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Among the set of pilots offered for viewers to check out and review on Amazon are a group of new children’s shows. In the interest of giving them a fair review, I brought in a couple of TV critics of the proper age to check them out. Here’s what my kids, who are nearly 6 and 4, thought of the new shows, along with a parent’s perspective on each show (including how annoying they are to adult viewers).
Creative Galaxy: This preschool show features a little green alien kid named Artie who flies around in his lightbulb rocket ship and uses art to solve problems and improve his world. Along for the ride is a smaller alien named Epiphany who doesn’t speak but makes odd noises instead.
The Kids Said: “I really liked how they showed how the paintings were done!” They also liked the rocket ship and thought Artie was funny.
The Mom Says: Creative Galaxy has some good educational content, but it falls into that trap that makes Dora so irritating – trying to be interactive.The nonsensical exclamation “blebeleeblee!” is likely to grate on parents’ nerves over time. Actually, it annoyed me right away.
Positively Ozitively: This pilot takes The Wizard of Oz to kids’ level, with Dot (Dorothy) visiting Oz and her friends there to help solve a problem, helping them along the way. The animation on this one is incomplete in most of the pilot, but the animated portion is reminiscent of Super Why!.
The Kids Said:: “This show is pretty cool, but Dot is a funny name!” Aside from the name, they found this show a little hard to follow, probably due to the incomplete animation.
The Mom Says: This pilot was watchable, with nothing that stands out as annoying, but really nothing that stands out at all. The educational value is on the low side, mainly focusing on helping others and friendship.
Sara Solves It: Sara and her younger brother Sam solve problems using math and ingenuity. This one has a lot of songs and includes a nemesis for the problem-solving pair.
The Kids Said: “I liked the watermelon floor. I wish we had a watermelon floor, I would eat the whole house!” Watermelons aside, they were very enthusiastic about this show and declared it the best of the pilots.
The Mom Says: For once, I’m in agreement with the kids. This is the best of Amazon’s efforts. Fun, educational, and with a little humor included that even makes a grown-up smile.
Teeny Tiny Dogs: A Sesame Street-style puppet show that takes place in a doggie daycare, where new dog Butch has to overcome his fear and make friends. Only a small portion of the pilot actually showed the puppets as it is incomplete.
The Kids Said: “I wish we could see more of the puppets!” They were also really happy that Butch made friends at the end and liked the music.
The Mom Says: The friendship message here is a good one, but minimal on the educational side. I can see these characters becoming Elmo-level annoying after a while.
Tumbleaf: This pilot uses stop-motion animation in the portions that are complete. It follows the adventures of Fig the Fox as he uses his imagination to figure things out.
The Kids Said: “I really liked this one. Is that a real place?” The younger child got distracted during this pilot, which suggests it might be better for a somewhat older audience than the preschool crowd.
The Mom Says: This one focuses on teaching problem-solving skills, and has a sort of dreamy feel to it that I found made me a little sleepy. The completed stop-motion animation is excellent.
Annebots: Aimed at a more school-age group, this pilot is about a girl who conducts science experiments in a junk yard with a team of androids she built herself. New kid in town Nick joins forces with her after proving he really is as helpful as an android.
The Kids Said: Nothing, since they couldn’t stop laughing at the line “I think a bird just pooped on me!” in the opening scene.
The Mom Says: This one is for kids older than mine, but it has some great educational components and the friendship angle too. There’s definitely some promise here, once my kids outgrow potty jokes.