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PBS Home Video presents
Boohbah: Big Windows (2005)

- Humbah

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: August 24, 2005

Stars: Penelope Keith, Cubert Smith, Charles Bergest, Rudolph Walker
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:00m:00s
Release Date: August 23, 2005
UPC: 841887050685
Genre: educational

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+B+B+ D+

DVD Review

First there was Barney & Friends, then came Teletubbies, and now, every kid's favorite show that parents love to hate is Boohbah. This PBS series has captured kids' attention and doesn't seem to want to let go anytime soon. It's enjoyed enormous success, and has spawned plushies that are officially the creepiest toys you can buy your toddler. (I saw them in stores last Christmas and vowed never to let my one-year-old daughter get hooked on the show).

Well, once Boohbah: Big Windows started spinning in my DVD player, my daughter was been totally engrossed and didn't waste any time adding the word "Boohbah" to her very limited vocabulary. This disc features three episodes and is sure to stretch parents' patience very thin, but it is the perfect show to play while you catch up on your reading. There's absolutely nothing that is inappropriate for any age group, unless you fear that the strange images and music are the first step on the path to hallucinogenic drug use. Seriously, though, this is one of those rare DVDs that parents can feel perfectly comfortable just letting their child enjoy on their own.

There are five Boohbahs: Humbah, the yellow one, Zumbah, the purple one, Jumbah, the blue, Jingbah, the pink, and Zing Zing Zingbah, the orange one. These creatures can best be described as chubby puffballs, with free-roaming bellies and tiny heads with mouths that never appear. Ah, who am I kidding, these things have to be seen to be believed.

The three episodes are Big Windows, Big TV, and Long Drink. The first begins with the strange, surreal title sequence, filled with immensely bright colors, and various noises being made by the Boohbahs. We then see the human cast of characters who represent a very diverse family. They wander about, appearing through a series of three different windows, while the narrator introduces each of them. I was worried that my little one would lose interest once the Boohbahs left the screen, but she was more enthralled than ever when the "family" was keeping her entertained.

Big TV and Long Drink are more of the same, a mixture of the Boohbahs dancing about and more trips to Storyworld, where the humans try to teach kids a thing or two. Big TV focuses on a television that is found in Storyworld, and the new things that these people discover in it. Long Drink was the best show of this bunch, as the people of Storyworld struggle with what to do with some juice, while the Boohbahs do a collecting dance.

That Boohbah is so similar to Teletubbies isn't exactly a coincidence, given that they were both created by the Ragdoll company. These two shows seem to be signaling a departure from talking dinosaurs or other animals in giant suits, and ushering in a new age of very little talk and a whole lot of kid-friendly atmosphere. The Boohbahs are still people in giant costumes, but they just aren't even close to being as bothersome as Barney.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: These episodes show up in 1.66:1 and the vivid colors practically jump off the screen. The intricate details of the Boohbahs are easy to see, with each strand of fur, hair, or whatever it is on their bodies easy to make out.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0, and is much livelier than I anticipated. The surrounds are very active, resulting in an involving experience for the young ones that actually improves their enjoyment of the show. The narrator's booming voice, as well as the other dialogue comes across clearly at all times, and is worked in perfectly with the rest of the mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 3 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Look What I Can Do - Boohbah short.
  2. Special Message For Parents - From creator Anne Wood.
Extras Review: There are a pair of extras, including a seven-minute Boohbah short called Look What I Can Do. This is more of the same fun from the full-length episodes, and kids will love this as well.

Special Message For Parents is just under four minutes long and mixes footage from the show with creator Anne Wood talking about its educational value.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Get your toddlers in front of a TV as soon as possible, pop Boohbah: Big Windows into your DVD player, and marvel at how engrossed they'll be. The three shows on this disc look and sound great.


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