So far, three DVD packs have been released in the United States and Canada : the volume one includes the 4-part pilot (which makes 27 episodes in total), volume two the next 27 episodes (in airing order), and the last 11 episodes are on the volume 3.
Review of the DVDs
With many TV series being successfully transfered to DVD, Disney finally decided to release some of their best series : the 80/90s Disney Afternoon series, on DVD in 2006/2007, and the last volume in 2014. (!)
Some of them weren't given real efforts (eg : Goof troop with only 3 episodes on 1 DVD...), but TaleSpin fortunately got pretty decent DVD offerings :
The artworks on the covers surely aren't the best ever seen, with kiddy presentation and characters often looking very "off-model", but at least they are still attractive and respectuous to the show.
The DVDs themselves are pretty crowded (only 3 DVDs by pack, which makes 9 episodes on each) The picture quality is good, although they clearly haven't been restored in any way, which is unfortunate. The quality doesn't seem to suffer from the tiny space used on the DVDs though. It's very varying, depending on the episodes too.
The 4-episode pilot is - thankfully - included, unlike some other shows like Ducktales or Chip & Dale which really missed it.
That pilot is like a full-length Disney movie itself (with a lower animation quality of course) And even if it's not the true movie version, but the syndicated TV version (some important parts have been cut for TV, like Rebecca's song), it's still a very important addition. Seeing the show without seeing the pilot first is like missing the first half of a movie...
The order of the episodes is the airing order, which seems pretty accurate - and it's very nice to see the pilot being the first episodes.
To summarize :
+ Cheap packs
+ 9 episodes on each DVD (less swapping!)
+ No ads before getting to the menu
+ "Uncut" episodes (unlike many TV airings)
+ Volume 1 includes the pilot (even if it's the 4-part TV syndicated version)
+ The show itself is a "must-see"...
- No picture restoration/improvements (although still better quality than VHS)
- No 16:9 ratio (but the show original ratio being 4:3, this is understandable)
- No extras
- No chapters within the episodes
- Only available in the United States and Canada
Closing thoughts : These DVDs are must-have for all TaleSpin fans; if you like the show, buying them is the best way to show your support. Also, it's almost the only "legal" way to see the show, as it's rarely airing - whatever country you live in.
The main problem is to actually FIND these DVDs. I'm not sure they are easy to find in local stores - so you may have to order them from online stores.
And if you live in another country, well, you won't have any other choice but to import them (that's what I did - shipping is a bit costly, but definitely worth it...Try Ebay for example.)
If you order from Ebay, watch out for the bootlegs : if they do not fit the description given, they are not the official DVDs from Disney.
Little note on DVD import : If you have a region 1 DVD, and you live outside the united states, you may encounter problems reading the DVDs on your player; if that's your case, the best way is to use your DVD on a computer, and read it with a software like Video Lan (VLC) - this works like a charm.
Otherwise, search on the web to find information on how to make your DVD player region-free (different procedure for each dvd player)
Avoid getting the VHS (unless for collection), because they only contain two episodes on each, and only a few have been released : now that the DVDs are available, they're pretty useless.
Anyway, here are a few covers from these video cassettes (most of them were actually used for the DVD covers) :