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|
|Executive producer(s)||Michael E. Uslan
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.
The need for the show was facilitated by the Children's Television Act, which aimed to increase the amount of educational children's programming on television. Said Andy Heyward, CEO of DIC in March 1994, "I would like to say that people felt it was a competitive property in its own right, but I think that Congress pushed it over the top." 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 will re-release 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 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 VILE 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.
- Mangan, Jennifer (1994-05-04). "'Educating Rita". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- "DIC, Brøderbund to Develop Animated Series". The Los Angeles Times. June 26, 1990. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2007.
- "Kyranthia.net". Kyranthia.net. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- "Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego DVD news: Where on Earth is a DVD? Amazon Answers With a Shout!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
- "Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego DVD news: Detailed Disc Contents & Rear Cover Art For Shout!'s Carmen DVDs". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
- "DVD Review: Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?". The Trades. Archived from the original on 2010-03-16. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- "Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego DVD news: Announcement for The Complete Series and The Best Of". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
- Rito Moreno's Voice Stars in 'The Complete Series'...Back on DVD!
- "Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? TV Review". Commonsensemedia.org. 2013-12-07. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- "Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2016-03-30.