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Case Number 09217: Small Claims Court

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The Backyardigans: It's Great To Be A Ghost

Paramount // 2005 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 10th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson thinks Backyardigans taste great with marinade.

Editor's Note

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.

The Charge

Your friends, the Backyardigans.

The Case

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!"
The Backyardigans pretend to be ghosts, and decide to haunt an old, abandoned mansion. While there, they try to scare Tasha, and prove that…get ready for it…it's great to be a ghost! ('20s-style jazz.)

• "Monster Detectives"
It's off to solve a diabolical mystery: who stole Uniqua's soccer ball? ('60s-style rock.)

• "The Key to the Nile"
Tasha envisions herself the Queen of Egypt and demands complete subservience from her underlings. We learn about saying "please" and "thank you" in this episode (Broadway-style show tunes.)

• "Pirate Treasure"
The concept of sharing is on tap today, as the Backyardigans take to the high seas as pirates in search of buried treasure. (Reggae-style music.)

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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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• All Ages
• Animation
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Meet the Backyardigans
• "How to Be a Backyardigan"
• "A Pirate Says Arrr" Music Video
• Trailers


• IMDb

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