Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?
|Where on Earth is
|Developed by||Phil Harnage|
|Written by||Kimmer Ringwald
|Directed by||Michael Maliani
|Voices of||Rita Moreno
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||40 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Andy Heyward
Michael E. Uslan
|Editor(s)||Miriam L. Preissel|
|Running time||30 minutes (with commercials)|
|Distributor||The Program Exchange (1994 – 2016)
DHX Media (2016 - present)
20th Television (UK airings; 1994-present)
|Original release||February 5, 1994– January 2, 1999|
|Related shows||Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?
Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? is an American animated television series based on the series of computer games. The show was produced by DIC Entertainment/Program Exchange and originally aired Saturday mornings on FOX during the Fox Kids block. Its episodes have subsequently been repeated on the Fox Family, PAX and the short-lived girlzChannel. Reruns of the series currently air on The Worship Network and Qubo. The series won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Animated Program in 1995 and in the same year was spun off into a Where in the World-styled video game entitled Carmen Sandiego Junior Detective. Its theme tune bears a close resemblace to the chorus 'Singt der großen Bassa Lieder' ('Sing songs of the great Pasha') from Mozart's opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The abduction from the Seraglio)
The script for every Earth episode had to meet the approval of Brøderbund Software, which created and, at the time, owned the Carmen franchise. Their cause for concern was the level of the violence on other FOX children's shows such as X-Men and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Brøderbund did not require this of the creators of the World and Time game shows that aired on PBS, presumably since PBS, as the creator of such shows as Sesame Street, had a long-standing reputation for non-violent educational children's programming. The lead characters of Earth were featured in Carmen Sandiego Junior Detective, released in 1995. The opening theme song for the show is "Singt dem großen Bassa Lieder" from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail with new lyrics, pop instrumentation and a backbeat.
Post Earth (2000-present)
On June 13, 2006, Shout! Factory and Sony BMG Music Entertainment released the first season on DVD. Due to poor sales, no further seasons were released. LionsGate Entertainment has released two of the show's three-part episodes ("Retribution" and "Labyrinth") as full-length direct-to-video films entitled "Carmen's Revenge" and "Time Traveler," respectively. A video of the episode "Timing is Everything" is included with some versions of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Treasures of Knowledge.
On July 22, 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that they had acquired the rights to the series and planned on releasing it in its entirety in 2012. They subsequently released Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? - The Complete series on DVD in Region 1 on February 21, 2012. This 4-disc set contains all 40 episodes of the series. They also released a 10 episode best-of collection the same day. These releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.
On June 6, 2017, Mill Creek re-released the complete series on DVD in Region 1.
Plot and characters
Following the plot of the Carmen Sandiego franchise, Earth sees international thief Carmen Sandiego (voiced by Rita Moreno) lead the organization V.I.L.E. in stealing treasures from around the world and leaving clues behind for ACME agents Zack (voiced by Scott Menville) and Ivy (voiced by Jennifer Hale), under the guidance of the Chief (voiced by Rodger Bumpass), to find in order to capture her. In this version, Carmen Sandiego is a former agent of ACME who left when she sought a greater challenge and has a strong code of ethics when stealing items. The Player is a live-action unseen character who bookends acts by communicating with Carmen; it is implied that to them the television series is a video game that they are playing from a computer.
While Carmen is originally presented as the show's antagonist, as the series progresses she becomes more like an anti-hero; other characters who assume the role of "villain" include: former Carmen henchwoman and mad scientist Dr. Sara Bellum who goes rogue, a hostile and violent criminal Dr. Gunnar Maelstrom (voiced by Tim Curry) who sought revenge on Carmen for capturing him in 1985 when she was a detective, Mason Dixon, a henchman who betrayed V.I.L.E. and Lee Jordan (voiced by David Coburn), a conceited and unscrupulous agent who once caught Carmen, but since became embittered by his fame and the lack of challenge; he left ACME and wanted to become a V.I.L.E. agent, but his philosophies clashed with those of Carmen, so he was fired.
The show was given a rating of 4 stars out of 5 by Common Sense Media, noting that the format of the show - which includes trivia sessions between acts, vocabulary definitions, and the use of foreign languages—is "designed to pique kids’ interest in these subjects". DVD Talk noted that the show exceeded the obligatory action of comedy of a cartoon, by respecting its audience with an intelligent sensibility rarely seen in children's television.
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