The Penguins of Madagascar
|The Penguins of Madagascar|
|Created by|| Characters:|
|Directed by|| Bret Haaland|
|Starring|| Tom McGrath|
James Patrick Stuart
Kevin Michael Richardson
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||92 (aired) 7 (unaired)|
|Executive producer(s)|| Mark McCorkle|
Bob Schooley<ref name="comingsoon.net"/>
|Location|| Nickelodeon Animation Studios|
|Running time||Approx. 11 minutes (11-minute episodes; 3 double-length specials)|
|Picture format|| 480i (SDTV)|
|First shown in||United States|
|Original run||29 November 2008 – present|
|Preceded by|| Madagascar (2005)|
The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper (2005)
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
|Followed by|| Merry Madagascar (2009)|
Madagascar 3 (2012)<ref>"Movies: About Madagascar 3", The New York Times. </ref>
The Penguins of Madagascar is an American Computer-generated imagery (CGI) animated television series airing on Nickelodeon. It stars nine characters from the DreamWorks Animation animated film Madagascar: the penguins Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Jeff Bennett), Private (James Patrick Stuart), and Rico (John DiMaggio); the lemurs King Julien (Danny Jacobs), Maurice (Kevin Michael Richardson), and Mort (Andy Richter); and Mason (Conrad Vernon) and Phil the chimpanzees. Characters new to the series include Marlene the otter (Nicole Sullivan) and a zookeeper named Alice (Mary Scheer).
A pilot episode, "Gone in a Flash", aired as part of "Superstuffed Nicktoons Weekend" on 29 November 2008 before a new episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, and The Penguins of Madagascar became a regular series on 28 March 2009. The series takes place after the events of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (with elements from the Penguins' Christmas Caper intact; noticeably, Rico's scar and mohawk). Nickelodeon ordered 26 episodes for season 1 and in January 2009 ordered a second season of 26 episodes, bringing the total to 52.<ref>Ed Liu (January 9, 2009). PR: Nickelodeon Greenlights 26 More Episodes of "The Penguins of Madagascar. ToonZone.net. Retrieved on April 12, 2009.</ref> This is the first Nicktoon produced with DreamWorks Animation. The series premiere drew 6.1 million viewers, setting a new record as the most-watched premiere.<ref>Nickelodeon Nabs Ratings Records With Kids' Choice, 'Penguins'. tvweek.com. Retrieved on March 30, 2009.</ref><ref>AWN (June 16, 2009). Nick's Penguins is Basic Cable's # 1 Kids' Show with Total Viewers for the Week | AWN | Animation World Network. AWN. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref><ref>Nickelodeon Upfront 2010: Top-Ranked Nickelodeon Announces its 2010-11 Season Programming Slate at Annual Upfront Presentation | Nick and More! - Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, The Hub - News, TV Schedules, Show Information. Nick and More! (March 3, 2010). Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref> The show finished 2010 as the number two animated program on television among kids age 2-11 and in basic cable total viewers, with only SpongeBob SquarePants ahead in the ratings.<ref>Nickelodeon is 2010's Top-Ranked Cable Network, Marks 16 Years as Number One. PR Newswire (December 15, 2010). Retrieved on December 20, 2010.</ref>
The Penguins of Madagascar is a spin-off of the Madagascar films. The series follows the adventures of the four penguin protagonists: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private, who perform various paramilitary-like missions to protect their home in the Central Park Zoo. The penguins often have to deal with problems caused, or made worse, by King Julien XIII (a ring-tailed lemur), Maurice (an aye-aye), and Mort (a mouse lemur).
It is not known how the penguins and lemurs arrived at the zoo after their adventures in both Madagascar films, although the penguins and chimpanzees are seen flying away in a plane at the end of Madagascar 2. During the show's opening title, the penguins are also seen opening a crate that reads "Madagascar" and contains the three lemur characters. DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has stated that "there is at least one more chapter. We ultimately want to see the characters make it back to New York."<ref>Katzenberg Planning 3rd Madagascar, 2nd Kung Fu Panda. ComingSoon.net (August 14, 2008). Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref>
The Penguins of Madagascar features the four penguin characters from the Madagascar franchise, the two chimpanzees, as well as the three lemur characters. Characters new to the franchise include Marlene the otter, and a zookeeper named Alice.
- Skipper (Tom McGrath) is the leader of the penguins; he devises tactics and gives orders. Calculating and nearly unflappable, Skipper's raving paranoia and tendency to view everything as a military operation, combined with his experience in covert ops, has driven him to prepare for nearly any situation, no matter how bizarre or unlikely.
- Kowalski (Jeff Bennett) acts as the group strategist and gadgeteer. Kowalski is a brilliant inventor, but cannot read. He also tends to over-analyze situations.
- Private (James Patrick Stuart) is the emotionally sensitive rookie of the group. Though younger and less experienced than the other penguins, he is the most down to earth; Private tends to offer simpler, more commonsense solutions in response to Skipper and Kowalski's complex strategies (Although he also shows an unusual interest in unicorns on occasion).
- Rico (John DiMaggio) is the team's weapons and explosives specialist, who mainly communicates through grunts and squeals. Slightly unhinged, Rico swallows useful tools, such as dynamite, and regurgitates them when needed, to the point of regularly regurgitating objects that appear to be too large for him to have swallowed in the first place. He has been referred to as a psychopath several times.
- King Julien XIII (Danny Jacobs), normally shortened to King Julien, is a fun loving, narcissistic ring-tailed lemur. The King of the Lemurs is a comically conceited character who has little regard for others, even his subjects. He has a tendency to use malapropisms and misinterpret figures of speech.
- Maurice (Kevin Michael Richardson), an aye-aye, is one of King Julien's subjects. Maurice accepts his life as a servant, but he often shows disdain towards King Julien and his inconsiderate attitude.
- Mort (Andy Richter) is an excitable, dimwitted, accident-prone mouse lemur. Unlike Maurice, Mort is fiercely devoted to Julien, even displaying an obsession with the lemur king's feet. King Julien, however, treats him with contempt.
- Marlene (Nicole Sullivan) is a female otter who was transferred to the Central Park Zoo from an aquarium in California.<ref name=awm>Joe Strike (May 20, 2009). Penguins of Madagascar Strike Back. Animation World Magazine. Retrieved on October 28, 2010.</ref> She is close friends with Skipper and sometimes tags along on his missions, but she is often a neutral character who does not take sides between the penguins and the lemurs.<ref>Marlene from Penguins of Madagascar. Nickelodeon. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref> By being a levelheaded, feminine voice of reason, she is a counterpoint to Skipper's masculine, covert-ops character. Since she was born in captivity, once she sets out of the confines of the zoo, she goes berserk as she cannot cope with the lack of boundaries.
- Mason (Conrad Vernon) and Phil are two intelligent chimpanzees. Mason can speak but cannot read; Phil is mute but is an avid reader, and communicates through sign language<ref name=awm/> which is interpreted by Mason.
- Alice (Mary Scheer) is a surly zookeeper, who regularly expresses disinterest in her job. Though another worker (John DiMaggio) can sometimes be heard on her walkie-talkie, and seen working around the zoo, his face is never seen.
- The Rat King (Diedrich Bader) is a genetically enhanced, muscular lab rat who resides in the sewers. He is a secondary antagonist to the penguins. He constantly torments the penguins and never learns his lesson when he is defeated each time, although his raw strength often requires them to resort to less direct measures to defeat him. He even tries to take over their home, but is beaten by King Julien in an ice hockey game.
- Roger (Richard Kind) is the penguins' alligator friend who lives in the sewer. They meet him in the episode "Haunted Habitat" when Skipper and Marlene go to investigate in the sewer under Marlene's habitat because of a strange sound. Roger tells the penguins that he is from Florida. He appears again in "Roger Dodger" when the sewer rats terrorize him and in "Gator Watch" when he wants a new home, eventually being captured and sent to the zoo.
- Max (Wayne Knight) is the penguins' stray cat friend. He first meets the four penguins in the episode "Launchtime" when the penguins end up on a rooftop across the street from the zoo instead of on the moon. At first, the penguins thought he was a "moon-cat," but at the end they figure out he was a stray cat. Max is skinny and hopes to catch a bird in his life. He at first wanted to eat the penguins, but was so touched that he was given a can of fish by them that he became their friend instead. He appeared again in "Cat's Cradle," in which he tried to hide from Officer X from Animal Control.
- Joey (James Patrick Stuart) is an ill-tempered kangaroo with an Australian accent. He has fought other characters on the show.
- Bada and Bing (John DiMaggio and Kevin Michael Richardson) are two gorillas who enjoy fighting. They once beat up Mort, which led to Mort growing after he was thrown into Kowalski's latest invention, and they then got beat up by Mort to get a mango. Julien once gave them lots of bananas but it is possible that they beat him up due to him giving too much to them.
- Fred (Fred Stoller) is a squirrel that takes everything said literally and has a slow monotone speech pattern. Fred lives in a park near the zoo. He dated Marlene in "Otter Things Have Happened," but she broke up with him.
- Officer X (Cedric Yarbrough) is an officer in animal control. He is obsessed with catching stray animals. He has a stronger grudge against the penguins than Alice. His first appearance is when he is searching for Max and the second appearance is when he was tracking down the penguins when they escaped the zoo. He is a very strong man and can take down even the strongest of animals, like Joey the Kangaroo. Officer X is very cocky and seems to have hunted many other animals before. In his second appearance he was arrested for going on a rampage after losing the penguins. He was an exterminator hired to remove cockroaches that Rico had befriended in "Stop Bugging Me" and a temporary zookeeper when Alice went on vacation in "The Officer X Factor".
- Dr. Blowhole (Neil Patrick Harris) is Skipper's archenemy. He is a bottlenose dolphin who has red lobsters as servants. He was mentioned in the episodes "Eclipsed" and "Roomies," but he makes a full appearance in the special "Dr. Blowhole's Revenge," where he captures Julien and served as the primary antagonist of the episode (He was also referenced in "Invention Intervention", when Skipper believed that Kowalski's out-of-control invisible invisibility ray was Blowhole's creation, although Skipper also noted that disintegration was more Blowhole's style). He rides on a Segway-type vehicle as his means of transportation on land. Four running gags are that his skin is "surprisingly pleasant to the touch," that he constantly mispronounces "penguins" as "peng-u-ins", that he calls the penguins "flightless," and that he constantly rubs in the fact that he has far superior technology than the penguins do.
- Burt (John DiMaggio) is an elephant who was just one of the extra animals during the beginning of the series, but then he evolved into a character later on and even got a central episode in "An Elephant Never Forgets." He is shown to be obsessed with peanuts.
- Manfredi and Johnson are two unseen recruits, referenced mainly by Skipper, who have suffered horrible, seemingly fatal ("You know, one up there and one down there!" -Skipper.) events in a number of previous penguin missions. Their "fates" have included having been attacked by "flying piranhas," their remains later ladled into their graves with a teaspoon; having been short one escape tunnel, their remains later sent back in a manila envelope, coincidentally from Manila; having mistook the "business end" of a whale for an escape tunnel, resulting in them not being able to speak for months; having fallen for the "exploding elephant foot trick"; having lost their hearts, a lung, and 15 feet of intestine when they fell in love with two Chinstrap sisters; and being apparently literally smothered when a message informing the others to smother them with affection was misinterpreted. "Manfredi" and "Johnson" are also the names of the two American POWs killed while trying to escape the German prison camp in the 1953 movie Stalag 17.
- Eggy (Tara Strong) is a duckling who the penguins once "egg-sitted" for in "Paternal Egg-Stinct." In the episode "Hard Boiled Eggy," the penguins learn that because they had influenced him while inside the egg, Eggy had all their commando strengths combined. At the end of the episode, Julien teaches Eggy how to dance and Eggy finds such better than trying to be a penguin.
In mid 2006, Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation announced that they would collaborate to create a Nicktoon based on the Madagascar films. The new series would star the penguins from the film series. Nothing was confirmed on what the series would be about until November 2007.
At first, in November 2007, Nickelodeon advertised a sneak peek of three new Nicktoons coming to Nickelodeon, The Mighty B!, Making Fiends, and The Penguins of Madagascar all on 25 November 2007 part of Superstuffed Nicktoons Weekend. Then, in December 2007, Nickelodeon advertised many events that were going to premiere in 2008 (The Mighty B!, Fairly OddBaby, The Penguins of Madagascar, KCA 2008, Sidekicks, and "Pest of the West").<ref>The Penguins of Madagascar. movieweb.com. Retrieved on October 7, 2008.</ref> Since then, The Penguins of Madagascar was delayed at least twice in 2008, and saw a debut in March 2009, most likely due to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa being delayed to 7 November 2008. On 28 November 2008, Nickelodeon aired an episode from the series as a sneak peek. The Double DVD Pack of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa includes an early DVD of the show.
Some of the voice actors who voiced the characters in the films were unable to reprise their roles for the series. Chris Miller, who had voiced Kowalski, was replaced by Jeff Bennett, while Christopher Knights was replaced by James Patrick Stuart for the voice of Private. Danny Jacobs took over from Sacha Baron Cohen as the voice of King Julien, and Cedric the Entertainer's character, Maurice, is now voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Other characters are voiced by the same actors who had voiced them in the films, while some characters, like Marlene and Alice the zookeeper, are new characters created especially for the series.
After some delays of the series to air, The Penguins of Madagascar debuted on Nickelodeon in 2009. The series is produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California, with animation carried out in India<ref name=awm/> and Taiwan. Both Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation were planning on a 26 episode season.<ref name="comingsoon.net">The Penguins of Madagascar are Coming!. ComingSoon.net. CraveOnline. Retrieved on October 7, 2008.</ref> The Penguins of Madagascar aired after the 2009 Kids' Choice Awards on March 28, 2009 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.<ref>The Penguins of Madagascar. Official website. Nickelodeon. Retrieved on April 12, 2009.</ref>
|Country / region||Series premiere||Network||Episodes aired|
| 2 March 2009 (preview)
5 June 2009 (official launch)
|Nickelodeon Latin America||Popcorn Panic, Gone in a Flash|
|Australia||18 April 2009||Nickelodeon Australia||Popcorn Panic, Gone in a Flash|
| 10 April 2009 (preview)
12 September 2009 (official launch)
|Nickelodeon Germany|| Popcorn Panic, Gone in a Flash, Launchtime,|
Haunted Habitat, Tangled in the Web, Crown Fools
|12 April 2009||Nickelodeon Netherlands & Flanders||Gone in a Flash|
|Bulgaria||6 March 2010||Nova Television|
|December 2009||Nickelodeon Croatia||Episodes 1-40 as of April 2011|
|January 2010||Nickelodeon Serbia||Episodes 1-28 as of April 2011|
|Canada||12 September 2009<ref name="tvguideca">Fall Preview 2009 > The Penguins of Madagascar. sympatico.ca TV Guide. Retrieved on October 4, 2009.</ref>||YTV/ Nickelodeon Canada||As of June 2010, all of season 1 plus "Huffin & Puffin" and "The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel"|
| Czech Republic
|February 2010||Nickelodeon (Central & Eastern Europe)|
|France||September 2010||Nickelodeon France|
|Greece||3 September 2010||Nickelodeon Greece|
| Hong Kong
|10 September 2009<ref name="tvguideca"/>||Nickelodeon Southeast Asia||Launchtime, Haunted Habitat|
|Indonesia||15 May 2010|| Nickelodeon Indonesia
|12 April 2009|| Nickelodeon UK & Ireland
| Episodes mainly aired on Nickelodeon.|
Most episodes in Season 1 have aired in the UK.
|Israel||28 February 2010||Nickelodeon Israel|
|Italy||November 2009||Italia 1/Nickelodeon Italy|
|Japan||4 April 2010||NHK Educational TV|
|South Korea||10 April 2009||Nickelodeon South Korea||Popcorn Panic|
|New Zealand||18 April 2009||Nickelodeon New Zealand||Popcorn Panic, Gone in a Flash|
|Poland||15 April 2009||Nickelodeon Poland|
|Portugal||October 2009||Nickelodeon Portugal|
|Russia||4 October 2010||2×2|
|Spain||October 2009||Nickelodeon Spain|
|Thailand||August 2010||BBTV Channel 7|
|Turkey|| 4 April 2010
6 February 2010
| Nickeledeon Turkey
|United States|| 29 November 2008 ("sneak peek")<ref name=imdb1x01>"The Penguins of Madagascar" Gone in a Flash (2008). Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on April 11, 2009.</ref>
28 March 2009 (official launch)
|Nickelodeon|| Gone in a Flash|
Launchtime, Haunted Habitat
The Penguins of Madagascar has been given mixed to positive critical reviews. Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times gave the show a favorable review. She said that the show had strong comedic timing and action scenes, saying that it recalled both Wile E. Coyote cartoons and 1940s gangster movies.<ref>McNamara, Mary. "The Penguins of Madagascar", Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2009. Retrieved on April 10, 2009. </ref> Tim Goodman's review in the San Francisco Chronicle is also favorable. He said that he considered the penguins and Julien as having the most comedic potential from the movies, with his review focusing on the voice actors' comedic timing, and said that the show also contained several jokes which would make it appealing to adults.<ref>Goodman, Tim. "The Penguins of Madagascar", San Francisco Chronicle, March 23, 2009. Retrieved on April 10, 2009. </ref>
Brian Lowry of Variety described the show as "loud, exuberant and colorful" and praised its animation quality, but he did not think that it was funny and said that the show seemed more like a "merchandising bonanza."<ref>Lowry, Brian. "The Penguins of Madagascar", Variety, March 26, 2009. Retrieved on April 10, 2009. </ref>
Awards and recognition
In November 2009, The Penguins of Madagascar won a BAFTA award in the category for international children’s programming.<ref>Children's Awards Winners in 2009 - Children's - Awards - The BAFTA site. Bafta.org. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref> The show won the award again in 2010.<ref>British Academy Children's Awards Winners in 2010. Bafta.org. Retrieved on December 5, 2010.</ref>
On 6 February 2010, the series won the Best Animated Television Production for Children award at the 37th annual Annie Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California. Director Bret Haaland also won an Annie for Best Directing in a Television Production for his work on the "Launchtime" episode.<ref>The Annie Awards. The Annie Awards. Retrieved on July 8, 2010.</ref>
It was also nominated for Favorite Cartoon at both the 2010 Kids' Choice Awards and 2011 Kids' Choice Awards, but lost to SpongeBob SquarePants.<ref>Nickelodeon official site</ref>
In May 2010, it was announced that the series had been nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in four categories: Outstanding Special Class Animated Program, Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition, Outstanding Writing in Animation, and Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program.<ref>PBS, Nick Lead Daytime Emmys’ Animation Nominations. Animation Magazine (May 13, 2010). Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref><ref>Karl J. Paloucek (May 14, 2010). Which kids' shows really DESERVE an Emmy?. Channel Guide Magazine. Retrieved on June 28, 2010.</ref> Winners in these categories were announced on June 25, two days ahead of the formal Daytime Emmy Awards in Las Vegas. The Penguins of Madagascar won in the Outstanding Special Class Animated Program category,<ref>The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces Winners of the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Creative Arts Emmy® Awards (PDF). National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (June 25, 2010). Retrieved on June 28, 2010.</ref> an honor it shared with SpongeBob SquarePants.
On 20 February 2011, the show won a Golden Reel Award from the Motion Picture Sound Editors in the category of Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR Animation in Television for its Season 2 episode "The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel."<ref>2011 Golden Reel Award Nominees: Television. Motion Picture Sound Editors. Retrieved on February 28, 2011.</ref>
DreamWorks has licensed to a number of manufacturers, including Hooga Loo Toys, who had a successful run creating a line of plush toys associated with the second Madagascar movie. Based on its success, Hooga Loo was granted a license to create an entirely new toy line for the new series. Hooga Loo recruited the creative development team, Pangea Corporation, the company who assisted Playmates Toys in the development of the phenomenally successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to work systemically with DreamWorks and develop toys inspired by and for the series.<ref>Toys and Family Entertainment Magazine</ref> The toy line included a full range of unique and funny feature plush characters, as well as clever collectible figures and wacky vehicles. Fast food restaurants courted DreamWorks to glean the rights for a QSR deal, which finally materialized in late 2009. McDonald's had produced a line of toys based on the second film. This relationship forged a new deal with McDonald's.
Licensed merchandise based on the show began debuting in January 2010.<ref>Toys"R"Us/Babies"R"Us. Toysrus.com. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref><ref name="news.toonzone.net">Animation News Discussion Cartoon Community - toonzone news. News.toonzone.net. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref> In February 2010, McDonald’s began their “Mission: Play” Happy Meal toy campaign, which featured eight toys based on the penguins in the series.<ref>HappyMeal.com. HappyMeal.com (February 22, 2010). Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref>
The Penguins of Madagascar video game is an action-adventure game based on the TV show of the same name. The game was published by THQ, Inc. and developed by Griptonite Games.<ref>Penguins Of Madagascar the Video Game Official Site</ref>
In March 2011, it was announced that the penguin characters would be given their own feature film,<ref>Kit, Borys. "DreamWorks Developing 'Madagascar' Penguins Spinoff Movie (Exclusive)", HollywoodReporter.com, March 29, 2011. Retrieved on March 31, 2011. </ref> to be written by Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons, the writers of DreamWorks' Megamind. No release date or director for the film has yet been announced.
- The Penguins of Madagascar, a 24-minute long "sneak peak" of the series, was released as part of the double DVD pack of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. It included two episodes: "Popcorn Panic" and "Gone in a Flash."
- The Penguins of Madagascar: Operation: DVD Premiere, a 130-minute-long, direct-to-DVD release which featured both all-new missions and TV-aired episodes, was released on 9 February 2010.<ref name="news.toonzone.net"/>
- The Penguins of Madagascar: Happy King Julien Day!, an 88-minute-long, direct-to-DVD release which features both TV-aired episodes and some (as-of-yet) unaired episodes was released on 10 August 2010.<ref>Penguins Of Madagascar: Happy King Julien Day! (Widescreen): TV Shows. Walmart.com. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref>
- The Penguins of Madagascar: New to the Zoo, a direct-to-DVD release featuring seven TV-aired episodes, and one never-before-seen episode was released on August 10, 2010.<ref>Penguins Of Madagascar: New To The Zoo (Widescreen): TV Shows. Walmart.com. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.</ref>
- The Penguins of Madagascar: I Was a Penguin Zombie, an 88-minute DVD containing eight penguins missions, including one never-before-seen episode, was released on 5 October 2010.<ref>Penguins Of Madagascar: I Was A Penguin Zombie (Widescreen): TV Shows. Walmart.com. Retrieved on August 5, 2010.</ref>