Paramount Studios presents
Blue's Clues: Blue's Big Band (2003)
"Are you ready to look for Blue's Clues?"- Joe (Donovan Patton)
Stars: Donovan Patton, voices of Traci Paige Johnson, Nick Balaban, Seth O'Hickory, Kelly Nigh, LaNať Allen, Jenna Marie Castle
Other Stars: Steve Burns, voices of Cody Ross Pitts, Koyalee Chanda, Spencer Kayden, Jonathan Press, Cameron Bowen, Penny Jewkes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for nothing objectionable
Run Time: 1h:37m:16s
Release Date: 2003-02-04
DVD ReviewWhen my first great nephew started getting familiar with what he perceived as that magic box full of cool pictures and sounds, one of his daily rituals revolved around Blue's Clues, the wildly successful Nickelodeon series that really started to hit its stride by the time he became a convert.
Being of the generation that spawned Sesame Street, Mister Rogers Neighborhood and The Electric Company (which I revisited on the Noggin' cable network a few years back in a fit of nostalgia), I wasn't really sure how I'd take to a new generation of such programming while playing baby-sitter; most kiddie shows I had sampled while Saturday morning channel surfing in years past at the time possessed none of the vitality, joy or smarts of the shows of my youth (not to mention some horrendously cost-cutting animation that made Schoolhouse Rock look like vintage Disney.
In other words, there was no escape.
But just like my fellow grown-ups, I began singing the praises of this lovable pup, his ingratiatingly charming owner Steve and all those handy dandy helpers of theirs around the house (gotta love a talking mailbox with an East Coast accent). With its gentle, non-condescending manner towards its pre-school audience and superbly crafted interactive format, Blue's Clues has that same spirit that made my afternoon educational mainstays so much fun and beneficial.
Paramount Home Entertainment continues their ongoing releases of classic episodes of the program with Blue's Clues: Blue's Big Band, featuring two episodes with new host Joe (portrayed by Donovan Patton). To the kiddies, the departure of Steve must have been the childhood equivalent of us adults having to deal with McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rodgers leaving us behind on M*A*S*H. However the youngsters lucked out as we 4077th aficionados did with the new kid in town being instantly likeable. In a shrewd move, new theme music, along with modified arrangements of favorite sing-a-longs and a completely different wardrobe suiting Joe's more whimsical personality, Clues reinvents itself while still maintaining the basic format of what made it successful in the first place.
Blue's Big Band: The disc kicks off with this rarely seen episode where Joe's cowbell playing kicks off a tuneful play day. With help from household friends Tickety, Periwinkle and others, viewers are enlightened on the importance of keeping steady rhythm and how music expresses emotions.
Bedtime Business: With pre-bedtime routines sometimes being a tough part of the day for parents and children to go through, this is a handy episode to have around. With a little help from Joe and the viewers at home, Blue goes through his nightly rituals of bathing (the cutest singing bubbles you'll ever see), teeth brushing and bedtime storytelling.
Blue Wants to Play a Song Game: The first of two bonus episodes featuring our old friend Steve who's trying to remember the words to a song game without much success. Thanks to a friendly monkey and some practice, he nails it by the home stretch, teaching those watching the value of repetition in learning a sequence of events, or in this case, lyrics.
What Does Blue Wanna do on a Rainy Day?: Skies may be cloudy outside, but the mood is always festive inside the house of Blue with Steverino playing music teacher. Via clever setups including specially filled glasses of water, viewers are schooled in the art of musical notes, scales and rhythm.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
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Image Transfer Review: Since both of the Joe episodes were produced recently, the picture quality on those outings are nothing short of outstanding possessing gorgeous colors with no fuzziness or edgy jaggedness that marred earlier episodes on the format. Unfortunately, we get a mild taste of that on the bonus outings with 'ol Steve, but those shows date back from the early days of the show when the show's blending of live action and animation was not as pristine as now. You will be too busy smiling at your kids jamming along with these musically-themed episodes to care.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: Simple, effective Dolby Stereo that doesn't overwhelm, but it has no need to. Other than an occasional hard pan to extreme left or right to emphasize on-screen happenings, it's not a flashy track but the music has a nice, peppy presence.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Extras Review: Since nearly two hours of entertainment fill the disc, it's hard to bemoan a lack of extras. Continuing the trend of other Paramount Nick Jr. releases, the only bonus of any real merit is a text-based Extra Learning section, with helpful tips for parents corresponding to themes explored in this batch of episodes.
Extras Grade: C
Final CommentsAnother value-packed collection of stellar episodes spotlighting former host Steve and Thinking Chair-worthy successor Joe makes Blue's Clues: Blue's Big Band a mandatory purchase for fans of the show.
Jeff Rosado 2003-06-19