Cool New Shows

March 1, 2003


Producer: Seoul, Korea-based Cinepix

Premise: Set in the near future when humans have reclaimed the oceans as their natural habitat, this series revolves around three kids who discover the underwater ruin of an ancient civilization. Along with their cute-as-pie pet robots (which conveniently transform into high-tech diving gear) and a jovial old archeologist, the youngsters set out to explore this secret world, which soon draws the attention of treasure-seeking pirates, mysterious monsters and an evil mastermind looking for the key to ultimate power.

Style: 3-D CGI

Format: 26 x 22 minutes

Demo: Six to 11

Budget: Roughly US$200,000 to

US$250,000 per ep

Status: In development

Delivery: Late 2003 or early 2004

Be The Creature

Creators: The Kratt Brothers

Producer/Distributor: Toronto, Canada’s Decode Entertainment

Premise: Marking Decode’s first step into the factual programming arena, this adventure series tags along with well-known wildlife experts/enthusiasts Chris and Martin Kratt (of Kratts’ Creatures and Zoboomafoo fame) as they become one with such exotic critters as wild dogs and lions in Africa and Alaskan grizzly bears. What promises to set this show apart from the factual pack is the Kratts’ dogged determination to adopt the animals’ migration and behavioral patterns for the three to four weeks it takes to shoot each episode, rather than simply observing and analyzing pack life from a safe distance. This up-close-and-personal approach, combined with the Kratts’ boundless passion for nature and a liberal sprinkling of gross factoids (such as the wild dog’s unusual proclivity for feeding its pups with its own post-hunt vomit), should serve to significantly rachet up the series’ kid appeal.

Style: Hosted live action

Format: 13 x one hour

Demo: Family

Budget: US$4.6 million

Status: In production

Delivery: September 2003

Minding Albert

Co-producers: Victoria, Canada-based The May Street Group and BA20 out of Yeovil, England

Premise: Geek chic rules in this CSI meets Spy Kids science series that stars a group of nerdy high schoolers charged with protecting the last existing bit of Albert Einstein’s brain. Known affectionately as Albit, the brain remnant sets the members of The Brain Power Club on a course to debunk some of modern science’s biggest scandals and scams. But the cerebral status quo is disrupted when the school’s coolest jock (Jaz) is foisted on the club by a spiteful administrator. Although the situation initially looks hopeless, Jaz turns out to be a computer game prodigy whose toggle skills and driver’s license come in handy on several missions.

Style: Live action with some CGI elements

Format: 26 x 26 minutes

Demo: Nine to 12

Budget: US$6 million

Status: In early development. The bible is complete, and scripts will be ready for MIPTV.

Delivery: 2005

Rat’s Amore

Creators: Frank Saperstein and Philip Felix

Co-producers: Philippines-based PASI and Surprise Bag (Saperstein’s L.A. studio)

Premise: The backstory behind Rat’s Amore begins in old Napoli, where celebrated rat chefs Sonny and Fredo have built up an impressive clientele that includes Don Quattro Formaggio, a mafia kingpin. But when the Don contracts Parmigianatosis (the crippling cheese disease) from one of the rats’ dishes and isn’t able to enjoy the vast stores of cheese he’s spent a lifetime socking away, they must go on the lam to escape the angry mafioso’s wrath. After emigrating to the U.S., Sonny and Fredo jump around from kitchen to kitchen, plying their skills at eating establishments including a sushi bar, a kosher deli and Honker’s (which only employs big-nosed women). The plot thickens when Don Quattro sends feline goons Zero and Elbo Macaroni to track down the errant rats and return them to Italy to receive their just desserts. Rat’s Amore is designed to work as both a buddy-buddy, fish-out-of-water concept and a social satire of American culture.

Style: 2-D animation

Format: 52 x 11 minutes

Demo: Six to 12 is the primary target, but the show’s subtle innuendos and puns should also help age it up for tweens and teens.

Budget: Planned at between US$250,000 and US$260,000 per half hour, but the right financing scenario could bring that range down.

Status: In development. The series pilot will be ready for MIPTV.

Delivery: End of 2004

The Unhuggables

Co-producers: Sunwoo Entertainment in L.A. and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Premise: The first project to come out of a multi-property development deal recently signed by Sunwoo and the NWF, The Unhuggables is based on a same-name book by Victor Waldrop that was published in December 1988. The concept centers around a posse of the wild kingdom’s most misunderstood denizens – a snake, a skunk, a porcupine, a spider, a vampire bat and an armadillo. As the outcast critters work together to solve problems, they gain new appreciation for the same unique traits that have led to their ostracism. Facts about the animals and their environments will be woven into the fabric of the series, which is designed to boost kid awareness about wildlife conservation issues. Sunwoo and the NWF plan to expand the concept beyond the small screen to include music, plush toys, board games, CD-ROMs and collectibles.

Style: Stylized 2-D animation

Format: 52 x 11 minutes

Demo: Older preschoolers (ages four to five)

Budget: US$200,000 to US$300,000 per half hour

Status: In early development. A detailed treatment and scripts will be ready for MIPTV.

Delivery: Fall 2004

The Loudness of Sam

Producer: Toronto, Canada’s Nelvana

Premise: Based on a Harcourt Brace kids book by James Proimos that came out in April 1999, this series is about a kid whose extreme loudness is matched only by his infectious enthusiasm for life and adventure. Sam and his apartment-complex neighbors – including a quirky duck who speaks in sound effects, a tough-as-nails Swedish tomboy who has mastered the art of the ‘Swedgie’ (rumored to be an old Viking warrior punishment involving herring, lingonberries and an ancient lead-and-crystal jockstrap called ‘Sven the Constrictor’) and a would-be Sherpa who climbs everything in sight – would think nothing of jumping on a plane to Nepal to investigate the bathing habits of Yetis, for example…as long as they are able to get home in time for dinner.

Style: 2-D animation

Format: 13 x half hour

Demo: Six to 11

Budget: Roughly US$200,000 per ep

Status: In development

Delivery: Late 2003

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