The main characters are Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, three young and free-spirited lunatic siblings who are supposed to be trapped inside the WB water tower, but of course they manage to escape every episode and wreak all sorts of havoc. The very best moments in the series usually focus on the crazy "Warner Kids," but just like the old-style WB cartoons, ANIMANIACS has a large and eclectic ensemble of supporting characters. Pinky and the Brain proved popular enough to earn their very own series, but my favorite is probably Slappy the Squirrel, a self-referential veteran 'toon star who often doles out punchlines that only the animation aficionados will understand.
The rest of the other characters are a mixed bag. The Pesci-inspired "Goodfeathers" (mafia pigeons) are a one-joke gag that's never all that funny; the Warners have an amusing nemesis in the frazzled Dr. Scratchnsniff; plus there's a bunch of crazy hippos, chickens, and over-protective dogs. Not all of the characters' segments fly, but the bits that do work, well, they're pretty darn funny.
Between this and TINY TOONS, uber-producer Steven Spielberg proved that his magic touch could be extended to the world of after-school TV programming, and because ANIMANIACS has Spielberg's name on it, the viewer knows s/he's getting something of quality. So while I'll still stick with my classic Looney Tunes shorts, I've no problem recommending ANIMANIACS V1 to the animation enthusiasts out there. It's silly, it's slick, and it shows off some real (if irreverent) respect for the "olden days" cartoons. Good stuff. Each 22-minute episode is broken down into 2 or 3 shorts, with a bunch of interconnected silliness (sometimes) tying them together.
On disc 5 you'll find a bunch of trailers. Kinda skimpy in the goodies department, but maybe WB will give us a bit more in Vol. 2.