|Format||Animated television series|
|Created by||Janice Burgess|
|Directed by||Dave Palmer|
|Starring||Zach Tyler Eisen
Reginald Davis Jr.
LaShawn Tináh Jefferies
|Country of origin|| Canada
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||72 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Janice Burgess
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Original channel||Treehouse TV (original & current channel) Nickelodeon
|Original run||November 22, 2004 – Present|
The Backyardigans is a Canadian 3-D CGI-animated children's TV series, created by Janice Burgess. It features 5 animal children, who imagine that their Backyard becomes an adventure place. It is a co production of Nick Jr. and the Canadian animation studio Nelvana. Debuting on November 22, 2004, it was originally directed by Robert Scull. Dave Palmer began directing the show in the middle of Season 01, and has directed all episodes since. It aired on CBS from October 2004 until September 2006. Music for the show is written by Evan Lurie, of The Lounge Lizards, and Douglas Wieselman. The characters were designed by children's book author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino.
On April 30, 2006, Nelvana and Nickelodeon jointly announced that twenty new episodes were ordered for the upcoming fall schedule. In the UK, the second season debuted on October 30, 2006. The third season was released in Canada in March 2008, and the series made its Australian debut in the same year. A fourth season has been produced and is currently being released in Canada as of February 22, 2010. Two DVDs from this series were released on October 13, 2009 (Robot Repairman) and January 5, 2010 (Join the Adventurers Club)
The show is an animated musical-adventure series aimed at children between the ages of 2 and 5. In each episode, the show's five friends—Pablo, Tyrone, Uniqua, Tasha, and Austin—rely on their vivid imaginations to transform their backyard into completely different worlds, in which they go through many sorts of stories and adventures. The time-frame of the show can range from a few hours to more than one full day, but in reality, the story always ends just in time for one of them to invite the others for a snack. The imaginary story then reverts to the backyard, and the characters all rush to the house of the person who offered the snack and enter it. After a second, one or more characters open the door, quote the catchphrase specific to the episode and then close the door, ending the show. The episodes focus on music and dancing as much as they do on the stories, with each one featuring a different music genre (such as big band, reggae, Spaghetti Western, polka, Motown, and disco) and four new songs, usually with at least one rearrangement of a well-known or traditional song.
Each of the five characters on the show has two vocal actors: one for the speaking parts, and one for the singing parts. In the United States and Canada, the voice actors are all actual children.
The dancing on the show is first performed by live-action dancers, and their movements are later transported to animation. Choreographer Beth Bogush describes the process: "What we do is we film live footage in the studio and then they send that off and they do a Leica, and then they send it to the animators. And the animators just watch, and they're pretty precise. What we film for that day is pretty close to what you see in the character."
Pablo, a blue and yellow penguin wearing blue bow tie and a blue and yellow propeller beanie, is the one who most often has the ideas. Due to his energy and impetuousness, he takes the lead in many situations, but often goes into a "panic attack" when he faces an obstacle, running around in circles flapping his flippers and telling everyone not to panic until someone interrupts him to propose a solution with "Pablo... Pablo?... PABLO!", at which point he stops, turns to the character and calmly asks "Yeah?". The number of panic attacks decreased considerably after the first season, though in the Fourth Season episode The Flipper! his propensity for getting overexcited is actually a major point of the episode.
Speaking voice: Zach Tyler Eisen (Season 1), Jake Goldberg (Season 2-4)
Singing voice: Sean Curley (Season 1-4)
Dancer: Tasha Cooper (Season 1-3)
A good-natured (and sometimes fearful) red-haired orange moose, he is Pablo's best friend, and almost his complete opposite in terms of personality. He is laid-back, cool-headed, and known for his ironic comments. At the end of every episode, he remarks, "That was an excellent (type) adventure, don't you think?" Despite not appearing to wear trousers (except on rare occasions, such as "Race Around the World"), Tyrone somehow manages to put his hands in his pockets.
Speaking voice: Reginald Davis, Jr. (Season 1), Jordan Coleman (Season 2-3), Chris Grant, Jr. (Season 4)
Dancer: Greg Sinacori (Season 1-3)
A curious, self-confident and high-spirited pink Uniqua (Uniqua is the name of her species) Wearing pink polka- dotted overalls. She is almost always sweet and friendly, though her strong opinions and occasional stubbornness get in the way of her relationships. She is more of a tomboy unlike her friend Tasha, often imagines herself in roles requiring brains and fortitude (scientist, pirate captain, etc), and loves books (as seen in episodes such as "The Masked Retriever"). But she can be sometimes more "girly" than Tasha in a few episodes.
Speaking voice: LaShawn Tináh Jefferies (Season 1-4)
Singing voice: Jamia Simone Nash (Season 1-3) Avion Baker(Season 4)
Dancer: Hattie May Williams (Season 1-3)
A little yellow hippopotamus, in red shoes and an orange flowered dress. Of the five characters, she is the only one who wears shoes at all times. She looks like a sweet little girl, but underneath she's rational, skeptical, and likes to get her own way. Whenever frustrated, she will always say "Oh for goodness's sake!". Of the five, she tends to be the most serious, though Tasha can also be giggly, silly and full of fun.
Speaking Voice: Naelee Rae (Season 1-2) Gianna Bruzesse (Season 3)
Singing Voice: Kristin Klabunde (Season 1-2) Gabriella Malek (Season 3)
Dancer: Darlene Dirstine (Season 1-3)
A fun-loving purple kangaroo who moved into the block recently during Season 1; this makes him a little shy on some occasions, as in the episode Castaways. He is also self-confident, and tries to help his friends whenever they need, sometimes in quirky ways. Says Bogush: "Austin's usually the one pulling up the rear. He's kind of a get-along guy."
Although rarely appearing in the spotlight, he does take the role of the lead character in some episodes.
Speaking voice: Jonah Bobo (Season 1-4)
Singing voice: Thomas Sharkey (Season 1-3) Nicholas Barasch (Season 4)
Dancer: Kristine Frost (Season 1-3)
Two episodes in the first season, The Heart of the Jungle and Polka Palace Party, feature a character called Sherman the Worman, an intelligent yellow-and-orange-polka-dotted worm who talks in gibberish, although the characters seem to understand him.
Wormans also appear in the third season episode What's Bugging You?, though these Wormans are somewhat different, in that their typical 'speech' is meeping instead of gibberish and they are capable of speaking (high-pitched) English. A worman is also featured in the Fourth Season episode Attack of the Fifty-Foot Worman, though this one appears incapable of speech.
Mission to Mars features an alien mom, voiced by Alicia Keys; an alien baby, voiced by Shakira Lipscomb; and Rover, a dog-like surface vehicle, as guest stars. In the UK version of the show, the baby alien is voiced by Maria Darling, but this has the unfortunate effect of having the baby sound exactly like Tasha (also voiced by Darling); given that Tasha is seen providing the "boinga, boinga, boinga" sound during the pre-imaginary portion of the episode, however, this may be intentional. Alicia Keys vocal is not affected by the normal "Anglicization" that is common in the UK version of the show. The small alien is also featured at the end of News Flash and a group of them appear in Los Galacticos though it isn't the same alien as in Mission to Mars and doesn't appear to be a baby.
Tale of the Mighty Knights has an egg which makes its own unique sound. It is called Eggbert by Uniqua & Tyrone, Eggwin by the Grabbin' Goblin (Austin), and Eggie by the Flighty Fairy (Tasha). The egg later hatches into a baby dragon. The dragon's singing voice is done by Adam Pascal.
The Great Dolphin Race features 'Sea Squirt', a dolphin Uniqua finds in a sunken ship, and 'Blue Streak', a racing dolphin owned by racer Tyrone. A giant clam also appears as a minor antagonist, but unlike in The Legend of the Volcano Sisters, this clam 'speaks' with a low moaning sound.
It's Great to Be a Ghost and Secret Mission include voices near the end of the episode that do not come from any of the main characters. They're rumored to have come from Evan Lurie, one of the show's composers. There are also announcer voices at the beginning of the newscast in Newsflash, and throughout Tale of the Mighty Knights.
The Legend of the Volcano Sisters has a clam that sounds like a puppy and even pants and barks.
Robot Rampage featured a robot named Roscoe and an entire army of roller-skating robots.
The characters live in houses adjoining a large backyard common to the three central houses (Pablo's, Tyrone's and Uniqua's) that is transformed by imagination into various adventure settings. Each house roughly corresponds to the color scheme of the character: Pablo lives in a blue house, Uniqua in a pink one, and Tyrone in an orange one. Tasha's house, which is to the left of the three central houses, is yellow and Austin's, to the right, is partially obscured by a fence but what is visible is purple. The fence, which surrounds the combined properties of the three main characters (Pablo, Tyrone and Uniqua), has a gate in it which leads to Austin's house. The curve of the street allows the play area to be roughly equal in distance from each house's back door.
Not everything that appears in the imaginary world has a real-world counterpart. Often trees, boulders, brickwork, or similar objects appear where nothing originally existed. By the same token, even large trees in the real garden disappear completely when the imagination part of the story commences.
When playing in their imaginations, the characters often pull items out of thin air, from behind their backs or from something clearly not large enough to hold them; a technique known in animation as hammerspace. The episode "Eureka!" had a running gag in which Pablo would search for certain items on his saddlebag, pulling out enormous objects in the process (e.g. a tuba, a surfboard and a fully inflated rubber raft.)
Other examples include occasions in "Riding the Range", where Tyrone could produce a seemingly inexhaustible supply of apples, "The Snow Fort", where Tasha and Uniqua each have a rucksack that contains a rescue kit, including shovels, hooks, and suction cups, "Race Around the World", where Austin has a racing pack in which he keeps numerous items, such as a hook, rope, Band-Aids, and a water bottle, and "High Tea", in which Tasha manages to store tea-leaves, a teapot and four cups and saucers in a small purse.
In the UK, The Backyardigans are shown daily on Nick Jr., Nick Jr. 2 and Nick Jr. on TMF (formerly "Noggin on TMF"). The characters have been redubbed and in seasons 1 & 2 are voiced by three British actresses; Maria Darling (Tasha and Tyrone), Janet James (Pablo), and Lizzie Waterworth (Uniqua and Austin). In the third season, Emma Tate (who also voices Destiny Angel in Captain Scarlet) took over the roles of Tasha and Tyrone from Maria Darling.
In the British version, certain words and phrases that are not in common usage in British English are changed, such as "soccer" to "football" and "diapers" to "nappies". This naturally leads to some minor lip-synch issues, but most children would not notice these. Also in the British version, several of the snacks are different, since items like s'mores are not generally known in the UK, while others like granola bars are known by different names.
The ordering of episodes is not as consistent in the UK as is in the United States. For example, in the UK Secret of Snow was originally shown out of sequence, after The Legend of The Volcano Sisters. The final episode out of sequence, Special Delivery was eventually shown in the UK for the first time on August 13 2007. There was a considerable break between the Horsing Around episode, which was shown in April and this episode. "International Super Spy" was finally shown during Nick Jr's "Backyardigans Biggest Adventure Ever!" Weekend, 24 and 25 November 2007, and was the final episode from Season two to be broadcast.
The third season began broadcasting on Nick Jr. and Nick Jr. 2 during March 2008, although some episodes were again shown out of order. All episodes of the third season have now been shown in the UK.
The first incarnation, The Backyardigans: Quest for the Extra Ordinary Aliens hit the stage in 2007, and returned in early 2009.
The most recent production is The Backyardigans: Sea Deep in Adventure, which is an aquatic themed presentation. The Director/Choreographer is Patti Caplette, who also co-wrote the show with one of the TV shows' writers Rodney Stringfellow. The shows also feature the original music from the TV show, which was written by Evan Lurie
As of January 2010, seasons One through Three have been released on DVD for the North American region as well as two DVDs featuring episodes from Season Four. There are fourteen collections of four episodes each and three collections of three episodes (Super Secret Super Spy (2007), Tale of the Mighty Knights (2008), and Robot Repairman (2009)). The third DVD featuring episodes from Season Four titled "Escape From the Tower" will be released in the US on March 30, 2010.
|It's Great to Be a Ghost (2005)|
|The Snow Fort (2005)|
|Polka Palace Party (2006)|
|Cave Party (2006)|
|Surf's Up (2006)|
|Mission to Mars (2006)|
|The Legend of the Volcano Sisters (2007)|
|Movers and Shakers (2007)|
|Into the Deep (2007)|
|Super Secret Super Spy (2007)|
|Tale of the Mighty Knights (2008)|
|High Flying Adventures (2008)|
|Mighty Match Up (2008)|
|Escape from Fairytale Village (2008)|
|Robin Hood the Clean (2009)|
|Robot Repairman (2009)|
|Join the Adventurer's Club (2010)|
|Escape From the Tower (2010)|
The second through fifth DVD collections and Super Secret Super Spy include a second audio track in French (Canadian). Nelvana, the company producing the animation for The Backyardigans, is based in Canada, which is officially bilingual. The tempos of several songs are changed to match the French lyrics for both France and Canada, and the characters refer to themselves as "Les Mélodilous" in the opening and closing songs. Also, Tyrone is known as Théo and Uniqua as Victoria.
As of March 09, 2010 there have been 72 episodes aired.
Activision released the Backyardigans PC game, Mission to Mars in October 2006. In addition, there are interactive Backyardigans games available for the LeapPad and VTech's V.Smile consoles. Austin fans may be disappointed to learn that the V.Smile game is of the "Viking Voyage" adventure, in which he does not appear. There is also a LeapFrog ClickStart Game that is Backyardigans themed called "Number Pie Samurai" which allows children to join the Backyardigans for early computer skills: Using technology with music mousing, and teaches essential pre-school skills: Instrumental sounds, musical exploration, and numbers counting.
A book, titled Here Come the Backyardigans is available in the UK. The story involves Uniqua playing hide-and-seek with, and searching for — Pablo. During the journey, Uniqua finds Austin, Tasha and Tyrone in different places (such as the Snow Fort and the Pirate Ship) Strangely, some characters are found in "locations" that they have never been shown to visit (such as Austin being found in the Snow Fort — he was not in that episode).
Also released are the story books for the "Pirate Treasure", "Race to the Tower of Power" and "The Secret of the Nile" episodes. Other, more educational books (dealing with things like numbers, counting etc.) were also released in 2007.
Numerous cuddly toys and interactive character toys (mostly Pablo, Uniqua and Tyrone) are also available. Some involve the toy singing songs and using well-known phrases from some of the episodes. There are also Beanie toys of all the main characters available.
The Backyardigans (2004–present) is a Canadian 3-D CGI-animated children's TV series, created by Janice Burgess. It is a joint production of Nick Jr. and the Canadian animation studio Nelvana. Debuting on July 10, 2004, it originally had 18 episodes. It aired on PBS, PBS Kids, PBS Kids Sprout, Cartoon network, HBO Families & Playhouse Disney from June 13 2004 until June 6 2006. Music for the show is written by Evan Lurie, of The Lounge Lizards, and Douglas Wieselman. The characters are designed by children's book author and illustrator Dan Yaccarnio.
The Backyardigans is a 3D CGI animated series that premiered on Nick Jr. in 2004.