genre audiences too. And there’s real heart and honesty here amid all the eccentricity and camp. The series also benefits from fine guest voice work, including appearances by the likes of JK Simmons, TJ Miller, Nathan Fillion, Stephen Root, Will Forte, Stephen Root, and Nick Offerman.

In a first (and hopefully not last partnership with Disney) Shout! Factory has now produced an excellent high-definition release of this complete series, featuring all 40 episodes plus extras on 7 Blu-ray Discs. The video quality is uniformly excellent, with each episode presented in its original 1.78:1 HD broadcast aspect ratio. Color, contrast, and detail are all as good as they can be, as the series appears to be mastered, essentially, from the original animation files. There are no defects to be seen and the higher data rate provided by Blu-ray allows for less compression and thus maximum clarity. Lossless audio for each episode is available in both 5.1 and 2.0 in DTS-HD Master Audio format. The clarity and fidelity excellent, with mostly light and atmospheric use of the surrounds.

The set’s episodes and bonus content breaks down thusly:

DISC ONE – SEASON ONE

  • Tourist Trapped
  • The Legend of the Gobblewonker
  • Headhunters
  • The Hand That Rocks The Mabel
  • The Inconveniencing
  • Dipper vs. Manliness

DISC TWO – SEASON ONE

  • Double Dipper*
  • Irrational Treasure
  • The Time Traveler’s Pig
  • Fight Fighters
  • Little Dipper
  • Summerween
  • Boss Mabel

DISC THREE – SEASON ONE

  • Bottomless Pit!
  • The Deep End
  • Carpet Diem
  • Boyz Crazy
  • Land Before Swine*
  • Dreamscaperers
  • Gideon Rises

DISC FOUR – SEASON TWO

  • Scary-oke
  • Into the Bunker
  • The Golf War
  • Sock Opera
  • Soos and the Real Girl
  • Little Gift Shop of Horrors
  • Society of the Blind Eye

DISC FIVE – SEASON TWO

  • Blendin’s Game
  • The Love God
  • Northwest Mansion Mystery
  • Not What He Seems*
  • A Tale of Two Stans
  • Dungeons, Dungeons & More Dungeons
  • The Stanchurian Candidate

DISC SIX – SEASON TWO

  • The Last Mabelcorn
  • Roadside Attraction
  • Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future
  • Xpcveaoqfoxso (aka Weirdmageddon, Part 1)
  • Weirdmageddon 2: Escape from Reality
  • Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls

DISC SEVEN – SPECIAL FEATURES

  • One Crazy Summer (7 parts – 106:38 in all)
  • The Hirsch Twins (16:07)
  • Between the Pines (22:06)
  • Deleted Scenes (62:03)
  • Shorts: Dipper’s Guide to the Unexplained (6 parts – 13:28 in all)
  • Shorts: Mabel’s Guide to Life (5 parts – 11:56 in all)
  • Shorts: Fixin’ It with Soos (2 parts – 4:35 in all)
  • Shorts: TV Shorts (2 parts – 5:05 in all)
  • Mabel’s Scrapbook (2 parts – 4:50 in all)
  • Promos: “Old Man” McGucket’s Conspiracy Corner (11 parts – 5:52 in all)
  • Promos: Creepy Letters from Li’l Gideon (5 parts – 2:41 in all)
  • Promos: Soos’ Stan Fiction (4 parts – 3:53 in all)
  • Promos: ‘Pocalypse Preppin’ (8 parts – 4:16 in all)
  • Promos: Mystery Shack: Shop at Home with Mr. Mystery (9 parts – 12:35 in all)
  • Promos: Grunkle Stan’s Lost Mystery Shack Interviews (14 parts – 7:29 in all)
  • Promos: Gravity Paws (7 parts – 5:44 in all)
  • Promos: Journal 3 Infomercial (1:03)
  • Promos: Season 2 San Diego Comic Con Trailer (1:03)
  • Easter Eggs (15 in all – 12 hidden clips and 3 hidden commentaries – see the comments below)

All of the features above are in full HD. The Deleted Scenes piece is especially interesting, because these aren’t traditional scenes. Rather it’s an assembly of videotaped episode breakdown meetings where the crew is previewing the rough animation and storyboards for in-production episodes, and you’re shown scenes that were conceived for various episodes but were never finished. In addition to the list of content above, each of the episodes features optional audio commentary with series creator Alex Hirsch and other members of the cast or crew. There are also (we’ve been reliably informed and have indeed confirmed) some hidden 15 Easter eggs to be found in the set. All but 3 are found on the Special Features disc. They amount to about 40+ minutes of additional bonus clips. There are also a trio of “hidden” episode audio commentaries (for the episodes marked with * above). You can find these Easter eggs easily enough by navigating around the set’s menus and looking for hidden symbols to highlight. You even get a cute bit of swag in the packaging: a little envelope that’s a replica of Wendy’s note to Dipper from the final episode. The discs themselves are stored in a trio of standard blue BD cases and there’s a sturdy and attractive hard slipcase to hold them all.

Gravity Falls is a fun and charming animated series that clearly deserves its popularity and success. There’s a kind of bittersweet nostalgia at play beneath its madcap happenings that even adults might find charming. Once again, Shout! Factory has gone all-out in crafting a terrific Blu-ray box set for this series, one that not only delivers fine A/V quality but is loaded with fun extras that should delight its fans. If you count yourself among them, this set is absolutely recommended. Even if you’re not yet a fan, the sheer quality of effort here means this set should be on your radar screen. A lot of love has been put into this box and it’s worth a look.

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

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