Daniel Tiger's NeighborhoodSpring 2014 Television
Imagine Mr. Rogers reincarnated as an animated big-eyed little tiger. It may sound a little crazy, but it works. "Hi neighbor, I'm glad you're here," says little Daniel to the camera as he puts on his sweater. He even rides a trolley around town.
Produced by The Fred Rogers Company, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood takes on the gentle tone and attitudes that Mr. Rogers shared with his young viewers. But this is a cartoon. Daniel's friends include an owl and a kitty, and the town includes a diverse cast of characters—including Dr. Anna, Teacher Harriet, Music Man Stan, Baker Aker and King Friday.
Aimed at pre-schoolers, the show stresses basic social skills. And Daniel uses the Blue's Clues technique of looking right into the camera to engage the viewer. "You'll help us, won't you?" he says, and waits a few seconds for an answer. "Do something nice for your neighbors!" Daniel, 4, sings over and over in one episode in which he and his friends do many nice things for neighbors in their town. The repetition and chipper attitude ensure that any child watching will walk away from the TV singing. Messages imparted include kindness, understanding, tolerance, the concept of cleaning up and helping others.
It's nice to see that Mr. Rogers lives on in a new form that's fitting for a new generation.