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"Life's a treat with Shaun the Sheep!" - Lyric line from the title song of the show "Shaun the Sheep"
on 26 December 2014
New season with new episodes, another nice time with Nick Park's awesome sheep.
Again we have Shaun trying to get himself out of trouble or solving a problem someone from the farm is having. But this time, we have changes. As two years passed between the first and second season, Aardman decided to work on some aspects of the show. In the design of the characters, in the image quality, and in the animation.
For the design, Bitzer's fur is textured, the farmer's hair and face more cartoonish, and for Pidsley the cat, a complete redesign has been done. One that I much prefer over the plain reddish one in the first season. About that character, the writers decided to integrate him more into the storylines. Indeed, we have at least five episodes dealing with Pidsley as a major antagonist to either Bitzer, Shaun, or the flock and it's nice because it offers more conflict opportunities for the characters as that cat is very sneaky and mischeavous. We also have the "fox" coming this season, for two good episodes where he displays very cunning tactics to attack the farm's habitants.
As for the image quality this season, it is much sharper than in the last one and it shows as the colors are sharp. In fact, I have to say the lighting in this season is even more precise and rich than what we originallly had as we have more tints of colors unlike in the first one where they were fewer. Finally, for the animation, I find the movements of the chracters, their facieal expressions more fluid and expressive; and the use of post-production effects (smokes, fire, vapours, camera zoom-ins or zoom-outs, etc.) more precise than what we had the previous season. As if they were happening inside the story. Some very good ones took place in "Super Size Timmy", "Cat Got Your Brain", and in "Spring Lamb" and "Bitzer from the Black Lagoon".
Of the storylines, the quality was as good as in the first season. But this time, we have the special treat of having Nick Park himself (creator of "Wallace and Gromit" and "Shaun the Sheep") in the writing of one episode entitled "Party Animals". That episode, as with "Cat Got Your Brain", "Operation Pidsley", "The Big Chase", and "Super Size Timmy", is another favourite I loved to rewatch. But one that I adored was the episode "Two's Company" which involved a new character that only appeared in this episode. Which is too bad because considering the ending that episode has, I would have expected the character to come back in other stories or be seen among the animals of the farm. Maybe the writers could reintroduce that character somewhere in a new episode or something.
In the special features, we only have one in the last DVD. An animatic that shows us the storyboard for the episode "We wish Ewe a Merry Christmas". Which allows us to know how they set up their episode's framing, animation timework, and know if the story's flowing well or not before doing the animation. Through this bonus, we also see corrections that the director, screenwriter, and animators did together after viewing the animatic and while working on the episode and if you watch closely, you'll clearly see a change they did I felt was better for it added a twist for the characters' actions in that episode.
In conclusion, this Season is another proof that Shaun the Sheep is a success for all ages.