Martha Speaks (TV series)

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This article is about the television series. For the book, see Martha Speaks (book).
Martha Speaks
InTheNewsMarthaLogo.png
The show's logo
Genre Educational, Comedy
Created by Susan Meddaugh
Written by Ken Scarborough
(head writer)
Directed by Dallas Parker
Colleen Holub
Voices of Tabitha St. Germain
Madeleine Peters
Brian Drummond
Alex Ferris (1-4)
Valin Shinyei (5-6)
Cedric Payne
Christina Crivici (seasons 1–3)
Michelle Creber (season 4)
Vanesa Tomasino
Nicole Oliver
Kathleen Barr
French Tickner
Betty Phillips
Maxine Miller
Matt Hill
Samuel Vincent
Terry Klassen
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
Canada
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6 [1]
No. of episodes 96 [1][2] (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Carol Greenwald
Chris Bartlerman
Blair Peters
Producer(s) Sarah Wall
Running time 28 minutes (approximately 13 minutes per episode)
Production company(s) Studio B Productions (2008–11)
DHX Media Vancouver (2011–13)
Oasis Animation (2013-14)
WGBH Boston (2008–09)
WGBH Kids (2009–14)
Distributor DHX Media
Release
Original network PBS Kids (2008–14)
Picture format 16:9 HD
Audio format Stereo
Original release September 1, 2008 (2008-09-01) – November 18, 2014 (2014-11-18)
External links
PBS Kids website

Martha Speaks is an American-Canadian 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 his brain instead of his stomach, resulting in his 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.[3]

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 stations across the United States. Some episodes of this TV series were available for limited theatrical release on January 3, 2009.[4]

The second season began airing on September 14, 2009. The third season of Martha Speaks premiered on PBS Kids on October 11, 2010,[5] and the fourth season began airing on February 20, 2012.[6] The fifth season premiered on June 24, 2013. The sixth season premiered on March 31, 2014.[7]

Production[edit]

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.[8] The show is animated in Vancouver by Studio B Productions using Adobe Flash.[9] Meddaugh, author of the book, is involved in the show and oversees the production.[10] 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.[11] Producer Carol Greenwald first contacted Meddaugh when she was involved in the TV series Arthur;[1] the author has also been approached by HBO and Disney.[11]

Each episode features short animated segments related to the main parts in three occasions: one between the opening theme and the first part, another one between two parts, and the other between the second part and the closing credits. However, those short segments are not included in the version distributed outside the United States.

Characters[edit]

Episodes[edit]

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.[12]

When first aired, the show was followed by Music Time with SteveSongs 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 was available to view on Netflix, with three of the seasons from the show, until July 2015.

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
6 8 March 31, 2014 November 18, 2014

Merchandise[edit]

PBS KIDS! reported that episodes of the series would be available as downloads in fall 2008. Episodes are also available for purchase via downloading.[10]

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.[10]

On March 9, 2010, a DVD set of the series was released. It features eight episodes from season one.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Weiss, Joanna (August 17, 2008). "PBS set to unleash a new tutor". The Boston Globe. 
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20141031184840/http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6589305.html?nid=2788. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Answers.com. "Martha Speaks TV Show". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  4. ^ Kidtoon Films. "Kidtoon Films". Kidtoon Films. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  5. ^ "Oregon Public Broadcasting". Opb.org. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  6. ^ "OASIS ANIMATION to Produce a New Season of Martha Speaks for WGBH to Air on PBS KIDS", BusinessWire, December 12, 2012.
  7. ^ Martha Speaks #501.
  8. ^ "Martha Speaks TV Credits". PBS Parents. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  9. ^ "2008: The year that was". Top Draw Animation. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  10. ^ a b c "Martha Speaks. FAQ". PBS KIDS!. WGBH. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  11. ^ a b Nesi, Ted (2009-05-12). "Good dog". Wheaton Quarterly. Wheaton College. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  12. ^ "Martha Speaks Episode Descriptions". Pbs Kids!. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 

External links[edit]