Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sid the Science Kid Comes to PBS

As reported earlier, "Sid the Science Kid" will debut tomorrow (Monday, September 1, 2008) on PBS. The new television series showcases a cast of loveable new characters brought to life though the Jim Henson Company's ground-breaking digital puppetry system, which allows performers to puppeteer and voice digital characters in real-time.

The show focuses on an inquisitive kid named Sid who consistently raises questions about simple everyday things (such as why bananas go bad or how a pancakes cooks) and then he goes and finds the answer using a variety of methods. In the first week Sid will find out how to read a chart, use a magnifying glass, estimate and use other scientific tools. Joining Sid in this scientific adventures is Sid's family and a cast of friends - including classmates Gabriela, May, and Gerald and their teacher Miss Susie. The show encourages children to explore the foundations of science through the world they encounter every day, making science an inviting adventure focused on real life, close-to-home topics.

The program is aimed at preschoolers and will air weekdays on PBS (check your local listings for details). You won't want to miss this spectacular new television series when it debuts tomorrow - so be sure to tune in to catch "Sid the Science Kid" on PBS. For more "Sid the Science Kid", be sure to check out the show's official website at And also be sure to check out our full episode guide right here, to see what this season has in store for Sid. I will be sure to keep you updated with more information regarding the series as things develop.


Vaughn Michael said...

Am I the only person wishing they'd stop using Jim's name on things he didn't do?
Like why doesn't it say Brian Henson's: Insert Lame CG Cartoon here.
This show does look like it could be cute so don't get me wrong but I'm jsut sayin' this isn't Jim's so I don't think they should be using his name on such things.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, why do you always have to post a negative comment on each page? Don't you have any other things to do?

Jeff said...

Vaughn, it's the name of the freaking production company - you know, the Jim Henson Company. So why wouldn't they put "Jim Henson's" on their productions

Do you think the Dinsey Company should stop putting their name (Walt Disney's) name on projects that Walt himself wasn't involved in?

Also, this show is not "Brian Henson's "Insert Lame CG Cartoon here". Sid the Scince Kid is not a cartoon (it's digital puppetry) and it's not lame (I really really really like it).

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Vaughn Michael, even if they didn't dub this show "Jim Henson's" it wouldn't be "Brian Henson's" it would be "Lisa's Henson's" - as she is co-creator, producer and developer of "Sid the Science Kid" and has done much more on creating this series than her fellow co-CEO and brother Brian (who handles more of the tech side).

frogboy4 said...

I actually like the idea and technology behind this project. It's a higher standard in children's entertainment that Jim Henson would likely have been proud to bear his name. They do use it too liberally lately but this project fits.

Chris said...

I watched the show this morning. And I loved it. I must say that Jim would have proudly approved of his name being associated with this excellent new series.

Vaughn Michael said...

And why do you guys have to be such cry babies every time I make a comment asking a question, I stated that I've yet to see this and it could be cute.
Seriously stop jumping on everyone who has a differnce of opinion or a single flippign question about something.
You guys are overly sensative about everything these days.
And stop posting anonymously you cowards, oh and no I thought I'd post just you anonymous folk because it's what I live for. :D

Jeff thanks for the answer even if sarcastic and rude.
You guys seriously make me laugh with your attitudes towards anyone differnt, and that anyone who says anything outside the box is a negative person.
It was something I was pondering, and I'm going to keep posting what I think because last time I checked this was the internet and how about the next time I say something NICE you folks make a comment about that, but I'm sure you won't because while you call me negative that is exactly what most of you focus on the negative comments people make.

Anonymous said...

The reason people respond that way is because you've come off as being negativly harsh and strongly judgemental of Henson's involvement in the ditial medium.

You stated that you've yet to see this and that it could be cute, however you called it a "lame CG cartoon".

Stop jumping all over projects without seeing them first and people won't jump all over you. You seem overly sensative about others questioning your opinions or voicing their opions in responce to yours. Explain WHY you dislike something and people will respect the opion more than if just attack it or put it down.

Also, who cares if people post comments anonymously? Would it really make a difference to you if my post said "Joe" at the top, or "Sally Smith" or "MuppetFan27" or "anonymous"?

I do hope that you do keep posting - that's what the internet is all about. You don't have to love everything or agree with everyone; I just think you don't have to be condecending with your opinions and try to explain why you dislike or disapprove of something rather than just jumping all over something you haven't even seen.

I think Jeff answered your question - the company name is Jim Henson so they put "Jim Henson's" on everything (just like how Disney slaps "Walt Disney's" on everything even if Walt's been dead for years). Yeah, he was a little snarky in his responce, but so were you in your questioning.

Vaughn Michael said...

I hate CG it's ruined cartoons so has anime in this country, nothing is our own or creative anymore.
So yes to ME it is LAME CG as all CG cartoons are lame to me and reminds me of the old black and white cartoons with flashy dancing trees and everything was alive.
CG to me in it's movement is so flash everything moves in a way like, look at me I was made on a computer I can wiggle and dance and move!
Everything looks exactly the same but that's ok I guess since we live in such a world where being exactly the same is what's cool now.
I am botherd by the fact that they plop Jim's name on stuff, I can't help that.
The reason is because it seems to me like the name is there to try and make money off of it.
But hey whatever it's not even a big deal.
I'm not going to argue with you over something this stupid.
I've said all of this before I'm getting tired of having to explain my own beliefs and actions to everyone under the sun simply because they get so bent out of shape of this triangle trying to fit through a circle hole.

frogboy4 said...

While I would tend to agree with the bulk of that (I really do), Sid's unique quality take on this appears to be different.

Vaughn Michael said...

And I won't argue that at all Frogboy, from what I've seen it does look good.
But when I think of Henson I think of pushing art and creativity to it's limits and then going a step further.
CG for me is not it, it can be for everyone else but it's just not inovative to me, and the Hensons CG hasn't really gotten any better since the old Waldo character on the Jim Henson Hour.
Infact CG in general is really not in the place it needs to be at for how people are using it and how much they are using it.

Anonymous said...

"It's Digital Puppetry..."-Jeff
What a delusional statement!!
Its a guy moving a mouse at a table in a room with a computer.
Nice try.

I would like to say I agree completely with what VAUGHN MICHAEL has written here.
This is a discussion area.
And he's acting without any trolling manerisms.
If you can't take the heat then don't post!

Henson is great because of the puppets and performances by the puppeteers.

Here's a repost of mine from a while back.
Read it and understand.
CGI and Henson have no room for each other.
-Ink Stud
(I'll take exception if cgi is used to AUGMENT puppetry or animatronics. Like the new Dark Crystal)

This just doesn't seem like Henson product.
I doubt Jim would have released this
pixel, puppet free, product regardless of his supposed interest in cgi animation.

Yoda in Episode V worked because he was a small little thing.
He does not work however in the prequels because he is of a CGI nature. Flat. No performance.
Also the fact that you have voice actors out of a job because Danny Glover (who was probably directed not to create a voice and just use his regular day voice) voicing this
installment of a long line of animal/human famous actor voiced drivel.
These celebrity voiced animal dvd movies have no soul.
Imagine Mel Blanc or the OZ doing these voices!
I hope this trend ends and HENSON co. plays to their strengths. Not to hollywood ca$hcow hits like Kung Fu Panda.
Sounds like a quick buck scheme.
Do this movie with puppets and voice actors and I'll buy 2 copies.
-Ink Stud

frogboy4 said...

Sid the Science Kid’s performance isn't "a guy moving a mouse at a table in a room with a computer" as has been stated. It is motion capture puppetry. There’s much footage of the performers doing just that. It’s the same technology being used on the Scrumps and was rumored to be used with a Muppet Babies project when Henson still owned them. They motion capture puppetry and full body movements in real time. This information is fed into a computer where it is later rendered. This lends spontaneity to the performance along with a higher quality to the computer animation. Jim Henson & PDI began this very technique for the Henson Hour Waldo character so the company is following in their namesake’s footsteps.

The Henson Company is still doing puppetry projects, but it's this CG stuff that keeps getting pushed to the front. I'm a little tired of that too, but I don't see it as an *either-or* proposition. The problem becomes when this Unstable Fables, Sid and Scrumps is really all there is while the Dark Crystal project keeps getting pushed back (along with the uncomfortable rumors of that being over-CGed instead of being primarily puppeteered). But then we also have the Fraggle Rock project. That should have always been the first post-Muppet-sale project Henson Co did. Not the underwhelming Mirrormask or the like. I think there's room for lots of colorful things from the Henson people. Their mission statement gets so jumbled, however their latest creatureshop reel does inspire me very much!

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected.
Thanks for the info.
Good points.

Where did you get the Dark Crystal info?
I hope that's not true about the over use of CGI!
I can't find anything!
-Ink Stud

Anonymous said...

If you think that "CGI and Henson have no room for each other", you must be conveniently forgetting the digital puppeteering work that Jim Henson pioneered late in his career. He debuted the concept of digital puppeteering on an episode of The Jim Henson Hour. Since then, Henson puppeteers have gone on to teach digital techniques at Pixar and Disney.

You may not like CG animation, but Henson's one of the pioneers in the medium. To say that CG has no place at Henson is pure ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Going back to the Disney/Henson analogy, I wonder if there's a tiny bit of a distinction here. Maybe I'm entirely wrong about this, but I don't think since Walt's death the Disney company has generally called things "Walt Disney's Fill-in-the-Blank". Sure, they'll say "Disney's Fill-in-the-Blank", because it's still from the company that Walt Disney started. But using the first name too does perhaps apply a bit more personal involvement than just using the last name.

Would it be less objectionable (to those who find it objectionable at all) if the show was "Henson's Sid the Science Kid" instead of "Jim Henson's Sid the Science Kid"? Not because other Hensons (Brian and Lisa) actually have worked on it, but just because removing "Jim" seems to take away the impression that Jim Henson personally had anything to do with it?

Anonymous said...

Should have said "imply" instead of "apply" towards the end of the first paragraph above, sorry.

Vaughn Michael said...

Yes I think calling it Henson's would be much better because it is the Henson's working on it not Jim.
I just think his name shouldn't be tagged onto things he didn't do, it gives me that oh let's use dads name so maybe we can fool people and this will sell.
Sadly allot of people don't know that the great Jim Henson is no longer with us.

marcus said...

Well Disney does still uses" Walt Disney's" in some of their titles. Although many times it is "Walt Disney Pictures Presnets" or just "Disney's". But "Walt Disney's The Lion King" and "Walt Disney's The Little Mermaid" are two examples that I can think of right now (I know the used "Walt Disney's" for a fact in at least some of their branding for these because I'm looking at the homevideo boxes on my shelf right now and they are branded with Walt's name).

But who really cares what prefix they put on the show? The quality of the show will speak for itself. If the show is bad, putting Jim's name on it won't save it. But this this show is great and doesn't need to rely on Jim's name to make it! Sid the Scince Kid is one of the best childrens shows I've seen. It is simply qualtiy television - educational, entertaining and all around fun.

And most people won't (and don't) say the "Jim Henson's" anyway - as the title is already long enough.

No one really seemed to mind when they slapped Jim Henson's name on "Bear in the Big Blue House", "Dinosaurs", "The Animal Show", "Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola", "Dog City", "Construction Site", "Brats of the Lost Nebula", "Animal Jams", "The Hoobs", "Mopotop's Shop", "City Kids", "Jack and the Beanstalk", and several other post-Jim projects (check the logos, they are all branded as "Jim Henson's whatever"). Begining in the '80s (with Fraggle Rock), the Henson Company began titling almost everything they produced "Jim Henson's whatever". But people only seem upset with the title when they personally don't like the project or they (who never met Jim) think its something that Jim wouldn't have done (such as anything without a tangible puppet, or something not for little kids). Why didn't the fanbase explode with the same kind of anger over "Jim Henson's Dinosaurs" or "Jim Henson's The Animal Show with Stinky and Jake" or "Jim Henson's Dog City" or "Jim Henson's Bear in the Big Blue House"?

Anonymous said...


"Pure ignorance" is when you don't read my post carefully and then call me ignorant.

I CLEARLY acknowledge Henson's early use of CGI. Something you said didnt do.

Aside from the insulting me...

You falsely claim im
"conveniently forgetting" the link between CGI and early Henson days.

Let's take a look at my post that you are reffering to.

I wrote....

"I doubt Jim would have released this
pixel, puppet free, product regardless of his SUPPOSED INTEREST IN CGI ANIMATION."-Ink Stud

You should read posts you comment on in full.
Then you wouldn't appear to be ignorant yourself.

"To say that CG has no place at Henson is pure ignorance."-Teko

I say dump the pixles and bring on the felt and foam.
It's much more original and creative. CGI is not what made the company famous.
I imagine 99% of people don't know Henson does CGI. And they never will either.

Am I right or am I wrong?

-Ink Stud

Anonymous said...

I'm the "anonymous" who posted about the Disney/Henson distinction. I might have done a bit of home research before I posted, but I just did so now, and I must say I was right. I have virtually every Disney animated feature ever released on VHS or DVD, plus many non-animated ones. Scanning the spines of my collection, there are only three titles billed as "Walt Disney's So-and-So", and all three are films Walt himself actually worked on.

I truly think The Walt Disney Company doesn't use "Walt Disney's" the way The Jim Henson Company uses "Jim Henson's". Not that I find this especially significant or objectionable, but it IS a distinction followed by one company and not another.

Of course the name "Henson" has never had the brand recognition of "Disney" and so I suppose adding "Jim" helps people remember.


Anonymous said...

i don't care for it personally, it is "Muppet junk" to me, as i would like to call it. maybe i shouldn't even call it that! But it's great if it reaches to kids! which of course is what it's meant for. Maybe if it was an animal character i would find it more interesting. But for me, well, why waste anymore time talking about it! lol!

Anonymous said...

Ink Stud, saying in one post that digital puppeteering is nothing but "a guy moving a mouse at a table in a room with a computer," then claiming you're not ignorant about how digital puppeteering works... that's weak sauce.

I prefer felt to pixels myself, any day. But at least learn the basics of what digital puppeteering is before criticizing it on a Muppet blog.

Anonymous said...

Now you're changing your position.
This usually happens on message boards when one is called out on b.s.

You said was that I was "conveniently forgetting" the link.
of Henson and CGI.

Im just pointing out I acknowledged this and you missed that.

That's it buddy. Nothing else!
I don't want to fight. But I wont change the subject for you.

Im not discussing how Motion capture techniques work.
Im just defending the fact I know Henson dabbled in CGI something you claim I didnt do.

Now your brand new, anti discussion promoting argument is I don't know how digital puppeteering works?

What the hell?

So we go from "being ignorant" (thanks!) for not acknowledging early Henson cgi to suddenly not knowning how CGI works?

I'm not talking about the technique.
If you're going to rebut in a discussion then stick to topic.
You fail.

But since you want to suddenly discuss technique to save face,
yes a camera films a puppet using motion capture techniques.
But guess what?
Someone sits at the computer with a mouse and assembles it all in a digital video editing program.
And this takes days.
CGI sucks when there can be a perfectly good puppet to be used.

I'm sorry for gumming up the boards.
I just don't like words put in my mouth and Im very passionate about my Muppets. Obviously.


Anonymous said...

Ink Stud, you need to calm down a bit.

You started out saying that Sid the Science Kid is something Jim Henson would never do because he'd never have anything to do with something entirely CG-puppeteered. Then you claimed that Henson digital puppeteering, like they use in Sid, is nothing but "a guy with a mouse".

Yes, I called you out on it -- because you were wrong both times. And now a third time.

You can't just say "you fail" when you're still simply incorrect on all points. Sorry dude.

Anonymous said...

This has been a fun read.

Ink Stud: 1

Tekko: 0

But chill guys.

Vaughn Michael said...

I saw some behind the scenes type of stuff on this the other day which I enjoyed.
I also watched the show yesterday morning but that I did not enjoy.
Can't win em' all.
But I do have to say this is much better than the normal CG rubbish that gets put out, it's just not my cup of tea.

frogboy4 said...

This show isn't my cup of tea either, but it is well done for what they're going for. And it makes me giggle. It does.

CStulz said...

Finally checked out the show.. now I can't get the "Chart" song out of my head!!!

Is there a soundtrack coming out?

Technical Tony said...

I love the show, but my 3 year-old daughter LOVES the show! Now where is all the merchandising? Her birthday's coming up....

Anonymous said...

I'm with Technical Tony: Where's the merchandise? My son absolutely loves Sid and all his friends. You know, it IS all about the kidlets! Hope someone from Jim Henson's has an answer for us.