Strange Hill High: DVD review

Strange Hill High: DVD review

0 comments 📅08 July 2014, 14:38
Strange Hill High proves that school can be cool… 

 

Reviewer: Kate Lloyd
Release: 21 July
From: FremantleMedia International
Age Rating: PG
Price: £9.99

Strange Hill High is one of those kids’ shows that isn’t just for kids, despite the fact that it’s marketed towards six to 10-year-olds and airs on CBBC. Don’t worry: with its colourful characters and playground setting, it’s perfect for youngsters within that age bracket, but the fantastic one-liners and X-Files-esque weirdness make it easy viewing for grown-ups, too. That can’t-take-any-more-of-bloody-Mr-Tumble-meltdown will be long forgotten.
Strange Hill High

It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that SHH’s showrunner is Simpsons and Futurama alumni, Josh Weinstein. But whereas The Simpsons, especially, is as American as McDonald’s, Strange Hill High is most definitely British (despite the fact that Weinstein was born and raised in Washington DC). 

The vocal talent includes The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade and Mrs Merton herself, Caroline Aherne, and the setting is an inner-city primary school, complete with bully, clever clogs, cool kid and nerd. So far, so Grange Hill, if Grange Hill had a sacred-toilet-guarding medieval knight living within its walls, and a school clock that’s actually a time machine. Seriously, this show is mind-blowingly inventive at times.

Strange Hill High

Did we also mention that it looks amazing? Honestly, the animation is really something, managing to be both old school and state-of-the-art. It’s created by a technique known as ‘hypervynorama’, which combines Japanese vinyl toy design and puppetry with stop-motion animation and computer-generated imagery. The result is beautiful. 

A quick word of caution… the first episode (there are seven in total on this release, out of 13 episodes from season one) probably won’t convince you – it didn’t this reviewer. But stick with it. It gets increasingly funny and more bizarre. And by Abercrombie’s moustache the theme tune is catchy. (He’s the headmaster by the way, and a proper tyrant he is, too). Don’t be late for class now… 

VERDICT: 8/10 

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