The Fresh Beat Band: The Wizard of Song (a J!-ENT Children’s DVD Review)
August 5, 2012 by Dennis Amith
Get your children ready to dance, sing and have fun with the latest DVD from “The Fresh Beat Band”, “The Wizard of Song” which features Marina landing in Oz. Can the Scarecrow, Tinwoman and Lion help Marina get back home? Featuring special guest appearances from Jason Mraz and Sarah Chalke, “The Wizard of Song” is a fun musical educational series for your young children!
© 2012 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: The Fresh Beat Band: The Wizard of Song
TV SERIES AIR DATE: 2011-2012
DURATION: 4 Episodes (88 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital
RATED: NOT RATED
RELEASE DATE: August 14, 2012
Directed by Jonathan Judge, Neal Israel, James Wahlberg, Henry Chan, Scott Kraft
Written by Kim Duran, Scott Kraft, Nadine Van der Velde
Executive Producer: Scott Kraft, Nadine Van der Velde
Line Producer: Chris Robinson, Jim Kukucka
Associate Producer: Allison Dykstra
Music by Matter Music
Cinematography by Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Franks, Brandon Mastrippolito
Edited by Cindy Parisotto
Costume Design by Joyce Kim Lee
Jon Beavers as Twist
Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer as Kiki
Thomas Hobson as Shout
Dioni Michelle Collins as Melody
Tara Perry as Marina
Shane Blades as Harper the Pizza Maker
Dioni Michelle Collins as Melody the Smoothie Maker
Patrick Levis as Reed the Guitar Player
Jason Mraz as Wizard of Song
When Marina gets swept up into a windstorm, she lands in Oz! Along the way, she befriends a Scarecrow, a Tin Woman, and a Lion and they go to the Wizard of Song so that Marina can find her way home.
In 2009, a new Nick Jr. television series began airing for children. Formerly known as “The JumpArounds”, the children’s show “The Fresh Beat Band” is a series that revolves around a band known as The Fresh Beats which feature Shout (keyboards/vocals), Twist (the DJ/rapper), Marina (the drummer and vocals) and Kiki (Violinist/guitar/vocals) who attend music school together and enjoy singing and dancing.
And hanging out at the Pizza Cafe owned by Harper the Pizza Maker, the Groovy Smoothie Shop owned by Melody the Smoothie Maker and Good Note Music Store owned by Reed the Guitar player.
As an educational children’s show, each episode features the band solving a problem they encounter and using music and singing to solve their problems.
The series has been quite popular with children and won a “Parent Choice Award” in 2011 and also was nominated for a 26th Annual Imagen Awards for “Best Young Actress/Television” for actress Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer. And their music has also been released on iTunes.
The following episodes are included in “The Fresh Beat Band: The Wizard of Song” DVD:
- (SEASON THREE, EPISODE 16-17) Wizard of Song – Marina gets swept up in a windstorm and lands in Oz. Will the scarecrow, the Tin Woman or Lion be able to help Marina find a way back home?
- (SEASON THREE, EPISODE 13) Ghost Band – The Fresh Beats go to perform at a western ghost town and must compete in a musical competition against ghost bands.
- (SEASON THREE, EPISODE 8) Chimps in Charge – The Fresh Beats help Harper babysit a pair of chimps, but it may be more than they can handle.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“The Fresh Beat Band” is a series quite different from any Nick. Jr. educational series. Where most tend to be animated or feature one human character with a lot of colorful non-human characters, The Fresh Beat Band is a live series that features its characters singing and dancing. And one of the benefits of this series is that it is shot at Paramount Studios, so they can use the various lots. So, “The Wizard of Song” is in a magical “Wizard of Oz” landscape, “Ghost Band” is set in a western ghost town and the series features the cast members in various shops.
The episodes are shot digitally and presented in 4:3. Picture quality is very good and very clean. As for audio, the series is presented in Dolby Digital and dialogue and music are crystal clear.
There are no English subtitles but closed captions are included.
“The Fresh Beat Band: The Wizard of Song” comes with no special features.
“The Fresh Beat Band: The Wizard of Song” comes with a slipcover case.
Back when my son was young, musical episodes that he was accustomed to were primarily “The Wiggles”. But it’s great to see Nickelodeon exploring an all live singing educational show for children titled “The Fresh Beat Band”.
Featuring two men and two women, you get a mix of drama and musical and compared to “The Wiggles”, it’s a pretty hip children’s series and maybe this is not the best comparison, but I kind of liken it to “Glee” for 2-5 year old children.
This latest DVD “The Wizard of Song” features the two-part episode featuring Marina having cupcake cravings and skipping practice to go eat some. But she gets caught up in a windstorm and encounters her friends as characters from “The Wizard of Oz”. And now she needs to get back home.
And part of what makes these series work, outside of its catchy tunes and the fact that these individuals can sing and dance, is the fact that the series is shot in the Paramount Studios. There are so many lots with classic sets that can be utilized that literally, writers can use various sets to make the adventures of the Fresh Beat Band happen. Typically shows are shot within the same set but for The Fresh Beat Band, you have the group performing in Oz-like scenery, for “Ghost Band”, the group wear their western wear and perform in a western ghost town style of set and because the group hang out in a variety of places, they have their own neighborhood of shopkeepers.
So, it’s a different type of educational series that benefits from it being shot at Paramount Studios.
Also, I have to say the “The Fresh Beat Band” is pretty hip and I found it very cool to see celebrities such as Jason Mraz and actress Sarah Chalke (of “Scrubs”) making an appearance in “The Wizard of Song”.
As for the DVD, you get four episodes and unfortunately I wish there was special features but Nickelodeon DVD’s tend to not have them. But you do get four fun musical episodes on one single DVD.
For parents looking for a fun, musical children’s series that is educational, “The Fresh Beat Band: The Wizard of Song” is recommended!
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