PAW Patrol continues to be Nick Jr.'s most popular show in recent years, packed with all the harmless action and cornball jokes that kids and most parents can't help but snicker at. Summer Rescues is the newest themed collection of PAW Patrol episodes on disc; it doesn't really change anything about the show's formula or characters but doesn't have to. 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 yelps for help, while ten-year old handler Ryder waits back at high-tech HQ with a curiously accurate animated breakdown of the potential disaster before sending his eager pups to the rescue. At no point is it explained how their state-of-the-art operation is funded, or why Marshall can legally heat up the siren on his fire engine to look for a lost backpack.
The good news is that, like past volumes, the episodes included here look and sound great with crisp, 16x9 widescreen transfers and 5.1 audio...so the real advantage here is that they offer a modest step up in quality over most streaming or cable versions, assuming kids will notice or care. It's also sort of a mishmash of like-minded adventures from the past several years: five of the eight total episodes on this one-disc collection ("Pups Save the Fireworks", "Pups Save the Carnival", "Pups Save a Ferris Wheel", "Pups Save the Camping Trip", "Pups Save Dude Ranch Danny", "Pups Save the Chili Cook-Off", "Pups Save a Sleepover", and "Pups Save a Windsurfing Pig") are from Season 4, with the remaining trio representing each of the first three seasons (nothing from Season 5, however, which began back in February). They're not in any particular order, but it's no big deal since the show's not serialized. Even so, PAW Patrol is long overdue for a proper season-by-season release on DVD or maybe even Blu-ray: there's still a lot unaccounted for and the idea of shelling out $10 or more for 80 minutes of content every three months is wearing a little thin.
Adult quibbles aside, kids are still bound to love Summer Rescues unless they've seen and memorized at least half of these episodes in recent months. This is enjoyable, lighthearted stuff that I'd have flipped for during my single-digit years, and I'm still more than willing to sit through certain episodes multiple times if it keeps the little one happy. As usual, Paramount serves up a decent DVD presentation: skimpy on material, sure (and with no bonus features, either), but with a great A/V presentation that highlights the series' smooth, colorful animation and action-packed audio.
Quality Control Department
Video & Audio Quality
Since PAW Patrol was created in HD from the start, it's no surprise that Summer Rescues looks great on DVD with bright colors, strong detail, and noticeable textures on the characters and backgrounds. All eight episodes are presented in their original 1.78:1 aspect ratios, which showcase PAW Patrol's pleasing visual design and compositions. The stylized color schemes are vivid with no obvious bleeding, while shadow detail and black levels are consistent as well. Small amounts of banding can be seen along the way (especially during underwater or night scenes), but that's expected for the format and possibly a source issue. Overall, another great-looking disc that obviously beats broadcast versions.
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 great. Dialogue is crisp without fighting for attention, while a modest amount of channel separation gives songs and action sequences a decent amount of punch. My only complaint is that the volume levels are a little high, particularly during the theme song; music-savvy parents might agree that the term "brickwalled" applies here. But it's doubtful that this problem is exclusive to the DVD, so I blame whoever mixed it to begin with. No English subtitles or Closed Captions are included, although optional Spanish dubs are offered during several episodes if you need them (or want to hear an even more awesome version of the theme song).
Menu Design & Packaging
Summer Rescues is a one-disc release and comes in an eco-friendly blue keepcase with a matching slipcover. The colorful menus offer smooth and simple navigation. No extras are included, but that's hardly surprising at this point.
PAW Patrol is still going strong after almost five full years (a lifetime, as far as kids shows go), and that's a good thing because it's been a consistently fun and entertaining production: colorful and action-packed with great characters, this series is more enjoyable than its simple, unchanging formula implies. Paramount's treatment of PAW Patrol on DVD is back to its same old tricks (less than 80 minutes of content, no chronological episodes) ...and while these volumes are still coming out regularly, I'd really love to see a proper season-by-season release in the near future. Until then, Summer Rescues still comes mildly Recommended to young fans who haven't memorized these episodes yet.
Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey by day and film reviewer by night. He also does freelance design work and runs a website or two. In his limited free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs, and writing in third person.