ZOG AND THE FLYING DOCTORS | All ages
Zog and the Flying Doctors is a 26-minute BBC animated short based on the beloved book by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, a sequel to the International Emmy-winning Zog that continues the adventures of the clumsy but eager-to-please young dragon.
As a flying doctor trio, Zog, Princess Doctor Pearl and Sir Gadabout care for creatures, from a mermaid to a unicorn to a sneezy lion, but when bad weather forces them to land at the palace, Pearl is locked up by her uncle, the king…
In their five-star review, Radio Times called Zog and the Flying Doctors “a superior sequel that will entertain adults as much as kids… a funnier, even sweeter adventure… the big, warm hug we’ve all been yearning for this year… Gives How To Train Your Dragon’s Toothless some serious competition for the title of Cutest Dragon Ever.”
Also catch Magic Light Pictures’ Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes and other Julia Donaldson favourites like the original Zog, as well as The Snail and the Whale, The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Stick Man, The Highway Rat and Room on the Broom on Showmax.
ESME & ROY S1-2 | Recommended for ages 3+ by Common Sense Media
Sesame Workshop’s animated series, Esme & Roy, follows the adventures of a little girl named Esme and her bestest, fuzziest monster friend, Roy, as they babysit the little monsters of Monsterdale… and help them handle monster problems like fussy eating, thunderstorms, sadness, anger and frustration. This sweet preschool show is packed with positive messages and tools for little ones and parents dealing with all those big emotions.
Picking up its fourth Emmy nomination this year, the series has a five star rating on Common Sense Media, where the consensus says, “They’re an unusual pair, but these sweet sitters are just what the doctor ordered… Esme & Roy‘s thoughtful approach to self-awareness and mindful behavior makes it an excellent tool for families and caretakers to use in teaching similar skills to kids.”
Esme is voiced by Joey Award nominee Millie Davis (Odd Squad’s Ms. O) and Patrick McKenna (the voice of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’s Gil) is the voice of Roy. Benjamin Hum (the voice of PJ Masks’ Gekko, and O the Owl in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) was nominated for Best Young Actor 10 & Under at the Young Entertainer Awards for voicing Snugs, and Jacob Soley (who voiced Abby Hatcher’s Teeny Terry and PJ Masks’ Night Ninja) won Best Actor at The Joey Awards for the voice of Simon.
JUNGLE BEAT: THE MOVIE | Recommended for ages 5+ by Common Sense Media
Produced in Cape Town by Sunrise, Jungle Beat’s adorable animations have become a YouTube phenomenon, racking up over six million subscribers and nearly three billion views, as well as a host of awards. Now the animation’s stars, Munki and Trunk, have their own movie, which screened in competition at Annecy International Film Festival last year.
When a homesick alien crash-lands his spaceship near their jungle home, Munki, Trunk and their animal friends need to get him back to his ship and teach him about friendship and fun – before his father can take over Earth.
Screen International hailed it as “sweet, wholesome family fare that should win the approval of parents and hold the attention of younger viewers… Its cheery message of friendship, tolerance and acceptance does seem particularly timely and can only help endear it to viewers.”
Also watch the movie in isiZulu on Showmax.
TROLLS WORLD TOUR | Recommended for ages 6+ by Common Sense Media
Trolls sequel Trolls World Tour is a feel-good animated family musical that sees Poppy and Branch set out to unite the six musically diverse troll tribes and stop Rock Queen Barb and King Thrash from turning everyone into rock zombies.
Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (Love Life, Pitch Perfect) won a 2021 Kids Choice Award for Favourite Voice from An Animated Movie, edging out co-star Justin Timberlake. Also listen out for the vocal stylings of Golden Globe nominee James Corden, Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Oscar winner Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and Grammy winners George Clinton, Kelly Clarkson, Anderson .Paak, and Mary J. Blige.
Trolls World Tour was nominated for a 2020 People’s Choice Award for Favourite Motion Picture and for four Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature. Common Sense Media praises the film’s positive messages and musical performances, saying, “This sweet sequel encourages inclusion and diversity – both in terms of musical genre and cultural background – while making audiences of all ages smile. It offers enough laughs and colourful visuals… and a medley of familiar covers and catchy original songs to charm even older kids and adults.”
LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS S1 | Recommended for ages 7+ by Common Sense Media
Warner Bros. and HBO Max are bringing back one of the best things on TV ever – Looney Tunes Cartoons! And they’re daffier, crazier, and loonier than ever, with 20 all-new episodes (and more in the pipeline) that see Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester and Tweety, the Road Runner and other favourites up to their old antics with hilarious misadventures inspired by the original classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.
Voice legend Eric Bauza, who voices Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and more, (and can be heard in Teen Titans Go!, and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) just picked up his fifth Emmy nomination for his work on the show, which has also been nominated for Best Editing For A Daytime Animated Program.
The series has already nabbed a 2021 Annie Award for its storyboarding, with a further nomination for character design (they’ve gone back to the character designs from the early ‘40s). It has an 8.1/10 score on IMDb and an 88% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. ScreenCrush calls the new series, “the most authentic Looney Tunes since the glory days of Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng,” while Wall Street Journal says, “The new Looney Tunes Cartoons are ‘good for kids,’ as my 7-year-old consultant concluded, but they also honour the anarchic spirit of the original Looney Tunes.”
Most episodes consist of two full shorts and a brief mid-episode vignette. True to the spirit of the originals, there’s still loads of insane cartoon violence and Acme Corporation weaponry, but parents will be happy to see that they’ve excluded any depictions of firearms.