Feb 9, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Children’s daytime animation offers some surprisingly adult-friendly fare. Parents and Emmy voters alike would be well advised to check out PBS Kids’ “Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks” a 3-D CGI-animated series following the rural misadventures of a spunky young piglet and his farm friends in Ireland, as told by an older Piggley to his grandpigs. Mel Brooks provides voice work, and soccer star Cobi Jones sums up the life lessons in a live-action epilogue.
Charmingly simple, colorful and interactive, “Dora the Explorer” on Nick Jr. has been a Daytime Emmy nominee for the past two years, a trend that should continue. Sweetly adventurous 7-year-old Dora invites us to explore her tropical homeland in Spanish and English-asking us questions, pausing for answers and ending with a rousing kid-power anthem, “We Did It.”
On “Cyberchase” (PBS Kids), three culturally diverse Earth kids use math skills to save cyberspace from Hacker and his alien minions. The cartoon combines stylized visuals, sly humor and voice work by Christopher Lloyd and Gilbert Gottfried with math lessons and hyped-up cyber-adventures.
“Clifford’s Puppy Days,” PBS’s spinoff of the top-rated “Clifford the Big Red Dog” series (itself a three-time Emmy nominee), teaches life lessons in a gently humorous and surprisingly urban landscape. Henry Winkler (as a city bird with attitude) coaches the playful pup, who is as tiny as Big Clifford is large.
The Disney Channel’s first original animated sitcom, “The Proud Family,” is flat-out hilarious. Hip in style, the show explores with insight, comedy and no pulled punches 14-year-old Penny and her very real teen trials.