2012 has been a good year for classic television fans. Thanks to Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon, fans of the classic Nicktoons have seen even more seasons of the classic 90’s Nicktoons get proper releases. Fans of Dark Shadows have seen the release of the full series thanks to MPI Home Video. And a much wider release of that series will be coming out soon, too. Now, thanks to Entertainment One, fans of another classic have reason to be happy. That classic is HBO’s classic animated series, Babar. That’s right. “Babar: The Classic Series Season One” was released just last week thanks to Entertainment One. In an era when so much programming is anything but kid and family friendly, this season is a welcome addition to any family’shome library.
“Babar: The Classic Series Season One” has all thirteen of the first season’s original episodes. It follows Babar’s family from the very first episode, in which he has to explain to Alexander about what happened to his mother right to the episode about a phantom. As a fair warning, that very first episode may be difficult for some younger viewers as it does depict Babar’s mother being shot by The Hunter. However, it’s necessary in Babar’s story explaining his lesson to Alexander. This is the onl difficult moment in season one as the lessons imparted on the children in each episode are something that both kids and kids at heart will enjoy.
In the opening episode of Season One, Babar tells his children the story of how his journey to becoming king of Celesteville began. The story goes all the way back to when Babar was just a baby elephant. His name is chosen as it was actually his first word. Babar explains, as he narrates the story, how emotionally difficult it was to have lost his mother because of a hunter. However, because of what The Hunter did, Babar knew that there were things that he didn’t want to do. Though, he knew he had to do them. What he meant was that he had to face The Hunter. And he does just that when The Hunter returns. He gets The Hunter to chase him, and tricks him, making him fall into the hole left by the trunk that he had pulled up. The Hunter loses his gun, and Babar grabs it and throws it away. He explains that he was then on his own, and had to find the rest of the elephants. He does just that, and eventually defeats the Hunter as Season One goes on. But that first powerful episode also teaches an important life lesson. It teaches we all have to do things we might not want to do at times.
In another of the first season’s great moments, Babar teaches the children that “The Show Must Go On”. He tells them about how he tried to put on a ballet once, when he was a young king. He invited the famed prima ballerina Madame Soretoza to perform in the ballet. At first, everyone was excited. But when she runs everybody off with her bad attitude, Babar has enough and tells Madame Soretoza that she is no longer needed and they are going to run the ballet on their own. The ballet turns out to be a success, too. As a result, the children learn that it’s better to work together than trying to act like they’re better than others. In short, it’s a lesson about team work and having a good attitude.
Babar teaches many great lessons in Season One. That’s already been noted. Another of the great lessons shared in Season One is to never assume and falsely accuse someone. He teaches this in “The Missing Crown Affair.” When the children are arguing over whether or not a diary has been stolen, Babar sits them down and tells them the story of the time that his crown went missing on the first anniversary of his coronation. When it’s suddenly taken in the middle of the night, Babar and his friend Sephir go on a hunt to see if they can figure out the mystery. Sephir and Babar begin to assume that his own friends are trying to have him dethroned. Of course, he doesn’t have solid proof of that. In the end, he discovers that everything was just an attempt to set up a huge anniversary party to celebrate the big day. The point of his lesson was that just because soemthing went msising doesn’t mean that assumptions should be made, nor should accusations be tossed aroudn without solid proof. In the end, the diary is located, and apologies are shared. Even Babr finds out in the end that it was Celeste who took his crown that fateful night. She put an engraving on it declaring her love for him. It leaves everyone with a great feeling.
Babar has wonderful life lessons in all thirteen episodes of Season One. But that’s not all that makes this set so impressive. The packaging for the double disc set is equally impressive. It would seem that more companies are beginning to use Shout! Factory’s example, as the two discs in the set each get their own spot in the case, thus protecting the discs and preserving their longevity. So kudos to Entertainment one for the slim and safe packaging for the discs.
Babar was originally aired on HBO in its heydey. So not everyone was able to get it. But now that it’s on dvd, audiences everywhere have the opportunity to share in this classic family friendly cartoon. From the thirteen wonderful lesson filled episodes to the packaging, “Babar: The Classic Series Season One” is one more wonderful addition to every family’s home library. It’s one of those programs that just as it’s already transcended generations, will continue to do so for even more generations, if this collection is any indication.
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