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DVD Review:The Wild Thornberrys – Season 1

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Fans of Nickelodeon cartoons will be happy to learn that Shout! Factory has obtained the rights to release the channel’s animated shows on DVD and Blu-ray, such as Aaaah! Real Monsters, Hey Arnold! and Rocko’s Modern Life. The first title to be offered is The Wild Thornberrys – Season 1. Produced by Klasky Csupo, the 20 episodes collected in this set first aired from September 1998 to April 1999. They are presented on four discs and the audio is available in English and Spanish.

Eliza Thornberry (Lacey Chabert) is the lead character. She is a smart, 12-year-old girl who has the secret ability to speak with animals, some of which would like to eat her. In the show’s opening, a witch doctor is shown giving Eliza this ability and the story behind it is revealed in the Season 3 episode, “The Gift of Gab.”  She usually wears pigtails, bringing to mind another strong female character, Pippi Longstocking.

Sir Nigel Archibald Thornberry (Tim Curry) is Eliza’s father and the host of a nature show, which is the reason the family travels around the world. Marianne (Jodi Carlisle) is her mom and is a one-woman film crew for Nigel’s show. Debbie (Danielle Harris) is Eliza’s 16-year-old sister but doesn’t share her enthusiasm for this life and longs for a normal upbringing. Donnie (Flea) is a young feral boy reminiscent of Tarzan that the family found. He can be a bit wild and doesn’t speak English. Darwin (Tom Kane) the chimp wears human clothes and frequently works to protect Eliza from her overzealousness like the time he had to pull her face out of a Brazilian river as she tried talking to piranhas.

The Thornberrys’ adventures this season find the family traveling to Tanzania, Brazil, Galapagos Islands, Congo, Uganda, Peru, and Indonesia and interacting with the local animals.  The show’s characters are amusing, and it’s refreshing to see a strong, smart female lead whose adventures are equally accessible to boys. The different exotic locations and animals allow for fresh stories and widen the viewer’s knowledge without the heavy-handedness of watching homework. The Wild Thornberrys is a very enjoyable series for both children and adults.

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at