The Wild Thornberrys
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|The Wild Thornberrys|
Children's television series
|Created by||Arlene Klasky|
|Developed by||Mark Palmer|
|Directed by||Peter Avanzino|
|Voices of||Lacey Chabert|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||91 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Arlene Klasky|
Sheila M. Anthony
|Running time||23 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Klasky Csupo|
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV)|
|Original release||September 1, 1998 –|
June 11, 2004
This is me, Eliza Thornberry, part of your average family. I've got a dad, a mom, and a sister. There is Donnie, we found him. And Darwin, he found us. Oh, yeah, about our house. It moves, because we travel all over the world. You see, my dad hosts this nature show, and my mom shoots it. Okay, so we're not that average. And between you and me, something amazing happened... and now I can talk to animals. It's really cool, but totally secret. And you know what? Life's never been the same.— Eliza Thornberry, in the opening title sequence
The series focuses around a nomadic family of documentary filmmakers known as the Thornberrys, famous for their televised wildlife studies. It primarily centers on the family's younger daughter Eliza, and her secret gift of being able to communicate with animals, which was bestowed upon her after having rescued a shaman masquerading as a trapped warthog.
The gift enabled her to talk to the Thornberrys' pet chimpanzee Darwin. Together, the pair frequently venture through the wilderness, befriending many species of wild animals along the way or realizing moral truths and lessons through either their experiences or a particular animal species's lifestyle, or simply assisting the creatures, by which they become acquainted, in their difficulties.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||20||September 1, 1998||April 1, 1999|
|2||37||August 16, 1999||March 27, 2000|
|3||20||September 12, 2000||May 14, 2001|
|4||6||August 18, 2001||June 1, 2002|
|The Wild Thornberrys Movie|
|5||8||February 3, 2003||June 11, 2004|
|Rugrats Go Wild|
- Eliza (voiced by Lacey Chabert) is the 11-year-old daughter of the Thornberrys. She has red hair in braids, glasses, braces, and freckles. She has four visible teeth connected by two braces. She is able to communicate with animals, especially her chimpanzee sidekick Darwin. She must keep this gift secret or she will lose her powers.
- Nigel (voiced by Tim Curry) is Eliza's father. Sir Nigel Archibald Thornberry KBE is the son of Radcliffe (also voiced by Curry) and Cordelia Thornberry (Lynn Redgrave), an aristocratic British couple. Born in the United Kingdom and having attended Harrow School near London, he travels around the world with his own family making wildlife documentaries. He is eccentric, enthusiastic, and cheerful even in the face of danger, and is also known for his exaggerated facial features.
- Marianne (voiced by Jodi Carlisle) is Eliza's mother and Nigel's wife. She is the daughter of Frank (Ed Asner) and Sophie Hunter (Betty White). She mentions that she attended the University of California, Berkeley.
- Donnie (voiced by Flea) is a feral boy adopted by the Thornberrys, who (as revealed in the 2001 four-part TV movie, "The Wild Thornberrys: The Origin of Donnie") was raised by orangutans in Borneo. Donnie is 4, turning 5 in "The Origin of Donnie".
- Debbie (voiced by Danielle Harris) is Eliza's 16-year-old older sister. She becomes the only family member to know about Eliza's power but is warned that she will be turned into a baboon if she ever tells anyone. Debbie dresses in grunge clothing and has peekaboo hairstyle.
- Darwin (voiced by Tom Kane) is the Thornberrys' pet chimpanzee. He usually wears a tank top with horizontal blue and white stripes (used to be Debbie's lucky tank top) and blue shorts. He speaks with a distinct, upper-class British accent.
- Neil Biederman (voiced by Michael Jeter & replaced by Jerry Sroka), a poacher & The Thornberrys’ sworn enemy who poaches and kidnaps animals from above it, with his partner Kip O'Donnell (voiced by Keith Szarabajka).
- Tyler Tucker (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas), Eliza and Debbie's cousin. He is Marianne and Nigel's nephew through Marianne's sister Nancy Tucker nee Hunter. He is a year older than Eliza but acts more immaturely than Eliza does. He doesn't really understand the dangers of living in the wild. He's a big know-it-all but generally has a good head on his shoulders, and he really cares about his cousins Debbie, Eliza, and Donnie. His parents are Dennis (voiced by Martin Mull) and Nancy Tucker (voiced by Mary Kay Place).
- Shane G. (voiced by Christopher Masterson) is a pop superstar who travels with the Thornberry Family for five episodes whilst they are filming in Alaska. The Foundation orders Nigel and Marianne to take him with the family to promote Wildlife preservation among young people and Shane's fans. Both Eliza and Debbie gain a crush on the boy, however Debbie loses interest when Shane shows to have more similarities with Eliza than herself.
- Santusa (voiced by Tia Texada), a Llama first seen in Nigel Knows Best. She can carries both of her. Darwin doesn’t have to go. And Nigel Thornberry had left them back to Cusco tomorrow. When she gave her a walk so she makes noise in Nigel Knows Best.
- Bim (voiced by Greg Ellis), a Koala whose British accent and befriended by Eliza, Darwin, & Donnie.
- Shango (voiced by Bradley Pierce), an African Elephant who Eliza first met.
- Phaedra (voiced by Jane Wiedlin), a female African Elephant who appears in the episode, Forget Me Not, and who Eliza and Darwin were riding at the beginning of The Wild Thornberrys Movie.
- Zita (voiced by Andrea Thompson), an African Elephant who was Rebecca’s daughter and the mother of Shango, from the episode, Forget Me Not.
- Mali (voiced by Christina Pickles, an African Elephant who was Zita's aunt and Phadera's daughter, when Eliza helps her.
- Juka (voiced by Marquise Wilson) leader of the Massai legend between his wise Grandfather Makai (voiced by Courtney B. Vance & replaced by Steve Harris)
- Ben (voiced by David Gallagher)
- Franz Fensterkopt (voiced by Bronson Pinchot)
- Dr. Jomo (voiced by Brock Peters), a police officer who is a friend of Nigel Thornberry.
- Sri Mayasandra (voiced by Alan Henry Brown), a scientist who had found Donnie in the TV special.
- Baru (voiced by Cara DeLizia), a young Proboscis monkey who helps Eliza get back to her family, and his father, Baduk (voiced by Dwight Schultz).
- Lugan (voiced by Maureen Quinn), who was in the TV special.
- Saiful (voiced by Pamela Adlon), which was in the TV special. and Adlon voiced Tano, a Cheetah Cub who Eliza tries to help find and who she, Darwin and Donnie help try to find his mother in the episode, Cheetahs Never Prosper.
- Shi Shou (voiced by Dionne Quan), a baby panda, and Mei-Mei (voiced by Bai Ling), a mother panda.
- Conal (voiced by Michael Gough), a Hawk, and her wife Brianag (voiced by Laraine Newman).
- Candi Milo as Emily, a female wombat from the episode, Chew if by Sea.
- Susanna Voltaire, Russi Taylor, Melissa Fahn are Anna, Igna, and Katrina
- William H Macy as Skoot, a male reindeer who Eliza raced with in On the Right Track.
- Bill Fagerbakke as Dank, a black reindeer who appeared in On the Right Track.
- Cree Summer as Rosie, a "teenage" asian elephant.
- Georg Stanford Brown as Kito, the leader jaguar from the episode.
- Danny Cooksey as Wanuug, a polar bear who appeared in Polar Opposites.
- David Ogden Stiers as Karroo, an Aye-aye.
- Ron Fassler, Anne Lambton, & Jimmie Wood are Tak a little rat, Sheeba the eye patch wearing cat, & Bone, the three legged dog who helped Eliza find the Bangaboo in The Great Bangaboo.
- Marion Ross as Rebecca, an elephant whom Eliza saved in Forget Me Not. She was originally saved by Nigel from poachers many years ago. At the end of the episode, the elephant dies of natural causes which makes Eliza cry after she passes away and her daughter Zita takes over the herd.
- Robert Morse as Jake, a male tortoise who Eliza helped in Two's Company.
- Phyllis Diller as Samantha, a female tortoise who Eliza helped in Two's Company.
- Kelly McGillis & Peter Onorati are Winema and Pava, the leader Gray Wolves that appeared in the episode, Pack of Thornberrys.
- Chris Demetral as Mato, a Gray Wolf who apppeared in the episode, Pack of Thornberrys.
- Bill Brochtrup as Collin, a Common dolphin who Eliza swam with in the episode, Hello, Dolphin!.
- Jane Goodall as Herself, appears in the episode, The Trouble With Darwin.
The Wild Thornberrys was produced by Klasky Csupo for Nickelodeon. It premiered in September 1998, and was the first Nicktoon to exclusively use 22-minute stories (episodes of other Nicktoons usually featured two 10 – 11-minute stories, using 22-minute stories only on occasion).
The series was designed to have a focus on parents after focus groups run by Klasky and Csupo uncovered that children were talking about the real struggles of the parent-child relationship; this was opposed to Nickelodeon's view of only featuring kids in children's programming.
Nickelodeon released all five seasons on DVD in Region 1 via Amazon.com through its CreateSpace Manufacture-on-demand program in 2010. Season 1 was released on June 24, 2010, and Seasons 2 through 5 were released on December 1, 2010.
|CreateSpace Releases||Release Date||Discs||Episodes|
|Season 1||June 24, 2010||4||20|
|Season 2, Volume 1||December 1, 2010||5||13|
|Season 2, Volume 2||December 1, 2010||5||24|
|Season 3, Volume 1||December 1, 2010||3||N/A|
|Season 3, Volume 2||December 1, 2010||3||N/A|
|Season 3, Volume 3||December 1, 2010||3||N/A|
|Season 4||December 1, 2010||2||6|
|Season 5||December 1, 2010||2||8|
On February 16, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series and would be releasing Season 1 on DVD on May 17, 2011. Season 1 was released on May 17, 2011 followed by Season 2, Part 1 on November 8, 2011. Season 2, Part 2 was released on April 24, 2012. Season 2, Part 3 was released on January 15, 2013, as a Shout Select title. Season 3 was released on June 11, 2013, as a Shout Select title. Seasons 4 and 5 were released in a box set on September 10, 2013 as a Shout Select title.
In Australia, all 5 seasons have been released via Beyond Home Entertainment. A 13-disc set titled The Wild Thornberrys: The Essential Episodes was released on June 3, 2015.
|DVD Name||Episodes||Release Date|
|Season 1||20||May 17, 2011||April 3, 2013|
|Season 2, Part 1 |
Season 2, Part 2
Season 2, Part 3♦
|November 8, 2011 |
April 24, 2012
January 15, 2013
|April 3, 2013 (complete)|
|Season 3♦||20||June 11, 2013||December 4, 2013|
|Seasons 4 & 5♦||14||September 10, 2013||April 2, 2014|
|The Essential Episodes||75||N/A||June 3, 2015|
|The Complete Series||91||December 1, 2015||N/A|
♦ – Shout! Factory select title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store. (refers to region 1 releases)
A video game based on the television series titled The Wild Thornberrys: Animal Adventures was released only for PlayStation on November 8, 2000. During this time, another game was released, The Wild Thornberrys: Rambler on PC and Game Boy Color on August 7, 2000 and November 2000 respectively. Another video game titled The Wild Thornberrys Chimp Chase was released only for the Game Boy Advance on October 1, 2001.
The franchise was extended through four movies (two television films and two theatrical films), which were released toward the end of the series' run:
- The Origin of Donnie (2001): This prequel was released as a television film, and explores Donnie's life before he was found by the Thornberrys.
- The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002): This theatrical film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
- Rugrats Go Wild (2003): This theatrical film was also the final Rugrats film, and a crossover between Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.
- "Sir Nigel" (2003): Nigel gets knighted.
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office gross||Box office ranking||Budget||Ref.|
|North America||Other territories||Worldwide||All time |
North America opening weekend
|The Wild Thornberrys Movie||December 20, 2002||$40,108,697||$20,586,040||$60,694,737||2,867||2,049||$25,000,000|||
|Rugrats Go Wild||June 13, 2003||$39,402,572||$16,002,494||$55,405,066||1,774||2,081||$25,000,000|||
|List indicator(s) |
Common Sense Media gave the series a rating of 5 stars, praising it for its ability to encourage young viewers to be empathetic toward animals, to want to find out about other cultures and ways of life, and to understand the vastness and diversity of the world. Knight Ridder called the series "sympathetic". The Native Voice complimented the series on its commitment to fun, adventure, detail, accuracy, and honesty.
|The Wild Thornberrys Movie||80% (88 reviews)||69 (25 reviews)||A|
|Rugrats Go Wild||40% (84 reviews)||38 (27 reviews)||A-|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1999||Barbara Wright||Casting Society of America Artios award for Best Casting for Animated Voiceover||Nominated|
|1999||Sabrina Wiener||Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Voice Over in a Feature or TV - Best Young Actress||Nominated|
|2000||Barbara Wright||Casting Society of America Artios award for Best Casting for Animated Voiceover - Television||Nominated|
|2000||The Wild Thornberrys episode "You Otter Know"||Environmental Media Award for Children's Animated||Won|
|2000||The Wild Thornberrys episode "Hunting by Numbers"||Genesis Award for Television - Children's Programming - Animated||Won|
|2000||Lacey Chabert||YoungStar Award for Best Young Voice Over Talent||Nominated|
|2001||Joseph Scott, Dean Criswell, and Ron Noble for TV movie "The Origin Of Donnie".||Burbank International Children's Film Festival award for Best Tele-Feature Animation||Won|
|2001||The Wild Thornberrys||Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Animated Program||Nominated|
|2001||The Wild Thornberrys episode "Happy Campers"||Environmental Media Award for Children's Animated category||Nominated|
|2001||The Wild Thornberrys for multiple episodes||Genesis Award for Television - Children's Programming - Animated||Won|
|2001||The Wild Thornberrys episode "Forget Me Not"||Genesis Award for Television - Children's Programming - Animated||Won|
|2002||The Wild Thornberrys episode "The Trouble With Darwin"||Environmental Media Award for Children's Animated category||Won|
|2003||Barbara Wright||Casting Society of America Artios award for Best Casting for Animated Voice Over, Television||Nominated|
|2004||The Wild Thornberrys||NAMIC Vision Award in Children's category||Nominated|
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 905–906. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- Graeber, Laurel (July 30, 2000). "She Can Talk to the Animals (Don't Tell)". The New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
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- Lambert, David (December 3, 2010). "The Wild Thornberrys – Amazon/CreateSpace Releases 7 DVD Sets with ALL Remaining Seasons". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Lambert, David (February 16, 2001). "The Wild Thornberrys – General Retail Release of Season 1 from Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory **UPDATE: New Lower Price and a Pre-Order Link**". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- The Wild Thornberrys: Season Two, Part One. "The Wild Thornberrys: Season Two, Part One: Lacey Chabert, Tim Curry, Jodi Carlisle, Danielle Harris, Tom Kane, Flea, Cathy Malkasian: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- "The Wild Thornberrys DVD news: Announcement for The Wild Thornberrys – Season 2, Part 2". TVShowsOnDVD.com. May 25, 2007. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- "The Wild Thornberrys DVD news: Announcement for The Wild Thornberrys – Season 2, Part 3". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
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