For the past few years, Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego have been staples in my house. Every episode of the preschool show brought simple new adventures that challenged kids and pushed the idea of this thing called wait time, where rather than expecting an instant answer, a child is given time to think for a couple seconds. But what happens when those kids grow up and Dora is considered to be a “baby show”? Enter Disney’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates, a show that follows much the same formula as Dora, but with a lot more friendly energy, catchier tunes and a couple of old friends even parents can enjoy.
Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Yo Ho, Mateys Away! collects seven episodes from the show, offering a big enough mix that parents should be able to go a week or so without the songs becoming annoying ear worms. The show follows Jake, a friendly boy pirate and his pals Cubby and Izzy. Living on Pirate Island, which has been souped-up as a secret hideout, the trio are constantly fending off Captain Hook and his blabbering sidekick, Smee.
Every episode follows a similar pattern of the friendly pirates heading out to solve puzzles, save the day and collect gold doubloons that magically start float up out of nowhere. Hook is often on their case and becomes a springboard for a moral lesson on the virtues of teamwork and sharing.
Brimming with kid-friendly action, imaginative hideouts and characters that feel cool, Jake and the Never Land Pirates has quickly caught on with the masses, at least those under the age of seven. For boys in particular, many of whom have natural energy and aggression, the show offers a friendly way of acting on it. The show exudes lots of energy but doesn’t feel particularly violent, especially when lined up against some of the other boy-aimed shows I see on TV and remember watching when I was growing up. Perhaps, most importantly, it doesn’t come across as a show for really little kids. Rather, it’s an in-between show that maintains some low-key learning but not in a spoon-feeding kind of way.
Captain Hook is definitely not the same character I knew from Peter Pan growing up. He looks the same, but he’s certainly not frightening or altogether sinister. Instead he’s more of a bumbling idiot used to generate slapstick gags. It’s blasphemy on the nostalgia, but fair considering the target audience. I appreciate not having to soothe 2 AM nightmares.
Would I watch Jake and the Never Land Pirates if I didn’t have a couple of little kids in the house? Probably not. That said, it’s also a show I don’t mind cuddling with said kids and sharing together.
Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Yo Ho, Mateys Away! DVD Review
Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Yo Ho, Mateys Away! is the first DVD release for the new show. Collecting seven episodes, it’s more than a lot of similar kid show releases offer. Extras include music videos and song-specific sing-alongs. Episode are shown in a clean enhanced widescreen with Dolby Digital audio. Additional tracks are offered in Spanish and French as well as subtitles in all three languages.
To further add to the value, the package also includes a soundtrack CD with seven songs. If that weren’t enough, it’s capped off with an pirate eye patch.