UPDATE: on 5/6/15, Nickelodeon announced new Blaze and the Monster Machines content and revealed that a line of toys inspired by the show will be available soon!
From a Nickelodeon Press release:
“In “Dragon Island Duel,” premiering at 11 a.m. (ET/PT) on May 25, Blaze and Crusher go up against each other in a one-on-one high stakes race to the top of Mount Dragon. Although it’s one of the toughest races their team has ever faced, best friends Blaze and AJ know they have what it takes to beat Crusher–the unstoppable power of friendship! Despite Crusher’s attempt to cheat and trap Blaze in a cave far off the course before the race begins, AJ manages to free his best friend while overcoming larger-than-life obstacles along the way. Crusher tries to cheat one last time along the route, but Blaze and AJ prove no one can beat best friends by winning the race in a thrilling finale. Throughout the half-hour special, preschoolers will be introduced to the STEM concept of investigation.
“Beginning May 7, the Blaze and the Monster Machines app will offer users the ability to help Blaze and AJ compete on all-new jungle tracks when they purchase the Dragon Island location. Kids will be able to race against Stripes and watch out for Crusher’s new obstacles like his coconut and banana launchers. The app, which debuted at number-one on the Kids and Education charts, introduces preschoolers to STEM concepts as they race along preset courses or build their own tracks, encouraging children to apply critical thinking skills and explore scientific principles including acceleration, adhesion, force, friction and more.
Blaze and the Monster Machines
On preschoolers can play the brand-new “Dragon Island Race” game beginning May 8. Kids must help Blaze get past all of the obstacles in his path as he races Crusher to the top of Mount Dragon. NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. App will also feature a five-minute exclusive first look at “Dragon Island Duel” from May 18-25.”
“Nickelodeon and Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel Inc., recently launched an all-new toy line based on Blaze and the Monster Machines that is available at select retailers starting May with a full nationwide rollout in August. The highly anticipated toy lineup includes a die cast collection, talking and transforming vehicles, playsets and plush that are as fun and dynamic as the characters featured in the series.”
End press release information.
On Monday, October 13, Nickelodeon premieres its newest series geared for eager-learning preschoolers, Blaze and the Monster Machines. The show features a curriculum based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles and bright, engaging music. But best of all, the characters are monster trucks!
You heard me, Monster trucks. Big wheeled, awesome looking, fast-driving monster trucks! I can almost hear moms cheering through their computer screens. Monster trucks who teach math and science? Yes please!
The series follows the amazing speed-loving monster truck Blaze and his eight-year-old speed loving driver AJ. Blaze and AJ, along with the other monster trucks in Axle City (Darington, Stripes, Starla, Zeg and Crusher and Pickle — the city’s two resident no-goodniks) have physics–filled adventures that cleverly disguise learning with fun.
Blaze and The Monster Machines is created by Jeff Borkin (Team Umizoomi head writer) and Ellen Martin (Bubble Guppies supervising producer) and Team Umizoomi’s engaging influence is very clearly felt in Blaze. My kids love Team Umizoomi, so I am glad to see a show that is a great compliment to Umizoomi’s sound math principles. When I originally started in the entertainment industry, making educational TV shows for kids was my intent, so I am appreciative of and grateful for anyone who has achieved my dream. The world needs TV shows that have real world applications. How refreshing to hear phrases like “friction,” “adhesion” and “trajectory” taught to children. Little brains can handle big ideas.
The show’s STEM-based curriculum was developed by Dr. Christine M. Ricci who has also served as director of research on Team Umizoomi, Ni Hao, Kai-Lan and Go, Diego Go! Dr Ricci believes that, “Part of being ‘school-ready’ is being ‘STEM smart.’” Dr. Ricci also worked on Dora the Explorer and Little Einsteins, so there is little doubt in my mind that Dr. Ricci is an educator who knows how to engage children as they learn.
I watched the series’ premiere with my boys ages 5 and 7. My older son enjoyed the show’s awesome music and found the episode’s math and science principles a good review of stuff he’s learned in school. But the true lover of the show was my son in pre-K. He was completely engaged and afterward couldn’t stop talking about the trucks and the things they did during the episode and rushed off to launch to cars off of ramps.
“The series focuses on the scientific phenomenon that children notice in their daily play,” says Dr. Ricci. The show will incorporate ideas like force and momentum, and explain how tools like wedges, ramps and springs work. Moms of girls should know that the series will appeal to female smarties too; one of the monster trucks is an outspoken cowboy named Starla, and the trucks’ mechanic is a fix-it-all named Gabby.
The premiere episode, “Blaze of Glory” seemed a bit long at an hour in length, but any media can seem a little packed when introducing 9 unique characters and multiple scientific principles in a single serving. But I have full confidence that the series’ normal episodes, which will be 30 minutes long and air regularly at 1:30pm ET/PT, will zoom by. The one-hour series premiere races onto Nickelodeon on Monday, October 13 at 12pm (ET/PT) and will air regularly Monday-Friday at 1:30pm.
Meet the Blaze and the Monster Machines crew!
Blaze is Axle City’s greatest hero and its number-one racer! Fast and fearless, he’s unbeatable on the track thanks to his Blazing Speed. Blaze knows everything about science, technology, engineering, and math. And when things get really tough, he can use his scientific know-how to transform himself into any machine. Blaze is the only truck in town with a human driver: his best pal, AJ. Together they share in each other’s every success and failure.
Blaze’s best pal and driver, AJ, is an eight-year-old thrill-seeker who loves to drive fast, fly high, and make a big splash. AJ is a technology expert who knows all about different machines and how they work. He has special Skywriting Gloves that he uses to sketch his designs in the air, as well as an amazing helmet visor that acts as a super tool for calculating distance, weights, and speeds. With AJ behind the wheel, Blaze is able to meet every challenge head on with scientific thinking.
Gabby’s a nine-year-old mechanic with serious monster truck know-how. She runs Blaze and his monster pals’ favorite hangouts: Axle City’s garage and truck wash. With her trusty tools, Gabby is caretaker to all the top racing trucks in town. She will tighten your fuel line, boost your suspension, and fix your gear ratio – all before lunch.
Blaze’s biggest rival, Crusher, is an ego-maniacal tractor-trailer that will do anything to beat the other racers to the finish line. Cheating is Crusher’s specialty. So when it comes to winning, no trick is too underhanded for Crusher. He’s constantly building contraptions to stop Blaze and his pals. And despite being the biggest truck around, Crusher is nothing but a big baby. He whines about being the best at everything, and can’t stand when another truck’s got something he doesn’t have.
Pickle is Crusher’s over-enthusiastic, under-appreciated sidekick. He is a mini monster truck whose job is to try to be the voice of Crusher’s conscience. Unfortunately, his good advice usually falls on deaf wheels. But through it all, Pickle is always there for his pal Crusher – especially when plans go awry and Crusher gets his inevitable comeuppance. Pickle is a huge Blaze fan, on the sly.
Darington is the ultimate showman. He loves to dazzle with his amazing tricks and stunts … even though he rarely sticks the landing. Despite being a bit unrealistic with what he can and can’t do, Darington is a fearless competitor who never lets a few crashes stop him from dreaming big.
Stripes is an impetuous tiger truck who’s always ready for action. With a signature growl, he leaps and pounces like a cat, and he’s great at jumping and climbing. He has tiger claws that help him to climb trees (or just about anything), as well as super senses, especially his sense of smell.
Starla is a hootin’, hollerin’ cowgirl Monster Machine. A roping expert, Starla’s as quick with a lasso as she is on the racetrack. Starla is an outspoken personality who’s never shy about expressing herself through the occasional country song or with a bellowing shout of “yeehaw!”
Part monster machine, part triceratops, Zeg is Blaze’s best prehistoric pal. Zeg’s favorite activities are smashing and bashing. But despite his brute tendencies, inside Zeg is a big softy with a gentle demeanor and a loveable laugh.