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The Mighty Boosh

If you thought that Sid & Mary Krofft shows like H.R. Pufnstuff were already deranged and likely drug-or-sugary-cereal-induced visions of madness, then Adult Swim has a show for you.

Actually, The Mighty Boosh has been around for a while, though only recently reaching U.S. shores through Cartoon Network's twisted vision of Saturday morning television. All three seasons are being released on DVD here in the U.S. on July 21, though apparently Adult Swim has only been running the last two.

It's high praise to say that British comedian Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding brought two disparate memories of the seventies flooding back, though terribly corrupted.

For Americans, the best of the Boosh resembles a friendly Krofftian nightmare, on the surface nonsensical but always following a strange sense of internal logic. But The Mighty Boosh also reminded me of a BBC show randomly syndicated here in my childhood, The Goodies. Once again proving that I'm not fit for this world, it turns out that that's exactly what Barratt and Fielding were shooting for...at least at first.

Each season changes the show's location and basic premise -- not that the premise ever serves as a very stable launch pad for episode ideas. In the first season, while the two leads play low-level zookeepers, they still end up exploring in the Arctic and getting lost in the jungle -- both of which are obviously and charmingly small soundstages. Then in Season Two they travel to other worlds, desert islands and encounter Old Gregg. Let him be a surprise.

Though the two are versatile enough to play characters other than their main duo, Howard Moon and Vince Noir, they also generously create multiple roles for a small ensemble. Only Noel's brother Michael seems stuck in one character, but his Shaman Naboo the Enigma is so indelible, it seems to be for the best.

Each season comes in a 2-DVD package, with a heavy amount of commentary. Watch once through without, give in to the madness, then listen to the commentary. Barratt and Fielding's comedy owes as much to banter as it does incredibly loopy plotting, and with commentary you get an extra layer of the former.

The second disc in each set also comes loaded with extras, whether it be the ability to isolate the musical numbers -- many that sound look and sound like fun children's songs until you realize just how wrong they are -- or many looks behind the scenes. The only weird placement is that the original pilot, with slightly different casting, shows up on the Season 2 DVD, and not the Season 1, despite being referenced in a featurette there.

No matter. Once you get one, you'll want to get them all. And right now the Mighty Boosh is attempting to take the U.S. by storm. In addition to appearing (signing, and apparently DJing) at Comic-Con, they'll be on Jimmy Fallon Wednesday, July 22 and on Chelsea Lately the following Monday. It's a cult storm, but the weather could be bracing.

So enter another dimension of time and space...

Derek McCaw

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