Everything about Children’s Programming, eh?

Preview: “Adorbs” Star Falls joins YTV’s Friday night lineup

What happens when a girl schemes to have her mother fall in love with the big-screen superstar who’s filming his latest project in her small town?

That’s the premise of Star Falls, YTV’s latest series, debuting Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on the channel. Produced by Breakthrough Entertainment, filmed in Toronto and Port Hope, Ont., and starring a raft of Canadians in the lead roles, Star Falls is part fish out of water story, part family comedy and part The Brady Bunch.

Created by George Doty IV, the adventure begins in Los Angeles when actor Craig Brooks (Dion Johnstone) informs his three children Diamond (Kamaia Fairburn), Phoenix (Jadiel Dowlin) and Bo (Marcus Cornwall) that he’s headed to a small town to film a movie over the summer … and they’re coming with him. Diamond, in particular, is not looking forward to it.

Three weeks later and the Brooks family is in Star Falls where we meet Sophia (Siena Agudong) and her mother, Beth (Elena V. Wolfe). When she’s not pulling lost dogs out from under leafy porches and working at the local animal rescue, Sophia dreams of doing something nice for Beth. And, since Beth is a huge fan of Craig Brooks, Sophia figures a way for them to meet.

It’s a familiar premise done in TV and other mediums, but it really works in Star Falls. I credit that to the writing—more on that below—and the on-screen chemistry between the cast. Agudong and Wolfe are totally convincing as mother and daughter and rather than go for the tired trope of having Beth be oblivious to her daughter’s life, they’re equals and connect. And, rather than pose Craig’s kids as super-annoying in order to get laughs (another gimmick), in Star Falls they’ve got good hearts and want the best for their dad, even if it does mean being outside of their comfort zone.

The writing is tight in Episode 1 thanks to veteran scribes in folks like Jennifer Daley, Cole Bastedo, Laura Seaton and Meghan Read, many of whom worked with Doty on Max & Shred. The result? A truly “adorbs” series worthy of your time.

Star Falls airs Fridays at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on YTV.

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Teletoon bolsters its position as Canada’s animation station with four new original series

From a media release:

TELETOON continues to deliver the best in animated programming with a stacked fall schedule featuring four brand new Canadian original series: Bravest Warriors, Cupcake & Dino: General Services, Chop Chop Ninja, and Total Dramarama, as well as the debuts of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, Super Dinosaur, and Transformers: Cyberverse. Additionally, new episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball, We Bare Bears, Wishfart, Teen Titans Go! and many more, round out the fall slate. Plus, fans can catch full seasons of the animation station’s favourites and new episodes of hit series the day after the broadcast on TELETOON On Demand.

New Canadian Original Series

Starting off the fall season, follow the larger-than-life antics of Cupcake, a pastry with a Napoleon complex, and his fun-loving brother, Dino as they try to make a name for themselves in the super competitive general services business in Cupcake & Dino: General Services debuting Monday, September 3 with back-to-back episodes at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET. Following the premiere, the series will air Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. ET.

Then, the incredibly successful and popular digital-first series Bravest Warriors blasts onto TELETOON on Monday, September 3, launching with back-to-back episodes at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. ET. Produced by Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana and created by Pendleton Ward ofAdventure Time, the animated comedy set in the far future follows the adventures of teenaged heroes-for-hire as they warp through the universe to save adorable aliens using the power of their emotions. After the premiere, the series will air Monday to Friday at 8 p.m. ET starting on Tuesday, September 4.

Plus, straight from the dojo, the sensei approved action-packed series Chop Chop Ninja kicks off on Saturday, October 6 at 11:30 a.m. ET. The new show packs some serious punch as Iro, an exuberant young ninja, along with his three friends – fellow classmates at the Ninja Academy – protect his island home from a steady onslaught of treacherous and not so treacherous villains, in hopes of proving that he deserves the legendary title of Chop Chop Ninja.

Also, this fall beginning, Sunday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m. ET, Total Dramarama is the outrageous, unexpected and totally random prequel to Total Drama Island. The series re-introduces Total Drama Island cast members as four-year-olds in a daycare centre. While they might be small, their personalities aren’t. Inside these pint-sized bodies are hilariously familiar characters Duncan, Harold, Leshawna, Owen, Beth, Noah, Izzy, Jude, Cody, Bridgette, and Courtney, and they are not going down for their naps without a fight. Left in charge of this feisty bunch of four-year-olds is Total Drama Island’s scary but loveable Chef.

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New animated preschool series, Esme & Roy, makes its monstrous debut on Treehouse

From a media release:

From Sesame Workshop and Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, the new animated series Esme & Roy, the first new animated series from the makers of Sesame Street in more than a decade, premieres Saturday, August 18 at 7:10 a.m. on Treehouse. The series follows a young girl, Esme, and her best monster friend, Roy, on their adventures as the best monster babysitters in Monsterdale. Aimed at children ages four to six, it offers a creative new approach to teaching “learning through play” and mindfulness strategies.

With loveable characters who spark strong emotional connections among preschoolers and parents alike, Esme & Roy invites children into a colourful world where even the littlest monsters can overcome big challenges together. Across 26 episodes, Esme and Roy will use the power of play to help younger monsters through familiar situations like trying new foods and feeling scared during loud thunderstorms. Little viewers will look up to their new favourite monster-sitters as positive role models, learning how to manage strong emotions with simple mindfulness practices alongside Esme and Roy’s charges. Infectious humour, imaginative design, and expressive Canadian voice talent including Millie Davis (Wonder, Odd Squad) and Patrick McKenna (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania: The Series), bring the world of Esme & Roy to vibrant life.

Esme & Roy underscores how vitally important play is to early childhood development. Whether they’re pretending to be veterinarians to model how to hold a pet gently, or sticking to a shopping list by turning a trip to the grocery store into a “Supermarket Match” game show, the monster-sitters help their little friends learn a range of lessons while they have fun. When children play together, they are physically, cognitively, and socially engaged. Motivated by their own curiosity and interest, they learn to collaborate, self-regulate, communicate, and empathize with others during play sessions. As modeled in Esme & Roy, “learning through play” allows children to develop these critical life skills in a safe environment.

Children are most ready for this kind of engaged, productive playtime when they can manage challenging feelings like worry and frustration. Esme & Roy offers easy-to-adopt strategies that can help even very young children regulate their emotions. Tactics include: taking slow belly breaths, which provide a pause for children to be reflective instead of reactive; self-talk that uses positive statements to remind kids of their strength and capability; giving oneself a soothing hug; and using a “glitter jar” to calm the body and mind, shaking a sparkly snow globe-like jar and taking deep breaths while watching the glitter swirl and slowly fall.

Created by TV veterans Dustin Ferrer and Amy Steinberg (Peg + Cat, Team Umizoomi, Wonder Pets! and Shimmer and Shine), Esme & Roy is co-produced with Sesame Workshop in partnership with Corus Entertainment’s animation studio Nelvana, with illustrations inspired by renowned artist Dankerleroux.

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Link: Reboot: The Guardian Code stars on expanding the Reboot universe

From Kelly Townsend of The TV Junkies:

Link: Reboot: The Guardian Code stars on expanding the Reboot universe
Reboots and revivals are television’s new niche these days, resurrecting old fan favourites for new audiences. It’s only natural, then, that the creators behind the classic CGI series Reboot would pay homage to its own title with a reboot of its very own. Continue reading.

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It’s My Party! premieres on TVO on June 26

From a media release:

It’s My Party!a new TVOkids Original series that takes viewers on a fascinating journey of discovery into different communities within Canada, premieres on Tuesday, June 26 at 6 p.m. From Diwali to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to Oshogatsu, It’s My Party! (13×22-minute episodes) offers a fresh take on the celebrations, exploring the origins and meaning behind different elements – all from a child’s perspective.

Hosted by Emily Agard (GastroblastRide or Wrong), each episode pairs up two kids who have never met before: one is the party guide, and the other is the VIP guest. These two newfound friends jump in feet first into new cultural experiences, participating in challenges and games linked to the food, fashion and festivities of the dynamic celebration. Each episode culminates in a lively performance.

The June 26 premiere episode focuses on the Punjabi winter celebration Lohri, where viewers are invited to experience bhangra dancing, Indian sweets and dhol drumming.

A companion game called Party Time! enables kids to explore, customize and design their own unique celebrations. Players can personalize and interpret their party by selecting and mix-matching cultural elements from the many events in the show.

The series is produced by Bristow Global Media, in association with TVO, with the financial participation of the Shaw Rocket Fund​ and the Canada Media Fund (CMF). Key executives include executive producers Julie Bristow, Marlo Miazga and Daniel Bourré for Bristow Global Media, as well as Marney Malabar and Marianne Lambert for TVO. Distribution360 has partnered with Bristow Global Media on international distribution, also overseeing format rights worldwide.

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