In ratings-obsessed US TV culture, challenges don't come more daunting than being asked to create an animated series to rival The Simpsons. Fortunately for creator Mike Judge (Beavis And Butthead) it's safe to say that King Of The Hill (now in its tenth season) rose to the task and, arguably, has even begun to outshine Groening's gang in recent years. Seasons one and two don't quite scale such dizzy heights, but are still full of the sharp wit, sly charm and underlying warmth that make the show such a pleasure.
Set in Arlen, Texas, Hank Hill is a conservative American. His wife Peggy is a substitute teacher who likes to speak her mind. Their son Bobby is, well, strange. And niece Luanne is surely the inspiration for Britney Spears' trailer-trash period. Add in a shifty conspiracy theorist, adulterous, mumbling and faux-suicidal neighbours, plus a war-mongering father and you have the basic, enduring ingredients that the show has riffed on ever since.
Unsurprisingly, the animation and characterisation get slicker as the shows progress, but both seasons are worth getting, particularly for the lavish extras. As well as deleted scenes for pretty much every episode there's a mass of commentaries - many voiced by the characters themselves - that make for some head-spinningly post-modern humour. The featurettes are also excellent, particularly the show's history and excerpts from Hank's book, The Boy Ain't Right. Beware of that inane theme tune, though. It'll be in your head for weeks.
BEST BIT "If anyone tried to stick needles in me, I think I'd kick their ass," claims Hank before going to an acupuncturist... and kicking his ass.