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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Education > TV > Sleepytime Stories (Nickelodeon Animated/Paramount DVD)

Sleepytime Stories (Nickelodeon Animated/Paramount DVD)


Picture: C-     Sound: C-     Extras: D     Episodes: C-



The back cover of this DVD suggests that you make it a regular part of your child's bedtime ritual. I suggest otherwise.  There are six episodes on this disc from various Nickelodeon kids' shows including Dora the Explorer, The Wonder Pets, Blue's Clues, Jack's Big Music Show, Blue's Room, and Yo Gabba Gabba!  And among all six of them, only the last two seem to make any effort at actually helping a child get to sleep.  The rest are all just loosely based around things associated with sleeping such as nursery rhymes, lullabies, or in the case of Jack's Big Music Show, scary monsters. Actually that last one seems a bit counterproductive.


In general, these shows cater to a very young audience, in the age range from two to five.  The only two that may have some staying power for slightly older audiences, up to age ten, would be Jack's Big Music Show and The Wonder Pets, and the latter actually outshines everything else on the disc by a good margin.  The visuals are really well and creatively animated with special attention paid to the complexity of the backgrounds.  And unlike the rest of the shows, the picture quality didn't suffer terribly in the transfer to DVD.  The score borders on the quality you would expect from a feature film and most importantly, the show is just a straight plot without the usual attempts at audience interaction which not only slow down the pace of a show, but always result in the characters talking down to the audience.


The show Yo Gabba Gabba! is something that I had never encountered until I got this disc and I am still not entirely sure how to react to it.  Visually it has a sort of Japanese techno pop art feel to it which is at first slightly bewildering but once you recover from the initial shock, it is nothing short of fascinating.  The actual content of the show though, is pretty standard with the sort of super-repetitive songs that a child with any ability to speak at all can manage to sing along with and continue to sing over and over and over again.


Overall the disc is of fairly low quality with no special features and varying picture quality from show to show, most of which falling in the decidedly sub-par category.  The live action shows such as Blue's Room, parts of Blue's Clues, and to a lesser extent Yo Gabba Gabba! and Jack's Big Music Show all have issues with sharpness and an overabundance of video noise.  The animated shows have motion and layering issues which make the outlines of moving elements look rough and pixilated.  All of the shows and menus are in full screen format. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and really nothing special.  There is no noticeable noise but it is not especially sharp either, all around pretty standard.


While I would not recommend this for trying to get a child to bed, or for anything you want to sit and watch with your child, to entertain a preschooler in the afternoon this collection will certainly do; and if by some random chance they decide to take the shows' messages to heart and put themselves down for a nap, all the better.



-   Matthew Carrick


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