Paramount // 2006 // 92 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 16th, 2006
Talking pigs with turtlenecks are funny.
Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks is a computer-animated kids show that runs on PBS. It deals with the adventures of 8-year-old piglet Piggley and the awesome happenings he experience with his two best pals in his small town in Ireland. Those pals: Ferny the bull and Dannan the duck. Ferny's a goofy, gullible guy who's willing to go along with whatever lame-brained scheme Piggley's cooked up. Dannan is the more mature one and acts as the trio's conscience.
Shows open with Piggley, now a crust old codger, telling his grandpigs the stories of his youth, then we transition to that setting, and the tale of the week unfolds. Four full episodes on this disc, all dealing with the gang's misadventures in school.
* "The Salmon of Knowledge"
Reluctant to waste so much prime play time with studying, Piggley seeks an easy way to ace the upcoming math test. He and Ferny decide to look for the fabled Salmon of Knowledge, the smartest fish in the world. They corral the fish they think is the one, and Piggley brings it to school the next day, ready to put it to the test. What Piggley will learn, however, will be a hard lesson about laziness and stupidity.
* "Rock Around the Cluck"
After dropping his sister off at her violin lesson, Piggley hears some rock n' roll and is instantly smitten. He and his two friends form their own rock band, which they will debut in front of the town for a talent show. Some opening night jitters spooks the new band and they decide to lip sync to a record. But a technical glitch forces them to rely on their own talents and the night turns out to be a killer show.
* "New Best Friends"
When Mr. Hornsby the teacher splits up Piggley and his pals and forces them to pair up with classmates they don't really know, it puts everyone into a challenging position. Will the kids get past their unease with new people in time to ace the assignment? Bet on it!
* "A Little Bit of Something Extra! Extra!"
The class is given an assignment to report on a local story (as part of their barnyard journalism curriculum I assume) and Piggley and Ferny work to outdo each other with embellished adventure stories. But Dannan gets it, and through her tireless research efforts, reveals true heroes in town just being decent people.
As you can see, the plots to these stories aren't very hard-hitting. The morals are obvious and the storyline simplistic. And you know what? It's perfect for this show. I understand why the series bagged an Emmy for outstanding children's programming. It's funny (Mel Brooks steals scenes with his sheep vocals), fun to look at (realized in economy, but attractive CGI) and, best of all, charming. Maybe it's the Irish accents or Piggley's fashion sense, but Jakers! is just an enchanting piece of kids programming. I've got nothing bad to say about it.
A surprising technical effort from Paramount. The show gets a snazzy 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a few 2.0 tracks. Special features include a pair of interactive games, "Piggley's Storyteller Playhouse" (a handful of shorts), and "Meet the Grandparents" featurettes.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Interactive Games
* Piggley's Storyteller Playhouse
* "Meet the Grandparents"
* Official Site