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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Action > Adventure > Science Fiction > Superhero > Horror > Comedy > Nature > Family > Education > Ben 10 Omniverse: Galactic Monsters (2014/Cartoon Network)/LEGO Friends: Friends Are Forever (2014/Warner DVDs)/Maya: The Complete Series (1967 - 1968/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Mom's Night Out (2014/Son

Ben 10 Omniverse: Galactic Monsters (2014/Cartoon Network)/LEGO Friends: Friends Are Forever (2014/Warner DVDs)/Maya: The Complete Series (1967 - 1968/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Mom's Night Out (2014/Sony Blu-ray)/Nickelodeon: Let's Learn Patterns & Shapes (2014 DVD)

Picture: C+/C/C/B-/C+ Sound: C+/C+/C+/C/C+ Extras: C/D/D/C-/C- Main Programs: B-/C+/C/C-/B-

PLEASE NOTE: Maya: The Complete Series DVD set is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's the latest children/family releases to know about....

The seemingly, endlessly popular Ben 10 Omniverse: Galactic Monsters (2014) compiles (in time for Halloween) three episodes of the show dealing with various monsters. Many singles and more from this show get released all the time, this single is better than usual breaking the monotony of the formula of the show and its predecessors, et al. Bet even young fans land up liking this one more than most.

Two bonus episodes are the extras.

LEGO Friends: Friends Are Forever (2014) is a change of pace from the LEGO animated programs as it is going out of its way to appeal to a female audience with its Barbie-like animated gals and adventures to match. Not bad for what it is and its intended audience, this only runs 66 minutes and is child-friendly enough, though some would think of it as an extended ad for the toy line. They have five ongoing characters for this one.

There are no extras.

Maya: The Complete Series (1967 - 1968) has MGM trying to continue a movie adventure with Dennis The Menace veteran Jay North as the young man who turns his back on authority and runs off to find his father who has supposedly been eaten by a wild animal. There is no proof and he does not believe it, so getting lost in India, he befriends Raji (Sajid Khan) and the title character, a giant elephant. With shows like Flipper and Daktari, et al, hits, you can see why MGM wanted to make this into a hit show and North had a fan base. They even had Sterling Silliphant (In The Heat Of The Night) as a creative force, but only 18 hour-long shows (here on 5 DVDs) were produced before it was cancelled.

Shot on location in India, the show is not bad and certainly family-friendly, but the quality and memorability of the shows vary and North gives it his all. Still, it is nice to have it in print and fans can see what the makers managed to achieve.

There are no extras, not even a trailer for the theatrical film that preceded the series.

The Erwin Brothers' Mom's Night Out (2014) proves how bad pairing of directors can be, especially when it comes to slight fluff like this silly TV movie... oh, they put this in theaters??? Oh.. silly movie about a good mom Allyson (Sarah Drew) escaping her family, but not really in this all-too-safe-and-sappy... and long 99 minutes that includes the always likable Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton and out of nowhere, singer Trace Adkins. How the makers did not fall asleep often making this one is beyond me, but here it is and all I can say is do not use heavy appliances with this one in playback. Yawn....

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds filmmaker's feature length audio commentary track, Bloopers, 4 Behind The Scenes and Deleted Scenes.

Nickelodeon: Let's Learn Patterns & Shapes (2014) is yet another single DVD compilation of episodes of their various hit shows that cover a theme. Here, we get five shows from Team Umizoomi!, Dora, Ni Hao and the two Blue's shows to explore the under-taught geometry. It runs a surprisingly long 141 minutes and is not bad overall.

A coloring book sheet on the inside of the paper cover in the DVD case is the only extra.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Night Blu-ray should be the best performer on the list, but not by as much as you'd think versus the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Omniverse or 1.33 X 1 image on the Shapes DVDs, but the 1.33 X 1 MetroColor image on the Maya episodes (with color and definition issues) and the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the LEGO episodes (softer on average than they ought to be, especially as compared to other LEGO DVDs) are underwhelming and a little disappointing.

As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Night should be the best sonic performer here too, but it is shockingly flat, too much towards the front channels and dull. It is as if the recording was done badly and corrections could not fix it. Be very careful of volume switching and high playback levels. I triple checked this one.

That leaves all four DVD releases tying for first place with their lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes, all stereo with faint-at-best Pro Logic surrounds, but Maya is monophonic and holds up better than expected despite its age.

You can order Maya: The Complete Series on Warner Archive DVD and much more by going to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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