The history of television is rife with programs that most audiences will agree are timeless. Among some of the most well known are the likes of: The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle & Friends, Looney Tunes, and The Flintstones just to name a few. These classics have transcended generations and gone on to become family favorites decades after they ended their runs. Now in the twenty-first century, a whole new crop of cartoons has gone on to be added to that list. Among the newer cartoons deserving of the title of “timeless” are most of Nickelodeon’s modern classic Nicktoons from the 1990s and the focus of today’s review, Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus. The Magic School Bus has been broadcast on a number of networks. It has run on PBS, TLC, and most recently, Qubo. It would seem that Qubo has dropped the classic cartoon though, sadly. Thankfully, Scholastic has teamed up with New Video and New Kideo in the past year or so to release this modern classic on DVD for both its original audiences and a whole new generation of young fans. The companies have already put out a number of compilations containing episodes from the justifiably timeless show including the complete fifty-two episode collection. Most recently, the single-disc compilation, The Magic School Bus: In A Pickle was released alongside another new triple-disc collection, The Magic School Bus: Revving Up. The prior of the two new compilations is impressive in its own right. The latter of the pair offers just as much enjoyment as the prior, if not more.
The Magic School Bus: Revving Up takes twelve more of the original series’ fifty-two episodes and compiles them for this collection. The twelve episodes culled for this set are each spread across three more sing-disc compilations within the larger box. And just as The Magic School Bus: In A Pickle does, the episodes contained on each disc of The Magic School Bus: Revving Up follow a given theme. The first of the compilations within the box is The Magic School Bus: Under Construction. This compilation contains the title episode of the larger box. The kids have to save the Magic School Bus in this episode as it’s in danger of being condemned by their school district’s Vehicle Maintenance Inspector, Junkett. Get it? Junkett? Junk It? Ba-dump-bump-bump. The late Sherman Hemsely (The Jeffersons, All in The Family, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) voiced the character of Inspector Junkett. Junkett wants to condemn the bus because he claims it has so many problems. So it’s up to the kids to find out what’s making the bus sick and in turn save it from being condemned. It’s one more fun filled episode that parents and kids alike will love watching again and again. And as with every episode of this modern classic series, it’s another great tool for kids to learn at home or in the classroom.
The title episode from the new triple-disc set, The Magic School Bus: Revving Up is a joy for parents, teachers and students. The same can be said of its companion episodes in this first of the set’s discs. All four episodes on this disc take a look at the different ways in which technology works. There’s a lesson on how computers work, and even one on construction technology that is just as relevant today as it was in its original broadcast. These episodes are just part of the whole that makes this set so enjoyable. Also included across the three-disc set are episodes that teach about how electricity works, and about animals and their habitats. Whether one is a parent, teacher, or youth, every one of these episodes will entertain viewers of every age.
All twelve episodes culled for this latest multi-disc set are enjoyable in their own way. They are so enjoyable thanks to the show’s writing staff. Each episode contained here maintains the standard established in prior collections of simple writing. The episodes’ writing is simple, but it doesn’t leave viewers feel like they are being talked down to (including adults). It makes viewers feel like they’re actually watching Ms. Frizzle’s class learning each lesson rather than themselves. At the same time, they know that they too are learning a lesson without the educational aspect being too overt. It’s one more of so many positives that can be discussed. To point out all the positives would take far too much time and too much time. So suffice it to say that the writing, along with the animation and lessons in general make this latest compilation of episodes one more must in the living room or the classroom. It is available now in stores and online. Parents and teachers can order it online via the New Kideo website, http://www.newkideo.com. And to keep up with all of the latest releases from Scholastic and New Kideo, parents and teachers can go online to the New Kideo website or the official Scholastic website, http://www.scholastic.com or each company’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/NewKideo and http://www.facebook.com/Scholastic.
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