I must confess I am that rarity - a confirmed fan of Jem and the Holograms who arrived too late to have seen them 25+ years ago on TV; I have also studiously avoided seeing the old episodes online. So this is a set I have literally been waiting 15 years to see! And I must say, despite any criticisms to the contrary, the wait has been worth it for this two-disc set. Any lingering anger or disappointment should be directed at Rhino, producers of the previous Jem DVDs, for their failure to complete this wonderful series. They stopped at mid-point of what SHOUT! Factory is calling the Second and Third Seasons, making it necessary to get them both to truly complete all 65 episodes that make up Jem. ( If for some strange reason anyone has NONE of the previous versions of Jem on DVD and is considering this title, it would behoove them to go ahead and instead invest in Jem and the Holograms: The Truly Outrageous Complete Series as that is the ONLY way to get the separate disc containing all the "extra" features. )
What of this DVD set itself? It's brief - a mere 13 episodes: this number relates to the 1/2 "season" Jem and all other similar series were originally contracted for. Stories were comissioned by toy manufacturer Hasbro to introduce or showcase dolls they intended to add to the line of existing Jem merchandise, so in this set we meet for the first time Jem's and the Misfits' new "rival" band The Stingers ( "Riot", "Minx", and "Rapture" ); costume designer Regine Cezare; and stage magician "Astral". The last two are only introduced in single episodes each but the Stingers add a much-needed third element that greatly enlivens most of the stories with a sort of "love triangle" that emerges with Pizzazz chasing Riot; he infatuated with the "perfect woman" Jem; and she conflicted by strange new feelings for somebody other than the long-suffering Rio. Add to the mix the aptly-named Minx angling after the one man she can't have ( Rio ) and things get very lively indeed!
If there is any complaint about these episodes it's probably that there are too few of them: the clever situation isn't allowed to come to fruition because Hasbro "pulled the plug" on Jem after this too-short "season" due to slumping sales of the Jem dolls; Riot, Minx, Rapture, Astral, and Regine never made it past initial designs into doll form. Also, the only "extra" on this set is the Video Jukebox feature that allows you to play all the songs independent of the stories. The final episode, A Father Should Be..., at least allowed the Jem animation team to somewhat say farewell to the legion of Jem fans: "Goodbye - but not for good" - words that have proven prophetic with the release of this and the companion sets of the Truly Outrageous Jem!