The Backyardigans is a CGI-animated musical TV series created by Janice Burgess. It is a co-production of animation studio Nelvana and Nickelodeon Animation Studios. The series debuted on October 11, 2004 and ended on May 31, 2010. The show airs on Treehouse TV in Canada. In 2015, the first season was included as part of Nick Jr.'s Noggin app, a mobile application featuring episodes of older Nick Jr. programs.
|Also known as||Backyardigans|
|Created by||Janice Burgess|
|Directed by||Bill Giggie (Season 1)
Mike Shiell (Season 1–2)
Dave Palmer (Season 3–4)
|Voices of||LaShawn Tináh Jefferies
Christopher Grant, Jr.
|Composer(s)||Evan Lurie (score/songs: music)
Douglas Wieselman (songs: music)
Paul Smith (songs: lyrics)
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||80 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Janice Burgess
|Running time||21–23 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Guru Studios (S2–4)
Pipeline Studios (S3–4)
FremantleMedia (home video)
|Original network||Nickelodeon (US and CA)
Treehouse TV (Canada)
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV) (2004–2009)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2009–2010)
|Original release||October 11, 2004– May 31, 2010|
The series follows a ritualistic pattern and centers around an assortment and musical pop group of neighboring playmates depicted as bipedal, anthropomorphic animals: Uniqua, Pablo, Tyrone, Austin, and Tasha. Designed to encourage imaginative play, the characters communicate with the viewers by constantly breaking the fourth-wall, albeit the series rests particular focus on the role-playing games in which the friends participate varying with each episode, and said games are visualized through dream sequences lasting for a majority of the episode and serving as the primary focus of that certain episode. Usually, the group will visualize a unique scenario, ranging from prehistoric times to adventurous fantasies, and they are often presented with multiple dilemmas along the way to accomplishing a certain goal or priority, or may be challenged with a major single obstacle to defeat or problem to solve. After season one, there is usually a villain in the episode, mainly played by one of the Backyardigans (thus another Backyardigan plays the role of the hero), but the villain of the episode always reforms in the end. The program also follows a musical format, featuring multiple musical numbers sung throughout the course of an episode regarding whatever imaginary predicament in which the characters have situated themselves or perhaps a challenge that they have met, every episode opening and concluding with a particular song. The adventures get more advanced after the first season. When the Backyardigans have achieved their mission or defeated any disadvantages, the fantasy sequence fades, restoring actuality to the setting of the episodes as the closing song is sung, the characters scurrying to their houses for a snack. The main character or characters then opens the snack host's house door, fence, or around the corner, and shouts the main catchphrase for the final time and then closes the door. The picture then is lifeless with some background bird noises often heard as iris closes, ending the episode.
In one episode, "The Secret of Snow", the episode does not start off in the backyard, but on a floor that has a red storybook on it. Also, Austin, though never shown, is the only Backyardigan who makes a physical appearance in the episode; the other four appear only in the storybook. This is the only time only one of the real Backyardigans appears.
Each of the five characters on the show have two voice actors: one for speaking, and the other for singing.
The dancing on the show is first performed by live-action dancers, and their movements are later transported to animation. Choreographer, Beth Bogush, describes the process: "What we do is we film the live footage in the studio, send that off and they do a Leica, and then they send it to the animators. The animators watch, and were pretty precise. What we film for that day is pretty close to what you see in the character." In season one, the Backyardigans usually wear their normal clothes while on an adventure, usually accompanied with accessories. They rarely wear their normal clothes in an adventure after the first season.
- Uniqua is a curious, self-confident, and high-spirited pink spotted character. The series uses the name "Uniqua" for both the character and her species. She wears pink polka-dotted overalls and has a pair of swirled antennae on top of her head. Uniqua is sweet and friendly, though her strong opinions and occasional stubbornness get in the way of her relationships. While imagining herself having the roles that require brains and fortitude (such as a scientist or pirate captain) and despite her love of books (as seen in episodes such as "The Masked Retriever"). Creator Janice Burgess describes Uniqua as the child she wishes she was like as a child. She is the only main character to appear in every episode. Speaking voice: Lashawn Tináh Jefferies (seasons 1–4). Singing voice: Jamia Simone Nash (seasons 1–3) and Avion Baker (season 4). Dancer: Hattie Mae Williams (seasons 1–4).
- Pablo is a yellow-beaked blue penguin who wears a blue bow tie and a blue-and-yellow propeller beanie. Pablo tends to be the most excitable of the group and is best friends with Tyrone. Due to his energy and impetuousness, he often goes into a "panic attack" when he faces an obstacle, running around in circles and telling everyone not to worry until someone interrupts him. The number of panic attacks decreased considerably after season 1, though in the episode The Flipper! his propensity for getting overexcited is a major plot point. Pablo does not appear one time: "Chichen-Itza Pizza". Speaking voice: Zach Tyler Eisen (season 1) and Jake Goldberg (seasons 2–4). Singing voice: Sean Curley (seasons 1–4). Dancer: Tasha Cooper (seasons 1–3), Jonathan Sandler (season 3), Steven Konopelski (seasons 3–4), Jacob Wimar (season 4), Paul Flanagan (season 4).
- Tyrone is a good-natured, yet somewhat fearful, red-haired orange moose who wears a red-and-blue striped shirt. He is almost the complete opposite of his best friend Pablo in terms of personality, despite his laid-back and cool-headed character and being known for his sarcastic comments, one of them being "That certainly was convenient." At the end of most episodes, when he appears, "That was an excellent (type) adventure, don't you think?" (though Pablo, Austin, and Tasha recite the line when he does not appear). Despite not appearing to wear trousers (except on rare occasions), Tyrone somehow manages to put his hands in his pockets. Speaking voice: Reginald Davis Jr. (seasons 1–2), Jordan Coleman (seasons 2–3) and Christopher Grant, Jr. (season 4). Singing voice: Corwin C. Tuggles (season 1), Leon G. Thomas III (seasons 2–3), Damani Roberts (season 3) and Tyrel Jackson Williams (seasons 3–4). Dancer: Greg Sinacori (seasons 1–2, 4), Bradley Shelver (season 3), Andrew Cao (season 3).
- Tasha is a strong-willed yellow hippo, Tasha wears an orange flowered dress and red Mary-Jane shoes. She is a sweet girl on the outside, but is more rational and likes to get her own way. She is the most serious of the major characters, although Tasha can be just as easygoing from time to time. She is more tomboyish than her friend Uniqua. In seasons 2-4, she has a more amiable personality, as well as a more muscular appearance their characters. She tends to be grumpy if not the boss. Her catchphrase is "Oh, for goodness sakes!" Speaking voice: Naelee Rae (seasons 1–2) and Gianna Bruzzese (seasons 3–4). Singing voice: Kristin Danielle Klabunde (seasons 1–3) and Gabriella Malek (seasons 3–4). Dancer: Darlene Dirstine (seasons 1–3), Amanda Ulibarri (season 4), Nancy Renee Braun (season 4).
- Austin is a shy but fun-loving purple kangaroo. Though generally soft-spoken in Season 1, due to recently moving in the neighborhood, Austin starts to come out of his shell as the series progresses. He is revealed to be smart and imaginative. Austin rarely appears in the spotlight, but takes the role of the lead character in several episodes. Says Bogush: "Austin's usually the one pulling up the rear. He's kind of a get-along guy." Austin has been shown to occasionally display a more villainous side, such as in the episodes "High Tea" and "The Magic Skateboard". Speaking voice: Jonah Bobo (seasons 1–4). Singing voice: Thomas Sharkey (seasons 1–3) and Nicholas Barasch (season 4). Dancer: Kristen Frost (seasons 1–4).
- Sherman – A small, orange-spotted yellow worm. Sherman is easily scared due to his small size. He plays a role who appears 3 times in "The Heart Of The Jungle", "Polka Palace Party". and "Attack of the 50 Foot Worman". His voice is provided by Oliver Wyman.
- Wormans – A fictional species of colorful, worm-like creatures who speak in squeaks and gibberish. They appear in all the seasons of the show.
- Dragon – A friendly, green-colored dragon who appears 3 times (the movie "Tale of the Mighty Knights" and the episode "The Tale of the Not-So-Nice Dragon"). He hatched from a spotted egg and lives in Dragon Mountain. His voice is provided by Oliver Wyman.
- Aliens – Green-colored aliens appear 4 times: "Mission To Mars", "News Flash", "Los Galacticos", and "The Big Dipper Diner".
- Giant clam – A clam who appears 2 times in "The Legend Of The Volcano Sisters" and "The Great Dolphin Race." It pants and acts like a dog.
- Voices – Voices included in the episodes "Secret Mission" and "It's Great To Be A Ghost!" that do not come from any shown character.
- Robot Roscoe – A robot owned by Austin who appears 3 times in season 4 (the movie "Robot Rampage" and the episode "Elephant on the Run"). His voice, as well as the other robots boys, is provided by Evan Mathew Weinstein.
The characters live in houses adjoining a large backyard common to the three central houses (Uniqua's, Pablo's and Tyrone's) that is transformed by imagination into various adventure settings. Each house roughly corresponds to the color scheme of the character: Uniqua in a pink house, Pablo lives in a blue one, and Tyrone in an orange one. Tasha's house, which is to the left of the three central houses, is yellow and Austin's, to the right, is partially obscured by a fence but what is visible is purple. The fence, which surrounds the combined properties of the three main characters (Uniqua, Pablo and Tyrone), has a gate in it which leads to Austin's house. The curve of the cul-de-sac allows the play area to be roughly equal in distance from each house's back door.
Not everything that appears in the imaginary world has a real-world counterpart. Often trees, boulders, brickwork, or similar objects appear where nothing originally existed. By the same token, even large trees in the real garden disappear completely when the imagination part of the story commences.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||20||October 11, 2004||June 19, 2006|
|2||20||October 9, 2006||January 17, 2008|
|3||20||January 14, 2008||June 5, 2009|
|4||20||October 26, 2009||May 31, 2010|
The series was based upon a live-action pilot titled "Me and My Friends," produced at Nickelodeon Studios in September 1998. This pilot was rejected by Nickelodeon, and the concept was reworked into an animated short in 2002. This pilot was greenlit by Nickelodeon to become a full-length series. The show is intended for children aged 2 to 5.
Dave Palmer began directing the show in the middle of season one, and directed all subsequent episodes. Evan Lurie (of The Lounge Lizards) and Douglas Wieselman composed the music for the show with lyrics by McPaul Smith. The characters were designed by children's author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino.
A second season had been announced on April 30, 2006 by Nelvana and Nickelodeon. The third season was first released in the United States in January 2008. A fourth season was produced in 2009, and aired in 2010.
Production was wrapped up in late 2009.
Several The Backyardigans theatrical performances have toured Canada and the United States.
In Canada, three different performances have toured: "Musical Playdate" (2006), "Quest for the Extra Ordinary Aliens" (2008) and "Sea Deep in Adventure" (2009). The "Musical Playdate" performance had been promoted as "V.I.P. Appearance" and "Backyardigans Mini Performance" in earlier advertisements. All three tours were presented by Paquin Entertainment Group and produced by Koba Entertainment, both based in Winnipeg.
In the United States, two theatrical performances toured: 2008's "Tale of the Mighty Knights" and 2010's "Storytime Live!" (an event featuring four other Nick Jr. shows: Moose and Zee, Dora the Explorer, Wonder Pets! and Ni Hao, Kai-Lan).
In the United States, twenty-two DVDs featuring four episodes each were released from August 2005 until March 2011.
|It's Great to Be a Ghost! (2005)|
|The Snow Fort (2005)|
|Polka Palace Party (2006)|
|Cave Party (2006)|
|Surf's Up (2006)|
|Mission to Mars (2006)|
|The Legend of the Volcano Sisters (2007)|
|Movers and Shakers (2007)|
|Into the Deep (2007)|
|Super Secret Super Spy (2007)|
|Tale of the Mighty Knights (2008)|
|High Flying Adventures (2008)|
|Mighty Match-Up (2008)|
|Escape from Fairytale Village (2008)|
|Robin Hood the Clean (2009)|
|Robot Repairman (2009)|
|Join the Adventurer's Club (2010)|
|Escape From the Tower (2010)|
|Operation Elephant Drop (2010)|
|Christmas with the Backyardigans (2010)|
|We ARRRR Pirates! (2011)|
|Nick Jr. Favorites 2 (2005)|
|Nick Jr. Favorites 3 (2006)|
|Nick Jr. Favorites 4 (2006)|
|Nick Jr. Favorites 5 (2006)|
|Nick Jr. Favorites Holiday (2006)|
|Nick Jr. Favorites 6 (2007)|
|Singing Sensation! (2009)|
|We ARRRR Pirates! (2011)|
Five videotapes featuring two episodes each were released in 2005 and 2006; the titles were the same as the first five American DVDs.
|It's Great to Be a Ghost! (August 30, 2005)|
|The Snow Fort (November 8, 2005)|
|Polka Palace Party (January 24, 2006)|
|Cave Party (March 7, 2006)|
|Surf's Up (May 30, 2006)|
All four seasons have been released on iTunes in Canada and the US; however, the US iTunes Store is missing three episodes from the first season: "Secret Mission," "It's Great To Be A Ghost!", and "The Tea Party" (also known as "High Tea").
There were four The Backyardigans albums released in North America, and one album released in Europe. Each has approximately 20 tracks, while Born To Play has four bonus tracks only available on the iTunes Store.
The Adventures Begin...Edit
Released September 2004, this CD promoted the series' debut. Because this was a promotional album sent via mail, it was not sold in stores. It contains four tracks from the first season, including the opening theme. The songs would later be included in the next album.
- The Backyardigans Theme Song
- Yeti Stomp
- Secret Agent
- Please and Thank You
Released on July 12, 2005, under Nick Records' label. This is the first album sold in stores. It contains nineteen tracks from the first season, including the opening theme. The CD also contains a bonus video track titled "Go, Go Go!"
- The Backyardigans Theme Song
- You and Me to the Rescue
- Questing, Questing
- A Pirate Says Arr
- Yeti Stomp!
- Queens Are Never Wrong
- Those Bones
- Buffalo Girls and Boys
- Trudge, Trudge, Trudge
- Secret Agent
- Laser Limbo Tango (Limbo Rock)
- Row Your Boat
- Into the Thick of It!
- P.U.! (Stinky Swamp Song)
- Flying Rock Song (II)
- When I'm Booing
- Please and Thank You
- Rockabilly Lullaby
- Go, Go, Go! (bonus music video)
Groove to the MusicEdit
This second CD was released on July 11, 2006, under Nick Records' label. It contains eighteen tracks from seasons one and two. Target sold an exclusive release including Astronauts Never Give Up, totaling nineteen tracks.
- Hold Tight
- Gotta Get the Job Done
- Shake Your Body
- Rad Moves
- We're Going to Mars
- Drumming Song
- The Rules
- Tree to Tree
- What's So Scary 'Bout That?
- The Ballad of the Brave Pink Knight (Hey, Uniqua!)
- I Love Being a Princess
- Skate Ahead
- Get Us What We Want
- Ski Patrol to the Rescue
- Superheroes vs. Supervillains
- Oh, My Sherman
- Astronauts Never Give Up (exclusive track)
Born To PlayEdit
The third and final The Backyardigans CD, was released on January 22, 2008, under Sony BMG's label. It contains songs from seasons 1-2, as well as all the songs from Tale of the Mighty Knights. There is a total of 22 tracks. There's also a special iTunes version of this album, containing 5 bonus tracks in addition to the 22 tracks, totaling 27 tracks. This album was released in a cardboard foldout case, rather than a jewel case like the previous two releases. Borders carried the jewel case release exclusively, which included a booklet. This booklet was also included on the iTunes release as a file with purchase of a digital download.
- Ready for Anything
- We Love a Luau
- The Worman Polka
- I Feel Good
- Go, Go, Go
- The Customer Is Always Right
- Surf's Up, Ho Daddy
- Almost Everything Is Boinga (feat. Alicia Keys)
- Nothing Too Tough
- I'm a Mountie
- Racing Day
- I Never Fail to Deliver the Mail
- Lady In Pink (feat. Cyndi Lauper)
- Nobody's Bigger Than a Giant
- Hurry Home
- A Challenge
- Dragon Mountain
- I'm Not an Egg Anymore (feat. Adam Pascal)
- Tweedily Dee
- We're Knights
Bonus iTunes Tracks:
23. Betcha I Can
24. Phantom Footsteps
25. Do It Myself
26. The Call of the Mermaid
Join in the Adventures...Edit
Released in 2006, as part of a series launch tour in the United Kingdom. The album is near identical to the American-released counterpart, with Please and Thank You replaced with Questing.
- The Backyardigans Theme Song
- Yeti Stomp
- Secret Agent
Activision released a The Backyardigans PC game, "Mission to Mars," in October 2006. In addition, there are interactive Backyardigans games available for the LeapPad and VTech's V.Smile consoles. There is also a LeapFrog ClickStart game titled "Number Pie Samurai," teaching children basic computer skills.
From 2005 to 2007, Kohl's had a section devoted to the series' merchandise, including a clothing line and toys exclusively in store.
Over one hundred storybooks (both original stories and episode-based) were released throughout the series' run. Most of these were released in both Canada and the United States; however, a 2006 series of educational books were exclusively sold in Canada under the license of Treehouse TV.
- "Nelvana Consumer Products/Distribution". Corus Entertainment. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- "COMING SOON TO BACKYARDS AROUND THE WORLD -- THE BACKYARDIGANS ON DVD FROM FREMANTLE". Diana Pitt. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- "Noggin Product Support Blog & App Updates". noggin.com.
- "Rick Lyon: Nickelodeon "Me and My Friends" Meercats". lyonpuppets.com.
- "Yvette Helin Studio - Credits". yvettehelinstudio.com.
- Clarke, Eileen (October 4, 2006). "Who gets those 'toon-toed Backyardigans to dance?". Bring It On. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
- Burgess, Janice. "Meet the Creator of The Backyardigans!" (Interview). NickJr.com. Archived from the original on August 20, 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- Cuthbert, Wendy (May 1, 2004). "Scales even out at the kids upfront". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications.
- DeMott, Rick (April 3, 2006). "Nick Jr. Starts Production on Backyardigans Season Two". Animation World Network.
- "The Backyardigans: Season 3". iTunes. Apple Inc. September 3, 2007. Archived from the original on June 18, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
- "Nickelodeon Picks-Up Returning Animated Hits Including Seventh Seasons of Spongebob Squarepants and the Fairly Oddparents, Plus More Episodes of New Nicktoon Back at the Barnyard and the Preschool Favorite the Backyardigans". The Futon Critic. March 13, 2008.
- "Me and My Friends Pilot from Nickelodeon Studios". Yvette Helin Studio. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
- "Me and My Friends Pilot, Rick Lyon Puppeteer". Rick Lyon. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
- "Backyardigans, 2002". TMFile. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
- Nick Jr, "About the Backyardigans". Accessed November 28, 2016.
- "Nick Jr. And Nelvana Announce A Second Season Of The Backyardigans" (Press release). Cannes, France: Corus Entertainment. April 3, 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- "Dave Palmer - Biography". Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- "The Backyardigans On Tour: Sea Deep in Adventure". Live On Stage Fall 2009. The Backyardigans on tour.
- Paquin Entertainment Group. "Paquin". Retrieved 30 August 2010.
- "The Backyardigans". Koba Entertainment. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
- "Storytime Live!". nicklivetour.com. Archived from the original on 6 March 2010.
- Barnes & Noble. "The Backyardigans - Barnes & Noble". Barnes & Noble.
- Busy Hands Education. "Treehouse TV Backyardigans Books". BusyHandsEducation.com.