Peep and The Big Wide World: Seasons of Adventure
PBS // Unrated // $12.99 // November 8, 2011
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted June 2, 2012
M O V I E
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
Peep and the Big Wide World: Seasons of Adventure:
Peep and the Big Wide World is the latest drollery from the magicians at PBS. Almost painfully simple, the show defies this and any other potential shortcomings by being just about as perfect as it can be. My 6-year-old, who has been corn fed on PBS shows, might be a little older than the target audience, yet she loves it. So do I. While I'm sure the thrill will wear off pretty quickly for me, I bet the kid will get her money's worth.

Peep, the nominal hero of the show, is a newly hatched fuzzy chick, learning about the world from his friends Chirp and Quack (a robin and a duck). Chirp and Quack seem content sitting around enjoying a lazy day, but something always seems to happen; a chance encounter with another friend, or a dilemma brought about by Quack. Chirp (who looks a bit like an Angry Bird with legs) and Quack possess wacky, opposing personalities, providing a push-pull view of the world that's probably pretty similar to the outlook any couple of parents imposes upon their innocent babies.

Super-simple Flash-style animation is instantly pleasing to the eye, with clever, highly distilled character designs. Classic animation physics get subtle play, and clever musical cues follow the action with new, surprising sounds. Science topics are gently woven into storylines, so even when you're just plopping your kids on the couch so you can at least empty the dishwasher, you know they're getting an education too. (And most importantly, with PBS on DVD or during broadcast, you know you aren't getting any advertising!) Finally, as with most other PBS kids shows, a brief segment at the end of each episode includes real kids doing real science experiments - the better to get yours back up and out into the real world, with a little motivation to learn and play.

This DVD comes packed with 100 minutes of entertainment, including these eight 12-minute episodes:

The Mystery of the Thing That Went and Came Back: Peep goes on an accidental Easter Egg Boating excursion.
Peep's Color Quest: Peep learns about colors when Quack shows off his fancy orange glasses.
Snow Daze: Beaver Boy shows Peep and friends how to slide on the snow using their tails. (Too bad they don't have tails.)
Flower Shower: Pink cherry blossoms could be the best things about spring, until Quack finds out about them.
Who Stole the Big Wide World?: When the birds wake up to a gray world, they wonder what happened to everything! (Hint: it's fog.)
M-U-D Spells Trouble: It's fun to play in the mud, but when Robin gets stuck as the mud dries, it's not quite as great as they thought.
Quack Quack: Megan Mullally guest stars as Quack's new quacky friend.
One Duck Too Many: Peep, Chirp and Quack begin to tire of Mullally's presence, but building a special pond to get rid of her isn't as easy as it looks.

From narrator Joan Cusack's inimitable presence, through great, simple animations, to droll plots and humor, Peep and the Big Wide World: Seasons of Adventure should provide at least one season of viewing fun for you and your children. As kid's TV programming goes - for those in kindergarten or Pre-k - Peep and the Big Wide World is Highly Recommended.

The DVD

Video:
These 1.33:1 fullscreen episodes don't have too much digital information to handle, so they look great. Simple computer animation with bright colors look about as good as they might when sitting on the desktop of some Adobe-jockey's top-flight computer. Rest easy, cinephiles.

Sound:
Stereo Audio is solid, well mixed, and in-balance. The quirky music sounds great and fits in well with volume levels for dialog. No distortion is present.

Extras:
Extras are limited to English SDH Subtitles (I feel weird every time I type that redundancy, but, there you go, it's just easier to understand) some printable Coloring Pages, and other PBS Previews.

Final Thoughts:
From narrator Joan Cusack's inimitable presence, through great, simple animations, to droll plots and humor, Peep and the Big Wide World: Seasons of Adventure should provide at least one season of viewing fun for you and your children. As kid's TV programming goes - for those in kindergarten or Pre-k - Peep and the Big Wide World is Highly Recommended.



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