Well, I've been looking forward to the new Popeye for a long time. And so far it's been more than worth the wait. Thus far, I'm just through disc one, though I've also watched a few titles from the other discs out of order due to impatience/curiosity.
I'm doing most of my viewing chronologically, as the Popeye cartoons really seem to offer a unique view of cartoon history. The designs and animation start out kind of primitive, with lots of round-headed, googly-eyed, rubber hose extras. But by A Dream Walking (34) it seems like a lot of innovation has taken place at Fleischers. The backgrounds are starting to approach the lushness of their Superman cartoons. And you can feel the golden age coming on in both the design and animation.
It seems like Dave Fleischer was better at creating suspense than most other Directors of the era-- cartoon or live action. And the gags are often really inspired. As has been stated elsewhere, the Popeye cartoons are clearly set in the depression. They caricature the poverty and brutality of the era instead of escaping from it like the Disney shorts from the time.
There's a doc on the early history of animation that's way too short at a half an hour-- but really good while it lasts. The other extras are pretty light-weight, glossing over the fights with the unions and Paramount. But the cartoons themselves pack a real punch. And I think most of them have been genuinely hard to get ahold of until now. I can't wait for Vol 2-- which should be all of the Fleischers.