Dan Sanchez – After all these years the Doozers are back in high-tech CG form thanks to The Jim Henson Company, DHX MEDIA, and Hulu. Doozers is the first original programming Hulu has created for their Hulu Kids brand and on Friday they released the first seven of 52 episodes with plans to release three more new episodes every third Friday moving forward.
Today, I sat down with my 13 month-old daughter, a Fraggle Rock fan in her own right, to watch these seven episodes. Within the first seconds of the program we were whisked away to a Smurfs-like eco-friendly environment known as Doozer Creek, via a theme song that is vaguely reminiscent of the original Fraggle Rock tune in both beat and chord structure (sing the original Fraggle Rock theme along with this and you won’t miss a beat). FYI: check out the corresponding “Doozer Creek” app for your smart phone, you won’t regret it.
This new series, aimed at preschoolers, focuses on a group of four bright young Doozers known as the Pod Squad; Spike, Daisy Wheel, Flex, and Molly Bolt (nice to see they are still naming Doozers after tools, machinery and such). Each episode, just shy of 12 minutes, follows the “Squad” through daily lessons, adventures and design challenges at home, school, and even while at play. Along the way, the Pod Squad demonstrates problem solving skills, team work, the use of their imagination, some ingenuity, and positive communication all while still having fun.
Yes, I said it, fun. These Doozers aren’t the no nonsense 6” green creatures of our youth. They aren’t fixated with building geometric Doozer Stick (though they’re called Radish Sticks in this series) architecture to feed Fraggles; no, this new batch of Doozers have progressed. They are inspired by nature and the world around them utilizing such in their designs and constructions. Also, the Doozers don’t solely build and design anymore; they’ve expanded their ambitions and have become bakers, doctors, professors, artists,
and much more. Some Doozers even wear clothes!
The Doozers have also stepped up their tech knowhow and have a seemingly innate aptitude for IT. The Pod Squad are outfitted with newer imaginative tech more relatable to today’s digital world and the contemporary youth. For instance, Molly Bolt and Spike each utilize touch screen devices, the whole squad wears wrist communicators, Flex has a mulit-functional “Doo-Driver,” Daisy has a ladybug inspired jet pack and a pair on “Animal-oculars” that give her the sight of various types of animals. I guess they somehow figured out how to hydroelectrically power all their handheld devices over the past couple decades.
The artists and animators did an astounding job bringing these characters to life. The style is smooth and engaging without being too “dumbed-down” for its intended pre-school audience. My daughter was immediately immersed in this colorfully charming universe and was dancing along to all the music the whole time we watched.
The interstitial montage segments within each episode features memorable and upbeat music that you and your kids will be singing as you work from here on out. And, as with all Henson experiences, the show includes some fun for the adults too; i.e. The Doozers shop at the “Doozer Depot” for supplies, tools and other mechanisms are integrated into the Doozer’s clothing (Prof. Gimbal’s tie is a monkey wrench), there is also some fun everyday-life moments in each episode (watch for a great “wasn’t me” moment between Daisy Wheel, Flex, and Spike in Episode 3 – Detective Doozers).
My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed Doozers and are eager to see more. At the end of each episode the Pod Squad chants, “There’s nothing to it when you do, do, do it,” and by golly The Jim Henson Company has done it again. So, if you’re a parent, if you liked Fraggle Rock, The Smurfs, or even Bob the Builder; Doozers is right up your alley, or should I say down at your rock; Fraggle Rock.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org