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Superheroes hit the gym
With an interest in getting kids ages five to nine up and at 'em, live-action/CGI comedy series Super Sportlets features four slick teenage aliens bent on saving the world's children from couch potato doom.
April 1, 2010

Superheroes hit the gym

With an interest in getting kids ages five to nine up and at ‘em, live-action/CGI comedy series Super Sportlets features four slick teenage aliens bent on saving the world’s children from couch potato doom. The 26 x 11-minute series from Paris-based Moonscoop and co-pro partners The Workout Factory in Holland and Ireland’s Telegael combines live-action footage shot against a green screen with CGI backgrounds and a heavy dose of special effects.

The show’s heroes, Ballistico, Charm, Athletica and Strongo, are on Earth to hunt down bad guy Rudy Rude and stop him from robbing kids of their energy and turning them into video game playing, junk food eaters. Their Earthbound lair is actually an ultra-modern gym called The Kids Workout Factory – a place where kids come to hone their sports skills. With the aid of a super computer known as Sports Information Download, or SID, the extra-terrestrial teens must use extreme alien sporting personas to quickly become experts in a range of sports, including soccer, basketball, freestyle flatland BMX, skateboarding, martial arts, baseball and gymnastics. Adding some celeb cachet to the series will be real-world sports stars, who’ll have guest cameos and perform their specific sports.

The series itself is a re-invention of the Dutch-language series, Sportlets, which aired on Nickelodeon Benelux in 2007. However, Moonscoop’s Mike Young explains that apart from the character’s names, the show’s content and CGI look is all new and quite different. The retooled Sportlets characters are now more slick and dynamic, and Young says the new show has a specific focus on teaching kids both mainstream sports and introducing them to lesser known activities that could change their lives.

Moonscoop is on the hunt for presales with a delivery date of September 2010, and is working with a budget of US$4 million.

Shiver me easels?

Pirate series focuses on art

Decode Enterprises will be shopping its new Halifax Film-produced CGI art-focused series Pirates: Adventures in Art at MIPTV. The preschool show for kids four to six puts the spotlight on free-spirited and highly imaginative Captain Leonardo who, along with his band of bohemian brigands, has escaped the drab kingdom of Queen Conformia. True to her name, the royal seeks to stamp out all traces of individuality among her subjects, and it’s up to Captain Leo and his crew of art-loving pirates to embark on daring missions to restore vibrancy to the once-creative land.

In the meantime, the displaced Princess Cleo has stowed away aboard Leo’s trusty ship, the Mona Lisa. Cleo is just as determined and creative as Leo, but her common sense serves to anchor Leo’s more outrageous flights of artistic fancy. Joining Cleo is the massive Encyclopedia Artifactorium, which contains all known art facts. Leo and Cleo join forces and set out on a mission to research as much about art as they can to help Conformia’s victims reclaim their love of artistic spirit and individual expression, and help return Cleo to her rightful throne.

Other crew members make for comic relief, such as Fresco del Gecko, a suave, dashing Spanish gecko and self-proclaimed hero with fast-as-lightening moves and impeccable spy skills. There’s also Skelly, a skeleton complete with pirate eye patch and wooden leg who acts as the ship’s chef and tends to be accident prone.

In one episode, the pirates discover a treasure trove of prehistoric art in a cave. When Queen Conformia’s yes man, Admiral Krank, blocks the entrance to the cave, Princess Cleo takes inspiration from its drawings and etches out an escape route on a rocky wall for Leo to find.

The series will be available in two formats. There are the standard 11.5-minute eps and a longer 12.5-minute version that includes footage from kids’ art classes, highlighting the art techniques depicted in each episode. Decode is working with a budget of US$3.5 million for the first 16 eps and is set to deliver the first 26 eps (out of a total of 36 commissioned) to Canuck pubcaster CBC starting this month, and the remaining 10 this June.

PopPixies fly off in own direction

Sometimes there’s just no ignoring a show that is crying out to be made. That’s what happened at Loreto, Italy-based Rainbow when the creators introduced a new set of characters, the PopPixies, to the second season of the prodco’s first hit Winx Club. The tiny fairy-like characters struck a chord with Winx Club’s girl audience and the PopPixies went on to spawn a successful licensing program in 2006. Rainbow knew it was onto something and set about creating a PopPixie TV series to further drive the brand.

With 20 broadcasters already pre-sold, including RAI, Noga, SABC and France Télévisions, the PopPixie pilot is set to debut at MIPTV with delivery on the series, budgeted at US$300,000 per half hour, slated for fall 2010.

The comedy for five to sevens takes place in Pixieville, where a harmonious community of boy and girl pixies, magical animals and curmudgeonly gnomes co-exist. The pixies each possess special talents and are paired with a fairy animal with similar characteristics, which often leads the pixies into strange and funny situations.

The pixies also have unique magical powers that they can make more powerful through PopPixie balls found on the Tree of Life in the center of town that are earned through doing good deeds. But Pixieville isn’t a complete utopia – the clan of trouble-making townie teenagers constantly upsets the order of things with their plans to snatch the PopPixies.

PopPixies’ multimedia strategy will emulate Rainbow’s Winx Club model, which it has rolled out to TV, DVD, the web, live shows, an ice show, two feature films (the latest in 3-D) and an MMOG.

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