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

Tuesday, November 13

The Conners - "The Separation of Church and Dan" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Geena learns that D.J. hasn’t been taking Mary to church while she’s been away, she insists they go as a family to uphold her traditional values. To make matters worse, Mary refuses to attend without her cousins Harris and Mark, leaving D.J. in the last situation he wants to be in – at the mercy of Darlene. Meanwhile, Mark’s attempt to conduct an unbiased survey on the upcoming election for his school project goes south when Jackie volunteers to help.

The Kids Are Alright - "Peggy's Day Out" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
To hide a mess Eddie made, his girlfriend, Wendi, tries to distract Peggy by insisting she take a day off with a fun day out while they take care of the housework. To everyone’s surprise, Peggy accepts the offer and requests Wendi tag along, with the ulterior motive of teaching her a lesson. Meanwhile, Eddie enlists the help of his brothers to clean up and keep Mike out of the house while Wendi and Peggy are out. Elsewhere, Pat introduces Timmy to his secret dog.

black-ish - "Purple Rain" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The family is shocked to learn that Jack and Diane are not familiar with the iconic music of Prince. One by one, each member of the family works to explain Prince’s tremendous impact on their lives through his music.

Splitting Up Together - "War of the Wagners" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Lena and Martin’s escalating battle for control of the house is put on hold when Milo announces he wants to go to a school for the gifted – to which they think he will not be accepted. Meanwhile, they both meet a contractor for the house, Vlad, but Lena undermines him and scares Vlad away. Things get uglier between Lena and Oliver after she introduces a new member to the family as payback for all the back-and-forth about the house. Elsewhere, Lena and Martin give conflicting advice to Mason on how to deal with his recent breakup.

The Guest Book - "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Mike and his family hate spending every summer in a subpar vacation home far from the beach; in order to afford paying a booking fee for their dream house, the Barefeet Retreat, Mike pulls double shifts and ends up paying more than he bargained for.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 12)

Tuesday, November 13

  • Jason Mantzoukas (The League) - Catch Jason on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jenifer Lewis (black-ish/The PJs) - Jenifer appears on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Taran Killam (Single Parents) - Taran visits E!'s Busy Tonight at 10pm.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul stops by The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • The Cast of The Conners - Michael Fishman, John Goodman, Lecy Goranson, Laurie Metcalf and Maya Lynne Robinson are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie previews the film Robin Hood on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tatyana Ali (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Love That Girl!) - Tatyana talks about her upcoming two Holiday movies for Lifetime and Hallmark on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Together/Happy Endings/New Girl) - Damon is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about The Upside Down and Network on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ashley Tisdale (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/Clipped) - Ashley appears on the BUILD Series at 4pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
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