The Berenstain Bears
GenreChildren's series
Educational
Created byStan and Jan Berenstain
Voices ofCamilla Scott
Ben Campbell
Michael Cera
Michael D'Ascenzo
Tajja Isen
Corinne Conley
Leslie Carlson
Amanda Soha
Marc McMulkin
Theme music composerStan Meissner
Opening theme"The Berenstain Bears" by Lee Ann Womack
Ending theme"The Berenstain Bears" (Instrumental)
ComposersRay Parker
Tom Szczesniak
Country of originCanada
Hong Kong
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes40 (80 segments) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersStan and Jan Berenstain
Steven Ching
Scott Dyer
Michael Hirsh
ProducersLan Lamon
Supervising producers:
Patricia R. Burns
Jocelyn Hamilton
Michelle Melanson
Cynthia Taylor
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesNelvana
AGOGO Entertainment
Original release
NetworkTreehouse TV
ReleaseSeptember 9, 2002 (2002-09-09) –
September 12, 2003 (2003-09-12)
Related
The Berenstain Bears (1985 TV series)

The Berenstain Bears is a preschool children's animated television educational series based on the children's book series of the same name by Stan and Jan Berenstain, and produced by Nelvana, which aired on Treehouse TV.[1] Acting as a revival of the 1985–1987 cartoon series of the same name, the series follows the lives of a family of anthropomorphic bears who learn a moral or safety-related lesson during the course of each episode.

Premiering on September 9, 2002, a total of 40 episodes were produced,[2] with the series airing until September 12, 2003.

Synopsis

The series is set in a nearby forested land populated only by anthropomorphic bears and primarily centers around the Berenstain Bears. The Berenstain Bears are a family residing in the rural community of Bear Country. The family consists of Mama Bear, Papa Q. Bear, Brother Bear, and Sister Bear.

Although a numerous episodes are based on the books and promote the same morals as encouraged in the picture books from which their plots originated, the program's faithfulness to the original series is slightly mixed on account of a number of later episodes following original storylines.

Nonetheless, they mostly portray the same environment depicted in the original Berenstain Bears storybooks quite accurately and concentrate on the messages and lessons learned by the family through their different experiences, such as generosity and responsibility, as well as the daily lives of the bears.

Episodes

Main article: List of The Berenstain Bears (2002 TV series) episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113September 9, 2002 (2002-09-09)October 30, 2002 (2002-10-30)
213September 30, 2002 (2002-09-30)February 18, 2003 (2003-02-18)
314April 25, 2003 (2003-04-25)September 12, 2003 (2003-09-12)

Voice cast

Main article: List of Berenstain Bears characters

Main

Recurring

Family

Friends

Citizens

Production

The show was produced by the Canadian-based animation studio Nelvana for PBS Kids in the United States and Treehouse TV in Canada. 80 15-minute episodes were produced, adapted from the books and also a few new stories as well, similar to the 1985 production.[3]

Due to Canadian laws requiring Nelvana to employ Canadian writers and artists, the Berenstains' involvement in the program was limited; they sought to exert their influence on some details, according to Stan: "Our bears don't wear shoes, and Papa wouldn't wear his hat in the house...And we try to keep complete, total banality out of the stories". Common practicalities of animation did force some minor costume changes from the books, such as eliminating polka dots and plaids (this issue also occurred in the previous animated series and specials and only a limited amount of polka dots was allowed in the five specials[3]).

The series is supposed to supplement the 1985 series because new books were released since then, even though the two series have a radically different production style as well as a change of in-universe elements. Another issue is the two series are not seen together.

Music

Country music singer-songwriter Lee Ann Womack performed the theme song written by Stan Meissner for the series.

Broadcast

In Canada, the series aired on Treehouse TV. It also briefly aired on Ici Radio-Canada Télé.

It debuted in the United States on PBS Kids on January 6, 2003.[4] Originally, it aired together with Seven Little Monsters in a shared half-hour timeslot, but the two shows were eventually separated.[5] The original broadcast run on PBS ended September 10, 2004,[6] and reran until February 1, 2009,[7]a along with Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat and Zoboomafoo,[7] though a small number of local PBS stations still air reruns as of 2024.

Reruns aired on PBS Kids Sprout (later known as simply Sprout) from its inception up until the channel rebranded into Universal Kids on September 9, 2017, after Sprout's rights to air the series expired.[8]

Lakota dub

Twenty episodes of the series were dubbed in Lakota language and aired under the title "Matȟó Waúŋšila Thiwáhe" on PBS stations in the Dakotas beginning September 11, 2011.[9]

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
2004 Gemini Awards Best Pre-School Program or Series Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain, Michael Hirsh, Steven Ching, Scott Dyer Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role – Young Actress Tajja Isen Nominated

Notes

a. ^ National reruns on PBS ended.

References

  1. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 77–78. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  2. ^ "Berenstain Bears". Corus Entertainment. Archived from the original on 19 December 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b Gillies, Judith S. (January 4, 2003). "Grin 'n' 'Bear' it: The Berenstains come to WTTW". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  4. ^ "The Berenstain Bears – The Nelvana-Produced Series Comes To Video For The First Time Ever". Corus Entertainment Inc. December 10, 2002. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  5. ^ "The Berenstain Bears Bring 40 Years Of Literary History To "PBS Kids" With Premiere Of 15-Minute Animated TV Series". Corus Entertainment. November 14, 2002. Archived from the original on 25 July 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  6. ^ "WGTE - TV 30 Schedule". wgte.org. Archived from the original on 18 September 2004. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  7. ^ a b "TV Listings Guide and TV Schedule, Where to Watch TV Shows - Zap2it". Archived from the original on 2009-02-01.
  8. ^ "Mitchell Hodack - Universal Kids, will you do reruns episodes of The Berenstain Bears?". Facebook. September 30, 2017. Hi Mitchell! Sadly, our contract with The Berenstain Bears has ended and we will not be airing reruns. Thanks!
  9. ^ "Learn Lakota Language with Matȟó Waúŋšila Thiwáhe - The Lakota Berenstain Bears - About the Series". www.lakotabears.com. Retrieved 17 January 2024.