Sofia the First

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Sofia the First
Sofiathefirstlogo.png
GenreFantasy[1]
Comedy[2]
Created byCraig Gerber[3]
Developed byCraig Gerber
Directed byJamie Mitchell[3]
Voices of
Theme music composerJohn Kavanaugh
Craig Gerber
Opening theme"Sofia The First!", performed by Ariel Winter
Ending theme"Sofia The First!" (Instrumental)
ComposerKevin Kliesch
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes109 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersMarc E. Platt
Jamie Mitchell
Craig Gerber (co, S2-S4)[3]
EditorPieter Kaufman
Running time22 minutes
Production companiesDisney Television Animation[3]
Toiion Animation Studios[4]
TeamTO (season 3)[5]
DistributorDisney–ABC Domestic Television
Release
Original networkDisney Junior[3]
Disney Channel[3]
Original releaseJanuary 11, 2013 (2013-01-11) –
September 8, 2018 (2018-09-08)
Chronology
Related showsElena of Avalor
Elena and the Secret of Avalor

Sofia the First is an American CGI animated children's television series that premiered on November 18, 2012, produced by Disney Television Animation for Disney Channel and Disney Junior. Jamie Mitchell is the director and executive producer and Craig Gerber serves as creator, story editor, and producer. The show follows the adventures of Sofia, voiced by Ariel Winter. Sofia becomes a princess when her mother, Miranda, marries King Roland II of Enchancia. The show features songs by John Kavanaugh and Erica Rothschild and a musical score by Kevin Kliesch.[6]

History[edit]

The series pilot episode "Once Upon a Princess", premiered on November 18, 2012, on Disney Channel, which featured Cinderella. Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty were also introduced as the headmistresses of the royal school. The series itself premiered on January 11, 2013, on Disney Channel during its Disney Junior block. Disney Junior renewed Sofia the First for a second season on March 5, 2013,[7] and then the series was renewed for a third season on January 8, 2014.[8] The show's second double-length episode, The Floating Palace, aired on November 24, 2013, with an appearance from Ariel. The third double-length episode, The Curse of Princess Ivy, aired on November 23, 2014, featuring Rapunzel. On April 14, 2015, the series was renewed for a fourth season by Disney Junior.[9] Gerber clarified in December 2016 that it would begin in spring 2017 and have 24 22-minute episodes plus 2 60-minute specials.[10]

On January 29, 2015, a spin-off series was announced titled Elena of Avalor. The series premiered on July 22, 2016, on Disney Channel. In addition, a television movie premiered on November 20, 2016, titled Elena and the Secret of Avalor, which featured characters from Sofia the First.[11][12]

The three-part series finale special, "Forever Royal" was aired on September 8, 2018.[13]

Plot[edit]

A young girl named Sofia and her widowed mother, Miranda, have lived a peasant life in the kingdom of Enchancia. One day, the widowed King Roland of Enchancia and Miranda fall in love and get married. As she eases into her new role as a princess, Sofia goes on numerous adventures. She also bonds with her new family, including her step-siblings Amber and James and settles into her new royal school, where Flora, Fauna and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty are headmistresses.

Roland gives Sofia an amulet, which blesses her for good deeds and curses her for wrongdoings. She becomes friends with rabbit Clover and birds Mia and Robin after the amulet gives her the ability to communicate with animals. The amulet also links "all the princesses there ever were", calling them to help each other when one is in need. Cedric, the royal sorcerer, regularly attempts to steal Sofia's amulet, knowing of its abilities. Cedric plans to use the power of the amulet to overthrow the royal family and take over the kingdom of Enchancia.

Cast and characters[edit]

Production[edit]

For five years, Disney writers, child-development and early-education experts and storytelling consultants worked to create a television show that would bypass stereotypes of evil stepmothers and girls requiring princes to save them.[14] Disney also wanted it to spawn various merchandise.[15] Craig Gerber, who was writing for the company's Tinker Bell film series,[14] was approached by Disney Junior's Nancy Kanter to create a television series about princesses aimed at children aged two to seven. Though excited to conceive a fantasy world and Princess fairy tale, Gerber wanted the show to be both entertaining and educational, teaching children how to be better people and solutions to social problems. His son often emulated a variety of fantasy characters with whom he had little in common. In the hopes the show could be a "magic mirror" for his son, Gerber employed relatable situations into the fantasy world, which became the genesis for Princess Sofia.[16]

As a child, Gerber lived with his single mother, and her boyfriend and his daughter, whom Gerber considered to be a de-facto stepsister. As an adult, he learnt that when step-siblings and parents were involved, ordinary childhood concerns were typically amplified. Decades later, while attempting to lend a contemporary viewpoint to a fairy tale world, he had an epiphany: He considered the possibilities if Sofia was not born a princess and instead married into a royal family. Step-sisters are a common theme in fairy tales. However, having a mixed royal family that included both a father and a mother appeared to be a prime opportunity to convey stories to which modern children could connect.[16] According to Gerber, Sofia being the child of a single mother provided to a simple method to explore themes of adaptation.[14] He hoped for Sofia to serve as a good role model in a society where many young girls desire to be princesses, demonstrating attributes and learning skills that young girls (and boys) could remember long after.[16] Gerber planned to reference multicultural family dynamics as well.[14]

The editor of Tangled (2010) recommended Kevin Kliesch, who helped orchestrate the film, to Disney Channel as a composer for Sofia the First. The network was positive towards his background, and he booked the job. Kliesch was usually given one to two weeks to write the music, meaning he had to compose for at least three minutes a day to meet this deadline. The score draws upon the sounds of previous Disney films, since the producers hoped to avoid "typical cartoon music".[17] Similarly, in the original songs, Gerber and the composer included aspects of Motown, jazz, and hip-hop music, rather than "cloying kiddie sounds".[14]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
PilotNovember 18, 2012 (2012-11-18)
125January 11, 2013 (2013-01-11)February 14, 2014 (2014-02-14)
230February 28, 2014 (2014-02-28)August 12, 2015 (2015-08-12)
328August 5, 2015 (2015-08-05)March 31, 2017 (2017-03-31)
426April 28, 2017 (2017-04-28)September 8, 2018 (2018-09-08)

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The show's animation and music received praise. IndieWire's Greg Ehrbar commended the fluidity in the cinematography and computer animation;[18] Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media said the "crisp animation ... brings ... Sofia and a well-rounded supporting cast [to life]".[19] The two praised the music as "lively" and "tuneful", respectively, with Ehrbar comparing the "lavishly orchestrated" score to that of a Disney animated feature.[18][19]

Critics lauded the characters. Ashby referred to Sofia as a "[s]punky, well-rounded princess", praising her influence on other characters and requests for advice when needed. She also thought the supporting cast displayed positive traits, such as loyalty, honesty, and friendship.[19] Matt Villano, who writes for Today, enjoyed the titular character's villager friends, whom he believe emulate real-life modern teenagers.[20] Ashby and Villano were positive towards Sofia the First's themes.[19][20] According to the latter, the series does not emphasize the characters' socioeconomic backgrounds and genders, as they can achieve anything they would like with enough determination. He and his wife often attempt to teach their children the morals communicated on the show and feel that "[i]t's nice to know that someone over at Disney finally has our backs".[20]

U.S. television ratings[edit]

According to Dade Hayes, the executive editor of trade publication Broadcasting & Cable, the show was deemed "risky", as it mostly aims to entertain rather than educate.[21] Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess premiered on Disney Channel on November 18, 2012, garnering 8.17 million viewers (when the Live+7 ratings were tabulated), which made it the number one cable TV telecast of all time for kids 2–5 and girls 2–5. It also set a record for the number one preschool cable TV telecast ever in total viewers and for adults 18–49.[22] The January 2013 series premiere was watched by 2.7 million people, making it the second highest-rated weekday preschool cable debut since August 2000.[a] It also became the highest-rated preschool show premiere categories of kids aged 2–5,[b] girls aged 2-5, adults aged 18-49, and women aged 18-49.[23] By March 2013, Sofia the First was cable television's most-viewed program; The New York Times described the show as "a monster-size new hit".[21] In 2014, "The Curse of Princess Ivy" became the series second highest-rated telecast, garnering an average of approximately 4.7 million viewers. Across all television, it was the number one telecast for children and girls aged 2–5.[24]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations received by Sofia the First
Organization Year Category Recipient(s)/Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Annie Awards 2014 Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production For Preschool Children Sofia the First Won
Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Kevin Kliesch, Craig Gerber, and John Kavanaugh Nominated
Daytime Emmy Awards 2014 Outstanding Pre-School Children's Animated Program Sofia the First Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Pre-School Animated Program Doug Cooney, Laurie Israel, Erica Rothschild, Rachel Ruderman, and Craig Gerber Nominated
Outstanding Casting for an Animated Series or Special Brian Mathias Nominated
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Kevin Kliesch Nominated
Outstanding Original Song Craig Gerber (lyrics) and John Kavanaugh (lyrics and composition) (for "I Belong") Nominated
Outstanding Original Song – Main Title and Promo Craig Gerber (lyrics) and John Kavanaugh (lyrics and composition) Won
2015 Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Megan Mullally Nominated
2016 Outstanding Casting for an Animated Series or Special Brian Mathias Nominated
2017 Outstanding Sound Mixing in a Preschool Animated Program Timothy J. Borquez and Nicholas Gotten III Won
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Kevin Kliesch Nominated
2019 Outstanding Original Song in a Children's or Animated Program Craig Gerber (lyrics) and John Kavanaugh (composition) (for "For One and All") Nominated
Humanitas Prize 2017 Children's Animation Laurie Israel and Rachel Ruderman (for "Dads and Daughters Day") Won
2018 Children's Animation Craig Carlisle (for "The Crown of Blossoms") Nominated
TCA Awards 2016 Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming Sofia the First Nominated
2018 Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming Sofia the First Nominated
Young Artist Awards 2015 Best Performance in a Voice-over Role – Young Actor Joshua Carlon Nominated
2019 Best Performance in a Voice-over Role – Teen Artist Nicolas Cantu Nominated

Controversy[edit]

During a press tour in October 2012, a producer identified Sofia as a Latina.[38] The announcement drew both praise and criticism from media outlets.[39] Latinos and fans saw it as a new milestone for Disney and lauded the choice of a light skin tone for a Latina character. Others were critical that she did not have any cultural signifiers or ethnic identity and believed a darker skin tone would better represent the Latina community.[39][40] A Disney Junior general manager later clarified: "Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world. All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures".[41] According to a Disney spokeswoman, Sofia has a mixed fairy-tale heritage; her mother and father are from Galdiz (which is based on Spain) and Freezenburg (which is based on Scandinavia), respectively.[39][42][43]

Distribution[edit]

Home media and streaming[edit]

All four seasons of Sofia the First can be bought on iTunes and Google Play. They can be streamed on Netflix, while the first season is available on FuboTV.[1] Disney has also released several episodes on DVD, including "The Floating Palace",[44] "The Curse of Princess Ivy",[45] and the television film Once Upon a Princess.[46]

Other media[edit]

Spin-off[edit]

Following the controversy regarding Sofia's ethnicity, Gerber noticed the demand for a Latina princess; the idea "bubbled in [his] mind" and partially inspired the creation of spin-off series Elena of Avalor, which stars a Latina princess as its titular character.[47] She is introduced in Sofia the First special episode Elena and the Secret of Avalor, in which Sofia discovers that Elena has been trapped inside her amulet for decades because of an invasion of Avalor by the evil sorceress Shuriki. Sofia and her family travel to Avalor to free Elena and restore the kingdom.[48]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ It was behind Mickey Mouse Clubhouse's premiere, which received 2.8 million viewers.[23]
  2. ^ Tied with Doc McStuffins's premiere[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sofia the First". TV Guide. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  2. ^ "Sofia the First". The Futon Critic. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Disney Jr's 'Sofia The First' Set To Debut January 11". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media, LLC. November 27, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  4. ^ "Toiion-Sofia".
  5. ^ "Sofia the First".
  6. ^ "Kevin Kliesch talks about composing the score for Disney Junior's "Sofia the First"". Media Mikes. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 5, 2013). "Disney Junior's 'Sofia The First' Renewed For Second Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  8. ^ Bibel, Sara (January 8, 2014). "'Sofia The First', 'Doc McStuffins' & 'Jake and the Neverland Pirates' Renewed by Disney Junior". TV by the Numbers. Disney Channel. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  9. ^ Hipes, Patrick (14 April 2015). "'Sofia The First' & 'Doc McStuffins' Renewed At Disney Junior". Retrieved 2015-09-05.
  10. ^ @_CraigGerber (4 December 2016). "@JMRollie 24 22-minute episodes and 2 60-minute specials" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 6 December 2016 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Evans, Greg (June 9, 2016). "Disney Channel Sets Premiere Date For 'Sofia' Spinoff 'Elena Of Avalor'". deadline.com. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  12. ^ Keller, Joel (October 11, 2016). "In Elena and the Secret of Avalor, Jane Fonda Plays Sorceress Who Imprisoned Elena". tvinsider.com. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  13. ^ ""Sofia the First: Forever Royal" Premieres Saturday, September 8, on Disney Junior" (Press release). Disney Channel. July 22, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018 – via Futon Critic. a special extended-length finale episode
  14. ^ a b c d e Rosman, Katherine (April 10, 2013). "Test-Marketing a Modern Princess". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  15. ^ Barnes, Brooks (December 11, 2011). "For Disney, a Younger Princess". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  16. ^ a b c Gerber, Craig (November 16, 2012). "Why I Created Disney's Newest Princess". HuffPost. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  17. ^ Kliesch, Kevin (June 5, 2014). "Kevin Kliesch talks about composing the score for Disney Junior's "Sofia the First"". MediaMikes (Interview). Interviewed by Mike Gencarelli. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  18. ^ a b Ehrbar, Greg (April 11, 2013). "DVD Review: Disney's Sofia The First". IndieWire. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  19. ^ a b c d Ashby, Emily. "Sofia the First". Common Sense Media. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  20. ^ a b c Villano, Matt (March 6, 2013). "Dad's view: The one Disney princess I actually love". Today. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  21. ^ a b Barnes, Brooks; Chozick, Amy (March 31, 2013). "New Disney Characters Make It Big in TV's Preschool Playground". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  22. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda. "Disney Channel's 'Sofia the First' Crowned #1 Cable TV Telecast Ever in Kids 2-5". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  23. ^ a b c "Disney Jr's 'Sofia The First' Premiere Tops Cable TV Ratings". Deadline Hollywood. January 14, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  24. ^ Kissell, Rick (December 2, 2014). "'Sofia the First' Special Scores in Ratings for Disney Channel". Variety. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  25. ^ "Annie Awards 2014: Complete list of winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. December 2, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  26. ^ "Daytime Emmy Nominations: 'Young And The Restless' Leads With 26 Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. May 1, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  27. ^ Swift, Andy (June 21, 2014). "PBS Dominates 2014 Daytime Creative Emmy Awards — Full Winners List". TVLine. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  28. ^ "Daytime Emmy Awards 2015: Complete Winners List". TheWrap. April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  29. ^ "The National Academy of Television Arts & Science Announces the 43rd Daytime Emmy® Award Nominations" (PDF) (Press release). National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  30. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (April 30, 2017). "2017 Daytime Emmy Award Winners". Animation Magazine. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  31. ^ "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces Nominations for the 46th Annual Emmy® Awards" (PDF) (Press release). National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. p. 130. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  32. ^ Patten, Dominic (February 22, 2017). "'Hidden Figures', 'Hacksaw Ridge' & '13th' Among Humanitas Prize Winners". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  33. ^ Sandberg, Bryn (January 10, 2018). "Humanitas Prize Finalists Announced for 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  34. ^ Stanhope, Kate (August 3, 2016). "'Mr. Robot' and 'The People v. O.J. Simpson' Top 2016 TCA Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  35. ^ Turchiano, Danielle (June 19, 2018). "'Killing Eve,' 'Atlanta,' 'GLOW' Among 2018 TCA Award Nominees". Variety. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  36. ^ "2015 Nominations & Results". Young Artist Foundation. Archived from the original on November 19, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  37. ^ "Nominees 2019". Young Artist Academy. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  38. ^ Rome, Emily; Mitchell, Jamie (16 October 2012). "'Sofia the First': Disney's first Hispanic princess?". Entertainment Weekly. She is Latina, .. It's sort of a matter-of-fact situation rather than an overt thing.
  39. ^ a b c Rodriguez, Cindy (19 October 2012). "Backlash for Disney's first Latina princess". CNN. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  40. ^ Driscoll, Molly (October 23, 2012). "Princess Sofia and Skinny Minnie: Disney characters suffer backlash". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved June 19, 2022.
  41. ^ Rodriguez, Cindy; Kanter, Nancy (25 October 2012). "Disney producer 'misspoke': 'First Latina princess' isn't Latina". CNN. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  42. ^ Sieczkowski, Cavan; Kanter, Nancy (23 October 2012). "Princess Sofia Is Not Latina, Says Disney". Huffington Post. Sofia's mom comes from a fictitious land, Galdiz, which was inspired by Spain.
  43. ^ Gicas, Peter; Gerber, Craig (22 October 2013). "Disney Backpedal? Mouse House Now Says New Princess Sofia Is Not Latina After Controversy Erupts". Eonline. A mixed-heritage princess in a fairy-tale world. Her mother is originally from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Spain (Galdiz) and her birth father hailed from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Scandinavia.
  44. ^ Edelman, Amelia; Lopez, Lindsey Hunter (June 10, 2020). "50 Movies for Preschoolers & Toddlers — That Aren't Too Scary". SheKnows. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  45. ^ Sims, Tony (March 16, 2015). "GeekDad Giveaway: 'Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy' Surprise Pack". GeekDad. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  46. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (March 5, 2013). "Disney Junior's 'Sofia the First' Renewed for Second Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  47. ^ Williams, Angela (July 21, 2016). "10 Things You Should Know About Disney's Newest Princess, 'Elena of Avalor'". ABC News. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  48. ^ "Disney Junior Launching 'Sofia The First' Spinoff 'Elena Of Avalor' In 2016". Deadline Hollywood. January 29, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2022.

External links[edit]