At the beginning of every Octonauts episode, three main characters—Kwazii Kitten, Peso Penguin, and Captain Barnacles Polar Bear—shout the Octonaut motto, “Explore, Rescue, Protect!” That motto goes a long way to describe the content and plot of most episodes. This intrepid bunch of animal (and vegimal) oceanographers go on whimsical undersea adventures but the genuinely educational core of this series puts it a cut above entertainment television.
|The book that started it all.|
The Octonauts live in the ocean in their Octopod, a futuristic glass-enclosed living space. They tool around the ocean in a fleet of small vessels called “Gups,” each with a letter designation, starting with Gup-A, Gup-B and so on to the expected Gup-E. And while the book series is whimsical, featuring monsters and frowning fish, the television series has a welcome educational component, with each episode featuring a story involving an actual sea creature or creatures in reality-based stories, such as the symbiotic relationship between crabs and sea urchin.
In addition, The Octonauts include a group of Vegimals—like the character Turnip—who are “special underwater critters (part vegetable/part animal).” Just when you think it might get too mawkish, you see there’s a fascinating contrast between the adorable illustrations and the fictional world of The Octonauts. The voices aren’t cutesy, but rather the voices of dedicated grown-ups who give an interesting tone to the series, with wonderful voice performances all around. I especially like the commanding voice of the character Captain Barnacles Polar Bear, but the entire cast is well voiced.
I learn something every time I watch this show. My daughter is over the moon (and under the sea) for The Octonauts. You should sea it. I mean SEE it.