While "Daria" certainly had its own cult following, the series was often overshadowed by the series it spun-off from, "Beavis and Butthead". Created by Created by "Beavis" story editor Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn, the series managed a successful run that lasted from 1997 ("Beavis and Butthead" would stop airing shortly after "Daria" started) to 2002. However, the show's influence seems to live on, as MTV's recent live-action series, "My Life as Liz" sometimes felt inspired by "Daria".
The series saw Daria moving away from Highland and Beavis and Butthead to a new town, Lawndale. Not surprisingly, Daria (voiced by staffer Tracy Grandstaff, although many think that Janeane Garofalo voiced the character) doesn't find her way in a new school quite as easily as her popular sister, Quinn (approached by a guy at school, she claims to be an only child, despite Daria watching nearby.) Her parents, Helen and Jake, try enthusiastically to connect with their daughter, but continue to fail when they care more about themselves and only know how to approach her with generic self-help strategies.
Throughout all of it, Daria remains her acerbic self, but the series does occasionally see the character change and let her card down - and thankfully so, as I'm not sure the series would have run the five seasons with Daria not occasionally opening up a bit to the world. She's joined by her pal, Jane, who sees eye-to-eye with Daria about many things, but the two aren't without the occasional fight, which makes the friendship feel more genuine.
Smartly-written and superbly delivered by the largely unknown cast (Grandstaff is a master of the dryly delivered throwaway, and the Garofalo comparison stands up well - Grandstaff's just as good at dropping acidic riffs. The writing is not only hilarious, but intelligent, and manages to get underneath and examine many of the common high school stereotypes.
The series itself still holds up pretty well after all these years, but it's a little weird to watch the series, given the difference between the MTV of the '90's and the MTV of today.
Unfortunately, 99% of the music has been changed, according to the liner notes from Eichler. The music rights costs of the series were so substantial that if the decision was not reached to edit the music, the series would never have been released (and has been what has held up the show until this point.) The theme song, at least, stays the same.
The set contains the entire series (all 5 seasons), but also contains the two feature-length movies from the series - "Is It Fall Yet?" and "Is It College Yet?".
VIDEO: The series is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame by Paramount, the show's original aspect ratio. The show's animation style is about as basic as "Beavis and Butthead"'s, but it works and is presented fairly well by this transfer. Sharpness and detail aren't great, but the series have always had this slightly soft look. Some slight dirt and wear is seen at times, but the picture otherwise looked pristine, with no artifacting or edge enhancement. Colors looked bright and only occasionally looked a tiny bit smeary.
SOUND: The show is presented with a minimal stereo soundtrack. Audio quality is basic, aside from the tunes (the ones included), which sound full and clear. Dialogue was clean and never distorted or otherwise problematic.
EXTRAS: Cast and crew interviews, Top 10 video countdown hosted by Daria and Jane, "Daria Day" videos, pilot episode, Mystik Spiral video and "Mystik Spiral" spin-off script.
Final Thoughts: "Daria" still manages acidic laughs years later, and fans will likely be thrilled to see the show finally available on the format after all these years. The set offers pleasing audio/video quality, as well as a nice handful of supplemental features. Recommended for fans.