Amazon has released pilots for six new children’s programs and wants our help in deciding which should pilots should be further developed into a series. Viewer feedback of the pilots will help choose the next wave of rewarding and award-winning programming for kids available on Amazon’s Watch it Now service and for subscribers to Amazon Prime. All pilots are now available (free!) via the Amazon Instant Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online.
Check out the diverse slate of programming that Amazon is considering: Which series would your kids want to watch? I checked the six titles out and here are a few quick thoughts.
I had a lot of trouble pronouncing the tongue-twister title Knickerbock Teetertop, but the bright and imagination storylines are paired with animation styling that is usually reserved for older viewers, so preschoolers still getting just-right messaging in a sophisticated package. Knickerbock’s whimsical adventures will having kids crowing, “Adventure on, Adventure through!”
My boys (age 5 and 8) loved the amazing animation of Lost in Oz, and were really bummed when the first episode was over and I told them there weren’t any more available (I was bummed too). The animation is splendid and the storyline is the most imaginative thing I’ve seen in a long time. If Amazon doesn’t make more episodes of this series, L. Frank Baum will rise from the dead. So vote for this series.
Based on the title alone, Bear in Underwear unleashed lots of giggles. And underwear jokes. And fart jokes. And the pilot is fanny-waggling fun.
Lily the Unicorn has not only an earworm of a theme song (“Lily The Unicorn. L!-I!-L!-Y! — Lily! — Lily!”) but the pilot has a hilarious, and equally catchy tune about Falafel-Waffles; which you will sing over, and over, and over. I’m singing it right now.
I’m rooting for A History of Radness to be made into a series because — Henry Rollins!! His coolness may be lost on my kids, but I can still help mold their minds through not-so-subtle encouragement. The entire cast of kids are standouts, but Dalton Cyr will have pre-teen girls swooning with his powerful voice and brooding stare.
The Kicks is as perfectly-timed a series as I’ve ever seen. With Team USA vying for the Women’s World Cup title, who isn’t a soccer fanatic right now? Teamwork, hard work and footwork all in one? Yes please!
Official Series Descriptions
The Adventures of Knickerbock Teetertop (for preschool-aged children; animated)
An original wonderland created by brother-sister team Adam Wilson and Melanie Wilson LaBracio (Marvel Universe Live, Evergone), with character design by Rhode Montijo (Happy Tree Friends), The Adventures of Knickerbock Teetertop is artfully animated by the award-winning Karrot Animation (Sarah & Duck). Knickerbock Teetertop, the smallest kid on the enchanted Wonderpine Mountain, wants to be a big adventurer just like his grandpa. Joined by friends on his magical Wonderboggan, Knickerbock, Holly, and Otto have wondrous, challenging adventures discovering new places and creatures—and it’s not easy. Knickerbock bounces along rugged terrain, pushes against the elements, and challenges himself to overcome obstacles. As he encounters problems Knickerbock uses perseverance, grit, and some encouragement from Grandpa to “adventure on, adventure through.”
Lost in Oz (for children ages 6-11; animated)
Lost in Oz is an animated, action-adventure comedy set in a modern, metropolitan Emerald City. Stranded in this spectacular world, 12-year-old Dorothy Gale befriends West, a young, street-smart witch grappling with dark temptations, and Ojo, a giant munchkin. With Dorothy’s dog Toto, this unlikely crew embarks on an epic journey, seeking out the magic Dorothy needs to get back to Kansas. The challenge for Dorothy, and everyone else in this world, is that Oz is facing the greatest magic crisis in eons. Developed and produced by Bureau of Magic’s Darin Mark, Jared Mark, Abram Makowka, and Mark Warshaw (East Los High, Smallville), this contemporary re-imagining of L. Frank Baum’s extraordinary universe is designed by Flaunt Productions (Under Siege, Project Spark), animated by Arc Productions (9, Gnomeo & Juliet), scored by Adam Berry (The Penguins of Madagascar) with theme music by Mark Mothersbaugh (The Lego Movie).
Lily the Unicorn (for children ages 6-11; animated)
Lily is not only a remarkable, colorful, and comical gal—she is truly one-in-a-million. Her unique perspective and independent spirit can brighten up any situation and often leads her and her loyal friends into unexpected shenanigans. In Lily’s world, anything is possible: a simple song she hums can go viral and top the charts. A quiet surprise picnic for her best buddy Roger can lead to a city-wide adventure featuring falafel waffles (yum) and a wise guru (of course). Lily the Unicorn puts a hilarious spin on everyday situations as Lily transforms even the most typical day into something extraordinary. Lily the Unicorn is based on the hit children’s book by Dallas Clayton (An Awesome Book) and produced by The Jim Henson Company (Sid the Science Kid, Fraggle Rock), with Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford serving as Executive Producers.
Bear in Underwear (for children ages 6-11; animated)
If there’s one thing any forest creature needs before stepping out to greet the day it’s…underwear? At least that is the way the lovable cast of Bear in Underwear sees things! Welcome to Shady Glade Woods where Eddie Behr, an eternally optimistic, high energy bear, and his quirky group of animal friends and family reside. Eddie aspires to be a forest legend just like his dad, who discovered “pants” at an abandoned campsite (well, actually, what he really discovered were tighty whiteys….but no one knows the difference!). Although Eddie is eager to make just as positive an impact on his community as his father did, he soon realizes that success may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. Delightful hijinks ensue in a world full of forest animals who look at everything from a slightly skewed point of view. Bear in Underwear is based on the bestselling books by Todd Goldman, written by Goldman and Dave Schiff (That 70s Show, Robot and Monster), and animated by Bento Box (Bob’s Burgers).
A History of Radness (for children ages 6-11; live-action)
Written and Executive Produced by Andrew Green (Hannah Montana), A History of Radness captures the authentic experience of aspiring musicians forming their band. The story follows siblings Jack and Tessie from their less-than-cool middle school beginnings at Pleasant Meadows Middle School to the start of their music careers as they put together a band of like-minded musicians, considered outsiders by fellow classmates. The project is directed by award-winning Director Alethea Jones (When the Wind Changes, Lemonade Stand) and Executive Produced by Skot Bright (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Running Down a Dream) and will feature original music written by Hutch Harris of the post-pop-punk trio The Thermals with original score by James Iha (The Smashing Pumpkins, A Perfect Circle). Musician Henry Rollins (Sons of Anarchy, Black Flag) guest stars as Coach Carlucci and Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino lend narration.
The Kicks (for children ages 6-11; live-action)
Devin Burke was the star player on her soccer team back home until her family moved to California midway through the school year. Now, Devin has to rise to the challenge after discovering that her new school team has been on a losing streak over the last few months and is badly in need of a leader to rally the team together. Based on a book series by U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and current U.S. Women’s National Team soccer player Alex Morgan and adapted by David Babcock (Brothers & Sisters, Gilmore Girls), the project is Executive Produced by Babcock, Todd Cohen (Kath & Kim) and novelist James Frey and his company Full Fathom Five and directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum (Ramona & Beezus, Aquamarine).