I've watched a moderate amount of Dragon Ball Z, both on Cartoon Network and on DVD. I watched parts of Frieza and Cell on TV and then rewatched both sagas in full on DVD. I'll freely admit that it's pretty simplistic and trope-y, but it can be fun (if you can put up with what happened in the previous episode at least ;)
I picked up the remastered DVDs of Dragon Ball a couple years back because i was curious about the history of what's become such a cornerstone of anime, but had never actually watched them before. When we finished of Archer (at least all of it that's available on Netflix right now) we needed something to fill the "short and simple" niche to watch while eating or when we don't feel like something more serious. Avalyn doesn't normally like anime in general for that purpose since she's not as practiced as switching back and forth between looking at the food on her plate and reading the subtitles. However since i got started with Dragon Ball Z on the Cartoon Network i'm actually used to the dub for this one.
However i made the decision to turn the subtitles on anyway, just to see the difference in how they're presented. Most of the time those differences are usually just cosmetic, but sometimes they're not.
We're near the end of season one now, they've wrapped up the tournament but there's still one disk left with a couple episodes, and it's been very interesting to see all the differences, as well as the gradual introduction of all the things i expect.
Commentary, with spoilers i suppose, for a 25+ year old anime:
I knew that the Japanese have different views on nudity than Americans, but there's still more full frontal male nudity than i was really expecting in a children's show. I'm not really fond of the fart jokes that are popular in some shows and, with the exception of one episode in particular, Dragon Ball mostly omits those. However i'm not really that big on urination jokes as a replacement.
I knew from Dragon Ball Z that Master Roshi has a reputation as a pervert, but, um, wow. He's definitely far past simple "pervert" in Dragon Ball and full on into sexual harassment, something else i wasn't really expecting for a children's show. So far this is the thing where we've noticed the biggest discrepancy between the dub and the sub. The dub frequently tones down Master Roshi, for example when he's trying to coerce Bulma into giving him "pafu-pafu" (i.e. let him rub his face on her breasts) the dub keeps saying he's asking her to go on a walk with him.
There's a fair bit of arbitrary skepticism in the show, at least at the beginning. Bulma is very surprised to discover Goku's tail and at first thinks it's a fake. Given the number of anthropomorphic animals and non-anthropomorphic but still sapient creatures they encounter, all of which she handles without batting an eye, it seems weird that she's so thrown by a tail.
Then later when they see Goku transform for the first time Oolong asks if he's some kind of alien or what. Now admittedly Goku's transformation is a bit more extreme than the others we've seen so far, but Oolong is a pig who can transform into anything he wants, who is friends (sorta) with a cat(?) that can transform into anything it wants, and they helped fight against a rabbit that could transform anything it wanted into carrots. Jumping to the "aliens" conclusion just because Goku has demonstrated the ability to undergo a single transformation seems a bit extreme. (Of course it was probably just intended as foreshadowing and/or a joke for those familiar with the series, depending on where the manga was at the point they were animating this episode.)
About halfway through the first season we started encountering "Previously on Dragon Ball". Not in every episode and not quite as bad as i remember Dragon Ball Z getting at times, but they have worked their way up to about 45 seconds in some cases.
And it was during the World Tournament that they first started breaking a single fight into multiple episodes. Just one fight in this case, but they did manage to spread it over three episodes.
And finally, given how frequently the Dragon Balls get used later on in the series, and given what they're usually used to do, it's very amusing that the whole first half of the first season was devoted to collecting them. And that the goal of nominally good guys was either to wish for a boyfriend or to get along better with girls. Though i've got to say that once the Dragon Balls were finally collected, i had _no_ idea it was possible to interrupt the dragon in that fashion! Seems kind of unfair really.