The Adult Swim portion of cable channel Cartoon Network has rapidly grown in popularity, as it provides a series of cult shows geared more towards adults, such as the brilliant "Venture Bros." and "Robot Chicken". "Squidbillies" and "Metalocalpyse" are two of the more recent additions to the Adult Swim lineup, and they're just as eccentric and out-there as many of the other shows featured.
This is especially true in the case of "Squidbillies", one of the more wholly and completely bizarre offerings that Adult Swim has provided. The series, which offers sub-"South Park" animation (it looks like a team of kids animated it), revolves around a set of hillbilly squids (hence the title) living in the mountains of Georgia. While I thought the series had moments of twisted humor that went over well, the rather hard parody of Southerners probably isn't going to go over all that well in parts of the South.
While the series won't be everyone's cup-of-tea, there were some amusing moments, such as one in the first episode, where a squid gets raised by a bunch of wolves in the forest, who teach the squid the ways of the world in-between trying to tear it apart for dinner. The first volume of the series includes the first 20 episodes.
Also out now is the first volume of "Metalocalypse" (which contains the first 20 episodes), a very different cult animated series that focuses on part-American/part-Scandinavian death metal band Dethklok, who is one of the world's most popular acts (as we see on a news report, the stock market declines because Deathklok's album has been conintually delayed.) The band consists of: vocalist Nathan Explosion (voiced by co-creator and co-writer Brendon Small), guitar player Toki Wartooth (voiced by co-creator and co-writer Tommy Blacha), bass player William Murderface (Blacha), guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf (Small) and Pickles the drummer (Small).
The cartoon's pretty funny, as it's an amusing take on the music industry and the metal genre (in one episode, the band can't get an album together, so they decide to record on a nuclear submarine.) The other element of the series has a secretive arm of government following the band because they've gotten too big. Overall, I thought the series was a very funny animated take on the metal genre, obviously coming from fans (some musicians, such as Metallica's James Hetfield, turn up in voice cameos.)
VIDEO: "Squidbillies" is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame, while "Metalocalypse" is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. The presentation quality on both titles is perfectly fine, as the animation of both shows is presented crisply and clearly. Some minor artifacting and slight shimmer was occasionally seen on both titles, although these issues were slight and only briefly seen. Colors on both shows looked bright and bold, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: Both shows are presented with crisp, clear stereo audio.
EXTRAS: "Metalocalypse"'s extra features are hidden, and require some light digging around in the menus to find. "Squidbillies" offers 6 never-before-seen pilots, "Anime Talk Show" and "Comic Con 2004" featurettes, deleted scenes, art/music gallery and a behind-the-scenes.
Final Thoughts: While they won't be for all tastes, "Squidbillies" and "Metalocalypse" both certainly have some hysterical moments. Each DVD set provides fine audio/video quality and some fun bonus features. Both are recommended for fans, and each are sold separately.