The Backyardigans is an American–Canadian children's television series, created by Janice Burgess.
It was official counted as a co-production of the Canadian animation studio, Nelvana, after the third season. Debuting on October 11th, 2004, it was originally directed by Robert Scull. Dave Palmer became the director of the show in the middle of season one, and directed the rest of the show's episodes as well. It aired on CBS from October 2004 until September 2006. On April 30th of that year, Nelvana and Nickelodeon jointly announced that twenty new episodes were ordered for the upcoming fall schedule.
The series met its end with four seasons in 2010. Reruns continue to air on the Nick Jr. channel today, though.
The Backyardigans wasn't a regular series until 2004, but has its roots in a declined pilot from 1998, entitled "Me and My Friends." This video was significantly different from the first official Backyardigans episode, as it wasn't animated (it starred costumed actors rather than 3D CGI-animation) and did not feature Austin (who would not ever be introduced into the crew for six more years). After Nickelodeon confirmed that it would not order "Me and My Friends" for a first season, the creators decided to rework the concept into a more-developed idea entitled "Backyardigans" (at this point, "The" was not part of the show's name). Then, in 2002, an animated pilot starring the same four characters in CGI was sent to Nickelodeon, and was accepted.
On October 11th, 2004, Nickelodeon aired the first official episode of The Backyardigans in the US: "Knights Are Brave And Strong." The series was successful and would continue to air new episodes over the course of six years (four seasons). Reruns of the series continued to air on the Nickelodeon base channel until mid-2013, when The Backyardigans had vanished from the air without any valid explanation.
The series follows a ritualistic pattern and centers around an assortment of neighboring playmates depicted as bipedal, anthropomorphic, and friendly animals; Uniqua, Pablo, Tyrone, Austin, and Tasha. Designed to encourage the use of imagination and play, the characters communicate with the viewers through breaking the fourth wall, albeit the series rests particular focus on the role-playing games in which the friends participate varying with each episode. These games are visualized through dream sequences lasting for a majority of the episode and serving as the primary focus of that certain episode.
The Main Characters
Uniqua is the central protagonist of the show. She does not belong to a known species; her name, Uniqua, refers to the fact that she is a unique creature. Uniqua enjoys telling jokes and spending time with the others. Uniqua is shown to be somewhat of a tomboy in several episodes. Some people have said she is a pig or a ladybug, but the editor of this page, MrSwagmaster5, has clearly and loudly stated that she is actually an ant due to her antennae.
Pablo is the series' deuteragonist, a frenetic and cute blue Adelie penguin. He often jumps to conclusions and has been known to overreact whenever things seem to be going wrong. His outfit consists of a blue bow-tie and a beanie propeller hat.
Tyrone is the tritagonist of the series, a laid-back but easygoing Canadian moose. He is the tallest of the five central characters due to his big antlers. Tyrone and his best friend Pablo make a "great team" because of their differences: Pablo often does things without thinking while Tyrone uses his head whenever a problem arises. Since he is a moose, and since he is orange, he is actually a very good reference to Bullwinkle the Moose, except his crew does not have a flying squirrel named Rocky as a member.
Tasha is a somewhat bossy but well-mannered yellow hippopotamus who often tags along when Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone are about to head off on an imaginary adventure. She is shown to be slightly disagreeable at points, yet never continues a verbal fight for too long.
Austin is a timid purple kangaroo who has trouble whenever it comes to taking the lead. He is shown to be sensitive in several episodes in which he appears. Some people mistake him for a dog, a wolf, a coyote, or maybe even a fox, but they are wrong; legend says that he's a kangaroo, as mentioned earlier.
- Main article: List of The Backyardigans episodes
- In the US, Pan-Asia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa, Japan (the first season only), Belgium, Poland (the first two seasons only), Scandinavia (excluding Norway): Nick Jr.
- The Hispanic Latin American regions, and Brazil: Discovery Kids
- Albania: Bang Bang
- Colombia: Señal Colombia
- Israel: HOP!
- Indonesia: GlobalTV
- Spain: Boomerang, later on Cartoonito Spain
- Portugal: Canal Panda and RTP
- Japan: Disney Junior
- Poland: TVP, later TVP ABC
- South Korea: EBS
- Serbia: Ultra Mini
- Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Rupavahini
- New Zealand: TE REO
- Lithuania: TV24
- Norway: TV2
- Québec region of Canada: Télé-Québec
- Saudi Arabia: Baraem TV
- Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan: direct-to-DVD
- Scandinavia (excluding Finland), the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Austalia, and New Zealand: Netflix
A complete list of channels and titles can be found on The Backyardigans Wiki.
The series was given a nice 4-star rating by Common Sense Media.