- The Backyardigans
show_name = The Backyardigans
Animated television series
runtime = approx. 24 minutes
executive_producer = Janice Burgess
Jake Goldberg Jordan Coleman LaShawn Tináh Jefferies Jonah Bobo Naelee Rae
language = English
network = flagicon|Canada
Treehouse TVflagicon|USA Nick Jr.
November 22, 2004
last_aired = Present
num_episodes = 58
list_episodes = List of Backyardigans episodes
imdb_id = 0439349
tv_com_id = 28687
Infobox TV ratings
show_name = The Backyardigans
usa_tv = TV-Y
gb_tv = U
can_tv = C
jp_tv = U
it_tv = T
aus_tv = G
"The Backyardigans" is a
Canadian3-D CGI-animated [ [http://www.nelvana.com/shows/shows_template.asp?sid=125 Nelvana.com : Shows ] ] children's TV series, created by Janice Burgess. It is a joint production of Nick Jr.and the Canadian animation studio Nelvana. Debuting on November 22, 2004, it originally had 20 episodes. It aired on CBSfrom October 2004 until September 2006. Music for the show is written by Evan Lurie, of The Lounge Lizards, and Douglas Wieselman. The characters were designed by children's book author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino.
April 30, 2006, Nelvana and Nickelodeon jointly announced that twenty new episodes were ordered for the upcoming fall schedule. [cite web|url=http://www.corusent.com/corporate/press_room/pressReleaseDetail.asp?id=1033|title=www.corusent.com/corporate/press_room/pressReleaseDetail.asp?id=1033 |accessdate=2008-05-20] In the UK, the second season debuted on 30 October, 2006. The third season was released in Canada in March 2008, and the series made its Australian debut in the same year.
The show is an animated musical-adventure series aimed at children between the ages of 2 and 5 [ [http://www.nickjr.com/shows/backyardigans/back_about_show.jhtml About The Backyardigans ] ] . In each episode, the show's five preschool friends—Pablo, Tyrone, Uniqua, Tasha, and Austin—rely on their vivid
imaginations to transform their backyard into completely different worlds, in which they go through many sorts of stories and adventures. The time-frame of the show can range from a few hours to more than one full day, but in reality, the story always ends just in time for one of them to invite the others for a snack. The episodes focus on the stories as much as they do on music and dancing, with each one featuring a different music genre (such as big band, reggae, Spaghetti Western, polka, Motown, and disco) and four new songs, usually with at least one rearrangement of a well-known or traditional song.
Characters and voice cast
Each of the five characters on the show has two vocal actors: one for the speaking parts, and one for the singing parts. In the United States and Canada, the voice actors are all actual children.
The dancing on the show is first performed by live-action dancers, and their movements are later transported to animation. Choreographer Beth Bogush describes the process: "What we do is we film live footage in the studio and then they send that off and they do a Leica, and then they send it to the animators. And the animators just watch, and they're pretty precise. What we film for that day is pretty close to what you see in the character."cite web|url=http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1542683,00.html|title=www.ew.com/ew/report/0,6115,1542683_3_0_,00.html |accessdate=2008-05-20]
Pablo, a bubbly blue
penguin, famous for his blue bow tie and his blue and yellow propeller hat, is the one who most often has the ideas. Due to his energy and impetuousness, he takes the lead in many situations, but often goes into a "panic attack" when he faces an obstacle, running around in circles and blabbering nonsense– "Oh boy! Oh boy! Don't lose your heads! We'll find a way out! Oh, boy! Oh no! Oh man! Oh man!"–until someone interrupts him to propose a solution with "Pablo... Pablo?... PABLO!", at which point he stops, turns to the character and calmly asks "Yeah?"
Occasionally, there are episodes in which Pablo does not have a panic attack, or where another character has one. In "Pirate Treasure," Pablo has two panic attacks - once before crossing a palm tree bridge and the other when the treasure is buried again, and lost. The number of panic attacks decreased considerably after the first season.
One panic attack Pablo has in "Surf's Up" isn't a full panic attack. Instead, he gets overexcited after he finally finds Tiki Beach.
Pablo may be intentionally referenced in an episode of another Nickelodeon show
The Wonder Pets, in which Ming-Ming runs into a cuckoo-cuckoo clock, from which a blue bird pops out and she asks it "Do you have a cousin named Pablo?".
Zach Tyler Eisen(Season 1), Jake Goldberg(Season 2-present)
A good-natured (and sometimes fearful) red-haired orange
moose, he is Pablo's best friend, and almost his complete opposite in terms of personality. He is laid-back, cool-headed, and known for his ironic comments– for example, "That most certainly is!" and "That" certainly is convenient!" upon the arrival of some sort of deus ex machina. At the end of every episode, he remarks, "That was an excellent "(type)" adventure, don't you think?" (This was intentionally self-parodied at the end of "Tale of the Mighty Knights", when Tyrone said it was an 'egg-cellent' knightly adventure). Despite not appearing to wear trousers (except on rare occasions, such as "Race Around the World"), Tyrone somehow manages to put his hands in his pockets.
Reginald Davis, Jr.(Season 1), Jordan Coleman(Season 2-present)
Corwin C. Tuggles(Season 1), Leon G. Thomas III(Season 2)
A curious, self-confident and high-spirited pink creature with polka dots and
overalls, she is almost always sweet and friendly, though her strong opinions and occasional stubbornness get in the way of her relationships. She is more tomboyish than Tasha, and often imagines herself in roles requiring brains and fortitude (scientist, pirate captain, etc). More than once, when she has got the mystery solved she will interject with a "You "guys"!".
Uniqua is a unique creature that is unlike any other in the world, and Uniqua is also the name of her species. [ http://www.nickjr.co.uk/shows/backyardigans/uniqua.aspx http://www.nelvana.com/shows/characters_template.asp?sid=125&cid=528&#char ] Creator
Janice Burgessdescribes Uniqua as the child she wishes she was like as a child. [ [http://www.nickjr.com/shows/backyardigans/about/back_meet_creators.jhtml Meet the Creator of The Backyardigans!] ] She has been called simply "Uniqua, the pink" in "Knights Are Brave and Strong".
LaShawn Tináh Jefferies
Jamia Simone Nash
Hattie May Williams
A little girl
hippopotamus, in red shoes and a flowered dress. Of the five characters, she is the only one who wears shoes at all times. Tasha is Uniqua’s best friend. She looks sweet as pie but underneath her extra girly exterior beats the heart of a CEO -- tough-as-nails, take-no-prisoners, my-way-or-the-highway kind of gal. She's rational, skeptical, and highly motivated to get her own way. But it's always special for Uniqua when Tasha is there, because she's someone who can also be giggly, silly and full of fun. She and Austin do not appear as much as Tyrone, Pablo, and Uniqua. Tasha's favorite line: "Oh for goodness sakes!"
Naelee Rae(Season 1-Season 2) Gianna Bruzesse(Season 3-present)
Kristin Klabunde(Season 1-Season 2) Gabriella Malek(Season 3-present)
A fun-loving purple
kangaroowho moved into the block recently; [ cite web|url=http://www.nelvana.com/shows/characters_template.asp?sid=125&cid=530&char|title=www.nelvana.com/shows/characters_template.asp?sid=125&cid=530&char |accessdate=2008-05-20 ] this makes him a little shy on some occasions (such as the episodes "Castaways" and "Race Around the World"), and reluctant to join in. He is also very self-confident, and tries to help his friends whenever they need, sometimes in quirky ways. Says Bogush: "Austin's usually the one pulling up the rear. He's kind of a get-along guy." Also, according to the episode, "Who Goes There?", flowers cause him to sneeze, and in "Caveman's best friend". it's shown he is a fairly good skateboarder.
Although rarely appearing in the spotlight, he does take the role of the "main" (or most focused on) character in only two episodes: "Race Around the World" and "Castaways" in season one. In season two, his main role also limited to two episodes: "Samurai Pie" and "Scared of You". Finally, and most recently, season three features him as the main character in the following episodes: "Le Master of Disguise", "Caveman's Best Friend" and "Pirate Camp".
In season one, Austin was present in eleven of the twenty episodes, while Tasha appeared in twelve. Uniqua, Pablo and Tyrone were featured in all episodes. The five characters were together in five episodes, and both Tasha and Austin were absent in two episodes. There is no official explanation to Austin and Tasha's occasional absence. In season two, episodes featuring all five characters are much more frequent, but Tasha and Austin are still occasionally absent. In season three's "Chichen Itza Pizza," however, Tasha is present while Pablo is absent, a first time for the series. Also for the first time for the series, Tyrone is absent in season three's "Pirate Camp" making Uniqua so far the only character to appear in every single episode.
Singing voice: Thomas Sharkey
Two episodes in the first season, "The Heart of the Jungle" and "Polka Palace Party", feature a character called Sherman the Worman, an intelligent yellow-and-orange-polka-dotted
wormwho talks in gibberish, although Tyrone seems to understand him. Sherman is present before the backyard is transformed via imagination, and so is presumably "real" in the context of the show, although in both episodes, he is left behind in the "imaginary" world, in the company of a number of other Wormans.
Wormans also appear in the third season episode "What's Bugging You?", though these Wormans are somewhat different, in that their typical 'speech' is meeping instead of gibberish and they are capable of speaking (high-pitched) English.
"Mission to Mars" features an alien mom, voiced by
Alicia Keys; an alien baby, voiced by Shakira Lipscomb; and Rover, a dog-like surface vehicle, as guest stars. In the UK version of the show, the baby alien is voiced by Maria Darling, but this has the unfortunate effect of having the baby sound exactly like Tasha (also voiced by Darling); given that Tasha is seen providing the "boinga, boinga, boinga" sound during the pre-imaginary portion of the episode, however, this may be intentional. Alicia Keys vocal is not affected by the normal " Anglicization" that is common in the UK version of the show. The small alien is also featured at the end of "Newsflash", though it isn't the same alien as in "Mission to Mars" and doesn't appear to be a baby.
"Tale of the Mighty Knights" has an egg which makes its own unique sound. It is called Eggbert by Uniqua & Tyrone, Eggwin by the Grabbin' Goblin (aka Austin), and Eggie by the Flighty Fairy (Tasha). The egg later hatches into a baby dragon. The dragon's singing voice is done by
"It's Great to Be a Ghost" and "Secret Mission" include voices near the end of the episode that do not come from any of the main characters. They're rumored to have come from Evan Lurie, one of the show's composers. There are also announcer voices at the beginning of the newscast in "Newsflash", and throughout "Tale of the Mighty Knights".
"The Legend of the Volcano Sisters" has a
clamthat sounds like a puppy and even pants and barks. It is know as "The Angriest Clam," but Pablo also calls it "Clammy" when trying to get its attention.
People or Animals?
Even though all of the main characters are animals, they very seldom act like those animals or even acknowledge that they are, in fact, animals. For example, in "Into the Deep",
mermaidsUniqua and Tasha refer to Pablo and Tyrone as "people", in "Mission to Mars", Uniqua sings that the astronauts have discovered "a new planet for the whole human race" and in "Cops and Robots", Pablo mentions wanting to '"run around and play like a human boy". This is further complicated by props which show humanbeings, such as soccerposters of Peléand Mia Hamm("Monster Detectives") and portraits ("Scared of You"), as well as human-traditional suits of armor ("Knights are Brave and Strong") and sarcophagi("Secret Mission") However, there are a few isolated incidents in which they acknowledge their animal nature:
# In "Secret Mission", there are direct references to Tyrone's species and his antlers on the song "Laser Limbo Tango" ("keep those antlers near the floor", as well as "secret agent limbo moose").
# In "The Yeti", Tyrone's section of the song "Row Your Boat" includes the line, "Moving kind of wobbly 'cause my antlers rock the boat".
# In "Mission to Mars", as Pablo is falling off the cliff, he desperately tries to fly by flapping his wings, even though - being a penguin - he wouldn't be able to fly, though it is possible that due to the fact that he was falling he was possibly flailing his arms in fear rather than a flight attempt.
# In "International Super Spy", Uniqua refers to Tasha as a hippo.
# In "It's Great to be a Ghost" Tyrone calls himself a "Scaredy moose" and he says that he has "Moose-bumps" (a parody of
# In "Knights Are Brave and Strong" Tyrone is also referred to as the "Moose of the Mist".
# In "Escape from Fairytale Village", Tyrone is hiding amongst the
cloudsfrom the giant(Pablo). Pable breaks the fourth wall, by informing the viewers that he can "see [Tyrones] little antlers!"
# During the opening intro, when Pablo sings "In the place where we belong", he does a little waddle like a penguin.
Although not a species reference, a visual comment is made by Tasha in "The Swamp Creature" when she calls Austin "my purple friend". Also, "real" animals such as horses appear in certain episodes, and dolphins appear in "The Great Dolphin Race."
The characters live in houses adjoining a large backyard common to the three central houses (Pablo's, Tyrone's and Uniqua's) that is transformed by imagination into various adventure settings. Each house roughly corresponds to the color scheme of the character: Pablo lives in a blue house, Uniqua in a pink one and Tyrone's is orange. Tasha's house, which is to the left of the three central houses, is yellow and Austin's, to the right, is partially obscured by a fence but what is seen is purple. The fence, which surrounds the combined properties of the three main characters (Pablo, Tyrone and Uniqua), has an Austin-sized door in it, through which Austin can occasionally sneak into the adventure after the other characters are playing (as in "Castaways", "Surf's Up" and "High Tea"). The curve of the street allows the play area to be roughly equal in distance to each house's back door.
In Season One, Nine episodes end at Pablo's. none of the characters had snacks at Austin's, four end at Tasha's, five end at Tyrone's, and eleven episodes end at Uniqua's. In Season Two's "Whodunit", Austin suggests the snack for the first time,as well as "who goes there?" is another occasion.
Not everything that appears in the imaginary world has a real-world partner. Often
trees, boulders, brickwork etc. appears where nothing originally existed. By the same token even large trees in the real garden disappear completely into nothingness when the imagination part of the story takes over.
In the first series houses which stand across the street, could barely be seen through quite dense shrubbery between the main characters' houses; those of Pablo, Tyrone and Uniqua. However, in the second series, the shrubbery is much reduced, and the houses and street outside can be more clearly seen.
The characters often pull items out of thin air, or from behind their backs–a technique known in animation as
hammerspace. The episode "Eureka!" had a running gag in which Pablo would search for certain items on his saddlebag, pulling out enormous objects in the process (e.g. a tuba, a surfboardand a fully inflated rubber dinghy).
Other examples include occasions in "Riding the Range", where Tyrone could produce a seemingly inexhaustible supply of
apples, "The Snow Fort", where Tasha and Uniqua each have a rucksack that contains a rescue kit, including shovels, hooks, and suction cups, "Race Around the World", where Austin has a racing pack in which he keeps numerous items, such as a hook, rope, plasters, and a water bottle, "High Tea", in which Tasha manages to store tea-leaves, a teapot and four cups and saucers in a small clutch handbag (Irrespective of this feat, she is able to produce a fifth identical cup and saucer from behind her after Austin arrives at the end) and "The Quest for the Flying Rock" where Tyrone produces a ropefrom his belt, in order to assist in the climbing of a sand dunewhich was not seen in any shot before or after this point.
Several props appear in the same, or similar form, in multiple episodes. Small, hand-held items, like shovels can be seen in numerous episodes as well as a number of items in Clementine's saddle-bag in "Eureka!" including Tyrone's tuba from "Polka Palace Party", Pablos' blue surfboard from "Surf's Up!" and the painting from "It's Great To be a Ghost". "Secret Mission" has two recurring props, the tiki beach statue from "Surf's Up! (actually, three of them) and the diamond from "Pirate Treasure". In "Cops and Robots" the key to the robot factory is a scaled-down and recolored (blue) version of the Key To The World seen in "Race to the Tower of Power". Several props from earlier shows show up as background clutter, including a surfboard, skis, throne, and accordion, in both the Grabbing Goblins cave in ""Tale of the Mighty Knights", and Sultan Tyrones treasure store in "Movers of Arabia".
It appears that some of the items seen before the scenery changes are just as imaginary as after. Examples of this include a scene at the start of "Eureka!", which has Tyrone and Pablo digging a hole several feet deep in the sandbox which is shown to be just a few inches high, and "Race to the Tower of Power" which illustrates all the characters' powers before the scene-change... including Austin, as Captain Hammer, turning a yellow shovel from the sandbox into an umbrella. The
slideis presumably both real and imaginary, since Uniqua is shown to use the slide as a normal slide at the start of "Castaways", but in "Race to the Tower of Power" it is shown covered in goo, and less than a foot high, after being attacked by Dr Shrinky (Tyrone) and Yucky Man (Pablo). Disputing this idea is the fact that a number of items remain consistently "real" during the show, including jumpropes - such as Uniqua's in "Ridin' the Range" and Tyrone's in "High Tea". Perhaps it is simply that each part of the garden can be whatever it needs to be in the imaginations of the characters.
(While production value for the show is extremely high-especially in the little details, there is a continuity error in "Surf's Up!": When Austin is shown driving his dune buggy, his surfboard is in the back during wide shots, but vanishes during his close-ups and medium shots.)
In the UK, The Backyardigans are shown daily on Nick Jr.,
Nick Jr. 2and Nick Jr. on TMF (formerly "Noggin on TMF"). The characters have been redubbed and in seasons 1 & 2 are voiced by three British actresses; Maria Darling(Tasha and Tyrone), Janet James (Pablo), and Lizzie Waterworth(Uniqua and Austin) [ [http://www.justvoicesagency.com/plain/artists/female_voice_artists/lizzie_waterworth Lizzie Waterworth - Just Voices Agency ] ] . In the third season, Emma Tate(who also voices Destiny Angelin Captain Scarlet) took over the roles of Tasha and Tyrone from Maria Darling.
In the British version, certain words and phrases that are not in common usage in British English are translated, such as "soccer" to "football" and "diapers" to "nappies". This naturally leads to some minor lip-synch issues, but most children would not notice these. Also in the British version, several of the snacks are different, since items like
s'moresare not generally known in the UK, while others like granola barsare known by different names.
The ordering of episodes is not as consistent in the UK as is in the United States. For example, in the UK "Secret of Snow" was originally shown out of sequence, after "The Legend of The Volcano Sisters". The final episode out of sequence, "Special Delivery" was eventually shown in the UK for the first time on
13 August 2007. There was a considerable break between the "Horsing Around" episode, which was shown in April and this episode. "International Super Spy" was finally shown during Nick Jr's "Backyardigans Biggest Adventure Ever!" Weekend, 24th and 25th November 2007, and was the final episode from Season two to be broadcast.
The third season began broadcasting on Nick Jr. and Nick Jr. 2 during March 2008, although some episodes were again shown out of order. Based on the Episode list below, all episodes up to and including "Escape from Fairytale Village" have been broadcast (At 9 September 2008)
As of October 2008, all fifty-eight episodes of seasons 1, 2 and 3 have been released on
DVDfor the North American region. There are ten collections of four episodes each: "It's Great to Be a Ghost" (2005), "The Snow Fort" (2005), "Polka Palace Party" (2006), "Cave Party" (2006), "Surf's Up" (2006), "Mission to Mars" (2006), "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters" (2007), "Movers and Shakers" "(2007), "Into the Deep" (2007), "High Flying Adventures" (2008), "Mighty Match Up" (2008), "Escape from Fairytale Village" (2008), and two collections of three episodes: Super Secret Super Spy (2007), and Tale of the Mighty Knights (2008).
In addition, individual episodes also appear in the "Nick Jr Favorites" DVDs:- "The Quest for the Flying Rock" on "Nick Jr Favorites" DVD volume 2.- "Race to the Tower of Power" on "Nick Jr Favorites" DVD volume 3.- "Pirate Treasure" on "Nick Jr Favorites" DVD volume 4.
In the UK, only the "Cave Party", "Polka Palace Party", "Snow Fort" and "Surf's Up" DVDs have been released, as of April 2008. These use the UK voices and language variations, although an early CD release of some of the songs from the show used the American voices. The UK DVDs also feature audio for French (France), Spanish (Spain), Italian, Swedish, and German.
The second through fifth DVD collections and "Super Secret Super Spy" include a second audio track in French (Canadian). Nelvana, the company producing the animation for "The Backyardigans", is based in Canada, which is officially bilingual. The
tempos of several songs are changed to match the French lyrics for both France and Canada, and the characters refer to themselves as "Les Mélodilous" in the opening and closing songs. Also, Tyrone is known as Théo and Uniqua as Victoria.
"For more details about these episodes, see
List of Backyardigans episodes."
# "Pirate Treasure"
# "The Heart of the Jungle"
# "The Yeti"
# "The Snow Fort"
# "Secret Mission"
# "It's Great to Be a Ghost"
# "Riding the Range"
# "The Key to the Nile"
# "Knights Are Brave and Strong"
# "Viking Voyage"
# "Race to the Tower of Power"
# "The Quest for the Flying Rock"
# "Polka Palace Party"
# "Surf's Up!"
# "Race Around the World"
# "Monster Detectives"
# "Cave Party"
# "The Tea Party" (also referred to as "High Tea")
# "Mission to Mars"
# "Samurai Pie"
# "Scared of You"
# "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters"
# "Special Delivery"
# "The Swamp Creature"
# "Horsing Around"
# "The Secret of Snow"
# "Save the Day"
# "Movers of Arabia"
# "Cops and Robots"
# "Sinbad Sails Alone"
# "Best Clowns in Town"
# "Into the Deep"
# "Catch That Butterfly"
# "A Giant Problem"
# "International Super Spy" (Parts one and two)Season Three
# "Who Goes There?"
# "Blazing Paddles"
# "Garbage Trek"
# "Fly Girl"
# "What's Bugging You?"
# "Chichen-Itza Pizza"
# "To The Center of The Earth"
# "Front Page News!"
# "The Tale of the Mighty Knights"
# "Le Master of Disguise"
# "Match on Mt. Olympus"
# "The Great Dolphin Race"
# "Caveman’s Best Friend"
# "Ranch Hands From Outer Space"
# "Robin Hood The Clean"
# "Escape From Fairytale Village"
# "Pirate Camp"
# "The Two Musketeers"
# "The Masked Retriever"
Activisionreleased the Backyardigans PC game, "Mission to Mars" in October 2006. In addition, there are interactive Backyardigans games available for the LeapPadand VTech's V.Smileconsoles. Austin fans may be disappointed to learn that the V.Smile game is of the "Viking Voyage" adventure, in which he does not appear. There is also a LeapFrog ClickStartGame that is Backyardigans themed called "Number Pie Samurai" which allows children to join the Backyardigans for early computer skills: Using technology with music mousing, and teaches essential pre-school skills: Instrumental sounds, musical exploration, and numbers counting.
A book, titled "Here Come the Backyardigans" is available in the UK. The story involves Uniqua playing
hide-and-seekwith, and searching for - Pablo. During the journey, Uniqua finds Austin, Tasha and Tyrone in different places (such as the Snow Fort and the Pirate Ship) Strangely, some characters are found in "locations" that they have never been shown to visit (such as Austin being found in the Snow Fort - he was not in that episode).
Also released are the story books for the "Pirate Treasure", "Race to the Tower of Power" and "The Secret of the Nile" episodes. Other, more educational books (dealing with things like numbers, counting etc.) were also released in 2007.
Numerous cuddly toys and interactive character toys (mostly Pablo, Uniqua and Tyrone) are also available. Some involve the toy singing songs and using well-known phrases from some of the episodes. There are also Beanie toys of all the main characters available.
All the characters sing and dance during the closing song. In the first season's episodes, when there is an even number of boy and girl characters–that is, when Tasha is present and Austin is not–they pair off and dance together. This does not happen in later seasons.
While the end music fades, all the characters then run into the house of the character that offered the snacks. The view then expands to a "bird's-eye-view". One character (or more) opens the door, jumps into the doorway and uses the catchphrase of the respective episode, then goes back inside.
* [http://www.nickjr.com/shows/backyardigans/index.jhtml Nick Jr. Backyardigans Page]
* [http://www.tv.com/the-backyardigans/show/28687/episode_guide.html TV.com episode guide]
* [http://backyardigans.littletoons.com/ Your "Backyardigans" opening theme song (1:00 min)]
* [http://treehousetv.com/watch/shows/Backyardigans/default.aspx "The Backyardigans" web page at TreeHouseTV.com]
* [http://www.nickjr.com/shows/backyardigans/index.jhtml The Backyardigans on noggin.com]
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