The new Nick Jr. show is hoping to join Peppa Pig and PAW Patrol as one of the hottest kids’ shows on TV. Becca’s Bunch revolves around a handmade puppet bird named Becca and her friends Russell, Sylvia and Pedro and the wild adventures they go on. Is it up to snuff?
The show itself is beautiful, which is not something you can say for all children’s programming. It’s been created by combining CG animation, 2D, puppetry and live-action footage. It’s a vivid, colorful world and you can see the amount of work the makers of Becca’s Bunch put into it. You can even see the little fuzzy wisps of fuzzy peeking out from Becca’s face.
But is this as good as Peppa Pig? It’s good, but it might not have the same heart as Peppa. In the first episode, “Beddy Set Go,”; the characters are introduced in the opening credits, but you aren’t quite sure what distinguishes them from each other. Pedro, the worm, seems to take his naps very seriously — but who doesn’t? The gang gets involved in a go-kart race against two brother rabbits, Casper and Jasper. Becca and friends make a plan to build their own go-kart from scratch while Casper and Jasper have a fancy, brand new go-kart called the Hare Mobile. Pedro can’t go to the race though, because he needs to nap. Becca, Sylvia, and Russell incorporate Pedro and his bed into the design of the go-kart. Becca’s Bunch obviously beats the bunny brothers, because it’s a play on the story of The Tortoise and the Hare. There’s nothing particularly unique about all of this. It’s not bad, but it’s not hilarious. Maybe some children will laugh at the idea of Pedro taking a nap during the race, but ultimately the show needs to develop characters that children can fall in love with. It’s like any old race—every preschooler knows who is going to win.
If Becca’s Bunch is trying to be like Peppa Pig, Peppa is sharp and funny — sometimes at the expense at the show’s parents — but you can tell that kids relate to it. PAW Patrol has rescue dogs that also teach children about team-building and problem-solving. It has cute puppies that have personalities that kids can easily identify and say “Rubble is my favorite!” The show seems like it’s trying to tackle these themes, but it hasn’t established who the characters are, why kids should care about them and how is this different from other kids shows beyond how intricately detailed it looks?
This is only the first episode of Becca’s Bunch to air in the U.S., so hopefully, as it goes along, the show dives deeper into Becca’s unique world and fleshes out the characters. The show has potential and certainly isn’t bad for kids. But it needs to focus on what kind of story it wants to tell. The creators could take a page out of Becca’s book: If they want to lead children’s television, they’re going to be creative leaders and resilient like their main character.
–Becca’s Bunch starts tomorrow at 3 p.m. on Nick Jr.-