Minuscule (TV series)

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Minuscule
Minuscule France 2 Nick Jr Australia Logo.png
Created by Hélène Giraud
Thomas Szabo
Directed by Hélène Giraud
Thomas Szabo
Country of origin France
Production
Producer(s) Philippe Delarue
Running time 6 minutes
Production company(s) Futurikon
Release
Original network France 2 and France 5 in Zouzous
Original release October 25, 2006 – 2012

Minuscule is a French series of short video animations giving "a bird's eye view of insects' day to day existence, distorted through a burlesque, yet poetic lens".[1] The characters are computer-modelled in 3D and set against natural scenery. Each animation has a self-contained and usually humorous storyline. The audio is a combination of genuine insect and ambient recordings with artificial sound effects. The various protagonist insects often perform anthropomorphic activities, displaying intelligence, enjoyment and, sometimes, pathos. The background settings are generally of rural France, and include farm houses, fences, cars, road surfaces, drains, gutters and garbage bins. In Season 1 episodes, humans appeared only peripherally (e.g., as mute drivers of intrusive vehicles) and large farm animals were the main reluctant witnesses to the variety of insect, spider and mollusc activities. Some Season 2 episodes depict more explicit interaction with humans. Production of a feature film that shares the same creative universe was commenced in March 2012. The feature film titled Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants, was released on January 29, 2014.[2][3]

Storylines[edit]

The creators describe the series as "an improbable blend of Tex Avery and Microcosmos",[4] referring to the Franco-Swiss-Italian production of 1996 "Microcosmos: Le peuple de l'herbe" filming real-life insects in their natural setting. Similarities can be seen in the use of European country farm setting (for most episodes), similar camera angles and shots, and an almost identical musical score consisting largely of open-ended, repeated piano phrases. The creators also cite the Warner Bros. cartoons of the 1950s as a model for the series, aimed at both young and old alike, and the series is often described as "a cross between a Tex Avery cartoon and a National Geographic documentary !".[5] Episodes tend to follow one or more insect characters through a specific situation and have involved storylines such as multi-insect races reminiscent of the pod race sequence in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, a grasshopper maliciously launching other unsuspecting insects from a catapult made from a blade of grass.

Production and distribution[edit]

Minuscule is produced by Phillipe Delarue, Thomas Szabo and Hélène Giraud at Futurikon[6]. The show's generalised country settings and avoidance of spoken dialogue enable universal accessibility and appeal. The series has been sold to more than 100 countries on television and about 30 countries on video.[1]

Characters[edit]

Minuscule portrays an array of eighteen or more recurring species,[7] usually limited to one or two in each episode, each displaying distinctive personality and behaviour. Among the more commonly recurring insect characters include ladybugs, flies, black ants, red ants, black spiders, yellow spiders, green caterpillars, chubby blue caterpillars, snails, millipedes, bees, wasps, butterflies, grasshoppers, damselflies, mosquitoes, dung beetles, cicadas, and moths.

Episodes—Season 1[edit]

French[edit]