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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Animals > Children > CGI > Travel > Food > Fantasy > Magic > TV > Alpha & Omega 3: The Great Wolf Games (2014/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Justin Time: Amazing Adventures!/Far Away Friends!/Goes Exploring! (2013/Cinedigm DVDs)/Peppa Pig: My Birthday Party (2014/E1 DVD)/

Alpha & Omega 3: The Great Wolf Games (2014/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Justin Time: Amazing Adventures!/Far Away Friends!/Goes Exploring! (2013/Cinedigm DVDs)/Peppa Pig: My Birthday Party (2014/E1 DVD)/Tickety Tock: Spring Chicks Time (2014/Anchor Bay DVD)/The Winx Club: The Complete Original Season 1 (2003/Flatiron/Cinedigm DVDs)

Picture: B- & C/C+/C+/C/C+ Sound: C+ (Alpha Blu: B-) Extras: C-/D/C-/C/C- Main Programs: C-/C+/C+/C+/C+

Here are the latest children's titles, most of which continue the adventures of characters we have already covered and been introduced to.

Alpha & Omega 3: The Great Wolf Games (2014) is a too-soon third installment in the flat, dull and not always well-animated tale of dog adventures that are not that amusing or fun. This one wants to capitalize on The Hunger Games, but has hardly any references or possible references to those hits and is more of the same from the debut release Alpha & Omega (2010) I reviewed a while ago at this link:


To break the sophomore jinx, they hid behind the holidays for Alpha & Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure (2013) which my fellow writer was more amused by at this link:


This time, we get a slight, 45 minutes romp where the animals play games, tell bad jokes, have bad dialogue and this feels more like a TV special than a feature release. Dull and a little cynical, it is best to think hard before considering this for your children.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, a trivia game and simple interactive game.

Justin Time is here with three DVD singles that feature four double-tale episodes in Amazing Adventures!, Far Away Friends! and Goes Exploring! At 92 minutes each. A pleasant series used to get young viewers familiar with the world, the characters travel the world for adventure and fun in a very child-friendly way that I found appealing and interesting enough to recommend. This might even be a show on the way to becoming a big hit, so we'll see.

There are no extras.

Peppa Pig: My Birthday Party continues the series with a 12-episode, 80 minutes DVD that is a healthy-enough length and has the same fun as before with the characters having fun... trying to have fun as they get together. Also charming enough and child-friendly, this is a show on the upswing and quality releases like this one can only help that situation.

We would count the bonus episodes, but even if wee did not, we get brief Learn To Alphabet and Learn To Count sections.

Tickety Tock: Spring Chicks Time (2014) may have only 68 minutes of episodes (6 of them), but this too is a fun, child-friendly show that like other train-based series, makes traveling, learning and having fun just that. Quieter than Chuggington, it mixes human characters with others (a dog train for instance) and its quality is solid too.

Extras are DVD-ROM printable Coloring & Activity Pages, while our edition included a small kite assembly kit.

Finally we have The Winx Club: The Complete Original Season 1 (2003), which is all of this show and more than most people could ever want to hope to see and hear, though its built-in audience (young ladies) is the top target and it does just that. I am not always happy with its attitude, but this set is not bad, though for most people, a DVD single should do the trick for this franchise. Also, it is fantasy-oriented, so that is something to consider for better or worse. These 26 episodes add up to 9.5 hours!!!

An 8-Page Fairy Identity booklet is the only extra.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Alpha Blu-ray is barely and by default, the best-looking presentation on the list, but the animation is soft and not so impressive, while the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image DVD is worst, much softer and ties the same presentation on Tickety as the weakest on the list. The rest of the DVDs fall in between, from the nice 1.33 X 1 color image on the Winx episodes to the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the rest.

The sound is almost the same story, with the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Alpha the best mix here by default, but it is sometimes harsh and even a little shrill, so be careful of volume levels, something that plagues the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD version. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the rest of the DVDs can more than compete as a result.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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