We have Baby Shakespeare and Baby Doolittle and Mallory (18 months) loves both of them. She watches them on Saturday/Sunday mornings while I clean the kitchen.
I certainly don't think that she'll become a genius because she's watched Baby Einstein DVDs. It's just entertainment. Sometimes she does seem a bit mesmerized, but usually she watches as she's playing with her toys. She has a few favorite scenes that provoke screams of joy and laughter. And she recognizes the poetry from Shakespeare when I quote it back to her. (Yes, the same effect could have been achieved if I'd read poetry to her myself.)
I like the animal scenes from Doolittle. They're short, sure, but they do show the animals in their natural habitat. And I think there are shots in the giraffe, elephant, and monkey segments with mama and baby animals snuggling together, which is sweet.
All the marketing bugs me a little. We have a couple of the board books. Mallory loves these too but I've gotta say the writing is not that great. (I think Julie Clark wrote them.) In one she rhymes "lizards" with "little birds." Ick! We also have two puppets--the dragon and the goat--and Mallory demands a puppet show from my husband the instant she wakes up every morning. So yeah, we caved to some marketing pressure, but it's amusing my kid, so I'm okay with that.
And I'd much rather listen to a music box orchestra than to Barney songs or the Teletubbies saying "eh-o" five thousand times.