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The Wild Thornberrys is an American animated television series that aired on Nickelodeon.[1] It was rerun in the United States on Nickelodeon and occasionally Nicktoons until 2007. The show returned to the air on TeenNick's The '90s Are All That television block in November 2011. The show aired on Nicktoonsters in the United Kingdom. The series is currently being released on DVD.

[edit] PremiseEdit

The series follows the Thornberrys, as they travel the world in their Communications Vehicle, referred to throughout the show as their "Commvee," looking for rare animals to film. Their second youngest child, Eliza, is the main character and has the power to speak to animals because of an encounter with an African shaman, Lopsugne Sjoungboun Qeisha. She can speak to the family's pet chimpanzee, who is also her best friend. She travels the world with her family and usually helps animals solve their problems.[2][3]

At the beginning of every episode, Eliza recites a monologue, which is then followed by the theme music. It states the basic premise of the show, and provides a brief back story.

[edit] ProductionEdit

The Wild Thornberrys was produced by Klasky Csupo for Nickelodeon. It premiered in September 1998, and was the first Nicktoon to exclusively use 22-minute stories (episodes of other Nicktoons usually featured two 10 - 11-minute stories, using 22-minute stories only on occasion).

[edit] CharactersEdit

[1][2]The Wild Thornberrys, left to right, Nigel (bottom left), Marianne (with camera), Eliza (with glasses), Darwin (the chimpanzee), Donnie (with Nickelodeon Hair), and Debbie (sitting down, bored)===[edit] Elizabeth "Eliza" Thornberry=== Voiced by Lacey Chabert, Eliza is a young girl, who (unknown to most) gained the ability to speak with animals after an encounter with an African shaman (as shown in the episode "Gift of Gab").Despite her best intentions, Eliza's stubbornness that she's always right leads her strong desire to help to become destructive. Eliza is portrayed as a geek by her extensive zoological knowledge and her glasses, braces and by occasionally standing pigeon-toed. She has freckles and long red-orange hair that is usually worn in pigtails like Pippi Longstocking, and occasionally a ponytail. She also has a companion-primate (chimpanzee) like Pippi Longstocking; but instead of superhuman strength, Eliza has the "super-power" of being able to talk to animals. She almost always wears a yellow dress, though later in the series she sports other clothes. Eliza is 12 in the series. Despite being the main character of The Wild Thornberrys, Eliza plays a supporting role in the film Rugrats Go Wild.

[edit] Darwin ThornberryEdit

Voiced by Tom Kane, Darwin is a chimpanzee who travels with the family and is a loyal companion to Eliza. He usually wears a tank top with horizontal blue and white stripes (used to be Debbie's lucky tank top) and blue shorts. He speaks with a distinct upper-class British accent. He tries to be the voice of reason to Eliza, however she rarely takes his advice. Cautious by nature, he is almost always hesitant to follow her plans; in response, she accuses him of cowardice, once calling him a "crybaby in a tank-top" for his hesitancy. He was found by Eliza, and was the first animal she ever talked to. In the Wild Thornberrys Movie: The Origins of Donnie, Darwin was seen in a flashback, stealing the sleeveless tank top that was once owned by Debbie. His name is most likely reference to Charles Darwin, though within the series Eliza gives him the name Darwin after Lenny Darwin, her cousin who looks like a monkey (is never shown in the series).

[edit] Donald "Donnie" Michael ThornberryEdit

Voiced by Michael Peter Balzary of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donnie is a feral boy who (as revealed in the 2001 4-part TV movie, "The Wild Thornberrys: The Origin of Donnie") was raised by orangutans (similar to Tarzan) after his real parents, a pair of naturalists, were killed by poachers. Before the Thornberrys adopted him, the special also reveals that Nigel and Marianne knew his parents. He commonly wears a pair of leopard-spotted shorts (also similar to Tarzan's leopardskin loincloth) and he loves to eat all types of bugs. He babbles wildly and makes animal-sounds (but nothing Eliza can understand), occasionally spouting blurbs of English or showing random signs of sophisticated education. Donnie is 4, but turns 5 in "The Origin of Donnie". It was shown that while his parents were teaching orangutans sign language, he learned as well. Though only one sign was shown (family), it is unknown how much he actually knows. This also shows that aside from his primal behavior, Donnie is rather intelligent.

[edit] Deborah "Debbie" ThornberryEdit

Voiced by Danielle Harris, Debbie is a typical 16-year-old girl who is Eliza's older sister, interested in music and fashion, and who longs for the normal suburban life her parents' job deprives her of. Even though she ridicules Eliza, she truly does care for her. She commonly wears an orange camisole, a green flannel shirt, blue jeans (with holes deliberately torn in the knees as a 'grungy' fashion statement) and brown Birkenstock clogs. She speaks with a L.A. accent. In "The Wild Thornberrys Movie", she learns Eliza's secret after Eliza reveals it to the poachers that were threatening to kill her if Eliza didn't tell them how she knew about their plan to kill a herd of elephants. Debbie is amazed that Eliza gave up her gift to save her life and promises to keep her secret—but only under the belief that if she doesn't, she'll be turned into a baboon. It is shown in the episode "Chew If by Sea" that Debbie suffers from acute seasickness.

[edit] Sir Nigel Archibald ThornberryEdit

Voiced by Tim Curry, Nigel, born in Scotland, is (presumably) the only child of Radcliffe and Cordelia Thornberry. He travels around the world with his family making wildlife documentaries. He resembles Sir David Attenborough, and speaks with an RP English accent. He somewhat resembles Lt. Col. Algernon Hawthorne in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, played by Terry-Thomas. He is easily enthused and usually remains cheery, even in the face of danger. He was offered a professorship at Oxford University but, much to his mother's disapproval, Nigel turned it down. He is an expert zoologist, naturist, traveler and survivalist and is quite caring and logical though Nigel often otherwise appears absent minded or naive. In the series, Nigel is a supporting character, but in the film Rugrats Go Wild, Nigel plays a much larger role as he is idolized by Tommy Pickles (who usually refers to him as "Mr. Strawberry").

[edit] Marianne Hunter Thornberry, Lady ThornberryEdit

Voiced by Jodi Carlisle, Marianne is Nigel's wife. She operates the film camera and edits their nature show. Marianne is a strong woman, often the voice of reason, and sometimes loses patience with Nigel. She is usually the one to take on disciplinary duties, trying to keep the girls out of trouble and finish their homework. In Season 1, Episode 12, she mentions that she attended the University of California, Berkeley.

[edit] EquipmentEdit

The Commvee (an abbreviation of "communications vehicle") is a two-story mobile home; the main door leads up a flight of stairs to a main floor with the driver and passenger seat in the front, followed by a twin sized bed, table for eating at on the west side of the car, a kitchen on the eastern side, and a bathroom in the back which also serves as a dark-room for editing film. There is a "basement/1st floor" that contains one room with a big bed for Nigel and Marianne, a room with a two small beds (for Debbie and Eliza) and two hammocks for Donnie and Darwin. There is also a small box near the floor of the "main story" that contains various switches which can inflate a raft for crossing rivers and the ocean to a "lock-down" mode in which iron plates cover the windows (as seen in Thornberry Island) for typhoons; there are other switches that can put the car into a submarine mode, or inflate a bag on top of the car for falling objects or rising to the surface of the ocean. Near the 'switch box' there is a hatch (as seen in Rugrats Go Wild) that gives access to a mini-sub. There is also a roof with a satellite that barely ever gets reception, but is used to upload footage to the foundation. On the outside there are many compartments, supposedly for carrying equipment and other smaller vehicles such as the 'mini-comm' for short-range transport or picking up passengers and returning them to camp or the submarine for deep sea expedition (the bath-o-sphere). The Commvee also features the usual conveniences found in a motorhome, including air-conditioning and a stereo system with a cassette tape player.

They also have a variety of cameras with which they film.

[edit] Eliza's Speaking AnimalsEdit

[edit] EpisodesEdit

Main article: List of The Wild Thornberrys episodes==[edit] DVD and Digital Releases== Amazon.com has released all five seasons on DVD in Region 1 through its CreateSpace Manufacture-on-demand program. Season 1 was released on June 24, 2010,[4] seasons 2 & 3 were released on February 7, 2011[5][6] and seasons 4 & 5 were released on December 1, 2010.[7][8]

On February 16, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series and would be releasing season 1 on DVD on May 17, 2011.[9] It also appears that Amazon.com has stopped selling all their Create Space Season DVDs. Season 1 was released on May 17, 2011 and Season 2, Part 1 was released on November 8, 2011.[10] The remainder of season 2, entitled The Wild Thornberrys: Season 2, Part 2, will be released on April 24, 2012.[11]

Shout! Factory Releases Release Date Discs Episodes
Season 1 May 17, 2011 4 20
Season 2: Part 1 November 8, 2011 2 13
Season 2: Part 2 April 24, 2012 2 8
Season 3: Part 1 TBA 2 12
Season 3: Part 2 TBA 2 12
Season 3: Part 3 TBA 2 12
Seasons 4 & 5 TBA 2 14

[edit] FilmsEdit

Three movies have been released:

  • The Wild Thornberrys: The Origin Of Donnie (2001): This prequel was released as a TV film and explores Donnie's life before he was found by the Thornberrys.
  • The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002): This theatrical film made $60 million and earned an Academy Award nomination.[12]
  • Rugrats Go Wild (2003): This theatrical film was the final Rugrats film and a cross-over between Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.[13]

[edit] Broadcast HistoryEdit

[3] US

[4] Canada

[5] Russia

[6] Portugal

[7] Brazil

[8] Mexico

[9] UK

[10] Australia

[11] Serbia

  • B92 (2009–present)

[12] Philippines

[13] Czech Republic

[14] India

[15] Hungray

[16] Greece

[17] Turkey

[18] Pakistan

[19] Croatia

[20] South Korea

[21] France

[22] Bulgaria

[23] Netherlands

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