Martha Speaks (TV series)
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The show's logo
|Format||Children's television series Animated television series|
|Created by||Based on the series of children's books by Susan Meddaugh|
|Written by||Ken Scarborough (head writer)|
|Directed by||Dallas Parker (supervising director)
Colleen Holub (co-director)
|Voices of||Tabitha St. Germain
Christina Crivici (seasons 1-3)
Michelle Creber (season 4-present)
|Narrated by||J.T. Turner|
|Theme music composer||Daniel Ingram|
|Opening theme||"Martha Speaks theme", lyrics by Ken Scarborough, performed by Robert Wilson|
|Ending theme||"Martha Speaks theme (instrumental)"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6 (5 aired)|
|No. of episodes||96 (84 aired) (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Carol Greenwald
|Running time||28 minutes (approximately 13 minutes per episode)|
|Production company(s)||DHX Media Vancouver
|Original channel||PBS Kids Go! (2008-2013)
PBS Kids (2013-present)
|Picture format||16:9 HD|
|Original run||September 1, 2008– present|
|PBS Kids website|
Martha Speaks is a American animated children's television series based on the 1992 children's book of the same name by Susan Meddaugh, about a talking dog named Martha (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain), who is owned by ten-year-old Helen Lorraine (known in the books as Helen Finney). When Helen feeds Martha some alphabet soup, the soup travels to her brain instead of her stomach, resulting in her ability to speak. The show focuses on synonyms and vocabulary, with each episode featuring an underlying theme illustrated with key words. The show takes place in the fictional town of Wagstaff City, a parody of Flagstaff, Arizona.
The show is produced by WGBH in Boston, along with Vancouver based animation studio DHX Media Vancouver (formerly Studio B Productions), and debuted on September 1, 2008 on PBS Kids and PBS Kids Go! stations across the United States. Some episodes of this TV series were available for limited theatrical release on January 3, 2009. It runs in most PBS stations except KCTS that dropped the series on April 1, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The series ran on PBS Kids Go! until October 4, 2013 due form the replacement of the new PBS Kids series Peg + Cat. 
The second season began airing on September 14, 2009. The third season of Martha Speaks premiered on PBS Kids on October 11, 2010, and the fourth season began airing on February 20, 2012. In May 2013, PBS Kids renewed Martha Speaks for a fifth and sixth season of 8 new episodes each. The fifth season premiered on June 24, 2013.
The show's executive producer is Carol Greenwald, and it was developed for television by Emmy Award-winning writer Ken Scarborough, the show's head writer. Other writers include Joe Fallon, Peter Hirsch, Raye Lankford, Pippin Parker, Ron Holsey, and Dietrich Smith. Music for the series and the theme song is by Canadian composer Daniel Ingram. Lyrics for the theme song are by Ken Scarborough. The show is animated in Vancouver by Studio B Productions using Flash. Meddaugh, author of the book. is involved in the show and oversees the production. Despite some concerns over the way word definitions would be incorporated into a television show, she said she is now satisfied that they do not interrupt the flow of the story. Producer Carol Greenwald first contacted Meddaugh when she was involved in the TV series Arthur; the author has also been approached by HBO and Disney.
Martha can understand most animal languages except for a few exotic animals such as monkeys and giraffes. These languages are simple, as slight elongation or slightly higher pitch will mean something entirely different. In the episode "Itchy Martha", Martha teaches T.D.'s father to speak a word in dog, coaching him to say it exactly right. Almost all animals are able to understand some sort of human language but are unable to speak it. In a newer episode, it is revealed that Martha understands a wide range of animal languages, possibly because they have the same grammar system.
Season one of the series ended with a total of 40 episodes; it premiered in September 2008. Thirty episodes were produced for season two and then split in half to be aired over two broadcast seasons with 15 episodes each.
When first aired, the show was followed by Music Time With Steve Songs and later by Dot's Story Factory. Season two episodes were followed by a segment called Who's That Dog!, in which a clip of a dog with special training is shown. The show is also currently available to view on Netflix, with three of the seasons from the show.
|Season||Episodes||First airdate||Last airdate|
|1||40||September 1, 2008||July 17, 2009|
|2||15||September 14, 2009||May 14, 2010|
|3||15||October 11, 2010||October 3, 2011|
|4||10||February 20, 2012||April 5, 2013|
|5||8||June 24, 2013||November 14, 2013|
PBS KIDS! reported that episodes of the series would be available as downloads in fall 2008. Episodes are also available for purchase via downloading.
In January 2010, Martha Speaks launched its first list of official tie-in books, which include 24-page readers, chapter books, and a picture book.
On March 9, 2010, a DVD set of the series was released. It features eight episodes from Season One: "Martha Says It with Flowers," "Raiders of the Lost Art," "Martha Gets Spooked," "Martha Changes Her Luck," "Martha Sings," "TD Makes the Band," "There Goes the Neighborhood," and "Ice Scream."
- Weiss, Joanna (August 17, 2008). "PBS set to unleash a new tutor". The Boston Globe.
- [dead link]
- Kidtoon Films. "Kidtoon Films". Kidtoon Films. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- "Oregon Public Broadcasting". Opb.org. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- "Martha Speaks TV Credits". PBS Parents. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- "2008: The year that was". Top Draw Animation. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- "Martha Speaks . FAQ". PBS KIDS!. WGBH. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
- Nesi, Ted (2009-05-12). "Good dog". Wheaton Quarterly. Wheaton College. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- "Martha Speaks Episode Descriptions". Pbs Kids!. Retrieved 2012-08-16.