Team Umizoomi is a new kid’s show, geared toward the preschool set, premiering this week on Nickelodeon. Why are the GeekDads really excited about this? Well, for one thing, the show’s focus is on teaching preschoolers the basics of math. Yes, a math-based show, at last! I’ve watched the pilot of Team Umizoomi, and it’s just as engaging as Blue’s Clues and, absolutely a delight from a design perspective (not to mention utterly adorable).
How can I describe Team Umizoomi? First, it’s set in Umi City, a multi-textured world of shapes and colors populated with people, cars, buildings, and just about anything else you’d expect in a big city. Using 2D and 3D animation techniques, the designers have created a colorful, dazzling, math-based world kept safe by young super heroes Milli and Geo as well as their robot, Bot (voiced by Donovan Patton of Blue’s Clues fame), and of course, Umifriend: the viewer. It’s interactive, informative, and turns math into real-world application and adventure. It was a smash in our house, to say the least.
Says Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group, “Math surrounds us everywhere we go, which is why we wanted to create a fun, adventure-filled, interactive series that engages preschoolers and encourages them to practice and refine their mathematical thinking skills. Team Umizoomi is an action-packed series with interactive math games and catchy pop songs that provide kids with takeaway tools to help them learn and use math in their daily lives.”
I was thrilled to have the chance to talk with Donovan Patton last week about the show. Donovan, for the uninitiated, became a household name when, in 2002, he replaced Steve Burns in Blue’s Clues, as Steve’s little brother Joe. We had a great conversation, and Donovan talked to me a bit about what working on the show is like, as well as shared some of his geeky tendencies (spoiler: he loves Tolkien!). An all-around sweet guy, our chat definitely was a blast, and I’ve excerpted it for you below. We certainly wish him, and the great team behind Team Umizoomi, all the best.
You can listen to the interview here: Donovan Patton Interview
Team Umizoomi premieres January 25th at 11:30am EST on Nickelodeon!