Shine: I’m Shine!
Both: Your genies divine!
Your best friends are on the way!
Shimmer and Shine is a Nickelodeon cartoon created by Farnaz Esnaashiri-Charmatz. It premiered on August 24, 2015 and ended after four seasons on February 9, 2020.
The titular characters are fraternal twins and genies-in-training who, once per day, grant three wishes to their friend Leah. They often mess up the wishes and the three girls must work together to fix their mistakes.
Season 2 shifted the series to Zahramay Falls and gave away from the original Strictly Formula in favor of a new action-adventure theme, introducing the show's Big Bad Zeta the sorceress and having Leah and Zac visit whenever they want, but wearing genie disguises as humans are not allowed there. In addition, the animation has changed to CGI. Seasons 3 and 4 built upon the world and introduced additional areas of Zahramay, each with their own unique characters and situations.
- Actor Allusion:
- While she's considerably more intelligent than Leni Loud, Ayla is another fashion-savvy character voiced by Liliana Mumy.
- Empress Caliana is voiced by Barbara Eden, who has some experience with genies...
- An Aesop: The overall theme of the show, especially that of the first Season, can be summed up as follows: Mistakes aren't always avoidable and people should rather try to fix them instead of crying over spilt milk.
- In "Bling, Bling", Princess Samira considers her necklace special, prompting characters to assume it must be magical. Princess Samira says that just because something isn't magical it doesn't mean it's not special. She values the necklace because it's a gift from her former instructor from her days as a genie-in-training.
- Art Evolution: For Season 2, the animation has been changed to CGI.
- Beach Episode: "Ahoy, Genies!"
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- Aside from the troubles caused by the literal way Shimmer and Shine take some wishes, Leah usually wastes the third wish of the day by accidentally making wish-shaped comments.
- In "Zeta in Training", Zeta must grant Shimmer and Shine three wishes as part of her second chance as a genie-in-training and, at some point, asks them what the biggest and most powerful gem looks like and they unwittingly reply with "Wish we knew", allowing Zeta to use their last wish to get said gem.
- In "Wishy Washy Genie", Zac accidentally wishes he could stay in Zahramay Falls forever, which he regrets after being told there's no mustard in Zahramay Falls. Kaz explains that he had to grant the wish since Zac said "I wish".
- In "Careful What You Wish For", the problem isn't in the kind of wish but in the environment where the wish is made. Zac and the girls visit a room with so much wish magic that any wishes made there keep being granted over and over.
- In "Longest Day Ever", Leah accidentally wishes the day will last forever.
- In "Costume Chaos", Leah accidentally gets costumes stuck on her, Shimmer and Shine with one of her wishes.
- Benevolent Genie:
- Shimmer and Shine don't mean any harm with the wishes they grant. They even stay around to help with fixing their mistakes.
- Being benevolent turns out to be the norm among genies because those who don't like having powers they must use for other people's sake instead of their own have the option to renounce their geniehood and take up sorcery.
- Bigger on the Inside: The pet house Leah wishes for her pet fox Parisa is the size of a typical dog house but it's way bigger on the inside.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Portuguese doesn't have a gender-neutral word for "Genie". When the two-part episode "My Secret Genies" was advertised in Brazil, the masculine equivalent was used for the translated title in spite of the titular genies being girls.
- Bottle Episode: Especially in Season 1, don't be too surprised if an entire episode's plot takes place in one single location. Leah's kitchen is a popular recurring spot.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
- In "Game On", Shimmer wonders which prizes one can win at a pirate-themed arcade. Her guesses are: treasure chest, pirate ship, and a treasure chest in a pirate ship.
- In "Backyard Ballet", Zac compares ballet dancers to grasshoppers, basketball players and basketball-playing grasshoppers.
- Broken Masquerade: Throughout the first season, Zac is unaware of Shimmer and Shine, having only met them once during Halloween (thinking they were in costumes), but otherwise doesn't know about them being genies. Season two had him warped to Zahramay Falls with Leah and the genies, to which they don't even bother trying to hide it anymore. Rather unsurprisingly, as befitting of his character, he takes the discovery pretty well.
- But Thou Must!: Whenever someone makes a wish, their genie must grant it with no way to stop them.
- By "No", I Mean "Yes": In "Ahoy, Genies", Shine admits that sometimes she gets carried away, and by "sometimes", she means "all the time".
- Catchphrase: Whenever Zac sees something unusual that makes Leah afraid he'll find out she has genies, he'll brush it aside by claiming "It happens. Happens a lot." Zac's pretty chill like that.
- Chekhov's Armoury: In "A Tree-mendous Rescue", by the time the plot starts, Leah has already used up her three daily wishes. The items she wished for turn out to be helpful when Zac and Kaz have to find the girls.
- Christmas Episode: "Santa's Little Genies". In that episode, it's revealed that Santa Claus knows about genies and their dimension but can't go there because he doesn't have a genie bottle. Shimmer and Shine give him one after the climax.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Zac has his moments. One notable example is in "Ahoy, Genies!" where he enjoys building "smooth" sandcastles (which are actually simple mounds of sand).
- Continuity Nod: In "Double Trouble", when Leah and her genies find out the gem they're looking for already belongs to someone else, they wonder what they'll have to do to get it and guess things like solving a riddle and winning a race. In "Zoom Zahramay", a gem was offered as a prize to the winner of a flying carpet race, and they had to solve a riddle to win the gem featured in "Mermaid Mayhem".
- Contrived Coincidence: As revealed via flashback in "Special Delivery", when Misha the Animal Genie was delivering pets to Shimmer and Shine, the pets fell from her flying sleigh and were found by the very same genies Misha was delivering them to.
- Cue the Rain: In "Now You See Her", after a forced landing, Zeta is glad that at least it's not raining. Nazboo congratulates Zeta for the subsequent rain. Zeta later tries to tell him at least it's not snowing but snow falls right before she says "snowing".
- Evil Former Friend: In "Samira and Zeta", it's revealed that Samira and Zeta used to be friends until Zeta became resentful of Samira's progress as a genie-in-training.
- Evolving Credits:
- The theme song in the first season changes slightly after the first episode to include clips from various episodes of the season.
- From the second season on, the theme song has a new sequence and modified lyrics to reflect the Retool to Zahramay Falls.
- The theme changes slightly in the third season to reflect the theme of Rainbow Zahramay. It changes again in the fourth to reflect Zahramay Skies.
- Expository Theme Tune: "Two genies in a bottle / Up in the starry sky / It's Shimmer and Shine!"
- Extra-Long Episode: "The First Wish" is the only episode to run forty-five minutes, longer than any episode, and that was only in the first season before the show switched to Two Shorts.
- Forgotten First Meeting: A non-romantic variation. Despite all the little shake-ups and callbacks of various Season 1 concepts that happen in "Welcome To Zahramay Falls" that set-up the new Season's status quo, no mention is made of the fact that Zac had already met the genies, although he thought they were just in Halloween costumes at the time.
- Forgotten Framing Device: "The First Wish" starts with a scene of Shimmer and Shine recalling their first adventure with Leah, with the rest of the episode continuing into the flashback and never leaving it.
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Shimmer and Shine pass themselves off as kids wearing genie costumes during a Halloween episode.
- Foreshadowing: One episode from Season 1 has characters wondering if Zac also has genies. In Season 2, Zac gets a genie of his own named Kaz.
- Gentle Giant: The giant who lives at Caliana Caves is gentle except while under the effect of Zeta's potions.
- Glad I Thought of It: When Zeta is running out of the magic carpet dust she uses to make her scooter fly, her pet dragon Nazboo suggests using flying flour instead. She claims to be the one who thought about it.
- Grand Finale: Season 4 ends with Zeta becoming a sorcerenie and helping everyone else stop Uzma the sea enchantress from stealing all the magic of Zarhamay Falls.
- Hair-Trigger Avalanche: In an episode where Nazboo sneezes loudly on a snow-covered mountain and...nothing happens.
- When Zeta finds the echo amusing and tries it herself, however.
- Halloween Episode: The episode "A Very Genie Halloweenie".
- Headphones Equal Isolation: In "All Bottled Up", Zeta imprisons Shimmer and Shine inside a bottle and it lands on a flying carpet that belongs to a genie whose headphones prevent him from hearing their screams for help. When he finally hears, he thinks his flying carpet can talk.
- Image Song: The song "Make a Wish" from "The First Wish" is about Shimmer and Shine and their wish-granting ability.
- Imprinting: In "Boom Zahra-Mom", Zeta takes an egg from the forest and when the little bird inside it hatches, it imprints on her and believes her to be its mother.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: This is what Zeta is (mostly sympathetic, anyway). She has loads of Pet the Dog moments with her pet dragon toddler, Nazboo, too.
- Inflating Body Gag: In "Potion Control," Zeta accidentally inflates her body into a balloon after mixing some potions together. She then floats up into the air.
- Invisible Parents: Even with most of the Season 1 episodes taking place in or around Leah's home, we never see her parents, nor are they mentioned. Same for Zac, too. He pretty much comes and goes as he pleases via the loose picket in their shared fence. Similarly, the genies don't seem to have parents, or at least they're never referred to. The only parental figure of remote is Princess Samira, who has the general appearance of a responsible teenager. In Season 2, Leah and Zac go to Zahramay Falls and the viewers never learn where their parents think they go.
- Is The Answer To This Question "Yes"?: In one episode, Shimmer responds to a question by asking if a dragon can dance the hula. By her own admission, even she doesn't know.
- It's Like I Always Say: Shine usually starts phrases with "It's like I always say..." and most of the time it's followed by something Shimmer never heard her say before, which Shine explains by saying she's "just made it up".
- In some occasions, instead of saying she's "just made it up", Shine explains that the phrases never made sense before.
- In "Welcome to Zahramay Falls", it's Shimmer who starts a phrase with "It's like I always say...". Shine never heard Shimmer say the rest of the phrase before but she agrees with Shimmer. Shimmer returns the favor in "Pet Games".
- In "Treehouse Retreat", Shimmer doesn't respond to Shine's comment, suggesting that this time it's really something she always says.
- In "Whatever Floats Your Boat", Shine's comment is something Shimmer acknowledges that she always says.
- Jackass Genie: During her second chance as a genie-in-training, Zeta plans to trick Shimmer and Shine into making a wish she can take advantage of to make herself more powerful.
- Leitmotif: Each episode has a recurring four-note melody that plays whenever Leah is about to make a wish.
- Limited Wardrobe: For the most part, the characters usually stick to their default outfits, though wish-related shenanigans do sometimes lead to new, plot-relevant outfit changes, including for Zac. Season 2 gives Leah and Zac new default clothes, and hairstyle for Leah, to better blend in while they visit Zahramay Falls
- Literal Genie: Some of the wishes go wrong because Shimmer and Shine don't understand certain figures of speech. Averted since Season 2.
- Loophole Abuse: Leah and Zac dress as genies within Zahramay Falls, because they're not meant to be there, since they aren't genies.
- Mad Libs Catchphrase: Shine has "It's like I always say, [something her twin sister points out she never heard Shine say before and Shine admits she just made up]."
- There are rare cases where, instead of saying she just made it up, Shine gives an explanation that basically means "it never made sense in context before".
- Magical Incantation: Most magically related things require a chant to initiate, of which there are a few.Shimmer/Shine: Boom Zahramay! *Numbered wish* of the day! Shimmer and Shine! *The wish here* divine! (Said whenever Shimmer or Shine grant a wish.)Kaz: Boom Zahramay! First wish of the day! Flash and pizzazz! Party by Kaz! (Said when Kaz granted Zac's first wish as his genie partner.)Shimmer/Shine/Samira: (together) Boom Zahramay! Special wish of the day! Leah and Zac, you may always come back! (Said by all three when they grant Leah and Zac the special wish to always be able to return to Zahramay Falls whenever they want to.)Zeta: Boom Zahramay! *Numbered wish* of the day! Zeta so fine! *The wish here* divine! (Said whenever Zeta grants a wish during her second chance as a genie-in-training.)Leah: Boom Zahramay! *Numbered wish* of the day! Leah will grant! A wish with this chant! (Said whenever Leah grants a wish during her day as a genie.)Leah: Shimmer and Shine. My genies divine. Through this special chant, three wishes you'll grant. (Said whenever Leah called her genies during Season 1)
- For some reason, Season 3 retconned the regular wish-granting chants so the genies now say "wish granted" instead of describing the wishes.
- Whenever Kaz grants a wish he feels he shouldn't, he adds "with some" before saying "flash and pizzazz".
- Magic Mirror:
- In "My Secret Genies", it's revealed that Shimmer and Shine used one to find out who they'll grant wishes to.
- In "A Tree-mendous Rescue", Shimmer and Shine use one to talk to Princess Samira.
- Magical Girl: A rare Western Animation, "genie"-themed take on the genre.
- MacGuffin: The Genie Gems as introduced in Season 2, which grant unique and specialized magic when wielded. So far, they don't really have much relevancy outside the episodes they are introduced in, besides the Matching Gem that pairs Zac with Kaz and becomes Zac's genie lamp.
- Meaningful Name: Leah once got a polka-dotted elephant Shine named "Dottie".
- Minimalist Cast: Season 1 had this. The only regulars were Leah, Shimmer and Shine, Nahal and Tala, and Zac, who appeared in all of the episodes, and Rocket, who appeared in the majority of them. This minimalism is felt more so than usual because Zac and Rocket tended to not interact with Shimmer, Shine, and their pets (except by accident or when no one was looking). Outside of the isolated appearances of Santa, a conjured, friendly Frankenstein, and a merchant genie, no one else is seen or really given lines. Well, other than the myriad of animals that get wished by Leah but are gone within the episode. Season 2 adds a number of Zahramay Falls residents that help alleviate this some.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Nazboo. While he is loyal to Zeta and gladly helps her with her schemes, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body, and even refers to the good guys as "friends" on occasion.
- Name and Name: The show is titled "Shimmer and Shine" and has an episode titled "Samira and Zeta".
- No Antagonist: None of the episodes of Season 1 feature any characters trying to do anything bad on purpose. However, a pair of recurring antagonists, Zeta the Sorceress and Nazboo the Dragon, appear in almost every episode of Season 2. Though in fact Nazboo, by most rights, wouldn't even fall under antagonist, really, simply leaving Zeta.
- No Self-Buffs: Wish magic is the most powerful magic a genie can use but no one can use it to grant one's own wishes.
- Odd Name Out: In "Nazboo's Family Reunion", Nazboo is revealed to have siblings named Razboo, Kazboo and Frank.
- Once per Episode: You can count on these things being a constant:
- Zac showing up while the genies and their often times extravagant wishes are present, leading to the genies and their pets hiding while a tall tale is made up to cover the wish, usually with Zac's help.
- The to and from renditions of "Boom Zahramay" sung as the genies and pets traverse dimensions.
- The cutaway session song sung when the genies make their first mistake with a wish.
- The time taken to show Nahal and Tala deeply interacting with their current environment.
- And last but not least, an unique-per-episode short song, based on the current events of the episode, usually done in a montage but occasionally as an inexplicable cutaway dance number (or both).
- The One Guy: Of all the main characters in season 1, Zac is the only male. Even with Tala and Nahal counting, he's still the only guy. By the second season, villains counted, Nazboo was added in, averting this trope.
- Origins Episode: "The First Wish" is the story of how Shimmer and Shine first met Leah and became her genies, by winning the genie bottle pendant they made her at a carnival.
- Our Genies Are Different: They live in another dimension, their bottles are just a way to travel between their world and Earth and they don't have to return right after granting the third wish. Shimmer and Shine usually stay around to fix their mistakes and only then go back home.
- Also, they grant three wishes per summoning, which usually happens during the daytime.
- Out of Focus: Zac, post-Season 1. Despite being a constant presence, a main character in his own right outside of the genies, their pets, and Leah, and being let in on the genie secret and eventually getting his own genie, Season 2 sees a sharp decline in his screen-time. Whether the episodes going to a Quarter Hour Short format or the focus on newcomers Zeta and Nazboo is blame is unclear. Probably even more noticeable, however, is Nahal and Tala. They don't have it as bad as Zac, not by a long shot, but they've never missed an episode prior to the start of the second season. Nazboo, Zeta's pet toddler dragon, seems to have taken some of their "cuteness quota," while also doubling as a partner and foil to Zeta.
- Overly Narrow Superlative:
- In "What a Pig Mess", the genies watch a car race and Shimmer says it's the best one she ever watched. By her own admission, it's the only one but still the best.
- In "Volcano Draino", Shimmer describes Mount Navine as the biggest volcano in Zahramay Falls. It's the only volcano in Zahramay Falls but Shimmer says it's still the biggest.
- Palette Swap: Dottie, the polka-dotted elephant from "My Secret Genies", is practically the elephant from "Abraca-Genie" with polka dots and a different color pattern.
- Plot Hole:
- Season 1 has a Halloween Episode where Shimmer and Shine are introduced to Zac as kids wearing genie costumes. Promotional material for Season 2 has a scene where Zac meets the genies again and learns the truth about them. For some reason, he's surprised that they know his name.
- In "My Secret Genies", one of the things Shimmer and Shine magically conjure to convince Leah they're real genies is a treehouse. However, in "Genie Treehouse", they assume Leah means a house made of trees when Leah wishes for a treehouse.
- Quarter Hour Short: Part of Season 2's Retool; the episodes went from the regular 22-minute variety to this 11-minute kind, though "Welcome to Zahramay Falls" was an exception.
- "Rashomon"-Style: In "Dragon Tales", Zeta tells Leah, Shimmer and Shine about the day she met her pet dragon Nazboo. Then Nazboo tells his side a.k.a. the truth. In Zeta's version, the dragons' homeland, Manetikar, is described as a dark and horrible place where the big dragons used to pick on Nazboo until Zeta effortless defeated them and decided to pick Nazboo as her pet instead of a big dragon as she originally intended because she couldn't leave him alone with the bully dragons she didn't take in. Zeta also introduced Nazboo to the "tummy rub". In Nazboo's version, Manetikar is a light and beautiful place where the big dragons are kind and Zeta's attempt to tame one of them ended with her bring dragged around and she decided to settle for Nazboo, who already knew of "tummy rub". Zeta admits Nazboo's version to be truthful.
- Remembered I Could Fly:
- In "Wishy Washy Genie", the titular Wishy Washy Genie tries to cross a bridge without being sure it can withstand him. Suddenly, one of the ends of the bridge gives in and he holds onto the bridge out of fear he'll fall down. He then sees Shimmer, Shine and Kaz flying into safety and remembers that, as a genie, he can do that as well.
- In "The Darpoppy", Leah, Shimmer and Shine leap from one spot to another and Kaz is afraid of doing the same until he's reminded that he can float.
- Regional Riff: Sitar riffs.
- In Season 3, the magical incantations genies use for wish granting are changed to include the expression "wish granted" instead of the wishes' descriptions.
- Season 3 episodes "Underground Bound" and "Wishy Washy Genie" establish that genies can't avoid granting wishes mentioned by whoever is holding their bottle or lamp until the daily wish quota is met. Kaz explains as much when Zac makes a bad wish and no reason is given for Shimmer and Shine having never done the same back in Season 1 whenever Leah made wish-shaped comments not meant to be actual wishes. It also contradicts Season 2 episode "Bling, Bling", where Shimmer and Shine questioned the reasoning behind one of the wishes Leah made and only granted it after she confirmed she had a plan.
- Retool: Season 2 takes place in Zahramay Falls and includes villains like Zeta the sorceress. This season also lets Zac in on the genie loop and eventually gives him his own genie, at the general cost of his consistent screen-time. In addition, though problem solving is still a part of the show, the plots are quite a bit more action-y and adventurous than Season 1's. Also, the theme song gets a few choice re-writes in its lyrics, of note being the de-emphasis of the genies "three wishes a day", which correctly reflects that the genie's wishes aren't as integral or concurrent to the given episode plots as they previously were, nor their need for corrected mistakes, what with Shimmer and Shine being better at wish interpretation.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Princess Samira of Zahramay Falls is in charge of supervising the genies-in-training. She's consistently shown to be a busy genie who can never stay put in one place for too long.
- Sdrawkcab Name: Zac's genie Kaz.
- Secret Identity: As noted in “The First Wish”, Leah has to keep Shimmer and Shine a secret from everyone, or they won’t be her genies anymore. Slightly subverted in Season 2 once Zac finds out.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: The subplot of "Sleep-Over Party" features Zac trying to stay awake so he can watch a meteor shower. In the next morning, when his best friend asks him about it, he says it was the wrong night.
- Shimmer and Shine's Magic Mirror has two buttons: one that opens a trap door and one that activates the mirror. This is similar to the two levers next to Yzma's lab entrance in The Emperor's New Groove.
- In "Genie for a Day", Zeta falls down the tallest mountain in Zahramay Falls and screams for somebody to "stop that crazy thing".
- Slice of Life: The first season was this, with Leah calling the genies for a problem, shenanigans happening through the wishes and lessons being learned as they fixed the problems. Otherwise, there wasn't any antagonists other then the problem(s) at hand. The second season actionizes things a bit more.
- Strictly Formula: Most of Season 1's episodes could be telegraphed as follows: Leah has a problem (or her best friend Zac has a problem and it becomes Leah's, too), she summons her genies to help out with their three wishes, but for one reason or another, the three wishes don't get granted as Leah intended, with the second or third one usually ending up wasted by the genies taking an exasperated Leah's wish-shaped comments seriously, before the trio find a way to make use of the three wishes anyway to solve or at least absolve the problem at hand.
- The second season goes quite a bit to subvert many of the above. To begin, whereas Season 1's adventures were exclusively set on Earth, outside the pre and post episode parts that show the genies at home, bar the excerpt in its first episode (that leads you to believe things are being played straight, minus the evident lack of a problem on Leah's end), Season 2's stories take place exclusively in Zahramay Falls. Other than its first one, Season 2 episodes are Quarter Hour Shorts rather than a full half-hour. "Boom Zahramay" is only sung in the first episode, and only the "to" rendition, and Shimmer and Shine don't make as many mistakes with their wishes as they did, even if they still take some liberties in interpretation, and not as big a deal is made when they do make mistakes (which means no "When we make a big mistake..." cutaway, though unique episode songs do still pop up, if not as regularly and strictly in a montage fashion). Last but not least, the second season does pretty well to reduce the Minimalist Cast drows of the first by introducing a handful of new regular characters, sapient characters of the day (i.e., ones that aren't animals), and a more consistent background character presence, though it did come at the cost of a reduced presence of Zac, who was in every episode prior.
- Subverted Catchphrase: In the first episode of Season 2, the green mist from Zeta's gabbing potion enveloping him and Leah causes him to remark for the first time that that is something that "doesn't happen a lot."
- Three Wishes: Shimmer and Shine grant three wishes a day.
- Transformation Sequence: Shimmer, Shine and Leah go through one every time they pass through the waterfall to Rainbow Zahramay.
- Unusual Euphemism: Not a bad one, but a little particular nonetheless. Non-magical people, that is, people who don't live in Zahramay Falls, are referred to as, well, non-magical people.
- Villain Song: Zeta gets one in "Dance Magic" as she uses the magic of Sarah's dance shoes to seize control of Zahramay Falls.
- Visible Invisibility: Parisa can camouflage herself ,but leaves an outline for the viewers to know where she is. The same goes for the people turned invisible by a potion Zeta made in Parisa's debut episode.
- Vocal Evolution: Leah's voice has become deeper and more adolescent as the show progresses, especially in seasons 3 and 4.
- Wasteful Wishing: A Running Gag in the first season has Leah accidentally wasting her last wish of the day by using a wish-related comment.
- We Used to Be Friends: Zeta and Samira used to be best friends until Samira proved to be better than Zeta and she became jealous of her.
- Whole Episode Flashback:
- The episode "My Secret Genies" starts with the genies and their pets browsing through a photo album. Once they spot a photograph of the day they first met Leah, the rest of the episode was a flashback of that day.
- "Samira and Zeta" is a flashback told by Samira how she and Zeta met as genies-in-training and became friends until her upstaging Zeta drove them apart.
- Winged Unicorn: The Zahramay Zoomicorns.
Can’t wait till tomorrow, my best friends forever!
Shimmer and Shine: With magical powers that shimmer and shine,
We’ll see you next time!