|This article is about the series. You may be looking for the character.|
Arthur is a Canadian-American animated educational children's television program. It is based on a book series of the same name, created by Marc Brown in 1976. Brown himself, as well as some of his family, has been heavily involved in the show's production. The TV series debuted in 1996 on PBS, making it the longest-running animated children's television series and the second longest-running animated show behind The Simpsons. It has won numerous awards, including several Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting, and a BAFTA.
Aimed at viewers between the ages of four and eight, Arthur's goal is to help foster children's interest in literature and to encourage positive social skills. Each episode follows Arthur Read (an eight-year-old aardvark) and his family and friends through engaging, emotional stories that explore issues faced by children such as cancer, bed-wetting, adoption, video game addiction, etc. It is a comedy that tells these stories from a child's point of view without moralizing or talking down. Situations on Arthur develop in realistic ways, and don't always turn out as people or Arthur and his friends might think.
The series airs daily in the United States on PBS during the daytime kids' block, as well as the PBS KIDS Channel. It has consistently earned high ratings on public television. Arthur is notable for being the first daily television program to provide video description service for the sight-impaired starting in 1997. There are over 100 countries around the world that air the program. To date, there are twenty-three seasons consisting of more than 250 half-hour episodes and 5 one-hour specials. A spin-off series, Postcards from Buster, ran from 2004 to 2012.
Originally produced by Cinar (later Cookie Jar Entertainment), production of the series shifted to 9 Story Media Group and later Oasis Animation. It is also a co-production of WGBH. For the first fifteen seasons, the show used traditional hand-drawn cel animation. Beginning with the sixteenth season, the show is created using digital computer animation software, such as Flash and Toon Boom. This also coincided with widescreen, high-definition broadcasts on PBS (where available), though this 16:9 option had been available in some non-U.S. markets since Season 14.
In context to the storyworld itself
The characters in Arthur are self-aware that they are on television. For example, in many opening scenes Arthur narrates to the audience. The opening theme song also features D.W. flipping through an Arthur book, and then seeing him on television.
Likewise, music from the series is known by the characters. In "Breezy Listening Blues," Arthur hears a slowed down version of "Believe in Yourself" and says, "I've heard this somewhere." In "D.W., Dancing Queen," Binky quotes lines from the same song. When D.W. asks if he made it up, Binky replies, "No, I heard it somewhere, but I can't remember where." As well as this, D.W. hums a few bars from the song in "Mom and Dad Have a Great Big Fight."
At the end of "The Making of Arthur," the episode suggests that Matt Damon and Arthur begin making the series after Matt sees Arthur's one minute video. This creates a paradox in which the creator's work is creating itself.
- All About ARTHUR (YouTube)
- "The Great MacGrady"
- "Jenna's Bedtime Blues"
- "Big Brother Binky"
- "Sue Ellen Gets Her Goose Cooked"