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Creator / Nelvana

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A Nelvana Production

A Canadian entertainment company founded in 1971, mainly known for its world-renowned animation studio, which more or less paved the way for the entire Canadian animation industry. If you've watched Canadian animation, especially for children, there's a major chance Nelvana contributed to its production.

Nelvana was 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 & Rule. However, since the 80s, they have become most famous for their work on television series, especially Animated Adaptations of properties like Pippi Longstocking, Redwall, Franklin, Tintin, The Magic School Bus, and Jacob Two-Two. They have also done more than their fair share of original shows made from scratch, such as Spliced and Detentionaire. 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, resulting in shows like Flying Rhino Junior High, Ned's Newt, Dog City, Blazing Dragons, Eek! The Cat, 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, Miss Spider and Rupert. 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 (Ollie's Pack), the latter of which they own the Canadian/non-American distribution rights to on several properties.


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. They have also done work producing dubs of anime series, such as Bakugan, 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 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 properties they own or distribute, such as The Fairly OddParents (which they have the non-US distribution rights of the first 5 seasons to).

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, 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.

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.

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

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