Space Racers

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Space Racers
SapceRacersLogo.png
Also known asSpace Race, The Space Racers
GenreAnimated
Children
Educational
Science Fiction
Created byRichard Schweiger and Julian Cohen
Developed byAllan Neuwirth and Mark Risley
Written byAllan Neuwirth, David H. Steinberg, Kate Boutilier, David Steven Cohen, Gabe Pulliam, Louise Gikow, Sam Dransfield, Davey Moore, Donna Logan, Phil Lollar, George Arthur Bloom, Angelo DeCesare, Ann Aptaker, Jim Kierstead, Richard Fegen, Andy Yerkes, P. Kevin Strader, Michael Daedalus Kenny, Chad Burke, Julian Cohen
Directed byMark Risley
Creative director(s)David Michael Friend
Theme music composerJody Gray
Opening themeJody Gray, Allan Neuwirth, David Cohen
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)Various
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes40 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Michael Matays, Charles Matays, Matthias Schmitt
Producer(s)Space Race, LLC, Mark Risley, Allan Neuwirth
Running time22–23 minutes
Production company(s)Space Race, LLC
Maryland Public Television (Season 1)
WNET New York (Season 2)
DistributorCake Entertainment (internationally)
PBS Kids
American Public Television (2014–2016)
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (2016–present)
Release
Original networkPBS Kids/Universal Kids (U.S.)
Knowledge Kids/TVO Kids (Canada)
Original releaseWeb series:
March 22, 2011 (2011-03-22) – April 29, 2011 (2011-04-29)
Television series:
May 2, 2014 (2014-05-02) –
present
External links
Website

Space Racers is an American CGI STEM-focused educational animated television series featuring the cadets of the Stardust Space Academy. The show began as a web series on March 22, 2011 entitled Space Race, then debuted as a television series on May 2, 2014 for public television on PBS Kids. The first season was produced under the auspicies of Maryland Public Television.[1] The second season of Space Racers debuted on October 31, 2016 as a commercial effort on NBCUniversal's Sprout, since rebranded to Universal Kids. The series is produced by Space Race, LLC. and is one of the longest-running series that ran on PBS Kids and Universal Kids.[2] The show features contributions and fundings from NASA involving science and space technology education, and also maintains partnerships with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and U.S. Space Camp.

Even though the show is rated TV-Y7, the show is rated TV-Y on PBS Kids and Universal Kids.

Premise[edit]

Space Racers is an educational animated television series. The show follows the Space Racers cadets, a group of anthropomorphic spaceships resembling and named after various species of birds, as they travel the solar system exploring space through assigned missions. The main characters—Eagle, Hawk, Raven, Robyn, and Starling—are cadets at the Stardust Space Academy, and each episode they discover a series of space-based scientific discoveries. The cadets spend each episode traveling through outer space.[3][4][5]

Characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Eagle (Yuri Lowenthal): A natural fearless leader and very fast cadet at the Stardust Space Academy endowed with much confidence, Eagle is a member and the unofficial leader of the Space Racers. He is also Hawk's best friend. Eagle is naturally competitive and rarely backs down from a challenge, is helped by his intense focus. As the fastest out of all the cadets his age, he can sometimes get a bit overconfident in himself and his skills, and it can go to his head, causing him to become a bit cocky. His natural leadership skills and confidence can also cause him to not listen to others when he thinks that his way is the best way. However, he is not afraid to admit that he has made a mistake and try to correct it.
  • Hawk (Meyer DeLeeuw): A powerful and brave cadet at the Stardust Space Academy and a member of the Space Racers. He is also Eagle's best friend. The only thing bigger than Hawk is his heart. He also has the ability to memorize anything that he sees or hears, even if he doesn't understand it!
  • Raven (Johnny Yong Bosch): An extremely fast cadet at the Stardust Space Academy who loves to race, Raven shares a healthy rivalry with Eagle, who is regarded as the fastest Space Racers cadet. Raven is always ready to learn new things and help out if needed. Raven can be overly prideful and selfish, which can cloud his judgement and cause him to do things that he doesn't always think through first. However, he will own up to his mistakes and try to put things right in the end.
  • Robyn (Alicyn Packard): A very smart cadet at the Stardust Space Academy. Robyn is inquisitive and a keen observer, and loves finding about new things from books. A so-called "whiz kid," she is the best precision flyer on the team, as her knowledge of physics gives her a big advantage. Starling is like a younger sister to her.
  • Starling (Melissa Hutchison): A junior cadet at the Stardust Space Academy. While Starling may be small, no one can say she is short of enthusiasm or ambition! She looks up to the older Cadets a lot, especially Eagle, who she wants to be like when she gets older. She also displays a sense of courage that is more suited a rocket twice her size! She is currently in training to become a Space Racer like her friends. Robyn is like an older sister to her.

Recurring[edit]

Minor[edit]

  • AVA (Melissa Hutchison): The academy AI that runs the systems for the Space Academies and assists all Racers with navigation and any questions they may have.
  • Crow (Katie Leigh): A junior cadet at the Stardust Space Academy, and Sparrow's best friend.
  • Sparrow (Alicyn Packard): A junior cadet at the Stardust Space Academy, and Crow's best friend.
  • Headmaster Crane (Phil Lollar): He is the headmaster, and a teacher at the Stardust Space Academy. With years of experience, Crane knows more about space than probably any other craft alive. Quiet and reserved, he is the leader of the Stardust Space Academy, and an accomplished flyer. He is also allergic to flowers as revealed in "The Happiest Rocket in the World".
  • Coot (Joseph J. Terry): He is an instructor and professor at the Stardust Space Academy.
  • Coach Pigeon (Danny Katiana, season 1, and Rick Zieff, season 2): He instructs cadets in flying techniques at the Stardust Space Academy. He was formerly the famous racer, Swift Starlight, which was revealed by Robyn in "Ace Space Reporter", who discovered the truth about his past and agreed not to reveal to anyone else his identity.
  • Sandpiper (Katie Leigh): She is a famous Space Racer and a well-known explorer. She is roughly the same age as Headmaster Crane, Coot, and Vulture, who she attended Stardust Space Academy together with. As revealed in "Hawk's Valentine", she previously had a crush on Headmaster Crane.
  • Vulture (Joseph J. Terry): He is chairman of the school board at the Stardust Space Academy. His full name is Rapacious J. Vulture, who is usually referred to by just his last name.
  • Dodo (Phil Lollar): He is Vulture's bumbling assistant, and helps with all of his schemes.

Other[edit]

  • Kiwi: A junior cadet at the Stardust Space Academy. Appeared in "Hawk's Valentine".
  • Trogon (Danny Katiana): A Russian rocket scientist who works in the crater, the giant warehouse on Mars, and Deep Space Station Gagarin. He also graduated from the Sputnik Space Academy. Appears in "Cranberry Crater", "Great Balls of Fuel", "Return to Sender", and "M is For Meteorite" (pictured).
  • Dinky: An assistant robot created by Coot, who once escaped from Coot's laboratory. Appears in "Three Racers and a Baby Robot", "Paint Your Rocket", "Return to Sender", "That'll Teach You!", and "Ships in a Bottle".
  • Merlin: A cadet at the Stardust Space Academy. He was "born" with one wing smaller than the other, and rather than getting it replaced, kept it. Appears in "Different".
  • Loon (Danny Katiana): The eccentric, energetic, and beloved Senior Chief Engineer at Lunar Base Alpha. He is also referred to by Vulture as the Senior Officer at the moon base, and mentions that he has been working on the base since its construction. At one point Eagle asks him how long ago he was "young", to which Loon estimated the time to be 260 years. Appears in "Loon on the Moon".
  • Mallard: Hawk's cousin. Appears in "To Tell the Truth".
  • Giotto Probe (Allan Neuwirth): A probe who once tried to help the cadets who were stuck in a Proton storm. Appears in "Them's the Brakes".
  • Falcon Fairflight: A famous racer who challenged Swift Starlight to a race. Falcon was another well known racer who raced Swift in the last race of his career. Racing around the moon and back, Swift allowed Falcon to take the lead and then mysteriously disappeared. Falcon ended up winning the race by default. Falcon is also the father of his son, Raven. He currently graduated from the Stardust Space Academy. Appears in "Ace Space Reporter" and "Remember the Past, Discover the Future".
  • Kite: He is a cadet at the Stardust Space Academy who was transferred from another school. He originally bullied Crow when he first arrived. Appears in "New Cadet on the Block".
  • Fizzy Finchfuzz (Allan Neuwirth): Owner of the Fizzy Fuel Pop Company. Appears in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Galaxy".
  • Budgie: She was Hawk's former best friend while growing up, until her family moved away. Mentioned in "The Rocket with Two Brains".
  • Sojourner (Katie Leigh): An original rover found on Mars. Appears in "Mars Map Mystery".
  • Lark (Kalynn Harrington): A junior cadet at the Stardust Space Academy. Appears in "Space Girl Explorers".
  • Magpie: A cadet at the Stardust Space Academy. Appears in "Space Girl Explorers".
  • Warbler: A cadet at the Stardust Space Academy. Appears in "Space Girl Explorers".
  • Questy: A program on the old Quest-1 satellite. He/She was an old friend of AVA. Questy was male in Season 1, but was made female in Season 2.

Roles[edit]

Character Role
Eagle Cadet
Hawk
Raven
Robyn
Starling Jr Cadet
Crow
Sparrow
AVA the academy AI
Crane Headmaster
Coot faculty – Engineering, Sciences
Pigeon faculty – Coach
Sandpiper faculty – astro sciences
Vulture academy Chairman
Dodo assistant to Vulture
Trogon Russian rocket scientist
Loon senior chief engineer / officer at Lunar Base Alpha

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
Webisodes8March 22, 2011 (2011-03-22)April 29, 2011 (2011-04-29)PBS Kids (U.S.)
Knowledge Kids (Canada)
126May 2, 2014 (2014-05-02)October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
220October 31, 2016 (2016-10-31) (U.S.)
November 9, 2017 (2017-11-09) (Canada)
November 22, 2018 (2018-11-22) (U.S.)
March 20, 2018 (2018-03-20) (Canada)
Universal Kids (U.S.)
TVO Kids (Canada)

Production and development[edit]

The series concept was developed by Richard Schweiger, who wanted to create a show based around animated vehicles that travel through space. In 2009, Schweiger and Julian Cohen developed the idea into a feature-film script, which won a screenwriting award. In 2010, Schweiger formed the company that would produce Space Racers, and instead of pursuing a film, decided to turn the concept into a television series.[3][4] The idea developed into fifty individual 11 minute episodes for broadcast.[5]

Collaborations[edit]

The Space Racers TV series was produced in collaboration with NASA experts, with input from NASA experts on science-based facts incorporated into the episodes. The show also features NASA scientists and astronauts in live action interstitials. The Space Racers creators have also developed a website where viewers can find a preschool science curriculum on space science, which was developed in collaboration THIRTEEN productions (WNET) and SiiTE. SpaceRacers.com has a section for family-based education as well for educators and parents.[4] Special screenings of episodes have been held at both the Kennedy Space Center and the Wallops NASA Visitor Center, in collaboration with Maryland Public Television.[4][6] In July 2014, the Virginia Air and Space Center opened a Space Racers-themed exhibit.[7]

Origins as Space Race (2011–2014)[edit]

On March 22, 2011, it originally launched as a web series on PBS Kids under the name Space Race.[8] It featured 4 characters/webisodes at launch, with two more webisodes released on April 22, 2011, and the last two on April 29, 2011.[9] In total, there were 8 characters/webisodes (with 2 characters not returning in the TV series). All eight of the characters were interviewed by Gary Galaxy (played by Meyer DeLeeuw), a 3D Galaxy Adventure game, printables, and the “What Spaceship are You?” widget. As of today, the site and the webisodes (with the exception of the first webisode and trailer) are considered to be lost media.

Relaunch as Space Racers (2014–present)[edit]

On January 4, 2014, it was announced that the web series would relaunch as a television series under the new name Space Racers, with 7 of the characters remodeled and having new roles, along with 6 new characters.

Season one of Space Racers consists of 26 half-hour episodes, first airing on May 2, 2014. The first season was distributed by Maryland Public Television, American Public Television, and PBS Kids.[10] The show's head writer was Allan Neuwirth, its director was Mark Risley, and its executive producers were Brenda Wooding as well as show creators Richard Schweiger and Julian Cohen.[11] Episodes would contain two eleven-minute animated segments, offset by live-action sections between them. The U.S. premiere of the first season was on May 2, 2014.[3][4][5] The show's world broadcast debut on February 15, 2014 in New Zealand.[3]

Season two of Space Racers consists of 20 half-hour episodes, first airing on October 31, 2016 on Sprout. The second season was distributed by WNET, PBS Kids, and NBCUniversal.[12] The show's head writer was again Allan Neuwirth, its director was Mark Risley, and its executive producers were Michael Matays, Charles Matays, and Matthias Schmitt. Episodes contain two eleven-minute animated segments, offset by interstitials, live-action sections, or commercial sections between them. The U.S. premiere of the second season was on October 31, 2016.[13]

Cake Television is the international distributor for the show.[14]

Broadcast[edit]

The show aired on PBS Kids since May 2, 2014 (second-runs since October 31, 2016), and Universal Kids since October 31, 2016 in the United States of America, Knowledge Kids from May 2, 2014 to November 26, 2015, and TVO Kids since November 27, 2015 (only the 2nd season is being broadcast currently) in Canada. The show is also available worldwide on Netflix for the first season, and YouTube for the second season. The series is currently available for online streaming on Viu in Singapore.

International[edit]

Country Network(s) Language Foreign Title
United States United States PBS Kids
Universal Kids
English N/A
Canada Canada Knowledge Kids
TVO Kids[15]
Worldwide Netflix
YouTube
Hispanic (U.S) V-me
V-me Kids
Spanish Exploradores Espaciales
(Space Explorers)
Argentina Argentina Fox
Nat Geo Kids
Brazil Brazil Nat Geo Kids Brazilian
Portuguese
Exploradores Espaciais
(Space Explorers)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Europe Europe
Minimax English N/A
Malaysia Malaysia TV2
France France France 5[16] French
Poland Poland MiniMini+
TVP ABC
Polish Kosmoloty (Spaceships)

Awards[edit]

Space Racers has won several awards in children's broadcasting including the American Public Television (APT) Programming Excellence Award in 2014 and a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award in 2015.[17] [18]

Merchandise[edit]

Space Racers merchandise was introduced in November 2018. There are vehicle toys, plush toys, T-shirts, and Activity and Coloring Books. Space Racers merchandise is available for view at www.spaceracerstoys.com

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ramin Zahed (October 25, 2013). "'Space Racers' to Premiere on Public Television this Spring". Animation Magazine. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  2. ^ Petski, Denise (May 1, 2017). "Sprout Rebranding To Universal Kids Network With 'Top Chef Junior', DreamWorks Animation Series".
  3. ^ a b c d Elizabeth Howell (March 6, 2014). "'Space Racers' TV Show Brings The Adorable (And The Science) To Preschoolers". Universe Today. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e "NASA Wallops Visitor Center Hosting "Space Racers" Program for Kids". NASA. June 12, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Hillary Busis (October 24, 2013). "NASA-approved 'Space Racers' coming to public television in 2014". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  6. ^ "Special viewing of preschool television program, Space Racers". Kennedy Space Center. July 11, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  7. ^ Paitsel, Nicole. "New exhibit for kids opens at Hampton's Virginia Air and Space Center". dailypress.com.
  8. ^ "SPACE RACE Animated Web Series Ready for Lift Off". Business Wire. March 22, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  9. ^ "Web Series "Space Race" Expands With Two New Episodes". Cartoon Brew. April 22, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  10. ^ Zahed, Ramin (October 25, 2013). "'Space Racers' to Premiere on Public Television this Spring".
  11. ^ "Space Racers: Synopsis". Cake Entertainment. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  12. ^ "New Preschool Show 'Space Racers' Launches Tomorrow on Sprout". BroadwayWorld.com. November 4, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  13. ^ Jennifer Wolfe (February 28, 2017). "CAKE to Launch 'Space Racers' Second Season". Animation World Network. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  14. ^ "CAKE to distribute new space-themed series".
  15. ^ "Space Racers | TVOKids.com". www.tvokids.com.
  16. ^ Jennifer Wolfe (March 31, 2014). "CAKE's 'Space Racers' Lands on France 5". Animation World Network. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  17. ^ Multiple Industry Awards Presented, Nearly 100 Titles Screened: American Public Television's Fall Marketplace 2014, American Public Television, November 19, 2014
  18. ^ Parents' Choice Award Winners: Television, Parents' Choice Award, January 22, 2015

External links[edit]