Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Arthur bids farewell

Say it ain't so, Arthur.

High quality children's programming that can appeal across so many audiences and views is hard to come by, and that's why the news about the PBS show Arthur, based on the Marc Brown book series, is so hard to take. This week I learned "Arthur is Ending after 25 Years." And with that news, I think a little piece of my second childhood died. Though my children are now in high school and college, the stories of Arthur the Aardvark made an indelible and endearing mark on our family. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if our family sat down to watch an episode today and loved it as much as when the kids were just four or five. 

An executive producer on the show, Carol Greenwald, confirmed on Wednesday that the series would be ending. She said in a statement that episodes of the show would continue to be available on PBS Kids, but that no new ones would air after next year.
“‘Arthur’ is the longest-running kids animated series in history and is known for teaching kindness, empathy and inclusion through many groundbreaking moments to generations of viewers,” Ms. Greenwald said, noting that no other United States-produced series had a longer life on the air.
The statement did not offer a reason for the show’s cancellation. Ms. Greenwald said that the producer GBH and PBS Kids were “continuing to work together on additional Arthur content, sharing the lessons of Arthur and his friends in new ways.”
On the podcast, Ms. Waugh said she did not know whether the cancellation was driven by a ratings issue or PBS just felt that the show needed to be retired. She added that she felt PBS had made a mistake. “To me it just felt evergreen, like it was never going to end. But it did end,” she said.

The special thing about Arthur, the longest-running animated children's show in television history, is that it appealed so broadly. My wife and I were pretty discerning and even picky about the entertainment we showed our kids in the early years. In fact, I wrote about this in one of my earliest op-eds, where I explained why never showed my children the movie Shrek, or many other supposedly kid-friendly films and shows. But there was never a question in our minds about Arthur. It is one of the best children's shows ever, and it's one I would always recommend.

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