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

Thursday, July 19

The Big Bang Theory - "The Solo Oscillation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Sheldon kicks Amy out to work solo, she and Leonard bond during a series of science experiments. Also, Bert the geologist replaces Wolowitz in the band Footprints on the Moon, and Sheldon finds Penny a surprising source of scientific inspiration. Laurie Metcalf returns as Sheldon’s mother, Mary.

Young Sheldon - "Demons, Sunday School, and Prime Numbers" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
A worried Mary sends Sheldon to Sunday school after she finds him playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends Tam and Billy. Billy Gardell guest stars as Billy Sparks’ father, Herschel.

Trial & Error: Lady, Killer - "The Suitcase" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Josh Segal and Associates get their first case, defending Lavinia Peck-Foster, the eccentric First Lady of East Peck, who was found with her husband Edgar's corpse in a suitcase in her trunk. Lavinia is surly, entitled, larger than life and, instead of hugs, her currency of connection is a face slap. On the other hand, she is wealthy so she can pay him. Winning this case could be Josh's ticket for his true goal, to be considered a "Pecker." Unfortunately, complications and bodies keep piling up and there are more questions than answers.

Trial & Error: Lady, Killer - "The Timeline" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Judge Kamiltow rules that Lavinia must stand trial for the murder of her husband, Josh and the team try to poke holes in the timeline of the case Carol Anne will present. But when a clock is determined to be the murder weapon, they are forced to seek help from two unlikely sources - the convicted murderer of Lavinia's brother and the host of a popular murder podcast called M-Town.

American Woman - "The Heat Wave" (Paramount Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie invites her co-worker Louise to join her and her friends at her pool; Diana asks for a promotion at work, as she struggles to get along with her overbearing mother.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 16)

Thursday, July 19

  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Catch Jim on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo, Access Live (check your local listings) and on People Now on PeopleTV at 12pm.
  • Amanda Peet (Brockmire/Togetherness/Bent) - Amanda appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Daveed Diggs (black-ish) - Daveed visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) and Keegan-Michael Key (Friends from College/Playing House) - Olivia, Keegan-Michael and the cast of The Predator are guests on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. He will also be on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • David Alan Grier (The Cool Kids/The Carmichael Show/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - David visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Constance Zimmer (Entourage/Good Morning, Miami) - Constance drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Rob Riggle (Rob Riggle's Ski Academy/Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) - Rob is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Esther Povitsky (Alone Together) - Esther appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Niecy Nash (Getting On/The Soul Man/Reno 911!) - Niecy talks about Claws on People Now on PeopleTV at 12pm.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error: Lady, Killer/Sherri/Less Than Perfect - Sherri talks about Trial & Error: Lady, Killer on Chatter on PeopleTV at 8pm.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura cooks with Clinton Kelly on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Trial & Error: Lady, Killer/Kristin) - Kristin talks about Trial & Error: Lady, Killer on the BUILD Series at 2pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July)

New Girl - The Complete Seventh Season Alice - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season The Good Place - The Complete Second Season

06/05 - Living Single - The Complete Fifth Season
06/05 - New Girl - The Complete Sixth Season
06/05 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-First Season (Blu-ray)
06/12 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Fourth Season
06/12 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Third Season
06/12 - The Office - The Complete Series
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete Second Season
06/12 - Step by Step - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season One (Blu-ray)
06/19 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fourth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Fifth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Sixth Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete First Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete Second Season
07/03 - New Girl - The Final (Seventh) Season
07/10 - Alice - The Complete Seventh Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - The Bill Engvall Show - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season
07/10 - The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season
07/17 - Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life - The Complete Series
07/17 - The Good Place - The Complete Second Season
07/17 - Son of Zorn - The Complete Series
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