Judge David Johnson thinks Backyardigans taste great with marinade.
Our reviews of The Backyardigans: Cave Party (published March 7th, 2006), The Backyardigans: High Flying Adventures! (published May 28th, 2008), The Backyardigans: Mighty Match-Up! (published August 20th, 2008), The Backyardigans: Operation Elephant Drop (published July 18th, 2010), The Backyardigans: Surf's Up! (published May 30th, 2006), The Backyardigans: The Snow Fort (published January 10th, 2006), and The Backyardigans: Christmas With The Backyardigans (published December 12th, 2010) are also available.
Your friends, the Backyardigans.
The Backyardigans is an animated program on Nick Jr. chronicling the make-believe adventures of five preschool-aged animals who love to sing and dance. I had my first encounter with this off-beat show when I reviewed the Nick Jr. Favorites, Volume 2 disc. In it, I wrote how these guys kind of creeped me out with their eerie dance numbers. Well, after spending some more time with them, I'll take that back: this show is a bright, colorful, joyful exercise in music and imagination.
The Backyardigans are made up of five characters: Tyrone, Pablo, Austin, Tasha, and Uniqua. They're all animals, except for Uniqua, who's some kind of alien bug thing. The premise is simple: each episode the friends put their active imaginations to work in their backyard and go on an adventure. Along the way, they frequently break into song and dance numbers. It's all very simple stuff, of course, but this is a show geared toward little, little kids.
Primarily, though, The Backyardigans is all about the music. At least half of the episode finds the crew belting out tunes. That's what separates this show from others: it's essentially a 23-minute animated musical. And each episode brings with it a different style of music.
The animation is computer-generated, and while it is fairly simplistic, the style is attractive and welcoming. And the rendering of the dance routines is always different and usually very funny. I think it's obvious the animators put a lot of though and effort into crafting the musical segments.
This disc contains four episodes:
• "It's Great to Be a Ghost!"
• "Monster Detectives"
• "The Key to the Nile"
• "Pirate Treasure"
There you go, four episodes of a charming series, packed with solid moral teaching and more music than you can shake a stick at. The combination of on-screen action and attractive animation will almost certainly appeal to younger eyes. Worth a look for parents.
One last thing I want to say: this show might just have the most infectious theme song for a television show I've ever heard.
The full frame, 2.0 stereo presentation is what is to be expected. A few bonuses are included as well: a "Meet the Backyardigans" feature, a text-based "How to Be a Backyardigan" activity, and "A Pirate Says Arrr" music video.
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