Posted in: Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on November 15th, 2011
Six different Nickelodeon children’s programs aimed at preschoolers each have their own Christmas (or Holiday) special episodes and are compiled together on this DVD release.
Dora the Explorer: Using tons of repetition and visual cues, Dora and her friends teach kids while alternating between English and Spanish. This time they need to go to the North Pole.
Go, Diego Go!: Virutally the same format as Dora, except with focus on animals.
Wonder Pets: I went into this expecting to take each show with a grain of salt, knowing full well that I am about 25 years older than the target audience. Alas, Wonder Pets is unavoidably horrible and must be marked as such. Formatted like an Operetta, where all of the characters sing constantly, three pets set out to save an animal for some reason while singing about their own selfishness (Ming Ming the duck spends the entire episode acting like a brat with no repercussions, which makes for a terrible example for kids to emulate) and token moral messages come out of left field. It’s not wacky enough to be fun, it’s not structured well enough to tell a competent story, its not ironic enough for adults to enjoy, its not delivering good messages properly, and basically fails on all fronts when this sort of show should be a mulligan.
Blue Clues: The usual format for anyone familiar with Blues Clues. A live human is bombarded with animated characters as they roam about a 2D world. This edition has the characters teaching us about various holiday festivities. Unlike the other shows, this one does not dress itself up with Christmas decorations or themed costumes.
Team Umizoomi: Taking bits and pieces from other shows’ formulas, these is another trio who sets out to save…something, each episode. Santa’s work shop is in trouble and well, you know what happens.
Ni Hao, Kai-lan: Like Dora and Diego, language learning is spliced into this look and search adventure.
Fullscreen. The colours are insanely vibrant in each program, obviously the help maintain the visual attention of very young viewers. The transfer to DVD has not dampened anything. A nice picture quality in each program.
Dolby Digital English Stereo. As much as I find children’s voice acting to be a custom punishment designed to occupy the ears of those settled in the 7th ring of Hell…the audio quality for this DVD is nice. A surround sound track would be wasted as the stereo delivers everything directly. This is especially true since most of the characters address the viewers directly and it would only be confusing to have sound arriving in all directions.
Fresh Beat Band music video “Snow Day”: The band puts on their ice skates and dance/skates out their joys of playing in the snow is this short song.
If you don’t know already, this is strictly to keep the kids occupied for a solid two hours around the holiday season. Need a break, place this in your DVD player…you’ve probably earned it.