Pros: One great double-length episode, holiday-themed episode is ok
Cons: One really poor episode
For the first time in a while, my youngest son broke out the DVD of the Backyardigans – Super Secret Super Spy last night. I was a little surprised, as it has been one of his least favorite of the Backyardigans DVDs in the past, but he seemed to be viewing it with renewed interest this time. To that point, as soon as it was finished, he wanted to go ahead and start it up again.
For those who don’t have kids, the Backyardigans is a children’s television show on Nickelodeon that has five best friends who play together each day in their own backyards. Pablo the Penguin, Tasha the Hippo, Austin the Kangaroo, Uniqua the Uniqua and Tyrone the Moose have different imaginary adventures together, always culminating in the group ending the day with a snack at one of their houses. While it isn’t the most educational show on television, it does teach about friendship, and has plenty of singing and dancing to widen the audience base.
Super Secret Super Spy is a collection of 3 episodes from the 2nd season of the TV series. While most of the Backyardigan DVDs have 4 regular episodes, this is one of the DVDs that has 1 double-length episode and 2 regular sized ones. The episodes break down as below:
International Super Spy – This is the double-sized episode of the DVD and the highlight of this set. Pablo plays an international spy who is after three secret canisters. Hot on his tale are villains the Lady in Pink (Uniqua) and Henchman Tyrone, who want the canisters for their own nefarious purposes. Assisting Pablo in his mission is Austin, a master of disguise, and Tasha who is in charge and gives Pablo his missions. Will Pablo complete his mission, or will evil win out?
The Secret of Snow – This is one of the few Backyardigans episodes set during the holidays, with all the songs being set to Christmas jingles and the characters saying “Happy Holidays, everyone!” as the episode ends. There isn’t a lot to the episode, as Uniqua loves snow and spends the episode trying to figure out its secret from the Ice Lady (Tasha), with the other characters involved throughout.
A Giant Problem – Uniqua plays a queen who is perpetually tired, but she is unable to sleep with a giant (played by Tasha) out and about. The leads Pablo and Tyrone to try to get rid of the giant, with the usual wackiness ensuing.
While this isn’t one of the strongest collections of Backyardigans episodes, the International Super Spy double-episode is one of the better in the series. My son will watch it over and over if I let him, so I have to force him to switch DVDs to save my sanity. It has a pair of really good songs (“International Super Spy” and “Good and Bad Don’t Mix”), though I wasn’t a huge fan of the Cyndi Lauper song “The Lady in Pink” that was the selling point of the episode on the DVD advertisements.
While neither of the other two episodes is anything special, The Secret of Snow is holiday-themed, which makes it instantly re-watchable for my kids. There is nothing redeeming about A Giant Problem, and that gets skipped almost every time we watch the DVD. While I’d have preferred a stronger 3rd episode, I can understand them spacing out the really good episodes amongst the many DVDs available.
Overall, I’d say this Backyardigans DVD is worth owning for the double-episode alone. There are better Backyardigans DVDs, but it is still well worth the cost (less than $10 from most places nowadays). I wouldn’t make it my first purchase, but it is definitely not a bad pickup.
This is a part of bilbopooh's 'Tis the Season Write-Off.
Other Great Backyardigans DVDs - High Flying Adventures! - Robot Repairman