|Created by||Susan Meddaugh|
|Based on||Martha Speaks|
by Susan Meddaugh
|Developed by||Ken Scarborough|
|Written by||Ken Scarborough|
|Directed by||Dallas Parker|
|Voices of||Tabitha St. Germain|
|Narrated by||J.T. Turner|
|Theme music composer||Daniel Ingram|
|Opening theme||"Martha Speaks" (lyrics by Ken Scarborough)|
by Robert Wilson (a few spoken-word lines provided by Tabitha St. Germain)
|Ending theme||"Martha Speaks" (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||96 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Carol Greenwald|
|Running time||28 minutes (approximately 13 minutes per episode)|
|Production companies||DHX Media Vancouver (seasons 1–4)|
Oasis Animation (seasons 5–6)
|Original network||PBS Kids (United States)|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||September 1, 2008 –|
November 18, 2014
Martha Speaks is a children's Flash-animated preschool television series based on the 1992 children's book of the same name by Susan Meddaugh, and debuted on September 1, 2008. The series was produced by WGBH Kids (known for season 1 as WGBH Boston; now GBH Kids): seasons 1–4 were produced in association with DHX Media Vancouver and seasons 5 and 6 were produced in association with Oasis Animation.
The series focuses mainly on synonyms, phonics and vocabulary, with each episode featuring an underlying theme illustrated with a wide variety of keywords. The show also occasionally focuses on introducing children ages 4–7 to different concepts of science, history, astronomy and other learning concepts (from the Spanish language to passing mentions of it).[a]
On July 6, 2009, the series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on September 14, 2009. On August 2, 2010, the series was renewed for another two seasons. The third season premiered on October 11, 2010 and the fourth season premiered on February 20, 2012. On April 29, 2013, the series was renewed for an additional two seasons. The fifth season premiered on June 24, 2013 and the sixth season premiered on March 31, 2014.
On October 10, 2014, it was announced that the sixth season would be its last; two weeks later, PBS Kids canceled the series after six seasons and the series finale aired on November 18, 2014.
The series revolves around a talking dog named Martha (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain), who is owned by 10-year-old Helen Lorraine (known in the books as Helen Finney). When Helen fed Martha alphabet soup, the pasta letters somehow traveled to her brain rather than her stomach, giving her the ability to speak human words. The show takes place in the fictional town of Wagstaff City.
Main article: List of Martha Speaks episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||40||September 1, 2008||July 17, 2009|
|2||15||September 14, 2009||May 14, 2010|
|3||15||October 11, 2010||October 3, 2011|
|4||10||February 20, 2012||April 5, 2013|
|5||8||June 24, 2013||November 14, 2013|
|6||8||March 31, 2014||November 18, 2014|
Season 1 of the series ended with a total of 40 episodes; it premiered in September 2008. 30 episodes were produced for season 2 and then split in half to be aired over two broadcast seasons with 15 episodes each.
In season 1, each episode was followed by Music Time with SteveSongs and later by Dot's Story Factory. Starting with season 2, both Music Time with SteveSongs and Dot's Story Factory are replaced by a segment called Who's That Dog? in which a clip of a dog with special training is shown.
In the series, words defined by characters were off-screen early in season 1 and throughout seasons 4–6. However, the words were made visible in only season 2 and season 3.
The series was executive-produced by WGBH employee Carol Greenwald (who first contacted Meddaugh during production of the PBS series Arthur) and developed for television by Emmy Award-winning writer Kenneth "Ken" Scarborough (the head writer for shows such as Arthur and Doug). Among other writers and screenwriters were Joe Fallon, Peter Hirsch, Kathy Waugh, Raye Lankford, Pippin Parker, Ron Holsey, Jessica Carleton, Matt Steinglass and Dietrich Smith. Canadian composers Daniel Ingram and Harold Foxton Beckett composed the music for both the series and the theme song, while Ken Scarborough wrote the lyrics for and Robert Wilson performed the latter.
The series was produced in Vancouver by DHX Media Vancouver (formerly Studio B Productions) in Flash animation. Meddaugh, the author of the book, was involved in the series and oversaw the production: despite some concerns over what would the way word definitions be incorporated into a television series, she was satisfied they didn't interrupt the plot's flowing concept.
In each episode, short animated segments related to the main parts are presented in three occasions: one between the opening theme and the first part; another one between two parts; and the other between the second part and the closing credits. However, those short segments are excluded from versions outside the United States and Canada.
Martha Speaks debuted on PBS Kids on September 1, 2008 and ended on November 18, 2014, with reruns continuing until October 2, 2022, as KLCS-DT2 continued to rerun the series thereafter.
The series also aired on TVOntario in Canada, on Discovery Kids in Latin America, on Disney Junior in the Netherlands, on CBBC in the United Kingdom and on Nick Jr. in Australia and New Zealand.
On January 3, 2009, some episodes of this television series were available for limited theatrical release. Also, a DVD set of the series featuring 8 episodes from the first season was released on March 9, 2010; since then, several DVDs were also released.
Until July 2015, seasons 1-3 were available to stream on Netflix. Since then, the series is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video (albeit all episodes are now available).
Before the series premiered, PBS Kids reported that episodes of the series were available as downloads, as they are also available for purchase via downloading, to date. In January 2010, Martha Speaks launched its first list of official tie-in books with: 24-page readers and several chapter books; and also a picture book.