PAW Patrol is one of Nick Jr.'s most popular new shows aimed at the kindergarten and elementary school set, packed with all the harmless action and cornball jokes that kids and immature DVD reviewers can't help but snicker at. Meet Everest is the fourth themed collection of PAW Patrol episodes, but I'll be honest: I'm almost completely new to the series and first saw it on Paramount's recent Celebrate Fall collection, though I've been aware of its existence for at least a year or so. Most episodes go like this: the six PAW Patrol canines (klutzy firefighter Marshall, aquatic expert Zuma, construction oaf Rubble, police officer Chase, recycling guru Rocky, and high-flying Skye) kill time until a citizen needs help, while ten-year old handler Ryder waits back at high-tech HQ to share a curiously quick animated breakdown of the situation before sending his pups to the rescue. At no point is it explained how their operation is funded, or why Marshall can heat up the siren on his fire engine just to look for a lost backpack.
Unlike the first self-titled collection, all recent DVD volumes of PAW Patrol have only included 7-8 adventures at 11 minutes apiece, barely scratching the 90-minute mark for total content. Meet Everest is no different: the lead-off episode is a full 22 minutes, while the other six half-episodes play nicely by themselves but are over much more quickly. So while the show's lightweight, colorful format serves up a distinct "Saturday morning" vibe that favors simple entertainment over shoehorned education (which suits this material just fine), most parents might feel slightly ripped off by the price point of these brief, random collections. I'd even take "Season 1, Volume 1" at this point.
Either way, PAW Patrol is as light and enjoyable as ever during these seven episodes, which introduces the cute li'l Husky in Season 2's full-length adventure "The New Pup". Two more episodes, "Pups and the Big Freeze" and "Pups Save the Deer" (which aired just a few weeks later and maintain the wintry theme) also contain appearances by PAW Patrol's newest member. The other four---"Pups Save a School Day", "Pups and the Trouble with Turtles", "Pups Make a Splash", and "Pups Save a Flying Frog"---aired up to a year earlier and obviously don't tie in at all, but they're still breezy and entertaining enough in their own right. Still, this only reinforces my frustration with the odd release strategy of collections like these: PAW Patrol isn't serialized storytelling like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Legend of Korra, but themed, piecemeal volumes just attract and confuse impulse buyers while alienating the fans.
After a few ads, warnings, and logos, Paramount's DVD opens with colorful menu designs that are easy to use...but honestly, do we really need four separate selection screens for seven episodes? This one-disc release arrives in an eco-friendly blue keepcase with a matching slipcover and two promotional inserts. No bonus features are included.
Quality Control Department
Video & Audio Quality
Since PAW Patrol was created in HD and is barely two years old, it's no surprise that Meet Everest looks uniformly strong on DVD with bright colors, strong image detail and a pleasing amount of texture on the characters and backgrounds. All episodes are presented in their original 1.78:1 aspect ratios, which showcase PAW Patrol's eye-catching visual design and compositions. The stylized color schemes are replicated well with no obvious bleeding, while shadow detail and black levels are consistent from start to finish. Small amounts of banding can be seen along the way, but that's expected for standard definition releases and may very well be a source material issue. Overall, this is easily one of the best-looking Nick Jr. DVDs in recent memory, and it's almost a shame there's no Blu-ray option.
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 5.1 and sounds fine under the circumstances. Dialogue is crisp without fighting for attention, while a modest amount of channel separation gives song-driven moments and action sequences a decent amount of punch. My only mild complaint is that the volume levels are cranked a little high, particularly during the theme song; music-buying parents might agree that the term "brickwalled" applies here. But it's doubtful that this problem is exclusive to the DVD, so it's impossible to punish the wrong culprit. Unfortunately, no English subtitles or Closed Captions have been offered during any of these seven episodes, but optional French and Spanish dubs are advertised on the packaging. Again, there aren't any bonus features on board, which isn't surprising.
PAW Patrol is one of Nick Jr.'s newest breakout hits...but if you have a preschooler or single-digit TV watcher in the house, you already knew that. The show itself is fun, colorful and entertaining with a distinct Saturday morning vibe: there's little to no educational value here, and it probably wouldn't gel with the material anyway. Still, this is definitely surface-level stuff and parents may balk at the show's obvious slant towards easy marketing. Paramount's DVD follows suit: Meet Everest looks and sounds great, but there's only seven episodes here (90 minutes total) and no extras on board. Mildly Recommended for established fans; newcomers might want to rent or stream it first.
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.