|Discussion Boards | Reviews | News | Trip Planning | Shop | Travel | Site Map|
|Home Theater & Entertainment||
|Kevin Krock, editor|
The Television Shows
I’m sure most people are familiar with at least one of these three classic Peanuts holiday season specials. As a child, I fondly remember awaiting their annual appearance on television because they always signaled the start of some special holiday season. It has been years since I have sat down and watched them, but this past year the ABC television network acquired the broadcast rights (beating out CBS which debuted them).
Just about a year ago, Paramount Home Video released three of the most popular holiday titles, and now is the perfect time to revisit the nice three- disc box set. (The titles have also been released individually.) All three of the discs contain shows that are simple, insightful, and entertaining for both children and adults. After watching them, I had forgotten how well these 28- to 35-year-old television specials echo themes pertinent to today.
Here are brief summaries for those unfamiliar with each of these television specials:
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
A Charlie Brown Christmas
All of these exhibit a very simple animation style, with very simple backgrounds and flat character animation. Although, keep in mind that the television shows were originally designed to simply bring the comic strip characters to life, so the styles of the two media look very similar. In the end, this simplicity actually works in favor of these shows, because much of the charm stems from the character development and stories rather than flashy animation.
The goodies are where the discs fall seriously short. The bonus shows are nice, but they only fill up another 25 minutes of space on the discs. I would have been interested to have a little Charles Schultz video biography or video clips of Schultz talking about the genesis of these shows. Alas, that will apparently have to wait for another day. Beyond the bonus show on each disc, there are no additional materials.
The Video, Audio and Interface
Along the same minimalist line as the goodies, the video, audio and interface, which are nothing to shout about. The video transfers look pretty good for being as old as most of them are, and they are completely adequate for routine viewing. The audio on all of the shows is a very basic, English monaural transfer, and while clear and clean, will not push an audio system to its limits. The user interfaces are also about as basic as they get. The menus are simply static screens with no audio accompaniment.
For the hard-core home theater fan, these add up to a big disappointment. For children and many family DVD viewers, these factors are secondary to the shows, and do not really detract from their enjoyment.
The Final Evaluation
If you are a big Peanuts fan, you either already own this three- disc set, or should probably go out and buy it. It is a classic set of shows that are perfect for the whole family during the upcoming holiday season. For the rest of you, though, it may come down to how much you enjoy a particular show. With the distinct lack of bonus material, the set and individual disc costs may be a bit much for those marginally interested in good ol’ Chuck and his friends.
I have seen the set on sale for around $45 to $55 and the individual discs for about $15 to $17, but when compared to other recently released, DVDs rich in bonus material in the same price range, such as Dumbo and Snow White, the Peanuts discs come up a bit short.
|-TOP | SECTION CONTENTS | MOUSEPLANET MAIN PAGE|