DVD Review: 'Danny Phantom' Season 1

They called him "The Halfa."

Point of authenticity: I've never met a goth who was also an ultra-recyclo vegan as Danny's friend Sam is. Not to say that's not a thing, I just never met one.

That point aside, the first season of Danny Phantom, released recently by Shout! Factory, showcases a pretty hyperactive, fun series about a boy who is also half a ghost who is also a sometime superhero. The 20-episode set introduces viewers to the Danny Felton, whose parents are obsessive ghost hunters, whose sister is a skeptic, and whose friends alternately get save him from/get him caught up in ghost hunting adventures.

The premise and setup aren't especially deep: Danny and his friends are messing around near his dad's latest ghost hunting invention, the Ghost Portal, when Danny gets sucked through getting pumped with a bunch of ectoplasm, making him half-ghost. Hence, "the Halfa." It's a really solid concept for a superhero series and the ghostly encounters Danny and his friends have each episode are more goofy than spooky. Danny's total Peter Parker, having to juggle his life as a junior high student, hiccups with his powers, malevolent ghosts, bullies, and even his own ghost hunting parents who are always this close to catching him. There are some pretty clever uses of the character's evolving powers and, I don't know, it's a formula, but it's a formula because it works.

The actual look of the series is this chunky, thick-lined style familiar to anyone who saw series creator Butch Hartman's other popular series, The Fairly Oddparents, and like that show, Danny Phantom is geared towards slightly younger viewers. I wonder--was there ever a Danny Phantom comic? The character seems like he'd be a great fit on the comic page from the costume to the concept.

You won't find a lot of multi-tiered humor here, and there's not a lot of winking at older viewers, but the ghosts and enemies Danny encounters are clever and unique and I think that's definitely what the kids who were watching the show were looking for.

Shout Factory presents the first 20 episodes of the Nickelodeon series here in a four-disc set. Shout Factory! should be commended for being one of the best companies at archiving a lot of older series, and it's cool that they're also hitting some of these more recent series. But If you're looking for the stack of special features you'd find on most other releases from the company, though, you're out of luck.

You can watch a clip from the show below:

Danny Phantom: Season 1 is on DVD now from Shout! Factory.