Busytown Mysteries – You & Me… Solve A Mystery + Busy
World Of Richard Scarry – Every Day There’s Something New + Horseland – Greatest Stable Ever + Mona The Vampire – Show Us Your Fangs!
+ New Adventures Of Nanoboy + Super Duper Sumos – They’ve Got Guts + World Of Quest – The Quest Begins + Wimzie’s House – A World Of Enchantment
(Cookie Jar/Mill Creek DVD Sets)
C/C+* Sound: C+ Extras: C- Compilations/Episodes: C
the children’s market is not easy as in home video, it can be very overcrowded,
so for every character you hear about, there are many you do not. That also means there are only so many
companies out there and Cookie Jar is one of the companies that is newer, but
offers child-friendly programming for the most part and they have partnered
with Mill Creek to issue a new slate of DVDs.
All but one of the following are animated series.
Busytown Mysteries is easily the best of the shows,
with relatively the most challenge and substance to it. You
& Me… Solve A Mystery has 26 episodes, while the abbreviated Biggest Mysteries Ever! single DVD has
10 of the shows from the larger set. A
world of likable animals finds itself trying to figure out simple things in a
smart way, but does not overdo it. It is
written by Richard Scarry, who is more obviously behind The Busy World Of Richard Scarry, which also takes place in
Busytown, but is more of an outright exploration show. Every
Day There’s Something New is a 30 episode set, while the abbreviated It’s A Busy, Busy Day! has 10 of that
larger sets shows and is a good companion show.
Simple and not always memorable, it is still pretty good, tough all have
Horseland – Greatest Stable Ever offers 10 shows on a single DVD
about a group of friends who ride horses, who have some character of their
own. The most subtle of the shows being
issued, it was also the most traditional and least memorable, yet it was not
awful and should appeal to some children.
Mona The Vampire – Show Us Your
Fangs! is the “happy Horror” entry that is somewhat amusing, but even with
a mystery angle, is mixed at best.
New Adventures Of Nanoboy is the one true superhero entry,
boasting that the title character is “the world’s smallest superhero” though
that could be debated, but that is another essay. He is 10 years old, so that makes him younger
than Wendy or Marvin from the original Superfriends!
series. More comedy than anything else,
it is amusing at best, but not great.
Super Duper Sumos – They’ve Got
Guts is the
silliest of the shows, maybe a little outrageous for its audience and too hip
for its own good as three sumo wrestlers find themselves in goofy
adventures. It is also the one most
likely to date quickly, even in the face of Horseland.
World Of Quest – The Quest Begins has nothing to do with Johnny Quest (whose sequel shows have
all been duds) but a comic show about one Prince Nestor and his mission to save
his parents. The title character is a
big, built swordsman who is under a magic spell to protect Nestor, no matter
what trouble he gets into. The idea is
underutilized, but this is not bad, yet not great.
leaves Wimzie’s House – A World Of
Enchantment is a puppet show that is a loose descendant of what The Muppets
once did, trying to teach its audience (pre-schoolers here) about safe living
at home and has friendly monsters like its predecessor and is not bad, but
again, not great either. If anything,
all the shows here are derivative, but you could do worse, so give them a try if
your child is looking for something different.
X 1 image on all the shows (save Quest
and Busy World, which look the best
in their anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 framing) have aliasing errors,
softness and some digititis throughout.
Larger HDTVs will not help most of them look better either. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is a mixed bag,
with some good sound, but some harsh or hot edges to them. Extras are an extra episode on each release,
usually of another show, though Mona
has a Horseland show and vice versa,
Scarry of Busytown & vice versa, and Nanoboy
has a Quest show and vice versa, while
House adds tips for children.
- Nicholas Sheffo