|The Wild Thornberrys|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||91 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||23 minutes|
|Original release||September 1, 1998 –|
June 11, 2004
The Wild Thornberrys is an American animated television series created by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, Steve Pepoon, David Silverman, and Stephen Sustarsic for Nickelodeon. The series portrays an American family of wildlife documentary filmmakers known as the Thornberrys, which consist of the British nature documentary television host Nigel, his wife and camera operator Marianne, their 16-year-old daughter Debbie, their younger daughter Eliza, their adopted son Donnie, and a chimpanzee named Darwin. The series focuses in particular on Eliza, who has an ability to communicate with animals. The Thornberry family travels to every continent and wildlife environment in the ComVee, a recreational vehicle equipped with safety mechanisms to handle any terrain or body of water, to document their journeys in detail, with typical episodes involving Eliza befriending an animal and subsequently finding herself in peril.
Originally pitched by Klasky Csupo as an adult animated sitcom for Fox, the series was then retooled as a family-friendly animated series for Nickelodeon and premiered on September 1, 1998, as the eleventh Nicktoon and the third overall produced by the studio following Rugrats and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. It ran for 5 seasons containing 91 episodes in total, with the series finale airing on June 11, 2004.
The series' fourth season premiere, "The Origin of Donnie", is a television special focusing on Donnie Thornberry's life before he was adopted by the family. A feature film, The Wild Thornberrys Movie, in which Eliza embarks on a quest to rescue a cheetah cub from poachers, released on December 20, 2002. Rugrats Go Wild, a crossover feature film with Nickelodeon's Rugrats, released in theaters on June 13, 2003. Spin-off media include DVD releases and three video games.
"This is me Eliza Thornberry, part of your average family. I got a dad, a mom and a sister. There is Donnie; we found him and Darwin, he found us. Oh yeah, about our house. It moves, 'cause we travel all over the world. You see, my dad hosts this nature show, and my mom shoots it. Okay, so we're not that average. And between you and me, something amazing happened... and now I can talk to animals. It's really cool, but totally secret. And you know what? Life's never been the same!"
- Eliza Thornberry's opening narration.
The series focuses around a nomadic family of documentary filmmakers known as the Thornberrys, famous for their televised wildlife studies, as they travel the world in the "Comvee", a large, amphibious, multifunctional overland motorhome which doubles as their base of operations. It primarily centers on the family's younger daughter Eliza, and her secret gift of being able to communicate with animals, which was bestowed upon her after having rescued a shaman masquerading as a trapped warthog.
The gift enables her to talk to the Thornberrys' pet chimpanzee Darwin. Together, the pair frequently venture through the wilderness, befriending many species of wild animals along the way, and discern moral truths and lessons through either their experiences or a particular animal species's lifestyle; often this means simply assisting the creatures by which they become acquainted in their difficulties.
Main article: List of The Wild Thornberrys episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|Pilot||September 1, 1998|
|1||20||September 1, 1998||April 1, 1999|
|2||37||August 16, 1999||March 27, 2000|
|3||20||September 12, 2000||May 14, 2001|
|4||6||August 18, 2001||June 1, 2002|
|5||8||February 3, 2003||June 11, 2004|
|Films||December 20, 2002||June 13, 2003|
The Wild Thornberrys was produced by Klasky Csupo. It was initially pitched as an adult animated sitcom under the name, Nigel Thornberry's Animal World, and was to be co-produced by Fox Animation for Fox, but it was ultimately rejected. It was then picked up by Nickelodeon under its own animation studio and was retooled as a family-oriented series with Nigel's youngest daughter being promoted to the main protagonist. It premiered on September 1, 1998, and was the first Nicktoon to exclusively use 22-minute stories (episodes of other Nicktoons usually featured two 10 – 11-minute stories, using 22-minute stories only on occasion).
The series was designed to have a focus on parents, after focus groups run by Klasky and Csupo uncovered that children were talking about the real struggles of the parent-child relationship; this was opposed to Nickelodeon's view of only featuring kids in children's programming.
The show aired in reruns on "Nick on CBS" for two years from September 14, 2002, to March 6, 2004. The show aired on Nicktoonsters in the United Kingdom.
Nickelodeon released all five seasons on DVD in Region 1 via Amazon.com through its CreateSpace Manufacture-on-demand program in 2010. Season 1 was released on June 24, 2010, and Seasons 2 through 5 were released on December 1, 2010.
|CreateSpace Releases||Release Date||Discs||Episodes|
|Season 1||June 24, 2010||4||20|
|Season 2, Volume 1||December 1, 2010||5||13|
|Season 2, Volume 2||December 1, 2010||5||24|
|Season 3, Volume 1||December 1, 2010||3||N/A|
|Season 3, Volume 2||December 1, 2010||3||N/A|
|Season 3, Volume 3||December 1, 2010||3||N/A|
|Season 4||December 1, 2010||2||6|
|Season 5||December 1, 2010||2||8|
On February 16, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that it had acquired the rights to release the series on home media and would be releasing Season 1 on DVD on May 17, 2011. Season 1 was released on May 17, 2011, followed by Season 2, Part 1 on November 8, 2011. Season 2, Part 2 was released on April 24, 2012. Season 2, Part 3 was released on January 15, 2013, as a Shout Select title. Season 3 was released on June 11, 2013, as a Shout Select title. Season 4 and Season 5 were released in a box set on September 10, 2013, as a Shout Select title.
On December 1, 2015, Shout! Factory released The Wild Thornberrys: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.
In Australia, all 5 seasons have been released via Beyond Home Entertainment. A 13-disc set titled The Wild Thornberrys: The Essential Episodes was released on June 3, 2015.
|DVD Name||Episodes||Release Date|
|Season 1||20||May 17, 2011||April 3, 2013|
|Season 2, Part 1
Season 2, Part 2
Season 2, Part 3♦
|November 8, 2011
April 24, 2012
January 15, 2013
|April 3, 2013 (complete)|
|Season 3♦||20||June 11, 2013||December 4, 2013|
|Seasons 4 & 5♦||14||September 10, 2013||April 2, 2014|
|The Essential Episodes||75||N/A||June 3, 2015|
|The Complete Series||91||December 1, 2015||N/A|
♦ – Shout! Factory select title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store. (refers to region 1 releases)
The franchise was extended through three movies (one television film and two theatrical films), which were released toward the end of the series' run:
A video game based on the television series titled The Wild Thornberrys: Animal Adventures was released only for PlayStation on November 8, 2000. During this time, another game was released, The Wild Thornberrys: Rambler on PC and Game Boy Color on August 7, 2000, and November 2000 respectively. The Wild Thornberrys Chimp Chase was released only for the Game Boy Advance on October 1, 2001. Characters from the series also appear in the Nickelodeon crossover games Nicktoons Racing, Nickelodeon Party Blast, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl (where Nigel is voicced by Jim Meskimen), and Nickelodeon Extreme Tennis.
|Film||Release date||Box office gross||Box office ranking||Budget||Ref.|
|North America||Other territories||Worldwide||All time
North America opening weekend
|The Wild Thornberrys Movie||December 20, 2002||$40,108,697||$20,586,040||$60,694,737||2,867||2,049||$25,000,000|||
|Rugrats Go Wild||June 13, 2003||$39,402,572||$16,002,494||$55,405,066||1,774||2,081||$25,000,000|||
Common Sense Media gave the series a rating of 5 stars, praising it for its ability to encourage young viewers to be empathetic toward animals, to want to find out about other cultures and ways of life, and to understand the vastness and diversity of the world. Knight Ridder called the series "sympathetic". The Native Voice complimented the series on its commitment to fun, adventure, detail, accuracy, and honesty.
|The Wild Thornberrys Movie||80% (88 reviews)||69 (25 reviews)||A|
|Rugrats Go Wild||40% (84 reviews)||38 (27 reviews)||A−|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1999||Barbara Wright||Casting Society of America Artios Award for Best Casting for Animated Voiceover||Nominated|
|1999||Sabrina Wiener||Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Voice Over in a Feature or TV - Best Young Actress||Nominated|
|2000||Barbara Wright||Casting Society of America Artios Award for Best Casting for Animated Voiceover - Television||Nominated|
|2000||The Wild Thornberrys episode "You Otter Know"||Environmental Media Award for Children's Animated||Won|
|2000||The Wild Thornberrys episode "Hunting by Numbers"||Genesis Award for Television - Children's Programming - Animated||Won|
|2000||Lacey Chabert||YoungStar Award for Best Young Voice Over Talent||Nominated|
|2001||Joseph Scott, Dean Criswell, and Ron Noble for TV movie "The Origin Of Donnie".||Burbank International Children's Film Festival Award for Best Tele-Feature Animation||Won|
|2001||The Wild Thornberrys||Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Animated Program||Nominated|
|2001||The Wild Thornberrys episode "Happy Campers"||Environmental Media Award for Children's Animated Category||Nominated|
|2001||The Wild Thornberrys for multiple episodes||Genesis Award for Television - Children's Programming - Animated||Won|
|2001||The Wild Thornberrys episode "Forget Me Not"||Genesis Award for Television - Children's Programming - Animated||Won|
|2002||The Wild Thornberrys episode "The Trouble With Darwin"||Environmental Media Award for Children's Animated Category||Won|
|2003||Barbara Wright||Casting Society of America Artios Award for Best Casting for Animated Voice Over, Television||Nominated|
|2004||The Wild Thornberrys||NAMIC Vision Award in Children's Category||Nominated|
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