Another light-hearted look at toddler TV with the Old Dad…
I was surprised to discover that this series has been running since 2010. It certainly slipped under our radar until recently. From what I have read this show has been extremely well received among toddlers and older kids alike, winning several awards.
While the animation style is clearly aimed at toddlers the concepts are really out there and possibly beyond such young minds. It is as if it was devised by those two great geniuses Gene Rodenberry – the man who brought us Star Trek – and Gerry Anderson, of Thunderbirds fame (amongst many others). The Octonauts has already been described as a combination of Star Trek meets Thunderbirds.
Based on American books this series was made in the UK and Ireland for the BBC. It follows the adventures of the Octonauts – basically humanized animals – who explore the undersea world from their base called the Octopod. From the base they go on oceanic adventures using a fantastic series of sub-sea vehicles (very Gerry Anderson and possibly more Stingray than Thunderbirds in that sense). Boldly going where no other humanized animals have gone before perhaps?
To an old dad like myself the mere concept of shows like Star Trek and Thunderbirds are unrivalled. Without these there would never have been any Star Wars. Now here we have a toddler’s TV show which comes close. The array of characters is fantastic. Here are the eight Octonauts:
Captain Barnacles (polar bear), Lieutenant Kwazii (cat with a cockney accent), Peso the medic (penguin), Professor Inkling the founder (octopus), Dr. Shellington the marine biologist (sea otter), Tweak the engineer (Rabbit) and Dashi the IT expert (a dachshund dog). The eighth Octonaut is Tunip who is actually a Vegimal – see below.
Then there are the Vegimals. These creatures are half animal, half vegetable. They speak a nonsense gibberish language called vegimalese but the best part is their names. Check these out:
Tunip (half tuna half turnip, Vegimal leader and ship’s cook)
Barrot, half-bass, half-carrot
Grouber, half-grouper, half-tuber
Tominnow, half-tomato half-minnow
Codish, half-cod, half-radish.
This is inspired stuff. Awesome and, dare I say, FAB!?
Noddy, Toyland Detective.
Another series using the detective theme is the new Noddy show.
An old favourite recently brought back by the DreamWorks company. This is quite different from the world of Noddy written by Enid Blyton back in the 1950s. He still has a great little car and still has Bumpy the pet dog but gone are the golliwogs (as I am sure we all know). Yet somehow Big Ears is still there. I seem to recall that he was also considered too un-PC. Am I imagining that? Anyway to all you people out there with big ears I say this: Hahaa!
The two friends no longer seem to share the same bed though. Strange don’t you think? considering that sort of thing is now actually quite acceptable and certainly seems to qualify as “PC”.
Instead of living in a fluffy little toy-town this new Noddy inhabits something resembling a technological theme park. I suppose all the new computerised toys need to be on display as well as the old ones. Each episode Noddy has to solve some “crime” or other. It is hardly Columbo but not such a bad show. But it is not that good either. It falls somewhere in between for me. Dani is not so keen on it. At the moment he only watches it for a short while then loses interest. “Noddy is a tit” he said the other day when it started. No idea where he got that from.