Anyone who has young children (or who has had young children in the last 15 years or so) will appreciate just how dreadful children’s television can be. The annoying voices, the repetition, that ridiculous purple dinosaur! If it’s not downright violent, it’s usually downright offensive. In fact, when my eldest child was small, the only channel she was allowed to watch was CBeebies, because at least the programmes were all educational, there was no screaming and I could stomach the British accent (my own prejudice, I know). But they had Teletubbies! Silly voices and repetition again. I consoled myself with the fact that Noodle didn’t even know the twee and irritating Barney, and we were spared from canned laughter and endless shrieking. There was no South African channel dedicated to children’s television, and we didn’t find any local children’s shows to be worthwhile viewing.
Noodle grew older and CBeebies became too babyish for her. Sadly, the age gap between her and her sister meant that little Scary’s early viewing wasn’t confined to the sanctuary of educational British television. She got a lot of that too, but she was also exposed to Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers and other Disney rubbish in between. I don’t want to predict what that’s done to her psychological make up.
Anyway, my children are old enough to find entertainment on their own in books now, which is quite a relief, but when I heard that the team at Rocketboot Rex Studios in Cape Town are working on an amazing educational television project, I got a little jealous that my kids hadn’t had a local option like this when they were little. Thankfully, Alieons has something for everyone, and I’m pretty sure my whole family is going to love learning about science through this series.
Alieons is a quirky, locally-produced sci-fi themed children’s programme which documents the shenanigans of a group of pocket-sized aliens (and their robot) from the planet Alieon who discover the wonders of planet Earth. Rocketboot Rex have designed and hand-made the sets, the ships and the aliens, and the previews look amazing. The great thing for me is that the producers, Jenni and Charles Martin, find themselves influenced by Star Wars, Stargate, Firefly and Star Trek and they are determined to produce a show that entertains both children and parents alike. The scripts are humorous and entertaining and the educational elements are not repetitive or preachy. Yet they teach messages of respect for the planet and the environment and all life. Another bonus is that they have commissioned an original music score by Heather Roth, that will be blended with an eclectic and mature range of musical genres throughout the series. Jenni Martin has a wealth of experience in film – she was the creature’s sculptor on the first Harry Potter film, as well as on The Mummy Returns. The cast comprises Cape Town actors as well as some from New York, Cardiff and London.
Rocketboot Rex has already invested thousands of hours in developing the characters and the sets and have scripted the first 13 episodes.Because the team have decided that this project is going to be an independent one, they have decided to source funds through a Kickstarter project. This offers various funding options (sadly, all in British pounds, which is a little difficult for us South Africans) and included in each of the packages is a “reward” for the donors. I think this is a valuable project which deserves support, and I am happy to sacrifice a meal out in order to pledge some money to ensure this creative team gets to share their Alieons with us. I urge you to click on the link below and pledge a little something to this great cause, or to share it with your friends and family on social media. Maybe we’ll help the Alieons to save our planet after all!