Up Next: What’s developing in kids production

Nelvana casts its net in-house for boys action
August 1, 2005

Nelvana casts its net in-house for boys action

Toronto, Canada’s Nelvana has dipped into its own talent pool to come up with a new boys action-adventure series called Di-Gata Defenders. Created by in-house animator and self-described gaming nut Greg Collinson, the 26 x half-hour series is about a group of tweens who try to overthrow the evil empire that has forced them into hiding since birth.

The backstory goes like this. Twelve years ago, the original Di-Gata defenders went AWOL at the end of a war against the Megaliths and the Order of Infinis in order to secretly train a new generation of guards. At the same time, a group of wizards cast a spell that imprisoned the evil Megaliths in four stones that were secretly hidden around the city of Rados. But now the wizards’ magic is weakening, and the 12-year-old defenders-in-training must use all their newfound skills to find the four stones and recast the spell before the evil Megaliths are released. This already difficult task is made even trickier when the Order of Infinis catches wind of the defenders’ plans and sets out to fight them at every turn. Canada’s Teletoon has signed on to air the 2-D animated show, and Nelvana anticipates delivering it in fall 2006 for a cool US$7.8 million.

Biker Mice From Mars hits the road again

Having taken some time out to executive produce Spider-Man (MTV) and X-Men: Evolution (Kids’ WB!), Rick Ungar is returning to the series he cut his teeth on. Biker Mice From Mars, which was in production from 1993 to 1996 and aired in most major territories, centered on three mice with human characteristics who fought to keep Earth safe from fish-like aliens called Plutarkians.

To revamp the concept, Ungar has partnered with PASI out of the Philippines and London’s Criterion Limited to produce a new 26 x half-hour 2-D animated show that sees the humanoid mice – riding souped-up motorcycles this time around – protecting Earth and their home planet Mars from greedy human business tycoons and the unscrupulous, cat-like Catatonian race. One episode parodies real-life celebrities Donald Trump (ahem…Ronald Rump) and Virgin Atlantic billionaire Sir Richard Branson (Sir Richard Brand-Something), who want to open massive golf resorts on Mars. The biker mice must keep them from discovering secret technology for producing water (and thus, lush grass) on the dry planet.

Ungar is hoping kids eight to 11 will appreciate the cheeky humor and high-octane action the series has to offer, and England’s GMTV has already picked up the US$9.6-million series for its fall 2006 schedule.

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