the review site with a difference since 1999
Reviews Interviews Articles Apps About

HBO presents

I Spy A Rockin' Bronco and Other Stories (2002)

"I spy a star,
A bright blue kazoo,
Four silly knights,
And I spy me and you!"- Spyler (Tara Jayne)

Stars: Tara Jayne, Ellen Lee, Cindy Creekmore, Big Al
Manufacturer: Digital Video Compression Center
MPAA Rating: Not RatedRun Time: 01h:41m:22s
Release Date: 2004-08-03
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-B-B C


DVD Review

The folks at HBO demonstrate once again that they're as good for Saturday morning fare as they are for Sunday evenings. This disc brings us four more episodes of the network's signature children's series, based on the books of the same name—in each, our hero is Spyler, who, with the aid of his faithful dog CeCe, sets out on a scavenger hunt of sorts. They're faced with a problem, and an all-knowing duck tells them how to go about solving it—the spirit of cooperation pervades these stories, and they're told with a winning visual style.

It's time to giddayap in the title story, for the I Spy rodeo is happening before sundown; poor CeCe needs a fourth to round out her full set of cowboy boots, though, and so she and Spyler are on the case. Next, the pair are busy playing sailor, but they're not biting, so they make A Wish For Fish. CeCe's affection for riddles and puns are especially prominent here, and I'm particularly fond of this story, for it's the first one for which I was able to solve the Super Challenger. Dear reader, can you imagine my pride?

The first story of the second episode finds Spyler and CeCe not getting enough shuteye, because one crow has come to the 'hood and has become A Bird I've Heard, and brought a long a bunch of friends. The duo set out to build a better scarecrow, though this one, alas, doesn't while away the hours conversing with the flowers. Next, it's time for a game of Restaurant, and CeCe and Spyler set out to find the makings of A Super Silly Pizza.

At the outset of Episode Three, poor Wheeler the pickup is stuck in sand at the beach, and is missing out on his favorite game—Tag—making him An Out Of Luck Truck; CeCe and Spyler come to the rescue. Then, what to play with when everything around is blowin' in the wind? The answer, my friend, is A Kite in Flight, and a handsome one it is, too, with two purple socks for a tail.

The previous I Spy DVD releases have had only three episodes apiece, but there's a bonus fourth one here. First, CeCe and Spyler get ready for an evening under the stars, so they'll need A Campfire Night Light. And finally, my buddy Mumble Monster is back in town for the monster truck jamboree, which promises to be lots of Freewheelin' Fun.

The stop-motion animation makes these stories worth revisiting, even if you know just where everything is going to turn up. Family fun that isn't torturous for parents, and believe me, that's saying a lot.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: There seem to be some resolution problems on this disc, and on occasion, the images look a little shiny.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: A bit of hiss now and again, but nothing to write home about.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
1 Featurette(s)
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: You'll find the Message to Parents (04m:04s) identical to the one on the previous releases in the series; and if you're on a PC, the highlight of the DVD-ROM content is another installment of the I Spy Junior game.

Extras Grade: C

Final Comments

It's another winning bunch of stories, with our friends CeCe and Spyler, on a DVD that merits replaying both for its spirit of cooperation and its handsome animated style.

Jon Danziger 2004-08-11