In 2006, Dungeons & Dragons: The Complete Animated Series
was released in a handsome 5-disc boxed set by BCI Eclipse. In addition to having all 27 episodes beautifully remastered, the set featured a ton of bonus content including featurettes, audio commentaries, a hardcover game supplement, a radio-style presentation of the final unfinished episode, and so much more. The set quickly became a fan favorite and helped set a new standard for modern cartoon classics on DVD. However, not long after, BCI encountered financial problems and was forced to close down operations for good. This meant that all of their DVD releases were now or would soon be out of print. In 2009, Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the rights to many of BCI's TV properties including the 'Dungeons and Dragon' animated series, which has been repackaged as a bare bones 3-disc set collecting the complete run of the series. For hardcore fans, this means that none of the supplemental material from the previous release will be carried over (thus, the one star rating deduction). However, for casual fans, the incredibly inexpensive retail price of this new collection makes it a more enticing purchase.
For the uninitiated, this series tells the tale of six kids who, after riding the Dungeons & Dragons rollercoaster, mysteriously get sucked into its fantasy world. There, each of them gains magical talents and abilities, all the better to survive their time in the Realm. The bow-shooting ranger, the acrobat, the thief, the cavalier, the wizard, and the boy-barbarian are soon joined by a baby unicorn, and tutored by the mysterious Dungeon Master. Opposing them is the evil sorcerer Venger, as well as various monsters and entities all intent on keeping the kids from getting back home. This was one of CBS' most popular animated series, airing from 1983-1986, and later on the Fox Kids network as reruns. Created by the legendary Marvel Productions, the series was based on the popular TSR role-playing game created in 1974, which spawned an entire industry. Here are the episodes featured in this set;
1. NIGHT OF NO TOMORROW- The kids meet the wizard, Merlin, who offers Presto an apprenticeship position.
2. EYE OF THE BEHOLDER- The gang enlist the aid of the knight, Sir John, who may not be a hero after all.
3. HALL OF BONES- The kids discover that their weapons are running out of power and must be recharged.
4. VALLEY OF UNICORNS- The gang must stop a wizard who wants to harness the power of unicorn horns.
5. IN SEARCH OF THE DUNGEON MASTER- The kids must save the Dungeon Master from a bounty hunter.
6. BEAUTY AND THE BOGBEAST- The gang must find a cure for Eric, who has been changed into a beast.
7. PRISON WITHOUT WALLS- The kids go to the Swamp of Sorrow to free a prisoner held by a spellbinder.
8. SERVANT OF EVIL- Bobby befriends the reluctant giant Karox to free his friends from Venger's grasp.
9. QUEST OF THE SKELETON WARRIOR- The kids help a former celestial knight who is now Venger's slave.
10. GARDEN OF ZINN- Bobby has been poisoned and the gang must find the foot of a yellow dragon to cure him.
11. THE BOX- The Dungeon Master tells the kids that using Zandora's box to free Zandora will get them home.
12. THE LOST CHILDREN- The gang meet a band of children with a mysteries ship that might taken them home.
13. P-R-E-S-T-O SPELLS DISASTER- Presto must rescue his friends after bungling yet another spell.
14. GIRL WHO DREAMED TOMORROW- The gang meet an Earth girl trapped in the realm who dreams the future.
15. TREASURE OF TARDOS- The kids travel to the walled city of Tardos to save its queen and free her people.
16. CITY AT THE EDGE OF MIDNIGHT- The gang learn of a city where children are being held captive.
17. THE TRAITOR- The kids are suspicious of Hank, who they fear may be hiding the truth of Bobby's kidnapping.
18. DAY OF THE DUNGEON MASTER- Eric is made Dungeon Master for a day after stating the job is easy.
19. THE LAST ILLUSION- The gang must regain their weapons from Venger and rescue an illusionist.
20. THE DRAGON'S GRAVEYARD- The kids decide to disobey the Dungeon Master and stop Venger for good.
21. CHILD OF THE STARGAZER- The gang help a man who has been imprisoned by a queen afraid of his power.
22. DUNGEON AT THE HEART OF DAWN- Eric accidentally frees Venger's master, an entity of pure evil.
23. THE TIME LOST- Venger's spell brings a World War II pilot to the Realm, where he befriends the gang.
24. ODYSSEY OF THE 12TH TALISMAN- The kids teams up with an orphan in their quest for the Stone of Astra.
25. CITADEL OF SHADOW- The gang finds themselves in a bitter family feud between Venger and a relative.
26. CAVE OF THE FAIRIE DRAGONS- The kids must free the fairie dragon queen and help her people.
27. WINDS OF DARKNESS- The gang enlists the aid of a reluctant woman in rescuing the kidnapped Hank.
It should be noted that in addition to this complete series set, Mill Creek has also released Dungeons & Dragons: The Animated Series- Beginnings
on DVD. That collection consists of only the first 9 episodes and hardly seems worth it when one can simply spend a few dollars more and own the entire series. As for the show, it is unfortunate that some uninformed adults originally feared that the game and cartoon promoted occult activities (a claim that seems ludicrous in retrospect). Eventually, it was not magic that led to the show's premature cancellation in 1986, but rather sagging ratings. But thanks to this latest DVD release, fans can relive all these great adventures anytime they want.