DVD Review: Danny Phantom

Are you a fan of ghosts... or cartoons? Well, you're in luck because Shout! Factory has just recently released the first ever complete Season 1 of Danny Phantom, a well known Nickelodeon cartoon that is still airing today. The DVD includes all 20 episodes from the first season on a four disc set. I was a little disappointed that there were no special features or additional commentary, however since previous DVD releases of Danny Phantom have only included the first 13 episodes of each season this new release is still a nice set for fans.

Danny is a typical 14-year-old with an atypical family. His parents are over-enthusiastic, slightly kooky ghost hunters and through one of their inventions - a portal to reach the "ghost zone" - Danny accidentally gets turned into a half ghost/half boy with ghostly superpowers. He tries to keep his powers a secret from his parents and big sister, while battling other ghosts that slip through the portal with help from his two best friends Tucker and Sam.

What I like about Danny Phantom is it's an action-hero cartoon, but since it's about a young teenage protagonist with an off-beat family they still manage to throw in a few life lessons. There are a lot of cartoons out there with an abundance of the nudge nudge wink wink humor aimed at adults that I, frankly, feel a bit uncomfortable letting my son watch. (They're OK for me, but not for him, if you get what I'm saying. Otherwise he ends up asking me uncomfortable questions!) However, Danny Phantom, even with some humorous elements built in that adults can enjoy (bringing in a character that spoofs Scooby Doo, for example), its primary focus is still a kids' cartoon. I feel completely comfortable with my son watching it and it's a show that I enjoy as well. The action in this series is definitely superheroes and villains, complete with fight scenes (if you're concerned about that), but it's on the lighter side, less Batman and more along the lines of Kim Possible.

All in all I think this series is a lot of fun. I think the characters are interesting and I love that it combines the superhero standard with a supernatural element, for those of us with a kooky edge. I was already familiar with the Danny Phantom series but this DVD let me catch up on a few episodes I had missed seeing, and I'm already looking forward to Seasons 2 & 3 coming out as well.

Danny Phantom: Season One is available at Shout! Factory.


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