Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mini-DVD Review: The Best of Clifford the Big Red Dog (Nov. 7)

Welcome to another edition of the Saturday mini-DVD reviews! We continue our Thanksgiving weekend reviews, with Lionsgate's The Best of Clifford the Big Red Dog. Based on the classic children's book series, comes this PBS series voiced by the late legendary John Ritter. So, join Clifford and his friends T-Bone, Cleo and his owner Emily Elizabeth for fun and learning. See my mini-DVD review of the set:

The Best of Clifford the Big Red Dog (Lionsgate, $34.98) brings us 42 short episodes on DVD on 5-discs. This set is full of bonus materials as well on each disc, designed for children. The menus are easy to navigate and are also designed for children. The packaging is very good and of course in red. Lionsgate has a clear plastic cover then when we take that out you get to the red packaging, with Clifford's head (like The Simpsons head covers). Parents might want to help children take the plastic out, as it might be a little hard for children. The head packaging is also kind of hard to open. But it sure looks nice! When we open the head, we get a nice case and a booklet. The booklet is designed well for children and easy to read. It breaks down each disc. The case holds the 5-discs. Each disc's art is colorful and has Clifford with his friends. Now, I will break down each disc. But first let me tell you, each disc has menu directions narrated. The episodes automatically play, says the narrator. You can press the Menu button on your remote control to get to the actual menu screen. When we do that, the theme song is playing in the background with nice colorful menus and easy to read for kids. Disc one's options are Choose Episode, Big Fun Features, and Audio Features. Each of those options when selected has narrated directions, like for Choose Episodes we hear John Ritter (Clifford) giving us directions on how to choose the episodes. There are two themed selections on this disc--"Everyone Loves Clifford" and "Good Times, Good Friends." Both have 5 mini-episodes that run approx. 11 minutes each, for a total of approx. 57:52, counting the opening and closing theme. 7 chapter stops for each themed selection (opening theme, 5 mini-episodes, and closing theme). The Big Fun Features on this disc are three "Speckle Stories" that run 90 seconds each. The Speckle Stories usually run at the end of each episode on PBS, but it is an extra on this set. There are also 2:25 worth of Trailers for other Lionsgate products that children might want to buy. The Audio features we can change back and forth between 2.0 English Dolby Digital and 2.0 Spanish Dolby Digital. Moving on to disc two, the options are Scene Index, Audio Features, Big Fun Features. Audio Features is the same as disc one. Scene Index gives us 8 mini-episodes to play. They again run approx. 11 min. each for a total of 1:31:17, counting the opening and closing themes. There are 10 chapter stops on this disc (opening theme, 8 mini-episodes, and closing theme). The Big Fun Features on this disc are "Clifford's Doggy Detective Game," which consists of four games children can play; 3 more "Speckle Stories," that run 90 seconds each; and Previews, where we get yet more trailers for Lionsgate products. The previews this time auto-play before the menu directions come up on this disc. Moving on to disc three, we have Choose Episode and Big Fun Features. Choose Episode, again the directions are narrated by John Ritter, give us two themed selections--"Rock N' Roll Clifford!" and "Team Clifford!" This time each theme has four-mini episodes, again running approx. 11 min each, totaling around 46:38. The Big Fun Features on this set include "Clifford's Big Ideas," with directions narrated by John Ritter, these are 3 ideas followed by text of the ideas that run 60 seconds each. Like the Speckle Stories, these usually air in between the episodes or at the end of the episode on PBS. Then we get a "Tour of Birdwell Island," which is a nice interactive map that children can easily use to find there way around the island. Then we have "Real Life Doggie Friends" that runs 2:45. These are real dog stories. I think PBS runs these after the closing credits on Clifford episodes. There is also a DVD-ROM feature if you have a computer with a DVD drive. Moving on to the fourth disc, we again have Choose Episode and Big Fun Features. Choose Episode, directions narrated by Ritter, have two themed selections--"Big Fun in the Sun" and "Look Out, Clifford!" Each themed selection has four mini-episodes that run approx. 11 min. each for a total around 46:23 each. Big Fun Features include three more "Big Ideas," with directions narrated by Ritter, running 60 seconds each; the "Who's Who Game," which is a nice trivia game for children to test their knowledge of the show; and more "Real Life Doggie Friends," running at 3:16. Finally, the fifth disc has Choose Episodes and Big Fun Features. No directions on this disc for some reason. Choose Episodes have two themed selections--""Clifford's Fluffiest Friend - Cleo" and "Clifford Saves the Day!" Again, four mini-episodes each running 11 minutes each, for a total of 46:26. The Big Fun Features are two more "Big Ideas" running 60 seconds each; "Clifford Dance," which is a nice 35 second promo for the show on PBS; and more "Real Life Doggie Friends," running 3:09. This set is pretty well done and filled with extras that children will like and can learn from. If you have not bought this set already, please buy it for your children as it is something great to buy during the holidays. And if you don't have children, I still suggest you buy it, as I'm sure many of you read the books when you were a child. John Ritter gives the voice of Clifford a new meaning and he was nominated for many Daytime Emmy's for this role. So, grab T-Bone and Cleo and hop on Clifford's back to get this DVD set!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(5/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Clifford the Big Red Dog TV.com Page

Our Thanksgiving Weekend Review Marathon continues tomorrow, as we preempt the ratings coverage (sorry, we don't have final numbers for Tuesday-Saturday because of the holiday), with a review of the new ABC sitcom Big Day, which will premiere this Tuesday at 9/8 central only on ABC! Is it worth watching? Find out tomorrow!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, February 22

Fresh Off the Boat - "Be a Man" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessica drives Principal Hunter crazy at Evan’s school when she declares that she’s “shadow principal” and follows him around for a day to learn about his job. When she finds out perfect son Evan has been caught acting out, she immediately blames Eddie’s bad influence, but there’s more to it than that. Louis, having watched one too many episodes of “The Sopranos” with Honey, is convinced that Marvin and Grandma are gossiping about him behind his back after Marvin offers to trap the rat that has invaded Grandma’s apartment.

Speechless - "G-A-- GAME N-I-- NIGHT" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Maya insists that it’s time to meet Izzy, a reluctant JJ arranges a game night for his family and new girlfriend. Ray tries to help on the big night, but his attention to detail puts a major crimp in JJ’s evening. Meanwhile, Dylan and Kenneth let their appetites get the better of them.

Last Man Standing - "Arrest Her Development" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Vanessa "helps" Mandy and Kyle look for an apartment; Mike is thrilled by Ryan's decisions.

The Cool Kids - "Sid's First Relationship" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The gang comes together around Sid in order to help him overcome the commitment issues he struggles with his new beau, John; Margaret decides to become an airport volunteer in the hopes of conquering her strong fear of flying.

Andi Mack - "The Ex Factor" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Andi, Buffy and Cyrus worry about Jonah's unusual behavior; Miranda tries to cause problems for Bowie and Bex.

Sydney to the Max - "Adventures in Babe-Sitting" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sydney and Olive struggle with their baby-sitting business when the child they are hired to watch happens to be the brother of one of the most popular kids in their class.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 18

Friday, February 22

  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Watch Don on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World) - Thomas is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Rita Moreno (One Day at a Time/Happily Divorced/9 to 5) - Rita stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Finesse Mitchell (A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse is a panelist on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Lori Loughlin (Fuller House/Hudson Street/Full House) - Lori talks about When Calls the Heart on People Now at 12pm.
  • Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman/Undeclared) - Jay is a guest on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken talks about You Complete Me, Ho on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For your Love) - Holly appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Autumn Reeser (Complete Savages) - Autumn drops by Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season

01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest