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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Muppets > Nature > Jim Henson’s Animal Show – Lions, Tigers & Bears (1994/1995) + Jim Henson’s The Song Of The Cloud Forest & Other Stories (1989/Lionsgate DVDs)

Jim Henson’s Animal Show – Lions, Tigers & Bears (1994/1995) + Jim Henson’s The Song Of The Cloud Forest & Other Stories (1989/Lionsgate DVDs)

 

Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: C+

 

 

As Jim Henson’s empire tried to expand into new territory and have new hits, it also stretched itself out and when he passed too soon, it was the end of an era of great, innovate, groundbreaking programming.  While ownership of the company has changed hands and Sesame Street is still alive (though too politically correct for its own good and not teaching the alphabet enough), The Muppets have otherwise become nostalgia and whether they can make a comeback or not is unknown.  In the meantime, lesser-know projects originating from the Henson team are hitting DVD and Lionsgate has issued single DVDs of two of them.

 

Jim Henson’s Animal Show (1994/1995) wants to be “the world’s first animal talk show” and that is an amusing idea, but it lacks the energy and fun of Henson when Henson was running things and we get co-hosts in a polar bear named Jake and Skunk named Stinky.  For the latter, you’d think they could have come up with a less obvious name.  Five episodes are included and though they are not bad, they are not great either.  Young children may find them amusing, but most will likely get bored.

 

Jim Henson’s The Song Of The Cloud Forest and Other Earth Stories (1989) is tries neon-glow Muppets with some effectiveness, but I wished the show was more expansive.  One Fraggle Rock and two Animal Show episodes are included as “bonus” shows for being about earth matters, but I will not include them as extras since the title of the DVD suggests otherwise.  However, the Henson crew ought to try a variant of the main program in HD and could come up with better results, since the idea is more timely than ever.

 

The 1.33 X 1 image in both cases are shot on analog NTSC videotape with much trick video work, resulting in dated images and the transfers additionally offer softness, aliasing errors and some digititis in all cases that is disappointing, even when color is not bad.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in both cases is better than the image, but shows dated fidelity.  There are no extras in either case.

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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