It can be unnerving to revisit a cherished childhood TV show.
The experience is comparable to returning to a favorite place from your childhood: Everything is smaller and different than you remembered.
I grew up as an enthusiastic "Wishbone" fan. It was one of the few shows I was allowed to watch. I loved it. Even after it was taken off the air, my friends and I would reminisce lovingly about the dear little dog with an obsession for food and fine literature.
The recently released "Wishbone" DVD episodes are incongruous with my memory of the show, but it remains a brilliant series that will surely have a positive influence on your children.
"Wishbone" aired on PBS from 1995 to 1998. The show centers around Wishbone, a well-read Jack Russel Terrier, and his owner, Joe Talbot. Each episode is presented from Wishbone’s perspective. As events occur in Joe’s life, Wishbone parallels them with situations in works of classic literature. The story switches between the real world with Joe and Wishbone’s daydreams, in which he plays a character in each novel.
In this four-episode DVD set, Wishbone takes viewers into adventures with Don Quixote, Robin Hood, the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Professor Liedenbrock from "Journey to the Center of the Earth." The show cleverly compresses each classic tale into less than 20 minutes in a both surprisingly accurate and delightful way.
The special effects, however, are outdated. The acting and dialogue also seem silly at times. “Hot Diggety Dog,” which contains Jules Verne’s "Journey to the Center of the Earth," was perhaps the weakest of the four episodes. The laughable effects combined with the writing have the potential to make it uninteresting for some children, especially those accustomed to the overwhelmingly real special effects of today.
The magic of the show, however, is not gone.
Myriad children’s shows exist. Most of them are garbage. I am grateful my mom kept a careful eye on the television I viewed. I am also thankful "Wishbone" was one of the shows I was allowed to watch. Ultimately, the show's purpose is to inspire in young children an interest is reading. Most of the novels featured in "Wishbone" episodes are above the reading level of most viewers. However, the little dog compels children to be intrigued by and familiar with the stories, so when they are old enough they will delve into the books on their own.
Not only does "Wishbone" make classic novels entertaining, but it also applies them to real-world experiences. For instance, in “Hunchdog of Notre Dame,” Wishbone compares the themes to an insecure, bullied boy from Joe’s school. This applicability makes the episode universal and poignant.
"Wishbone" also teaches fundamental lessons like honesty, charity and hard work. Plus, the dog's acting ability never fails to impress me.