Dinosaurs (TV series)
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|Created by||Michael Jacobs
|Voices of||Stuart Pankin
|Theme music composer||Bruce Broughton|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||65 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Michael Jacobs
|Running time||23 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Michael Jacobs Productions
Jim Henson Productions
Walt Disney Television
Buena Vista International
|Original run||April 26, 1991– July 20, 1994|
Dinosaurs is an American family sitcom that was originally broadcast on ABC from April 26, 1991 to July 20, 1994. The show, about a family of anthropomorphic dinosaurs (portrayed by puppets), was produced by Michael Jacobs Productions and Jim Henson Productions in association with Walt Disney Television and distributed by Buena Vista International, Inc.
The show utilized voice actors for the characters, which are performed by different actors and puppeteers.
News stories written at the time of the show's premiere highlighted Dinosaurs' connection to Jim Henson, who died the year before. "Jim Henson dreamed up the show's basic concept about three years ago," said a New York Times article in April 1991. "'He wanted it to be a sitcom with a pretty standard structure, with the biggest differences being that it's a family of dinosaurs and their society has this strange toxic life style,' said [his son] Brian Henson. But until The Simpsons took off, said Alex Rockwell, a vice president of the Henson organization, 'people thought it was a crazy idea.'"
In the late 1980s, Jim Henson worked with illustrator/designer William Stout on a feature film starring animatronic dinosaurs with the working title of The Natural History Project; a 1993 article in The New Yorker said that Henson continued to work on a dinosaur project (presumably the Dinosaurs concept) until the "last months of his life."
Dinosaurs is initially set in 60,000,003 BC in Pangaea. The show centers on the Sinclair family: Earl Sinclair, the father; Fran Sinclair, the mother; Robbie Sinclair, the son; Charlene Sinclair, the daughter; Baby Sinclair, the baby; and Grandmother Ethyl Phillips.
Earl's job is to push over trees for the Wesayso Corporation with his friend and coworker Roy Hess. Earl and Roy's boss is named B.P. Richfield (voiced by Sherman Hemsley).
The focus of the show's plot is the Sinclair family: Earl, Fran, Robbie, Charlene and Baby.
Main characters 
|Earl Sneed Sinclair||Stuart Pankin||Bill Barretta, Tom Fisher (occasional)||Dave Goelz (season 1), Mak Wilson (seasons 2-4)||The 43-year-old patriarch of the Sinclair family proudly refers to himself as "The Mighty Megalosaurus". Earl is the series' lead protagonist. He is employed as a tree pusher for the WESAYSO Corporation. He is somewhat thick-headed, and is very suggestible, usually opting to do what gives the largest immediate benefit to himself or his family. He has a decent relationship with his children, often giving somewhat misguided fatherly advice to Robbie and Charlene, and going to great lengths to impress his family and placate Baby.|
|Frances "Fran" Sinclair née Phillips||Jessica Walter||Tony Sabin Prince||Allan Trautman||The 38-year-old mother and homemaker of the Sinclair family, she does nearly all of the housework in the home, especially in the kitchen. She often feels unappreciated and wishes the family would spend more time talking together. Fran is mentioned on the show and a number of merchandise packaging as being an Allosaurus. Her four fins and wrists make her resemble a Dilophosaurus as well. When she wants Earl to really listen, she calls him by his full name, which he responds to fearfully.|
|Robert "Robbie" Mark Sinclair||Jason Willinger||Leif Tilden||Steve Whitmire||The 15-year-old (He is 14 years old in the first 4 episodes) and the eldest of the Sinclair children, he is a Hypsilophodon, he often questions old dinosaur traditions for which he sees no reason, usually to Earl's dismay (See episodes "The Howling", "I Never Ate For My Father" and "Endangered Species"). He attends Bob La Brea High School, the "Home of the Rampaging Trilobites". He is very intelligent and often is the voice of wisdom when other dinosaurs show ignorance. Unlike any of the other dinosaurs in the show, he wears shoes.|
|Charlene Sinclair||Sally Struthers||Michelan Sisti||Bruce Lanoil||The 13-year-old middle child is designed as a generic-looking dinosaur (although her neck frill and snout somewhat resembles a Protoceratops). She is seen at school in at least three episodes (episode 38, "Charlene's Flat World", episode 41, "Getting to Know You," and episode 59 "Scent of a Reptile") but she is never seen at school with Robbie. She is fashionable and very materialistic.|
|Baby Sinclair||Kevin Clash||Kevin Clash (body), Terri Harden (arms, Season 1-3) and Julianne Buescher (arms, Season 4)||Kevin Clash (mouth), John Kennedy (eyes)||Baby is the youngest of the Sinclair children (being hatched in the first episode) and is a Megalosaurus stated by Earl in the episode "Germ Warfare". He loves Fran, whom he calls "The Mama" but gives Earl (whom he refers to as "Not the Mama") a hard time. Baby will often hit Earl on the head with a frying pan or whatever else happens to be at hand. Baby refuses to declare his love for Earl even though he does genuinely love him. His lack of respect for his father is heavily demonstrated in "License to Parent" where Baby's antics drove Earl and Fran into losing their parenting licenses. In the second-season episode "Switched at Birth" we learn that he probably may not be the Sinclairs' biological child. The DNA machine's results were erroneous and it is revealed that he was in fact their actual son. His legal name is in fact Baby, given to him by the Chief Elder in the episode "And the Winner Is...", but was temporarily known as "Aaah Aagh I'm Dying You Idiot," as he was being named just as the previous Elder had a fatal heart attack. Baby was voiced and puppeteered by Kevin Clash, also known for Elmo on Sesame Street.|
Topical issues featured in Dinosaurs include environmentalism, endangered species, women's rights, sexual harassment, objectification of women, censorship, civil rights, body image, steroid use, allusions to masturbation, drug abuse, racism, peer pressure, rights of indigenous peoples, corporate crime, government interference of parenting, allusions to homosexuality, and pacifism.
In the episode "I Never Ate For My Father," in lieu of carnivorism, Robbie chooses to eat vegetables, and the other characters liken this to homosexuality, vegetarianism, communism, and drug abuse.
In the final season, "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" (a take off of The Greatest Story Ever Told) even references religion when the Sinclair family becomes eager to learn the meaning of their existence. The Elders dictate a new system of beliefs, and the entire cast (with the exception of Robbie) abandons science to blindly following the newly popular "Potato-ism". Another religious-themed episode was "The Last Temptation of Ethyl," in which Ethyl willingly allows a televangelist to exploit her near-death experience to extort money from followers; she backs out after having a second such experience, where instead of heaven, she experiences a "place not so nice:" an existence surrounded by nothing but multiple Earl Sinclairs.
Several jokes in the series were at the expense of television shows in general. Earl often wants to watch TV rather than do something more practical, and several jokes accuse television of "dumbing down" the population and making it lazy.
Captain Action Figure shows up in children's programming that Fran mistakes for a commercial. Whenever Captain Action Figure mentions a product, the screen flashes "Tell Mommy I WANT THAT!". Before the appearance of Georgie, Dinosaurs used a puppet highly reminiscent of Barney named "Blarney" in two episodes. During his appearances, members of the Sinclair family commented on his annoying characteristics and failure to teach anything to children.
Series finale 
The series finale of Dinosaurs depicts the irresponsible actions of the dinosaurs toward their environment, and the ensuing Ice Age which leads to their demise. The episode "Changing Nature" begins with the failure of a swarm of Bunch Beetles to show up and devour a form of creeper vine. Charlene discovers that WESAYSO has constructed a wax fruit factory on the swampland that serves as the Bunch Beetles' breeding grounds, causing the extinction of the species (save for one male named Stan). Fearing a public relations fiasco more than any environmental threat, WESAYSO quickly puts Earl in charge of an attempt to destroy the vines, which have grown out of control without the beetles to keep them in check. Earl proposes spraying the planet with defoliant, which causes the destruction of the vines, but also kills off all plant life on the planet. Richfield assumes that the creation of clouds will bring rain, allowing the plants to grow back, and so decides to create clouds by dropping bombs in the planet's volcanoes to cause eruptions and cloud cover. The dark clouds instead cause global cooling, in the form of a gigantic cloudcover (simulating the effects of what the viewer would recognize as nuclear winter) that scientists estimate would take "tens of thousands of years" to dissipate. Richfield dismisses this as a cold snap and states that WESAYSO is currently producing blankets, heaters, and hot cocoa to help guarantee the dinosaurs' survival. Later, Earl apologizes to his family and Stan for his actions. The episode ends with Howard Handupme as he finishes his broadcast grimly saying "Good Night... Goodbye" to the audience.
International screening 
In the United Kingdom, the show was screened on ITV in 1992 and in reruns from 1995 to 2002 on Disney Channel. In Canada the show started airing reruns in 1992 and aired them until the late 1990s. In Australia the show started airing on the Seven Network from February 1992 through to 1995. In Ireland, in the mid-1990s, it was shown on a Sunday evening on RTÉ Two (known as network 2 back then).
DVD releases 
On May 2, 2006 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released Dinosaurs: The Complete First And Second Seasons as a four-disc DVD box set. The DVD set includes "exclusive bonus features including a never-before-seen look at the making of Dinosaurs". The complete third and fourth seasons, also a four-disc DVD set, were released May 1, 2007 with special features, including the episodes not aired on US TV. Both sets are currently available only in Region 1. As of September 2012, all seasons are available for streaming on Netflix.
Popular culture 
- Lisa: These talking dinosaurs are more real than most real families on TV.
- Homer: Look Maggie, they have a baby too.
- Bart: It's like they saw our lives and put it right up on screen.[relevant? ]
- "Brian Henson's Goal - Bringing 'Dinosaurs' To Tv'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Du Brow, Rick (1991-02-23). "Television: The ratings success of CBS' Ed Sullivan, Mary Tyler Moore and 'All in the Family' retrospectives may doom innovative entries in the 'Twin Peaks' mode.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- "`Dinosaurs' Takes Puppetry Into The Electronic Age". Chicago Tribune. 1994-02-03. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Cerone, Daniel (1991-11-17). "Primal Secrets From the World of 'Dinosaurs'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Kahn, Eve M. "All in the Modern Stone Age Family", The New York Times (Apr. 14, 1991). Accessed Feb. 20, 2009.
- Owen, David. "Looking Out for Kermit", The New Yorker (Aug. 16, 1993.)
- Grover, Ron. The Disney Touch. Homewood, IL: Business One Irwin, 1991. pp. 167-168.
- Rosenberg, Howard (1992-02-19). "Television: ABC series sinks its teeth into witty social commentary a la 'The Simpsons' and finds its metier.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Silverman, David (2003). The Simpsons season 3 DVD commentary for the episode "Black Widower" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
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