|Created by||Susan Meddaugh|
|Based on||Martha Speaks (book)|
by Susan Meddaugh
|Developed by||Ken Scarborough|
|Written by||Ken Scarborough|
|Directed by||Dallas Parker|
|Voices of||Tabitha St. Germain|
Alex Ferris (1–4)
Valin Shinyei (5–6)
Christina Crivici (seasons 1–3)
Michelle Creber (season 4)
|Narrated by||J.T. Turner|
|Theme music composer||Daniel Ingram|
|Opening theme||"Martha Speaks theme", lyrics by Ken Scarborough, performed by Robert Wilson|
|Ending theme||"Martha Speaks theme (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)
|Distributor||DHX Media (worldwide)|
|Original network||PBS Kids|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||September 1, 2008 –|
November 18, 2014
|PBS Kids website|
Martha Speaks is a children's animated television series based on the 1992 children's book of the same name by Susan Meddaugh.
The series is produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, along with Canadian animation studios DHX Media Vancouver and Oasis Animation. It premiered on September 1, 2008 and ended on November 18, 2014, lasting for six years. Some episodes of this television series were available for limited theatrical release on January 3, 2009. The show focuses mainly on synonyms and vocabulary, with each episode featuring an underlying theme illustrated with (usually informal) keywords. The show also occasionally focuses on introducing children ages 4-7 to different concepts of science, history, astronomy, and other learning concepts, such as the Spanish language, through passing mentions.[a]
The second season began airing on September 14, 2009. The third season of Martha Speaks premiered on PBS Kids on October 11, 2010, and the fourth season began airing on February 20, 2012. The fifth season premiered on June 24, 2013. The sixth and final season premiered on March 31, 2014.
Since the series' cancellation, repeats aired on PBS Kids.
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 travel 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, which may be a fictionalized version of Flagstaff, Arizona or Flagstaff, Maine.
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.
Words defined by characters were off-screen during Season 1, but were made visible from Season 2 onward. When first aired, the series was followed by Music Time with SteveSongs and later by Dot's Story Factory. Season 2 episodes were followed by a segment called Who's That Dog? in which a clip of a dog with special training is shown. The series was available to stream on Netflix, with three of the seasons from the show until July 2015.
The show's executive producer was Carol Greenwald, and it was developed for television by Emmy Award-winning writer Kenneth "Ken" Scarborough, the show's head writer who is also notable for other works such as Arthur and Doug. Other writers and screenwriters include Joe Fallon, Peter Hirsch, Raye Lankford, Pippin Parker, Ron Holsey, Joey Largo, and Dietrich Smith. The music for the series and the theme song are by Canadian composers Daniel Ingram and Hal Foxton Beckett. Lyrics for the theme song are by Ken Scarborough and performed by Robert Wilson.
The show was animated in Vancouver by DHX Media Vancouver (formerly Studio B Productions) using Adobe Flash. Meddaugh, the author of the book, was involved in the show and oversaw the production. Despite some concerns over the way word definitions would be incorporated into a television show, she was satisfied that they did not interrupt the flow of the story. Producer Carol Greenwald first contacted Meddaugh when she was involved in the PBS series Arthur.
Each episode features short animated segments related to the main parts 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 not included in the version distributed outside the United States.
The series premiered on PBS Kids September 1, 2008 in the U.S. The series aired its final episode aired on November 18, 2014. Since the series' cancellation, repeats aired on the 24/7 channel. Internationally, the series aired on TVOntario in Canada, Discovery Kids in Latin America, Disney Junior in the Netherlands, CBBC in the United Kingdom, and on Nick Jr. in Australia and New Zealand. On March 9, 2010, a DVD set of the series featuring 8 episodes from the first season was released. The series had added to Amazon Prime Video.
PBS Kids reported that episodes of the series would be available as downloads in 2008. Episodes are also available for purchase via downloading.
In January 2010, Martha Speaks launched its first list of official tie-in books, which include 24-page readers, chapter books, and a picture book.
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