FNick Jr. gets in touch with its glittery, girly side for a new animated preschool series
arnaz Esnaashari-Charmatz is unapologetically girly in admitting her love for dolls, girls’ toys, glitter and fashion — all of which she pulled together to create her first animated series, Shimmer and Shine, now airing on Nick Jr.
“It was really pulling together a lot of things that I love,” says Esnaashari-Charmatz. “I loved I Dream of Jeannie as a little girl, I loved glitter, I loved fashion, I loved all these things when I was little, and I still, as a grown woman, love it in my grown-up way.”
With a 20-episode first season in production at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, Calif., Shimmer and Shine is about a pair of twin sisters who are genies in training and grant wishes for a human girl named Leah.
“Because they are still genies in training and they are from Zahramay Falls, which is the genie world, and Leah is from our human world, they don’t always understand the context of the wishes,” she says.
When those wishes go awry and the pair has reached their three-wish-a-day limit, they have to work together as a team and with Leah to set things right. “We’re hoping that it will really teach kids that it’s OK if you mess up, that you can work through it with resilience and make a good situation out of a bad one.”
Esnaashari-Charmatz previously had worked 10 years in post-production on Nick Jr. properties including Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego! Go! and Ni Hao, Kai-Lan. Moving to the front end of the creation process was a real eye-opener, she says. “When you’re working on the back end in post production you don’t realize what’s happening on the other side.”
Getting involved in all aspects of the show down to the smallest detail has been rewarding and fun, says Esnaashari-Charmatz.
“It was really important for me that we be able to have ornate patterns and designs because that’s part of what’s so fun about the genies,” she says. “If genies were real, you would expect their costumes to be completely blinged out and have all the bedazzling and have all the patterning.”
But it’s stories that connect with kids that make the show really work, she says. “It seems like kids are liking it and really at the end of the day that’s the main goal, to have the show that kids like,” says Esnaashari-Charmatz. “Before we even had our full official premiere, I received our first fan letter and it was so sweet it made me cry.” [