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Lunar Jim
January 8, 2003

Lunar Jim

Producer/Distributor: Toronto, Canada-based AAC Kids

Broadcaster: Canadian pubcaster the CBC

Premise: Everyday life gets turned upside-down for the quirky inhabitants of Moonphis, the first experimental community on the moon. Challenged by the absence of fundamental elements like air, water, food and gravity, even a small task like taking the dog for a walk means more than grabbing a leash and a plastic bag on the moon, and the tiny colony quickly discovers that teamwork and cooperation are essential to lunar survival. Explorer and series namesake Jim is the quiet hero of the bunch, which also includes Radar the directionally challenged droid, Eco the farmer and Professor Gizmo the inventor. Some possible story arcs revolve around events like a sudden flea infestation, a pod-decorating contest and a cow with a toothache that goes AWOL rather than face the dentist. The series’ obvious social curriculum will be augmented by an introduction to basic scientific concepts like gravitational forces and photosynthesis. Lunar Jim was originally created by U.K.-based Alexander Barr, a 26-year-old independent who briefly worked at Pepper’s Ghost before setting up shop on his own.

Style: Either CGI or stop motion

Format: 52 x 11 minutes

Demo: Four to six

Budget: US$250,000 to US$275,000 per half hour

Status: In development

Delivery: Fall 2004


Producer/Distributor: Neptuno Films

Premise: Spoofing the world of ‘B’ movies, this series stars a group of high school students/superheroes whose combined IQ still comes up a bit short of a dollar. Calling themselves Strokkers, these challenged champions set about saving the world from exaggeratedly campy monsters like The Blob and the Monster of the Abyss.

Style: 2-D animation

Format: 26 x 26 minutes

Demo: Six to 12

Budget: US$250,000 to US$275,000 per ep

Status: In development

Delivery: Spring 2004

Maxine 5

Co-producers: Mainframe Entertainment, based in Vancouver, Canada, and Sydney, Australia’s Yoram Gross-EM.TV

Premise: Set against the backdrop of a futuristic racing circuit where young video game aficionados are recruited as elite drivers, this high-octane toon tells the tale of a fearless 12-year-old girl who’s on a mission to rule the track. Recently orphaned by the death of her dad, Maxine seeks to follow in his illustrious racing footsteps by becoming the youngest-ever competitor in the Junior World Racing Championship. Maxine 5 should rope in boys with its adrenaline-pumping action sequences and anime-influenced look, while girls will be able to relate to the off-track issues Maxine struggles through – from dating, to friendships, to dealing with grief.

Style: 2-D characters with 3-D vehicles and backgrounds

Format: 26 x half hour

Demo: Six to 12

Budget: US$250,000 per ep

Status: In late development

Delivery: January 2004


Producer: Method Films out of Saint-Cloud, France

Distributor: Paris-based Millimages

Broadcaster: France 2

Premise: Set in the not-too-distant future when water has usurped oil as Earth’s most valuable commodity, Skyland centers around the plight of a pair of orphaned siblings named Lena and Mahad, who are split up by agents of a dictatorial regime called The Sphere. The Sphere used to be a benevolent humanitarian organization like the UN, but corruption soon took root when it was placed in charge of water supply and distribution. To defend its supremacy against the pockets of resistance that seek to reclaim water control for the masses, The Sphere relies on an elite group called The Guardians, whose members all have extra-sensory powers. Lena is kidnapped by The Guardians because she’s telekinetic, and Skyland’s underlying story revolves around Mahad’s neverending quest to rescue his little sister from her captors.

Demo: Eight to 12

Style: CGI

Format: 26 x 26 minutes

Budget: US$300,000 to US$325,000 per episode

Status: In development. Should head into production in spring 2003.

Delivery: September 2004

Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Kids

Producer/Distributor: Toronto, Canada-based Nelvana

Broadcaster: Nickelodeon will air the special in Q2 2003

Premise: The eight-legged star of David Kirk’s best-selling book series is making her small-screen debut in this high-end CGI special that kicks off with a wedding day. Every bug in Sunny Patch shows up to see Miss Spider crawl down the aisle – even an uninvited chicken who lays an egg before being chased off by the guests. Months later, the spunkiest of Mrs. Spider’s five new babies discovers the abandoned egg and takes off on a quest to find its mother. Along the way, Squirt teams up with three other wayward kid insects – a passive-aggressive dragonfly, a narcissistic jewel beetle and a crazy bedbug – but the trekkers soon lose their bearings. They make the mistake of turning to the evil Spiderus for help, and he tries to eat Squirt’s travelling companions and then abandons the kids in Snakey Woods during an unexpected snowstorm. After taking refuge in a stink-bug’s burrow, the team continues on to the barnyard to return the abandoned egg. A distraught Mrs. Spider and her new hubby Holley catch up with Squirt there and must rescue him from a peckish rooster with a yen for insects.

Style: 3-D CGI

Format: 48-minute special

Demo: Preschool and family

Budget: US$600,000

Status: In production

Delivery: March 31, 2003


Co-producers: The Jim Henson Company/Yoram Gross-EM.TV/Seven Network Productions

Broadcaster: Seven Network

Premise: Marrying the high-energy, presenter-driven style of Aussie hits like Hi-5 and The Wiggles with a British preschool narrative sense, Bambaloo’s unique pacing is what sets it apart from other puppet shows, with a wealth of animation, story segments, visiting characters and song & dance elements to keep the show moving along at a rollicking speed. Created by former ABC Kids programmer Donna Andrews and Justine Flynn, the series centers around human presenter Sam and her three Muppet-style animal friends (a fish, a dog and a bird), who live in a magical place called the Bambaloo Tree. Arcing weekly themes like water, heat and friendship will be explored in more detail each day, and the preschool curriculum is very broad-based. Bambaloo marks Yoram Gross-EM.TV’s first live-action project, and although merch plans have not yet been finalized, video and music are expected to be key categories.

Demo: Three to six

Style: Live action with Muppet-style characters

Format: 65 x five minutes

Budget: Less than US$16,000 per episode

Status: In production

Air Date: February 10, 2003

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