PBS Kids is doing its part to honor its female viewers with a new DVD. The DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures, was released Sept. 7 through PBS Distribution. The episodes featured in this collection –15 in all as the DVD’s title notes – are the main strength for the presentation. While the episodes are important in their own right, the very fact that they are centered on just female audiences detracts notably from the DVD’s presentation. It will be discussed a little later. For those audiences willing to overlook this shortcoming, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive. When it is considered along with the episodes featured herein, the DVD proves far from perfect, but still entertaining enough.
PBS Kids’ recently released compilation DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures is an intriguing offering from the network. The DVD’s primary strength comes in its featured episodes. The episodes lift from the majority of PBS Kids’ series. There are some omissions, though (E.g. Odd Squad, Wild Kratts, Curious George, etc.) but by and large, the episodes pull from a respectable amount of the networks’ shows. Arthur is represented through the episode, “Muffy’s New Best Friend.” The story here finds Muffy and Francine learning a valuable lesson about friendship even when two people have differing opinions on things, and that those differences can actually help friendships grow. It is a familiar topic that will appeal not only to young females, but to audiences in general. This leads to the aforementioned discussion on the DVD’s one main shortcoming, which will be addressed shortly. Molly of Denali’s episode, “Stand Back Up” finds Molly learning a valuable lesson about pushing on through failings in any situation in life when she learns how to ski. Once again, here is a show that yes, is centered on a female character, but with a lesson that applies to girls and boys, men and women alike. Again, it leans toward the DVD’s noted concern. On yet another note, Let Go Luna!’s episode, “Aren’t We A Pair” centers on Carmen and her Egyptian friend Leyla and their search for their pets. The friendship element is there, but as with so many episodes of the family favorite series, the episode is more about promoting multiculturalism, which is wonderful in its own right. The thing is that the series focuses not just on a girl, but a group of friends (two boys and a girl, plus Luna, who is female). The story is a great way to teach and learn about culture in Egypt. Again, it will appeal just as much to boys as it will girls. It is one more way to show the importance of the DVD’s episodes to the disc’s presentation. That is done as it pulls from yet another of so many PBS Kids series. On the other hand it is yet another example of how problematic the DVD is in the bigger picture.
While the episodes featured in this disc make for plenty of appeal, the very fact that they will appeal to boys and girls alike as well as men and women alike, it makes the very presentation format extremely problematic. As noted, the stories and lessons that are presented in the majority of this DVD’s featured episodes will appeal to and connect with boys as well as girls. Add in that the fact that many of the shows from which the episodes are pulled are examples of PBS and PBS Kids’ long-running tradition of trying to normalize equality among genders, sexes, races, and ethnicities and it just makes the whole presentation seem like a knee-jerk reaction from someone or some people at PBS and PBS Kids. Given again, a show, such as Molly of Denali is centered on a young girl, but the stories and lessons involve her as well as her friends, who are male and female. Even a “newer” series, such as Elinor Wonders Why is centered not on just its titular character, but on her and her friends, who are male and female alike. Once again, the diversity is evident in the episodes and their lessons. That has been a trademark of PBS Kids shows for such a long time. It just leads one to wonder why someone would even take the time to try and release a collection of episodes that it claims are “Girl Power” adventures. The very approach is counter to everything for which PBS Kids has come to be known. It is really disconcerting. Even with the concern raised by the DVD’s very presentation, there is at least one more positive to examine, and that is its pricing.
The average price point for 15 Girl Power Adventures is $8.22. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS. The DVD was not listed through Books-A-Million at the time of the DVD’s review. An average price point of less than $10 for a DVD that for the most part will appeal to boys just as much as girls and that pulls from so many of PBS Kids’ shows new and old alike is not bad at all. Adding to the appeal is that for the most part, the separate listings are below that price point, save for PBS’ own listing of $9.99 and (surprisingly) that of Walmart, at $12.37. Target actually has the least expensive listing this time out at only $4.99. Amazon and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each list the DVD at $6.99 while Best Buy is not the best buy at $7.99. So in looking at these prices, the overall pricing really is not bad. It will not break any viewer’s budget. So taking that into account with the DVD’s content, the whole makes for at least some appeal even despite the incongruous nature of the content with the DVD’s title. Keeping this in mind, the DVD is problematic. There is no denying this matter. At the same time, it is not a complete failure.
PBS Kids/PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures is hardly the best presentation that the company and its home distribution arm have ever released. At the same time it is not the worst, either. The DVD succeeds largely because of its episodes and their stories. The episodes pull from a healthy cross section of PBS Kids’ shows. The stories and their lessons will connect to boys just as much as girls because despite the DVD’s title, they are not centered just on females and will relate not only to girls, either. This leads to the DVD’s one major shortcoming, its titling. The DVD’s title markets the presentation as being “girl power,” but as noted the episodes are largely a continued display of PBS Kids’ successful efforts to normalize equality among genders, sexes, races, and ethnicities without being preachy. Keeping that in mind, there really was no reason for any branch of PBS to present such a DVD since it has always treated males and females, blacks, whites, and otherwise equally. While this is clearly problematic, it is not enough to make the DVD a total failure. The DVD’s overall pricing proves positive, considering the amount of content presented therein. The pricing will, for the most part, not break any viewer’s budget. That selling point (no pun intended) along with the content is just enough to save the DVD. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation. All things considered, they make the DVD problematic but not a total failure.
15 Girl Power Adventures is available now. More information on this and other titles from PBS Kids is available along with all of the network’s latest news at:
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