Nickelodeon's no stranger to piecemeal collections of disposable entertainment: it's practically their bread and butter. More often than not, these collections provide a capsule of whatever's popular at the moment, a figurative revolving door of animated adventures aimed squarely at single-digit viewers. These themed installments have existed on home video for years (if not decades) and include recent entries like Springtime Adventures, Celebrate Fall, and Let's Learn Colors, along with occasional multipacks like Bunch of Playdates. I've no problem with popping in one of these DVDs for my daughter every so often and, unless your DVR is full or you have the luxury of Prime streaming and/or "On Demand" services, it's one of the easiest ways to give kids several different choices in one handy package.
Whiskers and Paws falls right in line with earlier collections: the cats-and-dogs theme should appeal to any and all pet lovers, a broad range of shows is represented, and there's almost three hours of material here. The main attraction is Shimmer and Shine ("Abraca-Genie", from September 2015), a relatively new series about two genie sisters and a young girl who gets three wishes every day; the episode itself is pretty paint-by-numbers (and borderline offensive, as the vaguely Indian backdrops are about as authentic as Tandoori chicken at a mall food court), but my daughter liked it well enough. The other stars of the show include PAW Patrol (obviously, and two short 11-minute adventures are included), a double-length *shudder* episode of Dora and Friends, the ever-enjoyable Bubble Guppies, an episode of Scooby-Doo rip-off Fresh Beat Band of Spies, and even a throwback Blue's Clues for good measure.
Theme-wise, most of these episodes have no problem falling in line, though some (Shimmer and Shine, Fresh Beat Band of Spies) barely follow the rules and others (Blue's Clues) probably have more fitting episodes in the vault. And really, no Wonder Pets? Even so, there's a good cross-section of stuff here...and even if one or two of the episodes don't impress your young one, there's probably a better one right around the corner. Paramount's DVD package serves up reliably good A/V quality and no bonus features, while the full episode listing is represented below.
Quality Control Department
Video & Audio Quality
Since all but one of these adventures (Blue's Clues' "Un Dia Con Plum!", from all the way back in 2001) are less than three years old, it's no surprise that these 480p, 16x9 transfers look terrific with strong colors, striking image detail and even a few nice textures along the way. They're uniformly eye-catching and don't suffer from glaring digital issues like excessive interlacing, artifacts, or compression problems...and while the 1.33:1 Blue's Clues obviously looks much rougher in comparison, anyone who's seen the show on DVD before should know what they're getting.
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 5.1/2.0 and sounds relatively consistent. Voices and music are crisp and clear without fighting for attention, while a modest amount of channel separation gives many of the song-driven moments a little bit of punch. No optional Closed Captions, subtitles, or dubs are included during these episodes.
Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging
Seen above, the colorful menu designs are attractive and easy to navigate. This one-disc release is housed in a silly eco-friendly keepcase with no insert or slipcover, plain gray disc artwork, and no extras of any kind.
Another lightweight entry in Nickelodeon's never-ending deluge of themed variety collections, Whiskers and Paws is cute enough with a broad range of shows and more than 2.5 hours of total content; not too bad for less than $15. Of course, it would be much easier to keep track of these shows with proper chronological season (or even volume) collections...but for an impulse buy, parents or grandparents could do a lot worse. Paramount's DVD serves up a solid A/V presentation and no extras, which is slightly offset by the number of episodes. Recommended.
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.