Top positive review
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They're back!!!! They're back!!!!
on October 26, 2006
Many, many thanks are extended to Nelvana and Nick Jr. for bringing back the Backyardigans for another season. This DVD has four episodes from the second season (which will reportedly have twenty episodes) and although the musical genres are rather obscure (at least I've never heard of some of them), the quality of entertainment exceeds the first season.
"Mission to Mars" starts it off with Kenyan High Life music, one of the genres I've never heard of before, but which sounds like a cross between calypso and Latin music. Uniqua, Pablo and Austin are astronauts who head off to Mars to investigate a mysterious audio signal. Tyrone and Tasha remain behind to man mission control.
"Samurai Pie" is my absolute favorite episode of the whole series so far. Far East meets Western in this wonderful combination of spaghetti western music (a genre I HAVE heard of before), and kung fu / ninja action movies. The settings are very similar to those in the movie "Spirited Away", mixed with some "Karate Kid", "Kung Fu" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". Tyrone makes the world's greatest samurai pies, and is teaching his apprentice Austin the tricks of the trade. Their task is to make the Great Pie for Empress Tasha, and get it to her royal table before the pie-stealing ninjas Uniqua and Pablo make off with it.
"Scared of You" has Tasha as a mad scientist, with Austin as her henchman. Even though it's his birthday, she sends him out on a mission to deliver secret letters to three monsters, Tyrone the mummy, Uniqua the werewolf and Pablo the vampire. The letters are actually invitations to a surprise birthday "Monster Party" with lots of singing and dancing to a `50s small band theme.
"Whodunit?" is an Agatha Christie-type mystery adventure, set in Mystery Manor, on the Misty Moors of Scotland, with detective Pablo trying to find Lady Tasha's stolen jewels. Is the thief neighbor Mr. Austin Frothingslosh, unexpected visitor Uniqua Underhood, or did Butler Tyrone do it?
Cute, but never annoying; imaginative, but still simple enough for young children to enjoy; informative without being preachy, lots of singing and dancing to new musical genres, plus now (ta-dah!!!!!) with Alicia Keyes on board as a singing mommy Martian - what more could you possibly ask for in children's entertainment?
Amanda Richards, October 26, 2006