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Creator / Nelvana

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A Nelvana Production

Nelvana is a Toronto-based Canadian entertainment company founded in 1971. It is best known and most beloved for its world-renowned animation studio, which more or less paved the way for the entire Canadian animation industry, being almost equivalent to Hanna-Barbera or even Disney in the United States. If you've watched Canadian animation, especially shows aimed for children, there's a major chance Nelvana contributed to its production.

Established by Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert, and Clive A. Smith, the company got its start making adult-oriented animated television specials like A Cosmic Christmas and The Devil and Daniel Mouse, as well as feature films like Rock and Rule. Since the 80s, they have become most famous for their work on television series, especially Animated Adaptations of properties like Pippi Longstocking, Redwall, Franklin, Sam & Max: Freelance Police, The Magic School Bus, Jacob Two-Two, Grossology, and Ruby Gloom. They have also been involved in many wholly original shows, such as Spliced, Detentionaire, Braceface, Di-Gata Defenders, Being Ian, 6teen, Moville Mysteries, and Wishfart. Many of their series were created in association with American and British Saturday-Morning Cartoon blocks or kids' networks in Canada like YTV, Family Channel, Treehouse TV, and Teletoon (the last of which they actually helped with establishing), resulting in shows like Flying Rhino Junior High, Ned's Newt, Dog City, Blazing Dragons, Eek! The Cat, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs , Rescue Heroes, and Stickin' Around.

The long history and diverse output that defines Nelvana's place in Canadian animation has earned the company a great deal of high regard for its ability to innovate in the medium and enchant audiences both young and old. Many of the series that define their stock-in-trade have earned critical acclaim and loyal fanbases, as has their ability to faithfully reproduce distinctive styles in their storybook-to-screen transitions like the Care Bears, Babar, Little Bear, The Adventures of Tintin, Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends, Max and Ruby, Rupert, and The Dumb Bunnies. Top Hollywood talent like George Lucas (The Star Wars Holiday Special), Tim Burton (Beetlejuice), Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura), and Phil Lord & Chris Miller (Clone High) have worked with them, as have major entertainment companies from around the world, such as DiC Entertainment (Inspector Gadget), Sony Pictures Animation (Hotel Transylvania: The Series) and Nickelodeon (The Backyardigans and seasons 2 through 4 of Bubble Guppies). They have especially close ties with the last one, as they own the non-American distribution rights to some Nickelodeon properties, most prominently Taina and the first 5 seasons of The Fairly OddParents!. Nickelodeon in turn has aired many of Nelvana's in-house productions, like Pelswick, Wayside, Ollie's Pack, and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.

While Nelvana's present-day mainstay is 2D cartoons aimed at the preschool and elementary/middle school demographics, they have occasionally returned to their adult animation roots with shows like Bob and Margaret and Delta State and done CGI shows such as Donkey Kong Country and Rolie Polie Olie. Additionally, earlier in the studio's history, Nelvana also produced live-action programming, like adaptations of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, but this was largely phased out by the end of the 90s. Many of their works (especially their later shows) are animated domestically, but a fair share of it has been outsourced overseas too. Contributing to all outsourced animation, they have also done work on various anime series, having fully co-produced both Pecola (with both Milky Cartoon and Yomiko Advertising) and Bakugan (with Sega Toys, Spin Master Entertainment, and TMS Entertainment), as well as having licensed the English dubs of shows such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Medabots, and Beyblade.

Nelvana's corporate overlord is Corus Entertainment, which acquired the company in 2000. Corus also owns a number of other media companies in Canada, including television channels Treehouse TV, YTV, & Teletoon and Kids Can Press (publisher of the Franklin books, which was itself acquired by Nelvana in 1998). Corus also owns the company that created the Toon Boom animation software, so many of Nelvana's modern series (particularly their Domestic Only Cartoons) are animated with it, like Corn & Peg and Mysticons.

A fair number of Nelvana series (such as Class of the Titans, Timothy Goes to School, Jane and the Dragon, and Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse) were rerun in the U.S. on Qubo until its shutdown in 2021. Many others are legally available for free online on Tubi TV and official Nelvana-run YouTube channels such as Treehouse Direct (which mainly has their Preschool Shows, but also a few more general kids' shows and some miscellaneous content), Retro Rerun (which features shows aimed at older audiences and nostalgic series from the 80s and 90s), Keep It Weird (which is where they put most of their regular kids' cartoons for the 7-11 demographic), and Cartoon Power Up (which features their anime dubs and some of their more-action oriented cartoons). They also run the official YouTube channels for a number of properties they own or distribute, such as The Fairly OddParents!, Franklin, Babar, and Little Bear.

They also used to run a kids-oriented network called KidsCo in Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and Europe, in a joint-venture with DiC Entertainment, later acquired by Cookie Jar Entertainment, and, eventually, NBCUniversal. It was shuttered when DHX Media bought out Cookie Jar and pulled out of the dealnote , while NBC pulled out to focus on its newly-acquired Sprout network (now Universal Kids).

In October 2020, Corus announced that Nelvana would partner with Duncan Studio, an animation studio based in Pasadena, California noted for doing the animated segments in Mary Poppins Returns, to produce animated feature films, bringing Nelvana back into film production once again.

Gets a Shout-Out in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Defector", when a secret Romulan base is supposedly located on the planet "Nelvana III"; and for their work on the animated series Droids and Ewoks, they also got a Star Wars species named after them: the Nelvaanians from Star Wars: Clone Wars.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the company gets its name from an old Canadian comic-book superheroine named Nelvana of the Northern Lights. She was actually the company’s initial mascot; they didn’t adopt the polar bear until 1978 with The Devil and Daniel Mouse. They currently co-own the rights to the character and her comics with the National Library and Archives of Canada.

Animated programs/movies and live-action projects that Nelvana has made/dubbed/distributed:

The work of Nelvana provides examples of:



Nelvana's logo from 2004, used until around 2017.

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