A couple of years ago, my wife and I found ourselves watching an episode of The Lizzie McGuire Show on a lazy Saturday morning, when nothing else was on. While we are certainly not the target market, we were both pleased to find that the half-hour was genuinely entertaining. Saturday mornings are a perfect time to watch this show, as it is mildly humorous, yet still benign enough that you don’t really have to get your brain working to enjoy it. It has since become a fairly-regular part of our weekend routine.< ...p>
This disc features four episodes with that ever popular sitcom convention; the guest star. The stars in question here are the unbelievably arrogant Aaron Carter, surprisingly funny Frankie Muniz, rock god Steven Tyler, and Raymond’s own Doris Roberts. Once viewers get past the horrible Aaron Carter episode, the remaining segments (including a bonus featuring Erik Estrada) are the same kind of entertaining family faire that viewers have come to identify with Lizzie.
There may not be enough here to warrant purchasing this title, but for a rental (or a parent who has no choice), this is an entertaining release with something in it for all audiences.
The audio quality on this release is consistently average. So many releases have bad audio these days, especially when they are aimed at a younger audience, that I consider this to be a positive. Let’s be honest… Lizzie is not really a girl who was made for Dolby Digital 5.1. The available Dolby Stereo track on this disc does just enough, without going overboard.
All of the episodes sound pretty much the same, with the exception of the first one, Here Comes Aaron Carter. Personally, I count this as a blessing. Any chance to hear a little less of this pre-teen twit is held in high regard. The following episodes all have easily discernable dialog and clear cartoon sound effects. Some muddy bass tones show up from time to time, but it is rare, and they do little to distract from the action on screen.
Much like the audio, the video quality is consistently average, with the exception of the first episode. This one suffers from excessive grain, which is made worse during close ups and the still shots that feature an animated Lizzie. I haven’t seen grain this bad since Season One of Sex and the City.
Once you get past this first episode, however, the grain is at much more acceptable levels, and the overall quality is greatly improved. The frame caries with it lots of bright, youthful colors, and for the most part, the disc handles them well. Some bright reds and blues tend to bleed a little, but as a whole, the colors are presented in an impressive manner, given their intensity.
There are two extras included with this disc. The first is a collection of trailers for a plethora of other Disney projects, including the theatrical release of Home on the Range, as well as seven DVD products, including Kim Possible, Mulan II and Brother Bear.
The second extra is a little frustrating. While a bonus episode is always appreciated, I am at a loss as to why it is considered and extra feature, and not just a part of the main content of the disc. However, it is listed as a bonus episode on the back of the box and on the DVD menus, and it is not included in the total run time listed on the packaging. For reasons beyond my comprehension, Disney insists that this is an extra feature, and not just the fifth episode on this disc. What Disney wants, Disney gets, I suppose. So there you have it… a bonus episode.
As far as those Saturday morning Disney programs go, this is by far the best. While it is aimed at a tween audience, there is still plenty here for adults to enjoy, such as references to The Godfather and Ginger Rogers (“…she was the Brittney of my day”). Lizzie McGuire is a show that kids will enjoy, and parents might find to be a guilty pleasure.
Special Features List
- Bonus Episode