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Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Halloween Is Grinch Night

This Dr. Seuss classic isn’t as well known as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but it’s just as good.  It doesn’t seem to be part of the same canon, however.  The Grinch is at his Grinchiest, so it can’t take place after the Christmas special.  But at the end of the show, Max the dog leaves him, so it can’t take place before Christmas, either.  It doesn’t matter much, as there isn’t a connected storyline.  It’s only a Halloween show based on the title, as there’s no trick-or-treating or costume parties in the plot.  A seasonal wind sets up a series of unconnected events that result in the Grinch setting off on an annual trip to town in order to be a Grinch.  A young boy attempts to stall him and winds up getting a face-full of creepy Grinch magic.  It’s not the most detailed or impressive story, but the animation is typical Seussian magic, and the music is catchy.  It’s a lot of fun and just the right amount of Halloween creepiness.

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Scooby-Doo

There’s a wide variety to cover here.  The original Scooby-Doo cartoon from the 1960s was fairly slow paced with lots of physical gags and some decent voice acting.  The concept of a group of teens solving supposedly supernatural mysteries wasn’t a new one, but something about this group caught on.  Ever since then, the Scooby gang has been reinvented for each new generation of viewers.  There’ve been some high and lows.  The movies from the ’70s were mostly good, with great guest stars and some funny dialogue.  The ’80s brought us the low of Scrappy-Doo.  Every decade has had a new tv series and some new tv movies, and they’re mostly good to great.  It’s a tough idea to mess up as long as you stick to the original characters.  There has been a time or two when studios haven’t adhered to that advice as well as they should have, but picking a Scooby show to watch usually means that you aren’t going to go wrong.  It’s family-friendly and well animated, and the voice acting is usually very well done.  The older shows might be a bit slow and dumb for older kids, but younger ones will still enjoy them.  I could list favorite movies or tv episodes, but most of them have something to recommend them, even ones that don’t seem quite right at first.  I can’t really recommend Scrappy, though.  He’s just annoying.

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Little Einsteins

This show came out during the glut of products that were meant to turn babies into geniuses.  It doesn’t work as well as parents hoped, but this tv series is one of the positive results.  The young cartoon characters are sympathetic for kids, and the educational information is gently provided.  It’s a bit too smart for the youngest viewers, but even they will get a kick out of the animation/live-action combos and their cute presentation.  The music is top-notch since much of it comes from classical composers.  The plots might be a bit too simplistic for older viewers, but even they might learn something from the fact-providing portions.

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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

This Disney tv show is just for kids, but it’s not the most grating of such shows, even for adults.  It’s slow and mildly educational, focusing mainly on getting the kids in the audience to participate.  There’s always a gentle plotline and extremely simple puzzles about making things work.  The Halloween episode in particular takes Mickey and pals on a trip to Trick or Treat Tower, and they have to get over Candy Corn Mountain, through the dark woods, and across a frog-infested bridge.  It’s all light-hearted fun, and none of it will tax your brain.  It’s designed primarily for the youngest viewers, but its familiar, cute characters will keep any adult in the room from rolling their eyes too hard.  They still won’t be able to stomach too much of it in one sitting, but the animation is well-done if a bit simplistic, and there’s always something cute and colorful to look at.  The music is also very simple but, again, enjoyable.  It’s not something most people would seek out, but if you have a kid or just enjoy kids shows, this one is a pretty good choice.

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Goosebumps

This ’90s TV series was based on the books and did a pretty good job of replicating their goofy and sometimes creepy feel.  The plots are fairly basic, and the twists are often easy to predict.  But they’re still good, clean fun for the family.  The effects tended to be rather awful (but also creative), and the acting was usually bad, but you can’t expect much from an old kids show.  The subject matter could actually be unique and humorous on occasion, and if you’re young enough, the predictable plot twists can surprise you.  It feels a little like a Twilight Zone for kids sometimes, and that’s not a bad thing.  There are standout episodes, like the “Night in Terror Tower” special, but most of it is silly, mindless fun.  Just don’t expect Shakespeare, and you’ll get a laugh or two.

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Angel

This is a spinoff from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv series, starring Buffy’s on-again/off-again boyfriend, the vampire Angel.  He goes on his own journey, completing quests and fighting evil.  Right from the start, the show has a darker tone than Buffy started out with, but that’s to be expected.  There are plenty of lighter, more fun moments, and the characters really stand out as separate entities.  Once again, the earliest couple of seasons are the best, but there are standout episodes throughout the five seasons.  The finale isn’t satisfying, however.  Buffy got a proper, if not happy, ending, but Angel gets none of that.  There are a couple of production reasons for this, but they’re not important.  Having gone through the whole thing, I would be sorely tempted to skip the ending and quit two or three seasons before I even get there, just to avoid the annoying parts.  That being said, there are still redeeming qualities in the show right up to the end, so it’s a toss-up.

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The tv series.  Completely different from the movie, this one is darker, more serious, and more realistic.  It touches on heavy psychological and philosophical questions while inserting some lighthearted humor here and there.  The characters are sympathetic and touching, and the acting is leagues ahead of the movie.  It grows darker with each season, however, eventually landing somewhere in an extremely depressive state.  Happiness is always just out of reach, and characters outside of the core group often die.  The wordplay is more clever and fun, and the pacing is exciting without ever getting too fast-paced.  There is much to recommend this version, especially if you have the patience for its length.  Even in the darkest hours of the final seasons, there are fun and unusual storylines.  My favorite episodes reside in the first couple of seasons, but I can still pick out good ones throughout the show.

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