How Time Flies

Animation Magazine - - Anniversaries -

Time-travel has been a go-to con­cept for an­i­ma­tion for ages, play­ing out in a va­ri­ety of for­mats and tech­niques from the Mr. Pe­abody and Sher­man shorts on Rocky & Bull­win­kle to last year’s CG com­edy flick Free Birds. So, it takes a lit­tle hint of magic to make the schtick re­ally stand out, and Guru Stu­dio’s preschool hit Justin Time has just that. Af­ter five years, the col­or­ful 2D an­i­mated show con­tin­ues to fill small screens across the globe with imag­i­na­tive adventures as it fol­lows Justin and his friends Olive and Squidgy as they take young au­di­ences around the world and through time to ex­pe­ri­ence the great­est (kid-friendly) sto­ries from his­tory. Justin Time has been sold to over 100 broad­cast­ers world­wide, in­clud­ing Sprout and NBC Kids where it claimed No. 1 spots last year. And im­pres­sively for Guru’s first orig­i­nal pre-k prop­erty, the show earned nom­i­na­tions for a Day­time Emmy Award and three An­nie Awards in 2013.

In ad­di­tion to de­vel­op­ing Justin Time sea­son three, the kooky kids at the Toronto stu­dio (founded by in­dus­try vet Frank Fal­cone in 2000) have more quirky orig­i­nal shows in the works, like the sci-fi com­edy Space­face (26 x 22; Kids 7-11), a hi­lar­i­ous take on bit­ter kid fren­e­mies Neme­sis for Tele­toon (26 x 22; Kids 7-11) and the charm­ing, tex­tu­rally rich preschool se­ries Port Lit­tle (52 x 11); as well as the toon adap­ta­tion of the Friend­sWithYou brand, Wish Come True, with TVO and Home Plate Ent. De­spite the dis­trac­tions of a cu­ri­ous stray cat prob­lem, the Guru team pushes for­ward with a love of an­i­ma­tion, a ded­i­ca­tion to “in­tent be­fore con­tent” and an un­abashed ad­mi­ra­tion for An­i­mal from the Mup­pets—a fine com­bi­na­tion if ever there was.

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