The Wild Thornberrys

The Wild Thornberrys is an American animated television series that originally aired on Nickelodeon from 1998 to 2004.[1]

The Wild Thornberrys
Created byArlene Klasky
Gábor Csupó
Steve Pepoon
David Silverman
Stephen Sustarsic
Developed byMark Palmer
Jeff Astrof
Mike Sikowitz
Directed byPeter Avanzino
Anthony Bell
Becky Bristow
Sylvia Keulen
Cathy Malkasian
Jeff McGrath
Carol Millican
Steve Ressel
Mark Risley
Voices ofLacey Chabert
Tom Kane
Danielle Harris
Jodi Carlisle
Tim Curry
Composer(s)Drew Neumann
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes91 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Arlene Klasky
Gábor Csupó
Producer(s)Christine Ferriter
Maureen Iser
Krist-Ann Pehrson
Sheila M. Anthony
Running time23 minutes
Production company(s)Klasky Csupo
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
DistributorViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks
Original networkNickelodeon
Picture format480i (4:3 SDTV)
Original releaseSeptember 1, 1998 (1998-09-01) –
June 11, 2004 (2004-06-11)
External links


This is me, Eliza Thornberry, part of your average family. I've got a dad, a mom, and a sister. There is Donnie, we found him. And Darwin, he found us. Oh, yeah, about our house. It moves, because we travel all over the world. You see, my dad hosts this nature show, and my mom shoots it. Okay, so we're not that average. And between you and me, something amazing happened... and now I can talk to animals. It's really cool, but totally secret. And you know what? Life's never been the same.

— Eliza Thornberry, in the opening title sequence

The series focuses around a nomadic family of documentary filmmakers known as the Thornberrys, famous for their televised wildlife studies. It primarily centers on the family's younger daughter Eliza, and her secret gift of being able to communicate with animals,[2] which was bestowed upon her after having rescued a shaman masquerading as a trapped warthog.

The gift enabled her to talk to the Thornberrys' pet chimpanzee Darwin. Together, the pair frequently venture through the wilderness, befriending many species of wild animals along the way or realizing moral truths and lessons through either their experiences or a particular animal species's lifestyle, or simply assisting the creatures, by which they become acquainted, in their difficulties.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
120September 1, 1998 (1998-09-01)April 1, 1999 (1999-04-01)
237August 16, 1999 (1999-08-16)March 27, 2000 (2000-03-27)
320September 12, 2000 (2000-09-12)May 14, 2001 (2001-05-14)
46August 18, 2001 (2001-08-18)June 1, 2002 (2002-06-01)
The Wild Thornberrys Movie
  • December 20, 2002 (2002-12-20)
58February 3, 2003 (2003-02-03)June 11, 2004 (2004-06-11)
Rugrats Go Wild
  • June 13, 2003 (2003-06-13)


The Wild Thornberrys, left to right, Nigel (bottom left), Marianne (with camera), Eliza (with glasses), Darwin (the chimpanzee), Donnie (with brown hair), and Debbie (sitting down, bored)

Main CharactersEdit

  • Eliza (voiced by Lacey Chabert ) is an 11-year-old girl and the youngest daughter of the Thornberrys. She has red hair in braids, glasses, braces, and freckles. She has four visible teeth connected by two braces. She is able to communicate with animals, especially her chimpanzee sidekick Darwin. She must keep this gift secret or she will lose her powers.[3]
  • Nigel (voiced by Tim Curry) is Eliza, Debbie, and Donnie's father and Marianne's husband. Sir Nigel Archibald Thornberry KBE is the son of Radcliffe (also voiced by Curry) and Cordelia Thornberry (Lynn Redgrave), an aristocratic British couple. Born in the United Kingdom and having attended Harrow School near London, he travels around the world with his own family making wildlife documentaries. He is eccentric, enthusiastic, and cheerful even in the face of danger, and is also known for his exaggerated facial features and love of kippers which he offers frequently.
  • Marianne (voiced by Jodi Carlisle) is Eliza, Debbie, and Donnie's mother and Nigel's wife. She is the daughter of Frank (Ed Asner) and Sophie Hunter (Betty White). She mentions that she attended the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Donnie (voiced by Flea) is a feral boy adopted by the Thornberrys, who (as revealed in the 2001 four-part TV movie, "The Wild Thornberrys: The Origin of Donnie") was raised by orangutans in Borneo after his parents, who were old friends of the Thornberrys, were killed by poachers.[3] Donnie is 4, turning 5 in "The Origin of Donnie".
  • Debbie (voiced by Danielle Harris) is Eliza's 16-year-old older sister. She becomes the only family member to know about Eliza's power but is warned that she will be turned into a baboon if she ever tells anyone. Debbie dresses in grunge clothing and has a peekaboo hairstyle.
  • Darwin (voiced by Tom Kane) is the Thornberrys' pet chimpanzee. He usually wears a tank top with horizontal blue and white stripes (used to be Debbie's lucky tank top) and blue shorts. He speaks with a distinct, upper-class British accent.

Recurring CharactersEdit

  • Neil Biederman (voiced by Michael Jeter & replaced by Jerry Sroka), a poacher & The Thornberrys’ sworn enemy who poaches and kidnaps animals from above it, with his partner Kip O'Donnell (voiced by Keith Szarabajka).
  • Tyler Tucker (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas), Eliza and Debbie's cousin. He is Marianne and Nigel's nephew through Marianne's sister Nancy Tucker nee Hunter. He is a year older than Eliza but acts more immaturely than Eliza does. He doesn't really understand the dangers of living in the wild. He's a big know-it-all but generally has a good head on his shoulders, and he really cares about his cousins Debbie, Eliza, and Donnie. His parents are Dennis (voiced by Martin Mull) and Nancy Tucker (voiced by Mary Kay Place).
  • Shane G. (voiced by Christopher Masterson) is a pop superstar who travels with the Thornberry Family for five episodes whilst they are filming in Alaska. The Foundation orders Nigel and Marianne to take him with the family to promote Wildlife preservation among young people and Shane's fans. Both Eliza and Debbie gain a crush on the boy, however Debbie loses interest when Shane shows to have more similarities with Eliza than herself.
  • Santusa (voiced by Tia Texada), a Llama first seen in Nigel Knows Best.
  • Bim (voiced by Greg Ellis), a Koala whose British accent and befriended by Eliza, Darwin, & Donnie.
  • Shango (voiced by Bradley Pierce), an African Elephant who Eliza first met.
  • Phaedra (voiced by Jane Wiedlin), a female African Elephant who appears in the episode, Forget Me Not, and who Eliza and Darwin were riding at the beginning of The Wild Thornberrys Movie.
  • Zita (voiced by Andrea Thompson), an African Elephant who was Rebecca’s daughter and the mother of Shango, from the episode, Forget Me Not.
  • Mali (voiced by Christina Pickles), an African Elephant who was Zita's aunt and Phadera's daughter, when Eliza helps her.
  • Juka (voiced by Marquise Wilson) leader of the Massai legend between his wise Grandfather Makai (voiced by Courtney B. Vance & replaced by Steve Harris)
  • Ben (voiced by David Gallagher), a friend of Eliza's that Debbie teases her for having a crush on.
  • Franz Fensterkopt (voiced by Bronson Pinchot)
  • Dr. Jomo (voiced by Brock Peters), a police officer who is a friend of Nigel Thornberry.
  • Sri Mayasandra (voiced by Alan Henry Brown), a scientist who had found Donnie in the TV special.
  • Baru (voiced by Cara DeLizia), a young Proboscis monkey who helps Eliza get back to her family, and his father, Baduk (voiced by Dwight Schultz).
  • Lugan (voiced by Maureen Quinn), who was in the TV special.
  • Saiful (voiced by Pamela Adlon), which was in the TV special. and Adlon voiced Tano, a Cheetah Cub who Eliza tries to help find and who she, Darwin and Donnie help try to find his mother in the episode, Cheetahs Never Prosper.
  • Shi Shou (voiced by Dionne Quan), a baby panda, and Mei-Mei (voiced by Bai Ling), a mother panda.
  • Conal (voiced by Michael Gough), a Hawk, and her wife Brianag (voiced by Laraine Newman).

Guest StarsEdit


The Wild Thornberrys was produced by Klasky Csupo for Nickelodeon. It premiered on September 1, 1998, and was the first Nicktoon to exclusively use 22-minute stories (episodes of other Nicktoons usually featured two 10 – 11-minute stories, using 22-minute stories only on occasion).

The series was designed to have a focus on parents, after focus groups run by Klasky and Csupo uncovered that children were talking about the real struggles of the parent-child relationship; this was opposed to Nickelodeon's view of only featuring kids in children's programming.[4]

Home mediaEdit

Nickelodeon released all five seasons on DVD in Region 1 via through its CreateSpace Manufacture-on-demand program in 2010. Season 1 was released on June 24, 2010,[5] and Seasons 2 through 5 were released on December 1, 2010.[6]

CreateSpace Releases Release Date Discs Episodes
Season 1 June 24, 2010 4 20
Season 2, Volume 1 December 1, 2010 5 13
Season 2, Volume 2 December 1, 2010 5 24
Season 3, Volume 1 December 1, 2010 3 N/A
Season 3, Volume 2 December 1, 2010 3 N/A
Season 3, Volume 3 December 1, 2010 3 N/A
Season 4 December 1, 2010 2 6
Season 5 December 1, 2010 2 8

On February 16, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series and would be releasing Season 1 on DVD on May 17, 2011.[7] Season 1 was released on May 17, 2011 followed by Season 2, Part 1 on November 8, 2011.[8] Season 2, Part 2 was released on April 24, 2012.[9] Season 2, Part 3 was released on January 15, 2013, as a Shout Select title.[10] Season 3 was released on June 11, 2013, as a Shout Select title.[11] Seasons 4 and 5 were released in a box set on September 10, 2013 as a Shout Select title.[12]

On December 1, 2015, Shout! Factory released The Wild Thornberrys: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[13]

In Australia, all 5 seasons have been released via Beyond Home Entertainment. A 13-disc set titled The Wild Thornberrys: The Essential Episodes was released on June 3, 2015.

DVD Name Episodes Release Date
Region 1
Region 4
Season 1 20 May 17, 2011 April 3, 2013
Season 2, Part 1
Season 2, Part 2
Season 2, Part 3♦
November 8, 2011
April 24, 2012
January 15, 2013
April 3, 2013 (complete)
Season 3♦ 20 June 11, 2013 December 4, 2013
Seasons 4 & 5♦ 14 September 10, 2013 April 2, 2014
The Essential Episodes 75 N/A June 3, 2015
The Complete Series 91 December 1, 2015 N/A

♦ – Shout! Factory select title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store. (refers to region 1 releases)


The show aired in reruns on "Nick on CBS" for 2 years from September 14, 2002, to March 6, 2004. The show aired on Nicktoonsters in the United Kingdom.

Video GamesEdit

A video game based on the television series titled The Wild Thornberrys: Animal Adventures was released only for PlayStation on November 8, 2000.[14] During this time, another game was released, The Wild Thornberrys: Rambler on PC and Game Boy Color on August 7, 2000 and November 2000 respectively. Another video game titled The Wild Thornberrys Chimp Chase was released only for the Game Boy Advance on October 1, 2001.[15]


The franchise was extended through four movies (two television films and two theatrical films), which were released toward the end of the series' run:

  • The Origin of Donnie (2001): This prequel was released as a television film, and explores Donnie's life before he was found by the Thornberrys.
  • The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002): This theatrical film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.[16]
  • Rugrats Go Wild (2003): This theatrical film was also the final Rugrats film, and a crossover between Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.[17]
  • "Sir Nigel" (2003): Nigel gets knighted.


Box office performanceEdit

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Ref.
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America opening weekend
All time
North America
The Wild Thornberrys Movie December 20, 2002 $40,108,697 $20,586,040 $60,694,737 2,867 2,049 $25,000,000 [18]
Rugrats Go Wild June 13, 2003 $39,402,572 $16,002,494 $55,405,066 1,774 2,081 $25,000,000 [19]
Total $79,511,269 $36,588,534 $116,099,803 $50,000,000
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.

Critical responseEdit

Common Sense Media gave the series a rating of 5 stars, praising it for its ability to encourage young viewers to be empathetic toward animals, to want to find out about other cultures and ways of life, and to understand the vastness and diversity of the world.[20] Knight Ridder called the series "sympathetic".[21] The Native Voice complimented the series on its commitment to fun, adventure, detail, accuracy, and honesty.[22]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Wild Thornberrys Movie 80% (88 reviews)[23] 69 (25 reviews)[24] A[25]
Rugrats Go Wild 40% (84 reviews)[26] 38 (27 reviews)[27] A-[25]


Year Nominee / work Award Result
1999 Barbara Wright Casting Society of America Artios award for Best Casting for Animated Voiceover Nominated
1999 Sabrina Wiener Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Voice Over in a Feature or TV - Best Young Actress Nominated
2000 Barbara Wright Casting Society of America Artios award for Best Casting for Animated Voiceover - Television Nominated
2000 The Wild Thornberrys episode "You Otter Know" Environmental Media Award for Children's Animated Won
2000 The Wild Thornberrys episode "Hunting by Numbers" Genesis Award for Television - Children's Programming - Animated Won
2000 Lacey Chabert YoungStar Award for Best Young Voice Over Talent Nominated
2001 Joseph Scott, Dean Criswell, and Ron Noble for TV movie "The Origin Of Donnie". Burbank International Children's Film Festival award for Best Tele-Feature Animation Won
2001 The Wild Thornberrys Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Animated Program Nominated
2001 The Wild Thornberrys episode "Happy Campers" Environmental Media Award for Children's Animated category Nominated
2001 The Wild Thornberrys for multiple episodes Genesis Award for Television - Children's Programming - Animated Won
2001 The Wild Thornberrys episode "Forget Me Not" Genesis Award for Television - Children's Programming - Animated Won
2002 The Wild Thornberrys episode "The Trouble With Darwin" Environmental Media Award for Children's Animated category[28] Won
2003 Barbara Wright Casting Society of America Artios award for Best Casting for Animated Voice Over, Television Nominated
2004 The Wild Thornberrys NAMIC Vision Award in Children's category Nominated


  1. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 905–906. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  2. ^ Graeber, Laurel (July 30, 2000). "She Can Talk to the Animals (Don't Tell)". The New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Neverbot. "Big Shiny Robot - Saturday Morning Cartoon! 'The Wild Thornberrys'". Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  4. ^ "Parents apparent/Cartoons return mom, dad to mix". January 1, 1999. Archived from the original on February 15, 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Lambert, David (July 6, 2010). "The Wild Thornberrys – 4-DVD 'Season 1' Set Released by Nickelodeon through Amazon/CreateSpace". Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  6. ^ Lambert, David (December 3, 2010). "The Wild Thornberrys – Amazon/CreateSpace Releases 7 DVD Sets with ALL Remaining Seasons". Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  7. ^ Lambert, David (February 16, 2001). "The Wild Thornberrys – General Retail Release of Season 1 from Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory **UPDATE: New Lower Price and a Pre-Order Link**". Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  8. ^ The Wild Thornberrys: Season Two, Part One. "The Wild Thornberrys: Season Two, Part One: Lacey Chabert, Tim Curry, Jodi Carlisle, Danielle Harris, Tom Kane, Flea, Cathy Malkasian: Movies & TV". Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  9. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys DVD news: Announcement for The Wild Thornberrys – Season 2, Part 2". May 25, 2007. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  10. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys DVD news: Announcement for The Wild Thornberrys – Season 2, Part 3". Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  11. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys: Season 3". Shout!Factory. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  12. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys: The Final Seasons (4 & 5)". Shout!Factory. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  13. ^ Lambert, David (September 15, 2015). "The Wild Thornberrys – A 'Wide' 15-DVD Release in the USA for 'The Complete Series'". Archived from the original on September 17, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  14. ^ "Wild Thornberry's Animal Adventure". Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  15. ^ "THQ Ships The Wild Thornberrys: Chimp Chase for Game Boy Advance". Business Wire. Berkshire Hathaway. October 1, 2001. Archived from the original on December 16, 2001. Retrieved June 14, 2019 – via
  16. ^ "Eminem builds on Oscar buzz". BBC News. February 14, 2003. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  17. ^ Thomas, Kevin (June 13, 2003). "Rugrats go 'Wild' in search of adventure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  18. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  19. ^ "Rugrats Go Wild (2003) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  20. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys - TV Review". Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  21. ^ "At 10 years old, the Rugrats are 'All Growed Up'.(Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service)". July 9, 2001. Archived from the original on February 15, 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ "THE WILD THORNBERRYS". January 9, 2003. Archived from the original on February 15, 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  24. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys Movie". Metacritic. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^ "Rugrats Go Wild (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  27. ^ "Rugrats Go Wild". Metacritic. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  28. ^ "SMALL SCREEN; THE BUZZ ON TELEVISION". November 7, 2002. Archived from the original on February 15, 2017. Retrieved July 3, 2017.

External linksEdit