Wednesday, January 07, 2009

PBS Gets Onboard the Dinosaur Train

The Jim Henson Company has finalized an agreement with PBS KIDS to debut the all-new CGI-animated series, "Jim Henson's Dinosaur Train", in fall 2009. The new series encourags basic scientific thinking and skills as the audience learns about natural science, natural history and paleontology.

Created by Craig Bartlett ("Hey Arnold!"), "Dinosaur Train" is currently in production for 40 half-hour episodes. The series will join other top-ranked PBS KIDS preschool series including The Jim Henson Company's series "Sid the Science Kid", which premiered last fall. "Dinosaur Train" is seen through the eyes of Buddy, a preschool-aged Tyrannosaurus Rex. Buddy and his adoptive family of Pteranodons go for adventures on the time-traveling Dinosaur Train where they meet all kinds of dinosaurs from different eras and learn fascinating new facts about these incredible creatures. The series' curriculum and content is being developed with input from paleontologists, scientists and education experts, and is being designed to help build interest in life science and natural history.

Craig Bartlett, Brian Henson, Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford are serving as executive producers on the series. The Jim Henson Company is said to oversee all ancillary exploitation of the property, including licensing and merchandising, while PBS will handle DVD distribution to consumer and education markets. "Dinosaur Train" is being co-produced with Singapore animation company BIG Communications.

You can check out some images from this upcoming educational series below, and get ready for the Jim Henson Company's latest animated venture, as "Dinosaur Train" hits airwaves this fall. I will be sure to keep you updated as more details on this upcoming Henson project become available.


frogboy4 said...

It looks like a great idea for an educational program; however I don't see what is so "Henson" about this production. In branching out I think The Jim Henson Company is at risk of watering down their appeal and becoming just another brand.

I'm also not thrilled by the shopping out of animation to cheap overseas houses. When people wonder what has happened to the charm and craftsmanship in today's entertainment (not to mention why the North American economy is declining) projects like Dinosaur Train are partly to blame.

The show does look cute, and I like the adoption angle, but I'm finally getting tired of seeing Jim Henson's name slapped on so many non-Henson-like products.

Vaughn Michael said...

Yet when I said this a year ago I was a jerk.
Anyway,I'm at the point that I don't even care anymore, it's not my company so they can do what they want.
Things are never going to be like they used to be, and I've finally come to tearms with that.

frogboy4 said...

You certainly aren't a jerk in my book. I think you caught this early. I can understand Sid and Skrumps because that technology is very Henson-like and the characters retain some resemblance to the Henson style. I even could turn a blind eye to some of the direct-to-kid-vid DVDs they released to help fund the company, but now there's just too much of it.

Please Henson Co - bring on the Happytime Murders, the Fraggle Movie and Dark Crystal sequel. At least give the devoted classic fans more of a glimpse of the gold standard you guys created. I'd be happy with some updates or new conceptual art at this point. Cute as Dinosaur Train appears I just don't recognize it as something that should bear the Jim Henson name.

Vaughn Michael said...

Oh well it's just the nature of the beast.
They've gotta do what's trendy so they can stay afloat.
I honestly hope the mass CGI trend ends sooner than later, or some sort of CGI backlash happens and people start to grow tired of it like I did a long time ago.
I agree about the Skrumps, and while Sid is very muppety looking there's jut nothing I enjoy about it other than the whatnotish look of the characters.

megsters said...

Why in the world are they even consulting paleontologists? Do they need to know if a trex could be adopted by a family of flying pterodons? The dinosaurs' sizes are all wrong comparatively to each other. Why would a trex be friends with at triceratops? For dinner!
Come on Henson, stick to what made you famous and why we fell in love with your company! AND STAY IN AMERICA!