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Featured TV on DVD Review: Jim Henson's Animal Show With Stinky & Jake: Lions, Tigers & Bears

April 11th, 2010

Jim Henson's Animal Show With Stinky & Jake: Lions, Tigers & Bears - Buy from Amazon

Jim Henson's Animal Show With Stinky & Jake, sometimes known simply as The Animal Show, was a pre-school show created by The Jim Henson Company back in the mid-1990s that ran for three seasons, including one on the then fledgling Animal Planet cable station. This week the show makes its debut on DVD with a five-episode disc. But how does it compare to other DVD releases aimed at the same target audience?

The Animal Show is essentially a talk show for pre-school children to learn about animals. It is hosted by a couple puppet animals and features animal guests and regular animal contributors. The hosts are Jake the Polar Bear, a wise bear who sports a bow-tie and glasses, and his co-host Stinky the Skunk, the younger and less serious of the two. They are the ones that introduce the guests, conduct the interviews, and sometimes ask their guests to sing. Jake also does a segment called Story Time. Other regulars on the show include a cockroach named Yves St. La Roache that talks about what animals eat (although as a roach, he has questionable cooking skills). There's Ollie the Tapir and Armstrong the Chicken Hawk, who travel around the world to different habitats and have regular segments together called That's Amazing! and Animal Awards. Ollie's rather enthusiastic about her job, but Armstrong tends to be a lot more pessimistic. Finally, there's Tizzy the Bee, who is not actually a puppet but a computer generated Bee that does quizzes during each commercial break.

Since the Jim Henson Company made the show, puppets obviously played an important role. However, there are also a lot of live action clips of animals, including ones where the animal guests describe how they live in nature. Baby Talk has people providing the voices for the animals in nature scenes, while Habitat Time is also heavy on the live action.

The episodes in this collection include Zebra and Lion, Tiger and Tiger Beetle, Raccoon and Polar Bear, Chimpanzee and Hyena, and finally Grizzle Bear and Hedgehog. All but one of these are from the show's first season, while Chimpanzee and Hyena is the second season premiere and this episode introduces Bunnie Bear, a relative of Jake who would eventually replace Ollie.

There are no extras on the DVD, nor are there subtitles or proper chapter placements. There is a play all button, but that's not a lot as far as DVD authoring is concerned.

The Verdict

As far as educational shows for preschoolers go, Jim Henson's Animal Show With Stinky & Jake is rather fun. Fans of Sesame Street or kids who like to learn about animals should definitely check out Lions, Tigers & Bears, and since it costs just $10 on, it's not to hard to get. This is the first DVD from the series to come out, but hopefully it is not the last.

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