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Willow

'Big Box of Kids Favorites'
(Jim Varney, Michael Bond, James Arnold Taylor, et al / 7-Disc DVD / NR / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Kids of all ages are sure to enjoy this BIG BOX of television favorites! This timeless trio of clever characters are sure to delight you and old alike!

DVD Verdict: First up we have 'JOHNNY TEST'. Here we follow the adventures of this fearless 11-year-old boy, his genetically-engineered super dog, Dukey, and his 13-year-old super-genius brainiac twin sisters who use Johnny as their guinea pig for their out-of-this-world scientific experiments!

The comparison with 'Dexter's Laboratory' is inevitable, but they are really different, to my mind. What I really enjoy about this show is its simplicity. Everything is so simple and classic. Like the old shows including 'Hey Arnold' and 'Doug'.

Also its drawing style is also nice. Solid color in a thick black outline that reminds me of, yes, I know, 'Dexter's Laboratory'. I've heard complaints of this show being not funny,boring, or just plain stupid.

Personally, I enjoy its clichés, its warming, kind of like camping. Because like camping, we live in the 21st century, yet people still go outside to fish and sleep in a tent. Its kind of like this show.

This was the type of show little kids would watch and wish or dream that they could do this, or they could make this. For example: In one of the episodes, Johnny made a roller coaster park in his backyard.

Another thing I like about this show is its original comic-book super villains like an evil toy maker, a freezing coffee maker, a talking cat, and a man that controls bees!

Then there's the one where Johnny pretends to be sick in order to miss out on a school test. Everybody hates school tests, right? So if you really hate school tests that will bore the crap out of you, this is the wrong show to give nothing but hate to. This features all 26 episodes from the first and second seasons of the series.

Then we get one of my all-time favorites from the UK, 'PADDINGTON BEAR' Based off the acclaimed books by Michael Bond, 'Paddington Bear' has captured the imaginations and hearts of young and old around the world for generations.

Dressed in his characteristic blue duffle coat and oversized hat, the helpful and cuddlesome Paddington has a gift of putting his paws where he shouldn’t, creating hours of hilariously sticky situations!

I do admit I have a thing for nostalgia, and I loved 'Paddington' when I was a kid. At 48, I still love it now, it is absolutely wonderful. It's definitely better than the children's shows of today, which are either bad or once good shows now mediocre.

I didn't feel there was a wasted moment watching 'Paddington', for it was whimsical, charming and funny. I always loved the characters, cute and endearing Paddington, Mr and Mrs Brown and the hilarious Mr.Curry ("BEAR!").

The look of the series is superb, and the music is excellent. I also loved the story lines and Paddington's situations and the narration by the wonderful Michael Hordern. There are so many things to like about 'Paddington', as it is a wonderful show.

Finally we get treated to the live-action comedicness of 'HEY VERN, IT’S ERNEST!' Jim Varney, who created the Ernest P. Worrell character, starred in this imaginative Saturday morning kid's program composed of a series of live-action comedy sketches.

Each show follows a particular weekly theme such as outer space; hobbies, scary things or magic. Indeed, 'Hey Vern, It's Ernest!' has been compared to other live-action kids comedy series greats such as both 'You Can’t Do That On Television' and 'Pee-Wee’s Playhouse'.

Jim Varney was quite brilliant as an entertainer. He never received the acclaim that he was due and it often makes me sad now that he's gone. Anyways, his television show 'Hey Vern, It's Ernest' was one of the zaniest most imaginative programs imaginable; and it filled many of my Saturday mornings with joy and wonder!

With its originality and poise, its difficult to believe it only lasted a few seasons. The show truly chronicles Jim Varney's ability as an entertainer and his take on different characters is exceptional and always memorable.

In fact, and to my mind and those of my friends, 'Hey Vern, It's Ernest' would be especially welcome in these times of copious craptastic reality TV programming!

With over 25 hours of entertainment, inclusive of Bonus Features and Specials, and with over 100 episodes contained on these 7 discs, this 'Big Box of Kids Favorites' is one of the best for kids that Mill Creek Entertainment has ever released, in my humble opinion! These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.millcreekent.com





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