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Western Animation / Big Blue

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Big Blue is a Canadian animated kids' show that debuted on December 4, 2021 on CBC Kids. The show is the brainchild of rising Ghanaian-Canadian artist Gyimah Gariba, with production being done by the Toronto-based Guru Studio (best known for animating PAW Patrol).

Set in an underwater world where humans live alongside anthropomorphic sea creatures, the show is about the crew of the United Current submarine Calypso, composed of the Sibling Team Lettie and Lemo (who are the crew's captain and science officer, respectively), a laidback turtle named Freddie (the ship's mechanic), a nervous dolphin named Phil (the resident medic), and Bacon Berry, a childlike magical guardian of mysterious origin and power. Under the command of the diminutive Admiral Krill and his number two Commander Plink, they explore the seas and take on missions to defend the ocean from various threats, most prominently a sapient mass of pollution known as The Blegh that seeks to corrupt all of the Big Blue.

Outside of Canada, the show has also aired on Nicktoons in the United Kingdom and ABC Me in Australia, as well as numerous international networks. The series has also been confirmed for an American release on The Roku Channel, slated for 2024. A second season was announced in October 2023.


  • After the End: The show is implied to take place in the far future, generations after humans moved underwater to escape the overly-polluted surface.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Well, in the case of this series, we have bottom-dwelling marine invertebrates like sea pigs and sea urchins behaving like dogs.
  • Always Someone Better: Mira Clearwater is this to Lettie. Lettie came second place to her when they graduated from the UC Academy, and always ends up being outdone by her whenever the two are assigned on the same mission.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Lemo can sometimes be this to Lettie when his carefree approach to science and missions gets into carelessness.
  • Arc Villain: The Blegh, which doesn't show up regularly, but does clearly have more of a story going for it than the usual episodic adventures of the Calypso crew. From what Admiral Krill tells Commander Plink, it plays a major role in the setting's backstory and is apparently connected to Bacon Berry in some very important way.
  • Author Appeal: Series creator Gyimah Gariba incorporated quite a few elements of personal appeal to him into the series in some way.
    • It was his own fondness for the music of Timbaland that eventually led to Guru Studio inviting the musician to compose the series' theme song.
    • The focus on an unconventional family with two Black leads was heavily inspired by his own desire to see more diverse representation that he himself did not see as a child growing up watching American cartoons and anime in Sub-Saharan West Africa.
    • Perhaps most obviously, an interest in the allure of the ocean played a major role in the conception of the show and its setting, in particular, his own environmentalist stances playing into the Green Aesop themes of the show.
  • Awesome Underwater World: The adventures of the Calypso crew are set in a vibrant and diverse ocean full of spectacular underwater landmarks, populated by countless diverse creatures, and threatened by all sorts of dangers.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Bacon Berry is basically the child of the quirky makeshift family that is the Calypso crew. While her childlike nature sometimes causes trouble, her magical powers can also help the crew in a pinch and her innocent nature often makes her The Heart of the team.
  • Back for the Finale: In the Season 1 finale, nearly every single major character seen so far returns to help the Calypso crew defeat The Blegh once and for all.
  • Berserk Button: Phil is very protective of his hat (he's very embarrassed about having his blowhole exposed), and taking it from him is a quick way to make him mad.
  • The Bore: Remo, a nerdy sardine who briefly replaces Lemo as the Calypso's science officer in one episode, helping to contrast him with the silly and fun-loving Lemo.
  • Bungling Inventor: Lemo, as the Calypso's science officer, is often crafting new gadgets. These gadgets seldom work the way he wants them to. Justified as he's only 9.
  • Captain Colorbeard: Parodied with the recurrent pirate character, Captain Nobeard.
  • The Corruption: The Blegh can infect people with its dark slime, turning them into mindless, troublemaking thugs.
  • Cowardly Lion: Phil. He's generally timid and neurotic, but when push comes to shove, he'll muster up the courage to stand up for himself and his friends.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Lettie is revealed to have been this to Bacon Berry in "BB On Board". She was against the idea of letting BB stay on the ship, believing she would just be a distraction. But a combination of BB's cuteness and proving her worth changed her mind.
  • Ditzy Genius: Lemo is a goofy and childish Bungling Inventor, but his playful approach to science and inventions often allows him to be very clever in unconventional ways.
  • The Engineer: Freddie takes care of Calypso's engines and is very affectionate towards them, even calling her "Angie".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The aesthetics of the Seahorse Kingdom are very much modelled after traditional Sub-Saharan African monarchies, with the Seahorse King wearing royal African robes and speaking in an African accent. Important to note in this case that series creator Gyimah Garba was actually born in the West African country of Ghana.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The stern and professional Lettie is the Responsible Sibling to the more laidback and goofy Lemo's Foolish Sibling.
  • Goo-Goo-Godlike: Bacon Berry is an infant, yet she has extremely powerful hydrokinetic abilities, along with some other powers.
  • Green Aesop: Protecting the ocean is a major theme of the series, with the Big Bad being a sentient mass of pollution called the Blegh and the show's backstory suggesting humans have been forced to live underwater due to rendering land uninhabitable from pollution. Additionally, Calypso (and implicitly all United Current vehicles) are entirely hydro-powered, with the engine room displaying a large system of pipes that flow seawater through them at high speed when the sub moves.
  • Hair Wings: A very unusual example with Mira Clearwater. Since she's an anthropomorphic stingray, her scalp hair is actually just the "wings" of normal ray (although she can't swim with them).
  • Happily Adopted: The Calypso crew essentially form a quirky but tight-knit family, with Bacon Berry naturally being the family baby they all fawn over.
  • The Heart: Bacon Berry. As The Baby of the Bunch, she is very innocent and empathetic of others, seeing goodness in others where the rest of the crew might not. The whole crew loves her dearly, and often, it is Bacon Berry who brings them together when problems arise.
  • Heroic Dolphin: Phil. While he is rather nervy, he is loyal to his crewmates to the end and overall a well-meaning and good-natured individual.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the Season 1 finale, Bacon Berry performs one to destroy The Blegh once and for all, although the final scene implies she has been reborn.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the pilot episode, Lemo throws a tantrum to force Lettie to let him go on the mission. When she gives in, he commends her for being so "mature".
  • I Am Legion: The Blegh is hinted to be this. While the original Blegh created so long ago is currently a Sealed Evil in a Can, numerous smaller versions of itself run amuck in the Big Blue. In the Season 1 finale, these smaller Bleghs merge together to recreate the full Blegh in one final effort to corrupt the entire Big Blue.
  • I Work Alone:
    • Mira Clearwater eschews working with a crew, believing they would just slow her down. This backfires on her when she gets stuck in quicksand with no immediate back-up nearby.
    • In the episode "Cruise Control", Lettie develops this attitude after becoming fed up with her crewmates' slacking. She quickly finds out she bit more than she can chew however when she ends up having to convert Calypso into a cruise for the Seahorse King and his wife.
  • Improbable Age: Lettie and Lemo are both minors, yet they are officers in what is basically the undersea equivalent of the United Nations.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: A Kraken eats Admiral Krill and Commander Plink in "Let's Get Kraken", forcing the Calypso crew to step in and save them.
  • Last of Her Kind: Bacon Berry is said by The Blegh to be the very last of The Guardians.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The show's cast is a diverse mix of humans and anthropomorphized marine animals, such as dolphins, turtles, sharks, and rays.
  • Making a Splash: Bacon Berry possesses hydrokinetic powers.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Lemo buys one from the shady eel merchant in "Plant in the Pipes".
  • Meaningful Name: The characters' submarine, Calypso, is named after a sea nymph from Greek mythology. It's also the name of the ship of famous undersea explorer and environmental protection activist Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
  • Mellow Fellow: Freddie is defined by his extremely chill personality. He partly credits this to his shell making him unafraid of ever getting hurt.
  • Mister Seahorse: Unsurprisingly, the Seahorse King himself. Admiral Krill is godfather to his 10 thousands kids.
  • Muck Monster: The Blegh is a sentient mass of pollution that dedicates itself to spreading its contaminants everywhere. In "Ooze on the Loose", it's revealed to have been accidentally created by an oil company when their new ocean-drilling technology turned pollution sapient.
  • Nature Spirit: Bacon Berry is one of The Guardians, a race of such beings who protected the ocean from The Blegh many years ago and cleansed its pollution from the seas.
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: Rather than diving helmets, the human characters wear bubbles over their heads to breathe underwater. "Double-bubbles", which cover the entire body, are used when traveling into the deepest parts of the ocean.
  • Pirate: A recurring gang of them led by Captain Nobeard appear from time to time to antagonize the Calypso crew.
  • Pop-Star Composer: The theme song is composed by Timbaland. Apparently, series creator Gyimah Gariba is a big fan of their music.
  • Removable Shell: Freddie can take off his shell. He's even seen polishing it a few times. Heck, one episode, he even gives it to Phil to wear.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The baby jellyfish from "Jellyous". The Calypso crew spends so much time fawning over it that Bacon Berry gets jealous.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The original Blegh is imprisoned in the wreck of an oil tanker belonging to the corporation that accidentally created it. However, smaller versions of itself are still loose in the ocean and occasionally cause trouble for United Current and the Calypso
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Mira Clearwater holds this mindset; despite Lettie being the second-best student in their graduating class, Mira claims that she was "second-worst".
  • Sibling Team: Lettie and Lemo, the captain and science officer of the Calypso, are sister and brother.
  • Slippery as an Eel: Lemo makes the mistake of trusting a very shady eel merchant in "Plant in the Pipes".
  • Sub Story: The characters get around on their submarine Calypso, and it plays a central role in most episodes.
  • Threatening Shark: While there are non-hostile shark characters encountered every so often, such as Inspector Hammerhead, the most prominent shark character, resident pirate Captain Nobeard, is a recurring antagonist for the Calypso Crew.
  • Underwater City: Naturally everywhere, given the nature of the setting. Populated by humans and anthropomorphic sea creatures, with submarines filling the role of cars.
  • Veganopia: To avoid Carnivore Confusion, most of the food eaten by the characters in the setting is seaweed/kelp-based, although mentioned is made every so often of foods made of stuff like sponges and plankton.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Phil is afraid of sea spiders, with the episode "Fraidy Phil" focused on him trying to overcome it when the Calypso crew has to battle a gigantic one.