Space Racers
SapceRacersLogo.png
Also known asSpace Race (2011–14)
The Space Racers
GenreAnimated
Children's
Educational
Science fiction
Created byRichard Schweiger and Julian Cohen
Developed byAllan Neuwirth and Mark Risley
Directed byMark Risley
Creative directorDavid Michael Friend
Voices ofYuri Lowenthal
Meyer DeLeeuw
Johnny Yong Bosch
Alicyn Packard
Melissa Hutchison
Theme music composerJody Gray
Opening themeJody Gray, Allan Neuwirth, David Cohen
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes90 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersJulian Cohen, Michael Matays, Charles Matays, Matthias Schmitt, Richard Schweiger, Brenda Wooding
ProducersSpace Race, LLC, Mark Risley, Allan Neuwirth
Running time10–12 minutes (individual)
22–23 minutes (half-hour)
Production companiesSpace Race, LLC
Maryland Public Television (season 1)
WNET New York (seasons 2–)
DistributorUnited States
PBS Distribution
American Public Television (2014–2016)
1091 Pictures
International
Cake Entertainment
Release
Original networkPBS Kids/Universal Kids (U.S.)
Knowledge Kids/TVO Kids (Canada)
Original release
  • Web series:
    March 22, 2011 (2011-03-22) – April 29, 2011 (2011-04-29)
  • Television series:
    May 2, 2014 (2014-05-02) – November 22, 2018 (2018-11-22)

Space Racers is an American CGI STEM-focused educational animated television series featuring the cadets of the Stardust Space Academy. The show began as a web series on March 22, 2011 entitled Space Race, then debuted as a television series on May 2, 2014 for public television on select PBS stations through their PBS Kids block. The first season was produced under the auspicies of Maryland Public Television.[1] The second season of Space Racers debuted on October 31, 2016 as a commercial effort on NBCUniversal's Sprout, since rebranded to Universal Kids. The series is produced by Space Race, LLC. and is one of the longest-running series that ran on PBS Kids and Universal Kids.[2] The show features contributions and fundings from NASA involving science and space technology education, and also maintains partnerships with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and U.S. Space Camp.

The show is rated TV-Y on PBS Kids and Universal Kids, and TV-Y7 on syndication.

Premise

Space Racers is an educational animated television series. The show follows the Space Racers cadets, a group of anthropomorphic spaceships resembling and named after various species of birds, as they travel the Solar System exploring space through assigned missions. The main characters—Eagle, Hawk, Raven, Robyn, and Starling—are cadets at the Stardust Space Academy, and each episode they discover a series of space-based scientific discoveries. The cadets spend each episode traveling through outer space.[3][4][5]

Characters

Main

Recurring

Minor

Other

Roles

Character Role
Eagle Cadet
Hawk
Raven
Robyn
Starling Jr Cadet
Crow
Sparrow
AVA the academy AI
Crane Headmaster
Coot faculty – Engineering, Sciences
Pigeon faculty – Coach
Sandpiper faculty – astro sciences
Vulture academy Chairman
Dodo assistant to Vulture
Trogon Russian rocket scientist
Loon senior chief engineer / officer at Lunar Base Alpha

Episodes

Main article: List of Space Racers episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
Webisodes8March 22, 2011 (2011-03-22)April 29, 2011 (2011-04-29)PBS Kids (U.S.)
Knowledge Kids (Canada)
126May 2, 2014 (2014-05-02)October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
220October 31, 2016 (2016-10-31)November 22, 2018 (2018-11-22)Universal Kids (U.S.)
TVO Kids (Canada)

Production and development

The series concept was developed by Richard Schweiger, who wanted to create a show based around animated vehicles that travel through space. In 2009, Schweiger and Julian Cohen developed the idea into a feature-film script, which won a screenwriting award. In 2010, Schweiger formed the company that would produce Space Racers, and instead of pursuing a film, decided to turn the concept into a television series.[3][4] The idea developed into fifty individual 11 minute episodes for broadcast.[5]

Collaborations

The Space Racers TV series was produced in collaboration with NASA experts, with input from NASA experts on science-based facts incorporated into the episodes. The show also features NASA scientists and astronauts in live action interstitials. The Space Racers creators have also developed a website where viewers can find a preschool science curriculum on space science, which was developed in collaboration THIRTEEN productions (WNET) and SiiTE. SpaceRacers.com has a section for family-based education as well for educators and parents.[4] Special screenings of episodes have been held at both the Kennedy Space Center and the Wallops NASA Visitor Center, in collaboration with Maryland Public Television.[4][6] In July 2014, the Virginia Air and Space Center opened a Space Racers-themed exhibit.[7]

Origins as Space Race (2011–2014)

On March 22, 2011, it originally launched as a web series on PBS Kids and the now-defunct PBS Kids Go! under the name Space Race.[8] It featured 4 characters/webisodes at launch, with two more webisodes released on April 22, 2011, and the last two on April 29, 2011.[9] In total, there were 8 characters/webisodes (with 2 characters not returning in the TV series). All eight of the characters were interviewed by Gary Galaxy (played by Meyer DeLeeuw), a 3D Galaxy Adventure game, printables, and the “What Spaceship are You?” widget. As of today, the site and the webisodes (with the exception of the first webisode and trailer) are considered to be lost media.

Relaunch as Space Racers (2014–present)

In late 2013, it was announced that the web series would relaunch as a television series under the new name Space Racers, with 7 of the characters remodeled and having new roles, along with 6 new characters. Since 2014, CAKE Television is the international distributor for the show.[10]

Season one of Space Racers consists of 26 half-hour episodes, first airing on May 2, 2014 on PBS Kids, marking the show's debut. The first season was co-produced by Maryland Public Television, and distributed by American Public Television and PBS Kids.[11] The show's head writer was Allan Neuwirth, its director was Mark Risley, and its executive producers were Brenda Wooding as well as show creators Richard Schweiger and Julian Cohen.[12] Episodes would contain two eleven-minute animated segments, offset by live-action sections between them. The U.S. premiere of the first season was on May 2, 2014.[3][4][5] The show's world broadcast debut on February 15, 2014 in New Zealand.[3]

Season two of Space Racers consists of 20 half-hour episodes, first airing on October 31, 2016 on Sprout, marking the final PBS Kids show to air in that network. The second season was co-produced by WNET, and distributed by NBCUniversal.[13] The show's head writer was again Allan Neuwirth, its director was Mark Risley, and its executive producers were Michael Matays, Charles Matays, and Matthias Schmitt. Episodes contain two eleven-minute animated segments, offset by interstitials, live-action sections, or commercial sections between them. The U.S. premiere of the second season was on October 31, 2016.[14]

As of 2022, it is currently unknown if a third season is happening and which television network or streaming service it will air on.

Broadcast

In the United States of America, the show aired on PBS Kids from May 2, 2014 to October 30, 2016, and Universal Kids from October 31, 2016 to March 22, 2020.

In Canada, the show aired on Knowledge Kids from May 2, 2014 to November 26, 2015, and TVO Kids from November 27, 2015 to September 9, 2021.

International

Country Network(s) Language Foreign Title
United States United States PBS Kids
Universal Kids
English N/A
Canada Canada Knowledge Kids
TVO Kids[15]
Hispanic (U.S) V-me
V-me Kids
Spanish Exploradores Espaciales
(Space Explorers)
Argentina Argentina Nat Geo Kids
Brazil Brazil Nat Geo Kids Brazilian
Portuguese
Exploradores Espaciais
(Space Explorers)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Europe Europe
Minimax English N/A
Malaysia Malaysia TV2
France France France 5[16] French
Poland Poland MiniMini+
TVP ABC
Polish Kosmoloty (Spaceships)
China China CCTV[17] Chinese N/A

Home media

DVD

1091 Pictures released the first two seasons on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on March 8, 2022. The first season was released on three discs, while the second season was released on two discs.

Release name Release date Eps No.
Space Racers - Season 1 March 8, 2022 (2022-03-08) Disc One:
Disc Two:
Disc Three:
Space Racers - Season 2 Disc One:
Disc Two:

Streaming

The show was first available worldwide on YouTube since May 2, 2014, and Netflix from March 15, 2015 to March 15, 2018, and March 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021. The show was added to Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Vudu, and Roku on February 25, 2022.[18][19]

Awards

Space Racers has won several awards in children's broadcasting including the American Public Television (APT) Programming Excellence Award in 2014 and a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award in 2015.[20] [21]

Merchandise

Space Racers merchandise was introduced in November 2018. There are vehicle toys, plush toys, T-shirts, and Activity and Coloring Books. Space Racers merchandise is available for view at www.spaceracerstoys.com

References

  1. ^ Ramin Zahed (October 25, 2013). "'Space Racers' to Premiere on Public Television this Spring". Animation Magazine. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  2. ^ Petski, Denise (May 1, 2017). "Sprout Rebranding To Universal Kids Network With 'Top Chef Junior', DreamWorks Animation Series".
  3. ^ a b c d Elizabeth Howell (March 6, 2014). "'Space Racers' TV Show Brings The Adorable (And The Science) To Preschoolers". Universe Today. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e "NASA Wallops Visitor Center Hosting "Space Racers" Program for Kids". NASA. June 12, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Hillary Busis (October 24, 2013). "NASA-approved 'Space Racers' coming to public television in 2014". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  6. ^ "Special viewing of preschool television program, Space Racers". Kennedy Space Center. July 11, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  7. ^ Paitsel, Nicole. "New exhibit for kids opens at Hampton's Virginia Air and Space Center". dailypress.com.
  8. ^ "SPACE RACE Animated Web Series Ready for Lift Off". Business Wire. March 22, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  9. ^ "Web Series "Space Race" Expands With Two New Episodes". Cartoon Brew. April 22, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "CAKE to distribute new space-themed series".
  11. ^ Zahed, Ramin (October 25, 2013). "'Space Racers' to Premiere on Public Television this Spring".
  12. ^ "Space Racers: Synopsis". Cake Entertainment. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  13. ^ "New Preschool Show 'Space Racers' Launches Tomorrow on Sprout". BroadwayWorld.com. November 4, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  14. ^ Jennifer Wolfe (February 28, 2017). "CAKE to Launch 'Space Racers' Second Season". Animation World Network. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  15. ^ "Space Racers | TVOKids.com". www.tvokids.com. 19 October 2016.
  16. ^ Jennifer Wolfe (March 31, 2014). "CAKE's 'Space Racers' Lands on France 5". Animation World Network. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  17. ^ "UYoung launches preschool SVOD".
  18. ^ "Deals of the Week: Federation, Amazon Prime, Omens Studios".
  19. ^ "TV & Streaming News Bytes". 25 February 2022.
  20. ^ Multiple Industry Awards Presented, Nearly 100 Titles Screened: American Public Television's Fall Marketplace 2014, American Public Television, November 19, 2014
  21. ^ Parents' Choice Award Winners: Television, Parents' Choice Award, January 22, 2015