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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Animals > Children > Fantasy > Live Action > Horror > Comic Strip > > TV > Dora’s Fantastic Gymnastic Adventure/The Fresh Beat Band: The Wizard Of Song (Nickelodeon DVDs)/R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series, Volume One + Volume Two/The Adventures Of Tintin: Season Thr

Dora’s Fantastic Gymnastic Adventure/The Fresh Beat Band: The Wizard Of Song (Nickelodeon DVDs)/R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series, Volume One + Volume Two/The Adventures Of Tintin: Season Three (1992/Shout! Factory DVDs)/The Winx Club: Secret Of The Lost Kingdom (Nickelodeon DVD Set)

 

Picture: C+ (Tintin: C)     Sound: C+     Extras: D/D/C/C/D/C     Episodes: C+/C+/C/C/C+/C

 

 

The latest round of children’s titles here are child-friendly enough, but age is still a factor and some are a bit better than others.

 

 

Dora’s Fantastic Gymnastic Adventure is here in time for the Olympics and also includes two bonus episodes.  Give Nickelodeon credit for good marketing and continued releases of what has become one of the most popular show’s in the network’s history.  The quality stays consistent and never wears thin.  Unfortunately, there are no extras.

 

 

The Fresh Beat Band: The Wizard Of Song is a newer musical series from Nickelodeon and it is not bad, having some of the same energy as Yo Gabba Gabba, but it did not stay with me and their take on the original 1939 Wizard Of Oz is at least different and amusing, if not too memorable.  They do fare better than The Muppets did, though.  Whether this will be the beginning of a show with a long run is hard to say, but it is a quality show and we’ll see where the four lead cast goes from here.  There are no extras here either.

 

 

R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series, Volume One + Volume Two is remarkable the first time we have covered adaptations of the famous child horror author, though this is horror-lite and I have mixed reactions to what is a subgenre that is safe and maybe amusing, but overrated and only so effective.  It is of note that we did not see this kind of storytelling until the 1980s, when the genre went into decline and was hijacked politically.  As a result, these are not as honest or fun as similar tales aimed towards a youth audience before it.  This and Goosebumps have their audience and they do get the young to read, but I still find this too limited for its own good.  Each single DVD has five episodes and the same two extras: A Look Behind The Scenes and Original Promos.

 

 

The Adventures Of Tintin: Season Three continues the rollout of the more recent animated series from the early 1990s and it continues to be entertaining and fun, but not extensively and the shows are starting to repeat themselves as expected.  The makers apparently agreed and ended the show with these last 13 half-hours over two DVDs.  There are no extras, but fans will be happy.

 

 

Finally we have The Winx Club: Secret Of The Lost Kingdom, a CG animated feature version of the angel team on their latest adventure issued by Nickelodeon, but I actually thought the material and more traditional animation from the seven bonus episodes included her as extras are relatively more interesting.  I had never seen any of this material before, so this is a nice introductory DVD set for those unfamiliar or interested.

 

 

The 1.33 X 1 on Tintin is just a little softer than I would have liked, matching the performance on the previous DVD releases, but the same frame on the Nickelodeon releases look better and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Winx CG feature is as good.  Haunting Hour has anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 episodes, the only one on the list and they might have been the best performers on the list, but they are softer than expected and some of that is the shooting style chosen for the show.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on all the DVDs are about equal, but can have minor flaws and limits depending on the recording.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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