A trillion cheers for Zillions.
Zillions is the Consumer Reports magazine for kids that is behind a series of cleverly conceived and executed, wonderfully valuable TV specials designed to help the younger set become smarter consumers. The newest one, "Zillions TV: A Kids Guide to Toys and Games," arrives at 6:30 tonight on KCET-TV Channel 28. Just in time for the holiday hype.
Hosted by Wali Collins of cable's Comedy Central, the half-hour is as visually eclectic and exciting as past Zillions-inspired specials (which aired on HBO). And, like its predecessors, it talks to kids without talking down to them. Credit executive producer Joyce H. Newman and producer Susan Markowitz for that.
The focus this time is less on advertising than on testing the products themselves, including walkie-talkies, video games and speakers for boomboxes. In one especially interesting segment, a video-game producer explains how a Tom and Jerry video game is designed and developed: "The chandelier falls and, as you can see, it breaks on Tom's head. . . ."
Meanwhile, some of the young participants in the program are as amusing as they are bright and astute, and the messages they deliver--shop around and don't judge a product by its appearance, for example--apply to parents as well as their kids. Happy shopping.