|Ugly Americans||Weds 10:30pm / 9:30c|
|One Year of Ugly Americans|
It’s been a while since my last update here. Sorry about that. One thing I was able to find time for, though, was watching the first season of Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans on DVD. Since I don’t have cable, I’m behind the times on a lot of new media (I still haven’t seen season 4 of Dexter), but Michelle and Danny from Wiredset were nice enough to offer me a review copy in advance of the official release.
And you know what? It’s pretty good. The premise is golden, set in an alternate-reality New York where vampires, zombies, demons and monsters of all natures coexist more or less peacefully with each other and normal humans. The execution doesn’t quite live up to the promise, but it definitely gave me a few laughs, and I expect things to pick up in later seasons.
Ugly Americans falls very much into the modern “illustrated radio” subgenre of animation, where the dialogue drives the comedy and the visuals are of less consideration, but the art (made in Flash, I understand) is serviceable. The colors are bold and flat, and a lot of the character design is stiff and blocky, which was done as an apparent homage to Al Feldstein’s art for EC Comics. I feel like I would have preferred a somewhat wackier, bigfoot, Jack Davis-influenced design, but that’s just my taste.
The DVD itself is well packaged, with EC-styled cover design. All seven episodes are on one disc, with bonus features like audio commentary and short “webisodes,” and the package includes “A Field Guide to Ugly Americans,” a pamphlet from the Department of Integration explaining the sorts of things you’re likely to encounter in New York and how to survive them. On the downside, the DVD lacks subtitles, like far too many other TV shows on DVD (can we get a movement to complain about this, please?), so you’ll have to settle for the closed captions if you need them.
Despite its flaws, I recommend Ugly Americans. The characters are well written and the premise, again, is pretty much unbeatable. Check it out.