Cool New Shows

January 3, 2002


Co-producers: Sweden’s Happy Life Animation, with funding from the Berlin Animation Fund in Germany

Distributor: Greenlight International

Premise: God is a DJ, and he has created a spinning universe called Disco-o, at the center of which lies planet Rock and its capital city Hitsville. Life in Hitsville revolves around Universal Soundworks, a music factory that everyone loves. Well, maybe not everyone. Sly, Ziggy, Nope and Dot despise the assembly-line garbage that Universal produces, preferring instead to create their own unique brand of music.

One day, they stumble upon a magical 12-inch disc with which they can transform into the Microphonies, a band that spends each episode ridding the planet of the factory’s latest musical nightmare: in one ep, it’s a cross between a hokey country cow and Dolly Parton.

Status: In preproduction

Demo: Seven to 11

Style: 2-D, with 3-D backgrounds

Format: 26 x 13 minutes

Budget: US$5 million

Delivery: Spring 2003

Ted’s Bed

Producer: Toronto, Canada’s Cuppa Coffee Animation

Premise: Seven-year-old Ted, along with his trusty teddy bear, explores the far reaches of his imagination from the comfort of his own bedroom. Ted’s red-and-white-striped bed doubles as a boat, a plane, a train, etc. on his nightly adventures. The Sun and the Moon–curiously reminiscent of Ted’s parents–advise him and act as the narrators.

Status: In development

Demo: Four to eight

Style: Stop-motion (although a demo has been rendered in 2-D)

Format: 26 x 11 minutes

Budget: US$275,000 to US$300,000 per half hour

Delivery: Production to start in early 2002 for a fall 2002 delivery

Tracy Beaker

Co-producers: BBC and London-based Entertainment Rights

Broadcaster: BBC

Premise: Based on the award-winning book of the same name by Jacqueline Wilson, the series is about a 10-year-old girl who lives in a foster home dubbed The Dumping Ground. She claims her mother is a Hollywood actress who will pick her up in a big limo packed with presents any day, but in the meantime, she’ll see what foster parents are lining up to choose her. When the world gets to be too much for her, Tracy escapes into her Flash-animated imagination.

Status: In production

Demo: Six to 10

Style: Live action, with Flash sequences

Format: 26 x 15 minutes

Budget: Roughly US$310,000 per half hour

Delivery: January 2002

The Kingfisher Tailor

Producer: U.K.-based Pepper’s Ghost Productions

Premise: This action-adventure/fantasy series is set in Tullibody Clacks, a mystical place where good and evil face off in the forms of magical creatures Coffey Sewell and Carlton Scrogg. Coffey, once a kingfisher, and Scrogg, once a panther, have transformed into humanoid form to protect and ravage the land, respectively.

Status: In development

Demo: Seven to 11

Style: 3-D CGI

Format: 52 x 11 minutes or 26 half hours

Budget: About US$350,000 per half hour

Delivery: Fall 2003

Franny’s Feet

Creators: Cathy Moss (writer on The Hoobs and What About Mimi?) and Susin Neilsen (story editor for What About Mimi?)

Producers: Toronto-based Decode Entertainment, with rendering by Angela Anaconda shop Core Digital, also out of Toronto.

Distributor: Decode

Premise: Five-year-old Franny spends her after-kindergarten hours in Frantooties, her grandfather’s shoe repair shop. Whether it be fireman’s boots, rollerblades or Egyptian sandals, each kind of footwear Franny tries on whisks her into a magical world. For example, when she slips on ballet slippers, she ends up in the middle of a performance of Swan Lake at the Bolshoi in Moscow.

Status: In development

Demo: Preschool

Style: 2-D

Format: 26 half hours

Budget: Roughly US$300,000 per episode

Delivery: Fall 2002

The Invisible Man

Co-producers: Spain’s BRB Internacional, Italian pubcaster RAI and France’s Dargaud Marina

Distributor: BRB owns all rights, except TV rights in Italy (RAI) and France (Dargaud).

Broadcaster: RAI

Premise: An animated revamp of the classic tale set in the year 2020. Alan Crystal and his pet monkey are hit by stray lasers and rendered invisible while working at the Technological Institute for the Peaceful Development of Humanity. Opacus (so-called because a lab snafu altered his physical form into that of a light-absorbing shadow) tries to destroy the Institute and gain control over the city of Magnopolis, while Crystal attempts to use his invisibility to thwart the villain’s plans.

Status: Production due to start in early 2002

Demo: Eight to 12

Style: 2-D

Format: 26 half hours

Budget: US$5 million to US$6 million

Delivery: First 13 eps scheduled to bow on RAI in October 2002

Kangaroo Creek Gang

Co-producers: Southern Star and prodco The Kangaroo Street Gang in Australia, with China’s Shanghai Animation Studios

Distributor: Southern Star

Premise: Based on a popular Australian book series and comic strip created by The Kangaroo Street Gang, the show is about a bunch of Aussie animal friends–a feisty kangaroo, a sleepy koala, an earnest echidna and a sharp-eyed wombat. This odd assortment tends to make the simplest tasks seem impossible. Whether it’s moving day or building a boat, how they manage to avoid disaster–and remain friends–is a complete mystery.

Status: In production

Demo: Four to seven

Style: 2-D

Format: 26 x 12 minutes

Budget: Around US$2 million

Delivery: July 2002

Lilly the Witch

Co-producers: Munich-based Trixter Film and Ireland’s Magma.

Premise: Rooting through the attic one day, Lilly happens upon a mysterious book that comes with its own miniature dragon. From there, she is taken on a series of adventures to faraway lands and distant times. The toon is based on the book series Hexe Lilly by German author Kristen, first published in 1994 in Germany (where they have sold more than two million copies), Finland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Denmark, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

Status: In development, with production slated to start in spring 2002

Demo: Six to 12

Style: 2-D and CGI

Format: 26 half hours

Budget: Between US$250,000 and US$300,000 per episode

Delivery: Spring 2004

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