Franklin is a Canadian animated television series, based on the Franklin the Turtle books by Brenda Clark (illustrator) and Paulette Bourgeois (writer). The television series was named after its main character, Franklin the Turtle. In the Canadian French version, the cartoon shorts are presented with the title character of Benjamin (cf. Benjamin Franklin) and a similar theme song. It is produced by Alphanim, Lux Animation, Nelvana Limited, Neurohouse, Reader's Digest for Young Families, TF1 and PolyGram Television.
Children's animated television series
Paulette Bourgeois & Brenda Clark
In October, 2000, Franklin's little sister Harriet was introduced in the direct-to-video and DVD movie Franklin and the Green Knight. The two shared an adventure in 2001 in Franklin's Magic Christmas. In 2003, Harriet had grown quite a bit and Franklin learned new things from a substitute teacher named Mrs. Koala in the new release Back to School with Franklin. While Franklin was learning things in school, Harriet was learning how to make friends when she met Beaver's little brother, Kit. In May 2004, brand-new episodes of the series began airing on a Canadian network called Treehouse TV. Franklin and many of his friends had new voice actors in these new adventures, but many of the show's strongest writers and staff-members remained on board. These new stories saw Franklin facing a flood, worries about the old treehouse and earning a badge in a group called the Woodland Trailblazers. For the sixth season Funbag and other animation studios joined in the development of Franklin. The most recent and successful movie for the series is Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure. The film was written by John van Bruggen and directed by Dominique Monféry. The 76-minute long film premiered in theaters in 2006 and had its debut on Noggin on New Year's Eve, 2007, as part of a celebration of the network's conversion to a 24/7 format.
Many Franklin television stories are based on books in the original Franklin Adventure series. The practice of adapting television stories from books was dropped in the program's second season, though elements and dialogue from some of the books are incorporated into latter stories. On the flip side, many Franklin television stories have been made into books in the Franklin TV Storybook and Franklin First Readers series. Usually written by Sharon Jennings, these adaptations are shortened versions of what's seen on TV and may contain non-canon material.
Franklin is a growing young turtle who, as his television stories and books always begin, "...could count by twos and tie his shoes". He goes to school, lives in a small village with his friends, and has many adventures playing and learning in the world around him, sometimes with the helping hand of an adult or his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Turtle. Franklin likes swimming, arts and crafts (especially drawing), and loves shoofly pie. He's been known to be afraid of the dark and of thunderstorms.
Franklin almost always airs with two 11-minute stories (specifically paired together, although usually for no special reason), except on Canada's CBC, which splits the stories apart and shows one at a time. The Franklin DVD and video releases include individual stories grouped together as part of a theme, rather than complete episodes. Unlike many animated children's programs, Franklin has no interstitial segments or end-tags featuring the characters. The scenes shown in the program's opening introduction were changed after the first season. Many of these scenes featured Otter, a character who left the series early in the first season and was only seen once more in latter seasons.
Franklin is animated in traditional 2D animation, although likely with the aid of computers, especially in the later seasons. Differences in the coloring of the program can be spotted from season-to-season. The more recent features, most noticeably Back to School with Franklin have somewhat different look from the television series. The film Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure, upped the production value considerably, with more color differentiation between the various turtles, an overall brighter look, and beautifully painted background artwork. Franklin is closed-captioned.
Sports and games
Baseball is seen more often in earlier seasons, with only sporadic appearances in later episodes. Hockey and soccer are favored as sports to play. Once, when Franklin and Bear went to sign up for a sport, spaces had run out, so they were signed up for dance lessons instead.
Hockey has an important place in the Franklin world. It is featured in several stories, including one in which Skunk is taught by Franklin and Bear how to play. Franklin also gets to meet a couple of his professional hockey heroes in the fifth and sixth seasons of the program.
In addition to sports, the characters enjoy a number of games and activities. Franklin becomes his school's chess champion. Harriet and Beatrice enjoy playing tag and hide-and-seek. And Franklin and his friends enjoy playing knights.
Locations in Woodland
Franklin and his friends live in a small village known as Woodland. The village is small enough that most residents know one another and meet on a regular basis. There is a small shopping district, some roads (with very little traffic), and at least one community schoolhouse.
- The Turtle Household - Franklin's home.
- The Shopping District - Woodland is known to have a robust shopping district with an ice-cream shop, Mr. Mole's hardware store, a pharmacy, a grocery market, a coffee shop, a bookstore, and more. Franklin and his friends sometimes travel here with their parents, with each other, or even by themselves.
- The Pond - Franklin and his friends often hang out by the pond, which is attached to a stream. They sometimes go swimming, sit by the pond, or participate in various activities.
- The Woods - Woodland is surrounded on at least one end by woods. A character named Gopher who appeared in the movie Franklin and the Green Knight is known to live here. In Franklin and the Green Knight, Franklin and Snail had an adventure here. They journeyed deep into the woods where they met several characters and found magic cherry blossoms.
- Oakwood Ravine - Located within the woods and connected distantly to the Play Park. The only area in Woodland that is shown to contain poison ivy.
- The Nature Trail - The Nature Trail is a trail that has a picnic ground within it, as well as Monarch Meadow and Blueberry Hill Lookout. Franklin and Bear went on a hiking trip in the trail once. They expected to find monarch butterflies in Monarch Meadow, but found caterpillars instead. There is a pond here as well. Franklin and Bear try to skip stones in it, but the stones sink.
- Village Park - Kids go to skateboard here.
- The Play Park - For the younger kids such as Harriet and Beatrice. It has a slide, swings and monkey bars. Harriet, Kit, and Beatrice all enjoy playing here.
- Tamarack Point - An amusement park area never seen on the program, but referenced. When Franklin is unable to travel there with all his friends, he creates his own "Turtle Point."
- Faraway Farm - Franklin and his family pay a visit here in the TV special Franklin's Magic Christmas.
- Turtle Lake - An area featured only in the TV special Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure. Franklin's Granny lived in this area, but lost her home and parents in a fire.
- Town Hall - The Town Hall of Woodland is used to hold the production of Sleeping Beauty performed by Franklin and his class in "Franklin's Starring Role."
Writers, directors, and music
Here is a list of many of the show's staff in order of the numbers of stories they have written or directed. A story reflects not an entire episode, but one of two 11 minute stories aired within an episode.
- Frank Diteljan - 4
- Laura Kosterski - 4
- Patrick Granleese - 4
- Bridget Newson - 4
- Betty Quan - 4
- Peter Sauder - 4
- Kim Thompson - 4
- Richard Elliott (II) - 3
- Maureen Paxton - 3
- Simon Racioppa - 3
- Bruce Robb - 3
- James Backshall - 2
- Lynn Mason - 2
- Mark Mayerson - 2
- Jennifer Pertsch - 2
- Neal Colgrass - 1
- Dave Dias - 1
- Sheila Dinsmore - 1
- Richard Jones (II) - 1
- Shawn Kalb - 1
- Nicole Keefler - 1
- Leah Lepofsky - 1
- Shane MacDougall - 1
Franklin has six seasons of thirteen episodes each. There are also four specials.
Season 1 (1997-1998)
- Hurry Up, Franklin / Franklin's Bad Day
- Franklin Goes to School / Franklin Is Lost
- Franklin Has a Sleepover / Franklin's Halloween
- Franklin Rides a Bike / Franklin Is Messy
- Franklin Fibs / Franklin's Blanket
- Franklin is Bossy / Franklin's Fort
- Finders Keepers for Franklin / Franklin's New Friend
- Franklin's School Play / Franklin and the Secret Club
- Franklin and the Red Scooter / Franklin in the Dark
- Franklin and the Tooth Fairy / Franklin Takes the Blame
- Franklin's Christmas Gift / Franklin's Granny
- Franklin and the Baby / Franklin Goes to Day Camp
Season 2 (1998-1999)
- Franklin's Visitor / Franklin's Not-So-Broken Bone
- Franklin's Gift / Franklin Growing Up Fast
- Franklin and Otter's Visit / Franklin's Library Book
- Franklin's Kite / Franklin and the Babysitter
- Franklin and the Broken Globe / Franklin's Valentines
- Franklin's Family Treasure / Franklin's Music Lessons
- Franklin Takes a Trip / Franklin's Bicycle Helmet
- Franklin's Birthday Party / Franklin's Nickname
- Franklin the Spy / Franklin's Collection
- Franklin Says Sorry / Franklin and the Fire
- Franklin's Garden / Franklin Runs Away
- Franklin's Gloomy Day / Franklin Tells Time
- Franklin's Test / Franklin and the Duckling
Season 3 (1999-2000)
- Franklin and His Night Friend / Franklin and the Two Henrys
- Franklin's Nature Hike / Franklin's Starring Role
- Franklin's Masterpiece / Franklin and the Computer
- Franklin the Trooper / Franklin's Fossil
- Franklin and the Fortune Teller / Franklin's Cellar
- Franklin Plants a Tree / Franklin the Hero
- Franklin's Day Off / Franklin's Homemade Cookies
- Franklin the Fabulous / Franklin Camps Out
- Franklin and the Puppy / Franklin Takes The Bus
- Franklin and the Copycat / Big Brother Franklin
- Franklin and the Grump / Franklin's Promise
- Franklin and the Thunderstorm / Franklin's Maple Syrup
- Franklin Helps Out / Franklin's Missing Snacks
Season 4 (2000-2001)
- Franklin's Good Deeds / Franklin's Submarine
- Mr. Fix-It Franklin / Franklin Has the Hiccups
- Franklin Delivers / Franklin's Shell Trouble
- Franklin's Sailboat / Franklin Snoops
- Franklin's Father / Franklin Plays Hockey
- Franklin and the Puppet Play / Franklin's Stopwatch
- Franklin Meets Ermine / Franklin's Funny Business
- Franklin and Sam / Franklin's Berry Patch
- Franklin's Rival / Franklin and the Trading Cards
- Franklin's Robot / Franklin the Detective
- Franklin the Fearless / Franklin's Lucky Charm
- Franklin at the Seashore / Franklin & Snail's Dream
- My Franklin / Franklin's Mom
Season 5 (2001-2002)
- Franklin the Teacher / Franklin's Allergy
- Franklin Loses a Book / Franklin and Betty
- Franklin's Pumpkin / Franklin's Jug Band
- Franklin and the Bus Patrol / Franklin and Wolvie
- Franklin Stays Up / Franklin's Bargain
- Franklin's Big Game / Franklin's Reading Club
- Franklin in Two Places / Franklin's First Star
- Franklin's Float / Franklin's Party Plans
- Gee Whiz Franklin / Franklin Can't Wait
- Franklin's Spring First / Franklin Plays Golf
- Franklin's Canoe Trip / Franklin's Interview
- Franklin's Crystal / Franklin's Advice
- Franklin's Cookie Question / Franklin's Picnic
Season 6 (2002-2003)
- Franklin Itching to Skateboard / Franklin Forgives
- Hockey Fan Franklin / Mother Hen Franklin
- Franklin's Badge / Franklin Stargazes
- Franklin's Swimming Party / Franklin's Soccer Field Folly
- Franklin the Weather Turtle / Franklin's Dance Lessons
- Franklin in Charge / Franklin's UFO
- Franklin Migrates / Franklin the Photographer
- Franklin's Word / Franklin's Pond Phantom
- Franklin the Coach / Franklin Plays it Safe
- Franklin's Favorite Card / Franklin's Expedition
- Franklin's Bike-A-Thon / Franklin's Candy Caper
- Franklin's Go-Cart Race / Sir Franklin's Squire
- Franklin Sees the Big Picture / Franklin Figure Skates
Specials / Movies
Franklin has been seen in numerous touring stage shows, including "Franklin's Big Adventure," "Franklin's Class Concert," "Franklin's Family Christmas Concert," and "Franklin's Carnival Of Animals." Produced by Koba Entertainment and presented by Paquin Entertainment, these stage shows featured a number of songs including "Come See the World," "What I Do in the Morning" and "The Dinosaur Song." In 2009, a new touring show, "Franklin and The Adventures of the Noble Knights", was developed, and is currently touring in France. The show is also produced by Koba Entertainment, and presented by Paquin Entertainment. The Director/Choreographer is Patti Caplette. This show is due to tour Canada in early 2010.
There are some inconsistencies in the Franklin series when it comes to pets. Since all of the characters are animals, it is interesting to note that some of the animal characters also have animal pets. For example, in the episode "Franklin wants a pet," Franklin observes a puppy for sale as a pet. However, in the movie Franklin's Magic Christmas, Franklin's Grandparent's have neighbors who are collies. It is interesting to see in this example that in the Franklin series, dogs can be both traditional pets and human-like characters. Similarly, in Franklin's Magic Christmas, Franklin's Grandparent's have a cat named Whiskers, but in the episode in which Franklin goes to a pioneer vacation spot their host is a cat.