Created by Soo Kim, Michael T. Smith, and Jennifer Twomey, popular kids' show Team Umizoomi has aired on Nick Jr. since 2010 and, as of this writing, is currently in the middle of its fourth season (or between seasons...it's hard to tell). The titular team teaches math while helping human characters solve other problems, with each of its three characters using their own unique abilities to get the job done. Geo uses "super shapes", Milli uses measurement and patterns, and Bot communicates with the kids and uses his computing skill to dig up all sorts of information.
The show's template is painfully repetitive, which makes marathon viewing even more painful. Typically, each episode revolves around a lost item from a local kid, and it's up to Team Umizoomi to scour the city and return the item in time. Case in point: these four episodes don't break from tradition once. In "Shark Car", our heroes help Jose find his toy car on the beach before his ferry sets sail (as an aside, Shark Car also appears in the 2013 episode "Umi Grand Prix", but it's not included here for whatever reason). "Umi Toy Store" finds the team searching for coins so their friend Colin can buy his favorite toy, Sparkle Pup. "Stompasaurus" takes the Umis to the aquarium, bowling alley, and ice cream shop to find the missing pieces of their pal Wyatt's new dinosaur toy. Finally, "Lost and Found Toys" just throws everything at the wall: lots of toys have gone missing for lots of kids! What will they think of next?!
Did I mention the show was repetitive? Considering the series' focus on "mighty math powers" that Geo, Milli, and Bot occasionally put to good use, why waste it on plots that are basically the same from one episode to the next? More variety would have gone a long way, but let's face it: Team Umizoomi has been on for nearly five years and hasn't changed much...so if your kids like it, Meet Shark Car is basically more of the same. Paramount's DVD is a by-the-numbers effort, pairing up a paltry four episodes with a decent A/V presentation and no bonus features.
Quality Control Department
Video & Audio Quality
Team Umizoomi looks pretty good here in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio with consistently vibrant colors, a decent level of image detail and even some mild textures on some of the characters and backgrounds. Very few blatant digital imperfections (such as edge enhancement, compression artifacts, interlacing, etc.) were spotted along the way, although softness was a little more persistent than I expected. Still, this is a capable effort, all things considered, and I'd imagine that younger audiences wouldn't really notice most of these problems anyway.
DISCLAIMER: These compressed and resized screen captures are decorative and do not represent this title's native 480p resolution.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and also sounds fine. Voices and music cues are relatively crisp and clear without fighting for attention, while a modest amount of channel separation gives song-driven moments and light action sequences a little bit of punch. Yes, Team Umizoomi is obnoxious and overbearing more often than not, but it's not the DVD's fault. Unfortunately, no optional English subtitles or Closed Captions are included during the episodes.
Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging
Seen above, the basic and colorful menu designs are attractive and easy to navigate. This one-disc release is housed in a silly eco-friendly keepcase and includes a not-so-eco-friendly matching slipcover and no inserts of any kind. Just for the record, the disc art is plain gray and no bonus features have been included with these episodes.
Team Umizoomi is cute enough at first glace. It's loaded with colorful characters, catchy music, positive interaction, and even a little bit of education to wash it all down with. But it's also extremely repetitive and follows almost the exact same template as established shows like Dora the Explorer and countless others. I'll admit that my little one enjoyed herself during the bulk of these four episodes, but there doesn't appear to be a great deal of replay value here after a few days. Paramount's DVD package follows suit with decent A/V quality and nothing else, reinforcing the show's eye-catching but surface-level mentality. Rent It at the very most, or just go the digital route.
Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey by day and film reviewer by night. He also does freelance design work, teaches art classes and runs a website or two. In his limited free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs, and writing in third person.