The CBeebies show Moon and Me might not seem typical fare for Blueprint: Review to cover, but here we are reviewing the second volume of the programme to hit DVD and digital in the UK. My two girls (aged 3 and 6) are fans so I can’t say no when I’m offered a copy of a new set to review. I get lots of daddy points and a rare chance to sit and watch a screener with them instead of waiting until their tucked up in bed. It also gives me a chance to make another mini bonus episode of the Blueprint: Review Podcast, which I always enjoy doing (though most listeners are probably longing for a new normal episode!)
I must admit, I don’t have much new to say about this latest set, so I’ve reproduced my review of the previous DVD, with a few tweaks. I did record a new podcast with the girls though, which can be listened to below:
Moon and Me sees the toys Pepi Nana, Mr. Onion, Colly Wobble, Sleepy Dibillo, Little Nana, Lambkin and Lily Plant live together in a big dollhouse. Every night they come alive and Pepi Nana writes a letter and sends it to the moon. Moon Baby lives in a cave up there and comes down to the dollhouse on Earth after reading the letter. When he arrives, the toys have fun together and tell each other a story. Moon Baby then uses his magic kalimba to bring the friends into the story. They later come back home, have tea and then go to bed.
The series follows a similar structure every time. Like other programmes aimed at very young children such as In the Night Garden and Teletubbies, it uses this repetitive structure to create a comfortable, familiar experience. In general, the series has a very calming atmosphere. It’s perfect viewing in the lead-up to bedtime as it’s all very warmly lit, slow-paced and lacking in excitement or drama. The stories are very simple – the toys sing a silly song or they play with a giant tub or have a friendly race. As such, it’s not a series that will appeal to adults as some kids shows can. There aren’t any subtle adult jokes slipped in as you get in Peppa Pig and such, though I did find a little amusement here and there, such as when Colly Wobble accidentally heads off in reverse in the ‘Let’s Have a Race!’ episode. The series is purely an innocent and magical comfort blanket aimed at the very young. My six-year-old still enjoys it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she lost interest in the next year or so.
I like the style of the series. As mentioned, everything looks very warm with pastel colours and orange lighting in the dollhouse and bright summer sunshine in the story sequences. I’m not 100% certain on how it’s animated but it looks like puppeteering rather than animation, though there looks to be some stop motion in use and CGI to smooth everything over. It’s very nicely done and there are some lovely touches such as the way the characters have little actions they perform when they’re excited. I also love the way it transitions between the ‘real’ dollhouse world and the fantastical story world. It’s done in an often clever and beautifully crafted fashion.
Each character has their own unique style of movement and personality. Some of their quirks are quite fun, like Dibillo doing everything with his ears as he’s too sleepy to move around or use his arms. Like Night Garden they speak in repetitive phrases with the off-screen narrator explaining what they’re talking about. I have a soft spot for Mr Onion, who says nothing but “onions” all the time.
The music is sweet too. There’s usually a short song in each episode as well as a background score. You probably won’t be humming any of the tunes afterwards, but they wash over you and the kids like a calming wave. The Silly Song is the most notable here, being that it was performed by Michael Buble.
Overall then, it’s a sweet and charming show that’s perfect for the 5-and-unders but it’s a little too slight for parents to happily chain watch with their kids. If you want to lull them to sleep as bedtime approaches though, this deliberately paced and gentle programme is just the ticket.
Moon And Me – The Silly Song & Other Episodes is out now on DVD and digital in the UK, released by Studiocanal. The picture and sound quality is very good for an SD release, with colours coming through nicely and a pretty sharp and detailed image. There are no special features included, unfortunately. I’d have been quite interested to see how the programme was animated.