The subtle trick Showtime's "Penny Dreadful is that it is far less about the blood, gore and the specter of gruesome death than the sharp pain and exhilarating pleasure of living, and the terror of feeling alone even in close company. Read our review in the May Picks section.
At a time when most other shows for children were either low-budget productions or product-inspired cartoons that were little more than half-hour commercials, this program set out to ... See full summary »
"Oscar's Orchestra" got more attention than most children's animated TV shows, not least because Oscar was voiced by Dudley Moore. It would be nice to say that this series had more than that going for it, but...
The series was set in the Vienna of the future, a time where the evil Emperor Thaddeus Vent has banned all music from the home of Johann Strauss (because when he was young he was horrible at it, or something; I can't remember for sure), and any instruments found are to be removed from the city forthwith. But the Emperor's old piano, Oscar, is on the run and teams up with a set of other rogue instruments (a triangle, a harp, a violin etc) and a human friend in the battle to bring the sounds of music back to Vienna...
The problem with the show was that its surface intentions - to give young viewers an appreciation of classical music instead of all that dreadful popular music - never fully meshed with its status as a would-be diverting show; Oscar and his friends never really engaged, and the fact that Warner Music Vision was one of the production companies... plus the fact that a classical compilation album tied in to the series was released on WMV... it's hard not to be just a bit suspicious.
It all makes you wonder who it was aimed at; adults are more likely to appreciate the presence of the late comedian-musician (Dud's musical gifts are much less renowned than his comic ones), children already interested in the likes of Schubert, Vivaldi et al won't need this show to help them along, and children who aren't can't have been encouraged by this disappointing venture. Tony Collingwood did far better with "Captain Zed and the Zee Zone" and his delightful short film "Rarg." And if you choose them over "Oscar's Orchestra," so will you.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?