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Series / Dino Dan

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Dino Dan is a live action television series on both TVO in Canada and Nick Jr. in the US.

It follows the adventures of a young boy named Dan (Jason Spevack) who is obsessed with dinosaurs. He lives and breathes dinosaurs. He seems to be the only one who is able to see the dinosaurs in his neighborhood, though it's never explained how he's able to, whether they are real or simply products of his imagination.

After a brief hiatus, it was revived as Dino Dan: Trek's Adventures, this time focusing on Dan's younger brother taking up Dan's "mantle". It also now has a counterpart on Amazon called Dino Dana, starring Michela Luci.

The show provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Species Change: In the episode "Big Bad Spinosaurus" Dan retells the story of Little Red Riding Hood with a Spinosaurus in place of the wolf to his reading buddy.
  • Aerith and Bob: Trek is an unusual name (most likely a pun on T. rex) and Dan is a common real name.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Most of the dinosaurs are very colourful.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • Oddly enough for an educational show, the episode "Moody Dino" teaches something factually incorrect -= that stegosauruses' plates could change color, Hollywood Chameleon style. This was likely based on a now-discredited hypothesis that the plates contained blood vessels that could be used to flush blood into them for display or temperature control. We now know they were covered in a layer of keratin, making this impossible.
    • The Quetzalcoatlus is bipedal and eats fish. The Pterodactylus can carry a golf ball with its feet. Both are scaly.
  • Christmas Episode: The episode includes a rhyme that is set to the same meter as "A Visit from St. Nicholas."
  • Creative Closing Credits: Footage of dinosaurs alternates with the end credits.
  • Disappeared Dad: Dan and Trek's father is said to be working in a museum in Alberta, British Columbia.
  • Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: Often Dan will see mother dinosaurs with their offspring, which are much, much smaller than their parents. In "Prehistoric Zoo", Dan carries a baby T. rex in the top half of his backpack, then sends it to join its mother whose toes are bigger than it.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Very rare for contemporary children's programming.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's Dinocorder, not recorder.
  • Kiai: Dan's family has adopted karate as a hobby.
  • Kids Love Dinosaurs: The titular Dan is a young boy who loves dinosaurs. The same applies to his younger brother Trek.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's kept ambiguous whether the dinosaurs are real or Dan is imagining them. In the sequel series, Dan acts like Trek is imagining them and he's just playing along.
  • Meaningful Name: Mr. Paluxy, the art teacher. The Paluxy is a river in Texas with very well-preserved dinosaur tracks.
  • Raptor Attack: The Dromaeosaurus and Velociraptor do have feathers, but they're the wrong kind (they should be pennaceous, not protofeathers) and should have wings. Also, the palms face the wrong way (they should face each other, not the body).
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The setting and human characters are live-action, while the dinosaurs are animated in CGI.
  • Serious Business: Dan's passion for palaentology is truly noteworthy.
  • Shout-Out: In an episode of Dino Dana Saara borrows Dana's backpack to teach her a lesson. Dana looks at the camera and mutters 'clever girl'.
  • Something Person: Dino Dan himself.
  • Spinosaurus Versus T. rex: Downplayed in the episode "Ready? Set? Dino!". A Tyrannosaurus and a Spinosaurus compete for the same prey and have a dispute in front of Dan, but they don't exactly come to blows and simply roar at each other instead. Later in the episode, Dan sets up a race opposing the two dinosaurs in order to determine which one is the fastest. The T. rex ends up winning by a few seconds.
    • This occurs between a mother Tyrannosaurus defending her baby and the kids from an attacking Spinosaurus in Dino Dana The Movie