For this week's What to Watch, I wanted to turn the clock back a bit. A few months ago, I got excited about some of the major additions to Disney+. I already wrote about The Muppet Show, but there's another Jim Henson property that got added that I'm fully back into again. It's Dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs is one of those shows I remember as being a competent comedy, one that's mainly remembered for how it ended. You know the ending I'm talking about. It's the one where if you see it as a kid, it leaves an impression on you because it's such a downer. In fact, I remember that ending being such a downer that I didn't know if I wanted to take this ride again.
Not only is Dinosaurs better than I remember, but holy crap, it's a show that would fit in like a glove with today's crop of shows. It's really clever and witty and, more than that, it's shockingly relevant almost 30 years later.
I'll get to the latter in a moment, but I remember hearing a lot of comparisons between Earl Sinclair and Homer Simpson in the early 90s. There's a good reason for that. Earl is the formula dopey sitcom dad, but one who has the role down to a tee. He plays dumb just enough for it to be funny and not grating, his comic timing is perfect, and his delivery is outstanding. Earl's exchanges with Fran, his kids, Roy, or boss Mr. Richfield are always a hoot.
Beyond watching for Earl, the other thing to watch out for in Dinosaurs is just how much some of the themes and ideas still hit in 2021. Many of the ideas this show addressed are still an issue today... which is really sad, when you think about it. I'm talking about conservation, saving endangered species, sexual harassment, women in the workplace, the futility of war and folly of jingoism, and a lot more. It also deals with the issue of climate change... boy, does it ever.
A lot of these episodes manage to be poignant while still being funny. The episode "A New Leaf" is an absolute must-see, if only to see how Dinosaurs tackles the topic of drugs. And yes, it's a drug PSA episode and it gets its message across loud and clear. It also warns of a scourge that we must also look to eradicate in our lifetimes: drug PSA episodes! The punchline at the end of the episode is one of the highlights of the show, at least so far, as I'm currently well into Season 3 and counting.
If you're a Disney+ subscriber, absolutely run through Dinosaurs. It'll shock you how well this show still holds up. Also, watch it for the late Jessica Walter, because if you've spent the last 20 years watching Lucille Bluth and Mallory Archer, you'll be stunned by how not like those characters Fran Sinclair is. It's a fun watch and you'll enjoy it.