|Created by||Angela C. Santomero|
|Theme music composer||Steve D'Angelo|
|Opening theme||"Who's Got the Power?"|
|Ending theme||"Hip Hip Hooray" (Instrumental, S1-2)|
"Super Readers to the Rescue" (Instrumental, S3)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||103 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||September 3, 2007 –|
May 12, 2016
|Zack & Quack|
Super Why! (stylized as Super WHY!) is a CGI-animated superhero preschool television series created by Angela C. Santomero for PBS Kids and aimed for preschoolers ages 3 to 6. The series, produced by New York City-based Out of the Blue Enterprises in association with Toronto-based C.O.R.E. Toons (animation for season 1 only, being the company's final show produced before their closure on March 15, 2010), Gallus Entertainment (animation for season 2 only) and DHX Media (originally through its Decode Entertainment division for season one), was distributed by PBS in the United States, Decode Enterprises for season 1 and DHX Distribution for seasons 2 and 3.
Originally created as a stop motion pilot in 1999 by Cuppa Coffee Animation that was pitched to Nickelodeon/Nick Jr. but later shown at the 2000 Annecy Film Festival, the show was eventually picked up by PBS Kids, changing the animation to CGI. The show debuted on September 3, 2007 and ended on May 12, 2016 after nearly a decade with a total of 103 episodes across three seasons.
The show is set in Storybrook Village, where the titular character, Whyatt Beanstalk, lives with his friends Woofster (first appearing in season 2), Littlest Pig, Red Riding Hood, and Princess Pea. In each of the episodes, one of the main characters (sometimes two characters, or even all five) has a "super big problem", a "super big question", or a "super big mystery". The main characters then discuss their situation at the Book Club, agreeing to look and fly in a book of a famous story to resolve it.
The goal of the Super Readers is to follow the storyline of the book. As they progress through the events of the story, they encounter various obstacles, which can be solved by applying their literacy skills to change the story. As they overcome each of these obstacles, they are rewarded with red glittery "Super Letters" that form the solution to whatever scenario they're investigating.
At the conclusion of the adventure, the Super Readers fly back to the Book Club. The Super Letters are put onto the giant computer screen and are spelled out to show the "Super Story Answer". Then, one of the Super Readers gives the reason why that particular word or phrase serves as the solution to their issue or mystery.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||65||September 3, 2007||November 15, 2010|
|2||15||September 12, 2011||October 11, 2012|
|3||23||August 17, 2015||May 12, 2016|
- Whyatt Beanstalk/Super Why (voiced by Nicholas Castel Vanderburgh in season 1, Nicholas Kaegi in season 2, and Johnny Orlando in season 3) is the host of the series and leader of the Super Readers. He is the brother of Jack, the protagonist of the English folktale of the same name, and lives with his parents Mrs. Beanstalk and Mr. Beanstalk, who write and illustrate stories together, along with his baby sister, Joy. Jack appears in some episodes but is generally away at college. His symbols are a blue book and a question mark and his signature colors are green and blue. He has "the power to read", which focuses on vocabulary.
- Littlest Pig/Alpha Pig (voiced by Zachary Bloch in seasons 1-2 and Samuel Faraci in season 3) is referred to in the credits as "The Littlest Pig," he introduces himself at the book club as "P is for Pig!" but throughout the show, he is simply known as "Pig". He enjoys pretending and dressing up like his father, who is a construction worker. His symbol is a triangle and his signature colors are blue-violet and orange. He has "alphabet power", which focuses on the alphabet, as well as a toolbox with various equipment in it.
- Little Red Riding Hood/Wonder Red (voiced by Siera Florindo in seasons 1-2 and T.J. McGibbon in season 3) is referred to as "Red" in the TV series. The title character from the fairy tale, she only refers to herself as "Red Riding Hood". Her symbol is a spiral and her signature colors are red and purple. She has "word power", which focuses on rhyming and word families like "OP", "AT", "UN", "UMP", "OG", etc. In the episode "Judith's Happy Chanukah", it is revealed that Red is Jewish, as she invites Whyatt over to her grandma's house for Hanukkah.
- Princess Pea/Princess Presto (voiced by Tajja Isen) was named after the children's story "The Princess and the Pea", and her parents are the prince and princess from the story. Her symbol is a star, which matches her Magic Spelling Wand and her signature colors are pink and green. She has "spelling power", which focuses on spelling.
- Pup/Woofster (voiced by Joanne Vannicola) is a brown dog owned by Whyatt and his family. His symbol is a dog bone and his signature colors are blue and red. He has dictionary power, which allows him to find the meaning to any word.
Super Why! was received positively on Common Sense Media, where reviewer Emily Ashby rates the show 4/5 in the categories positive messages, positive role models, and educational value. Ashby's review additionally states while extremely mild sequences of suspense and peril do occur and how the show partnered with Post Consumer Brands for a branded cereal, there are low amounts of violence/scariness and consumerism, as well as no sexual content, profanity, or drinking, drugs, and smoking. Ashby additionally credits the merit of the show to its usage of classic children's fairy tales and the usage of characters from them, specifically the Three Little Pigs.
Susan Stewart, a reviewer for The New York Times, criticized the show for taking classic fairy tales with traditionally dark lessons, specifically the Three Little Pigs and Hansel and Gretel, and morph them into etiquette lessons. Stewart also criticized the use of interactive questions for viewers to answer and their length, specifically questions like "what comes after the letter E?". Despite its flaws, Stewart does state that the show is brilliant in educational value.
Promotions and other media
In 2012, a live show was launched across the United States, titled Super Why Live: You've Got the Power. Produced by SB2N entertainment, Super Why Live was promoted for having aerial stunts and "cutting-edge technology", and due to its high levels of audience engagement, was jokingly referred to by Santomero as “‘the Rocky Horror Picture Show’ for preschoolers”. The show, which follows Super Why, Alpha Pig, Wonder Red, Princess Presto, and Woofster, premiered in Monroe, Louisiana and toured into spring 2013, where the tour concluded in Albany, New York on May 10.
The live show's soundtrack was produced by Jack Antonoff, who consulted his preschool daughter for her reaction to the series and how to compose for it. Antonoff noted that being natively skilled in indie rock, writing for the show was not very different, though the lyrics needed to be much less open to interpretation and easy to understand when composing for a young audience.
- ^ "Official Program FAQ". PBS. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- ^ "Portfolio". www.cuppacoffee.com:80. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
- ^ "Film Index". www.annecy.org. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
- ^ "Will Super Why! Return For a Season 4 on PBS // Renewed or Canceled? | TV Next Season". tvnextseason.com. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
- ^ "About Super Why | PBS Kids Shows". PBS KIDS for Parents. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
- ^ "Super Why! - TV Review". www.commonsensemedia.org. February 20, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
- ^ Stewart, Susan (September 10, 2007). "And They All Read Happily Ever After". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
- ^ "Super Why! live show set to fly". Retrieved September 22, 2022.
- ^ Rodman, Sarah (April 6, 2013). "PBS's 'Super Why!' comes to life onstage". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
- ^ Super Why Live: Spring 2013 Tour Announcement!, retrieved September 22, 2022
- ^ Lopez, Korina. "Jack Antonoff adds some fun. to Super Why! Live tour". USA Today. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
- 2000s American animated television series
- 2000s Canadian animated television series
- 2010s American animated television series
- 2010s Canadian animated television series
- 2007 American television series debuts
- 2007 Canadian television series debuts
- 2016 American television series endings
- 2016 Canadian television series endings
- American children's animated comedy television series
- American children's animated drama television series
- American children's animated superhero television series
- American computer-animated television series
- American preschool education television series
- American television series with live action and animation
- Canadian children's animated comedy television series
- Canadian children's animated drama television series
- Canadian children's animated superhero television series
- Canadian computer-animated television series
- Canadian preschool education television series
- Canadian television series with live action and animation
- Animated preschool education television series
- 2000s preschool education television series
- 2010s preschool education television series
- English-language television shows
- CBC Television original programming
- Family Jr. original programming
- PBS Kids shows
- PBS original programming
- Reading and literacy television series
- Animated television series about children
- Animated television series about pigs
- Crossover animated television series
- Television series by DHX Media
- Television series by 9 Story Media Group
- Television series created by Angela Santomero
- Television shows based on fairy tales