Nickelodeon // 2010 // 91 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Erich Asperschlager // June 15th, 2013
"We're on a mission to save the day / Here we come, we're on our way!"
Team Umizoomi are back with four more episodes in the themed collection Animal Heroes. The Nick Jr. series takes aim at Leapfrog's animated schoolhouse empire with candy-colored adventures in math. Each episode focuses on counting, colors, measurement, patterns, and problem solving.
I reviewed my first Umizoomi set before my daughter was old enough to watch it. In the year or so since, she has grown into quite the TV fan. While this series might not be her favorite -- a moving target -- the Umis are definitely in the rotation. My daughter loves numbers, and being a smarty pants, so I asked her to watch with me while I reviewed these episodes:
* "Purple Monkey Mission"
Team Umizoomi has to help the title simian to his jungle home in the zoo. To get there, they have to find a yellow door in the snowy penguin habitat, traverse turtles to cross a river, and use pattern power to trick a tiger. I asked my daughter during the closing credits what she thought of the episode. She declared it "good." She said her favorite parts were the purple monkey falling out of the truck, the tiger catching up to the Umi car, and that they had to count really fast to ten ("like 12345678910!").
* "Buster the Lost Dog"
The Umis are playing in the park with their friend Anna, when her dog chases a ball into the bed of a pickup that drives away. Using their "mighty math powers," the team tracks the pup to a construction site. To get there they follow signs that lead them past falling rocks, mud puddles, roving gangs of stinky skunks, and mailboxes that need to be counted. My daughter mostly dug this one, with a couple of hiccups. She answered the early question "Do you like dogs?" with "I like cats the best," and before the end of the 22-minute runtime she told me she was tired and asked what was next.
* "Cuckoo Bears"
After lying down on the couch, my daughter was ready for this episode (her favorite, she told me). The story begins with the Umis waiting to see popular clock-dwelling band the Cuckoo Bears. After the show, a heavy wind blows away the gears that power the mechanical bears. Milli, Geo, and Bot head out to find the blue, purple, and orange gears -- a search that requires them to build a subway car, find a sneaky squirrel, and chase down a taxi. I asked my daughter what she liked best. She replied, "when everyone was dead" (which I assume meant when the bears lost their gears). I could tell she was into the episode when she yelled "Yeah! Eat it!" You had to be there.
* "Animal School House!"
In this final entry, Umi pal Farmer Dan has lost two chickens, four pigs, one donkey, and three mice, and Team Umizoomi are on the case. It turns out the animals are in the schoolhouse for some reason, with the pigs in the lunchroom, the chickens in the classroom, the mice in the art room, and the donkey on the playground. Since it was the end of a four-episode marathon it was tough to get much out of my daughter on this one. She trailed off while telling me her favorite part, then she grabbed her drawing pad and made her own shape quiz for me -- which might the best endorsement I can give the show.
Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes is presented in full screen format with a 2.0 stereo soundtrack. Limited, perhaps, compared to other kids' DVDs, but it's plenty bright and loud enough to engage the little ones. There are no bonus features.
I'm glad shows like Team Umizoomi exist. If my daughter is going to watch TV -- and, let's face it, of course she is -- I'd rather she yell out the answers to math and pattern problems than stare blankly at some inane mascot. Her smarts will soon outstrip the simple lessons in this series, but I'm sure she'll want to keep watching. You can count on it.
"Good." Translation: Not guilty!
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site