There are times when a minor character becomes so endearing that producers immediately know that they can do more. When A Close Shave (available on Shout! Studio’s recent Blu-ray Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection) arrived in 1995, people were eager to see another adventure starring the inventive Wallce and his smarter dog Gromit. The stop-motion Claymation short proved popular enough to win the Oscar to attract even more people into the movie theaters. Very quickly audiences realized there was a third star amongst the iconic duo. A small sheep with a puffy white hairdo stole scenes. There was no way Aardman would let their little discovery linger on the shelf. Proving he was no flash in the pan, Shaun The Sheep had a choice cameo in the Wallace and Gromit’s Cracking Contraptions episode about a robot created to get cheese from a supermarket. Fittingly Shaun was given his own series of seven-minute shorts that are collected in Shaun the Sheep: The Complete Series.
We get to see Shaun’s life on the farm in the countryside. There’s a lot of trouble in the agricultural setting for Shaun and his pals that don’t include Wallace and Gromit. The new characters include Bitzer, the farm dog who wears a blue knit cap, an athletic wristband and a wristwatch. There are three pigs that are always up for causing trouble. The Flock includes the large Shirley, the naive and small Timmy, his mother who tries to keep him out of trouble and the inventive Nuts. The human Farmer is rather goofy and doesn’t say actual words in the shorts. What sets the Shaun the Sheep shorts apart from Wallace & Gromit is the complete lack of real dialogue. They characters make noises without spouting actual words. The shorts rely complete on physical comedy. This is good since it allowed Shaun the Sheep to be shown around the world without losing anything in translation. You can just hit play all and get the humor without getting confused about the words being spoken. This is a show that can be enjoyed by young and old.
The shorts series proved incredibly popular as it ran from 2007 to 2021. All six seasons and 170 episodes are included in the boxset. The fifth and sixth seasons haven’t been released on physical media. Included in the collection are two shorter series involving Shaun the Sheep: Mossy Bottom Shorts and Shaun The Sheep Championsheeps. You’re getting so much farm fun that your neighbors might think you’re hiding sheep in your living room. Shaun the Sheep: The Complete Series proves the little fuzzy wonder could hold his own show.
The Video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer will allow you to see all the details the Aardman animators put into the scenes. You might be able to see their fingerprints on a few characters. The Audio is DTS-HD MA 2.0 for the first 40 shorts. The rest of the shorts, the specials and bonus series are in DTS-HD MA 5.1. You’ll get to hear the slapstick action cleanly. The episodes are subtitled to let you know what sounds are being made on the farm and the theme song lyrics.
The Farmer’s Llamas (29:19) has Shaun and Bitzer join the Farmer on a trip to the fair. During the festivities, a trio of Llamas end up at auction. While the farmer wants nothing to do with these animals, Shaun figures out a cheat to outbid everyone and bring them back to the farm. Can the rest of the flock handle their latest addition from South American? Are the llamas a bit too wild for the domesticated farm life?
The Flight Before Christmas (31:18) brings a fresh blanketing of snow onto the farm in 2021. Shaun gets resourceful to bring the Christmas spirit to the barn. Later they bring the joy of Christmas night to a kid next door with a homemade Santa sleigh.
Mossy Bottom Shorts are a series of 15 shorts built around the farm that are around 1:19 long. Like the regular cartoons, there’s no real dialogue during the action. There’s a fun one where Shaun gets flushed down a toilet that’s on top of a junk pile. The series was originally made for the discontinued Nintendo Video application for the Nintendo 3DS. These shorts aren’t in 3-D.
Shaun The Sheep Championsheeps is 21 quick barely a minute long shorts that have Shaun and his farm buddies competing in various Olympic style sports. They find comedy in field hockey, judo, BMX, the trampoline and more. This series aired in 2016.
Shout! Studios presents Shaun the Sheep – The Complete Series. Starring Shaun the Sheep, Blitzer, Timmy and The Farmer. Boxset Contents: 170 episodes on 7 Blu-ray discs. Rated: Unrated. Release Date: December 12, 2023.
As a reminder: if you want the early Shaun the Sheep adventures, the Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection Blu-ray has Close Shave, the 10 Cracking Contraptions shorts along with A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Matter of Loaf and Death
Shout! Studios presents Wallace & Gromit – The Complete Cracking Collection. Starring Wallace, Gromit & Shaun the Sheep. Boxset Contents: 4 Shorts on 1 Blu-ray disc. Rated: Unrated. Release Date: October 10, 2023.