|Ni Hao, Kai-Lan|
|Created by||Karen Chau|
|Developed by||Mary Harrington|
|Written by||Sascha Paladino (Head Writer)|
Bradley Zweig (Staff Writer)
|Directed by||David Marshall|
|Theme music composer||Matt Mahaffey|
|Opening theme||Theme song composed by Matt Mahaffey, lyrics by Sascha Paladino|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||42 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||Mary Harrington|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production companies||Harringtoons Productions|
Nickelodeon Animation Studio[a]
|Distributor||Viacom Media Networks|
|Original release||February 7, 2008 –|
August 21, 2011
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan is an American animated children's television series produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio. It began as a series of three interstitial shorts on Nick Jr. called Downward Doghouse. The first full episode was initially set to premiere in fall 2007 on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block in the United States, but it was pushed back to February 7, 2008, coinciding with Chinese New Year.
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan is based on the childhood memories of the show's creator, Karen Chau, who grew up in a bicultural (Chinese-American) household. "Ni hao" (你好 nǐ hǎo) means "Hello" in Mandarin, and Kai-Lan (凯兰 Kǎilán) is the Chinese name Chau was given at birth, which was later anglicized to Karen.
The first two seasons had 20 episodes each. The third season consisted of a two-part series finale. Sascha Paladino was the head writer and developer for the show.
The entire series was released on Paramount+ (at the time CBS All Access) on January 19, 2021.
The series follows the adventures of Kai-Lan and her group of talking anthropomorphic animal companions. The group consists of Kai-Lan, a 6-year-old Chinese-American girl; Rintoo, a yellow Bengal tiger; Tolee, a gray koala; Lulu, a light pink rhinoceros; and Hoho, a white monkey. Each episode is based around a series of events that occur during Kai-Lan's day, along with obstacles that she and her friends are forced to overcome (with "assistance" from the viewing audience) relating to riddles, playing games, and working together. Common rituals may involve Kai-Lan resolving conflicts with her friends when they feel negative emotions. To help them, Kai-Lan has the audience help her figure out why they are having difficult situations. Usually, once Kai-Lan's friends discover that their actions are wrong, they apologize and promise to work together better. The audience is usually presented with two musical sing-alongs where Kai-Lan sings about what must be done to overcome her and her friends' challenges. The episode always ends with Kai-Lan successfully helping her friends and everyone getting along. In the Season 1 finale, it is stated that they all live in California.
Other aspects generally featured in episodes are breaking the fourth wall, 11 minutes of interactivity, a target word that is repeated multiple times, a few words of Mandarin Chinese vocabulary, and before saying goodbye (at the end of each episode), Kai-Lan says, "You make my heart feel super happy." Later installments added Kai-lan saying this phrase in Mandarin after she said it in English: "Ni rang wo hao kai xin." Ni Hao, Kai-Lan introduces its viewers to the Mandarin Chinese language, along with elements of Chinese culture and values, and intergenerational families (e.g., Kai-Lan and her relationship with Ye Ye).
Main article: List of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||20||February 7, 2008||August 14, 2009|
|2||20||February 2, 2009||October 8, 2010|
|3||2||August 21, 2011||August 21, 2011|
|Season||Episodes||DVD release dates|
|1||2007–08||20||Volume 1: Super Special Days: August 12, 2008|
Episodes: "Ni Hao Mr. Dragon" • "Beach Day" • "Twirly Whirly Flyers" • "Everybody's Hat Parade"
Volume 2: Celebrate with Kai-Lan: January 6, 2009
Episodes: "Safari Pals" • "Tolee's Rhyme Time" • "Kai-Lan's Campout" • "Happy Chinese New Year!"
Volume 3: Kai-Lan's Great Trip to China: July 14, 2009
Episodes: "Kai-Lan's Trip to China" • "Rain or Shine" • "The Ant Playground"
Volume 4: Kai-Lan's Carnival: October 6, 2009
Episodes: "Kai-Lan's Carnival" • "Lulu Day" • "Roller Rintoo" • "Wait, Hoho, Wait"
|2||2009–10||20||Volume 5: Princess Kai-Lan: October 5, 2010|
Episodes: "Princess Kai-lan" • "Lulu's Cloud" • "The Moon Festival"
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Outcome|
|2008||Artios Award||Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Animation TV Programming||Sarah Noonan and Meredith Layne||Nominated|
|2009||Annie Award||Best Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production||Notes||Nominated|
|2010||Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Special Class Animated Program||Sascha Paladino, Mary Harrington, Jeff DeGrandis and Andrew Huebner||Nominated|
The success of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan spawned its own video game series, supported by various gaming consoles and platforms:
The show's success also spawned merchandise from 2007-2014. Kai-Lan also made appearances in Nickelodeon Fit, Nickelodeon Dance, Nickelodeon Dance 2, Dora and Kai-Lan's Pet Shelter, and Team Umizoomi & Dora's Fantastic Flight.