After many years of waiting, fans of “Dennis the Menace” finally have their precocious trouble maker on DVD thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment. In 1986, Hank Ketcham’s hit newspaper comic strip was adapted once again in to an animated series that played on Saturday mornings. I watched “Dennis the Menace” a lot as a child as the networks played the series through syndication allowing me to see the show every single day. “Dennis the Menace” is a fun and pleasant animated series that channels the antics of Dennis the Menace, along with the colorful characters and unique world that comes with the territory.
Most of the episodes usually began with Dennis and his family travelling to some unusual setting and Dennis would always wander off and get in to some wacky misadventures with his friends or dog Ruff. The series also included a more diverse supporting cast which included African American character Jay, and the more heroic Hispanic character Gina, who often engaged in adventures with Dennis from time to time. “Dennis the Menace” had the distinction of featuring the voice of the late great Phil Hartman who, in season 1, voiced Dennis’ father, and Denni’s cranky old foil Mr. Wilson. The great Maurice LaMarche steps in to those roles in season two. The series is now available in all seventy eight full length episodes and surprisingly holds up very well.
Even if you didn’t grow up watching the series as people like me did, it’s often a very energetic and entertaining show with one of the catchiest theme songs of any animated series from the decade. The animators also conjure up the aesthetic of the original comic book by maintaining the animation in the style of the characters from the newspaper strip; especially Dennis who resembles like his comic counterpart to a tee. Every episode offers two or three animated adventures, and still keeps the comedic tone consistent. “Dennis the Menace” is one of the better animated series of the eighties, and deserves another re-watch from fans and animation buffs.
The DVD set comes with no special features, unfortunately.