“He even mucks about with those who cannot bleat.”
Shaun the Sheep is a little gem of a show. Featuring stop-motion animation and no dialogue the British children’s show focuses on the titular character of Shaun, the smirking leader of a flock of sheep. The show’s episodes are less than 10 minutes a pop and thus are perfect for little ones who may not have an overly developed sense of attention yet. The farm where Shaun lives is also inhabited by Bitzer the dog, Pidsley the cat, the angry pigs, the crazy goat and of course the Farmer himself. With plenty of winks to the adults watching the series really is a terrific example of the simplest form of storytelling and I can’t say enough good things about it.
Shaun the Sheep: Season 2 contains all forty episodes from the second season of the show which originally aired in 2010. It’s not surprising with 2015’s successful theatrical release of Shaun the Sheep: The Movie that the people behind the show are striking while the iron is hot and releasing the earlier seasons. And just like Shaun the Sheep is a spin-off of the Academy Award-winning Wallace and Gromit so too has Shaun spawned its own spin-off Timmy Time featuring the titular baby sheep and other adorable baby animals.
Shaun the Sheep is not an educational show in the sense that we see them here on our side of the pond. No teaching kids to read, or count, or the like but that’s not to say there are no lessons to learn. The character that gets into trouble in a particular episode can be found in that state because of selfishness, because of someone else’s actions, or something completely out of their control. It’s easy to tell which motive is behind the story and adults can use the morals to help kids understand why certain things happen. The show is also a great example of cause and effect in motion. Parents who want to get more out of the show can walk their kids through what happened and make sure kids understand how Action A led to Reaction B on screen. But yes, it’s mostly funny sight gags and cute characters and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the series purely on that basis.
The technical specs are not state of the art but they are definitely in keeping with a release from back in 2010 and really don’t pose problems for today’s viewers. The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track and considering this is a show without dialogue the only thing we really have to worry about is the title song sounding clear which it assuredly does. The other whistles, bleats, and snuffles all come through loud and clear as well. The visuals are presented within a 1.78:1 transfer and look pretty darn good. There is enough detail here to please the discerning eye and the animation is top notch. The stop motion is amazingly fluid and is a testament to others of its brethren.
The special features department is well represented here. There are a photo gallery and a behind-the-scenes featurette. There’re a couple of games kids can play with the DVD remote, videos which feature a sing-a-long for the title song as well as some behind-the-scenes builds which a child could theoretically replicate with the right materials. Digital copies of the episodes round out the offerings. All in all an above average selection.
Don’t worry about anything when it comes to Shaun the Sheep: Season 2. Purchase it knowing you and your children will both find yourselves amused by the antics of these animated characters. The plethora of special features is the icing on the cake.