Nanalan’ (partially lost Canadian children’s TV series; 2005-late 2000s)
The cast as they appeared in the half-hour episodes. From bottom right: Mona, Nana Bea, Mr Wooka and Russell.
Status: Partially Lost
Nanalan’ is a 1999-2004 Canadian preschool TV series created by Jamie Shannon and Jason Hopley of the Grogs, a Canadian puppetry troupe. The show ran originally as 71 three-minute interstitial shorts produced for TreehouseTV in Canada and Nick Jr. in the US, and later 43 half-hour episodes for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and PBS Kids.
The series features a unique mix of practical puppetry and 'cutouts on sticks', and stars an endlessly curious and imaginative 3-year-old toddler named Mona who is babysat each day by her adoring grandmother Nana Bea, with the help of Nana's terrier Russell. The human puppets were heavily stylized toward the humorously grotesque in the distinctive Grogs style, with Mona's features consisting entirely of black button eyes, a wide mouth (often wide open) and two tiny pigtails on either side of her round head.
The shorts focused almost entirely on Mona's POV as she explores her Nana's backyard - with only occasional cameos from Nana herself at the back door - thus their dialogue consisted almost entirely of the little girl's 'baby talk', simple phrases repeated several times and usually mispronounced (hence the series title, a Mona-esque contraction of 'Nana Land'). Plots centred around Mona and her faithful but mischievous canine sidekick (whom she calls 'Russer') having small adventures and making big discoveries about the natural world around them.
Despite some older viewers finding the show's surreal appearance and dialogue unsettling, the shorts proved so popular with their target audience that Nanalan’ was developed into a half-hour series, debuting on CBC in January 2005. This iteration not only featured more elaborate, conventionally cutesy puppets and sets but noticeably upgraded Mona's verbal skills. To assist with this episode plots now included much more interaction with Nana Bea, who besides teaching the gentle life lesson of the day could interpret and confirm what her tiny granddaughter - and of course 'Russer' - were trying to say.
The show also significantly expanded on Mona's world, including a first look inside Nana's house, appearances by Mona's mother (who is essentially a larger version of Mona's puppet with more elaborate clothes and hair) and visits to Nana's next-door neighbour Mr Wooka, himself an amateur puppeteer who puts on an impromptu show in each episode. The series now also included original songs and read-along segments intercut with the main plotlines.
While most of the shorts have been found, about half the episodes of the longer series are still missing, having been removed from both the CBC and PBS official sites and not having had an official release since. Nanalan' does, however, have an official YouTube channel, which is in the process of uploading many episodes of both versions.
|7||Feed the Chipmunk||Found|
|9||Raking the Leaves||Found|
|13||Over the Fence||Found|
|26||Feeding the Birds||Found|
|27||Blowing Up a Balloon||Found|
|28||Mona Finds a Frog||Found|
|57||Out of the Pool||Found|
|61||Save the Fish||Lost|
|Inside Nana's House||Found|
|5||Free||Found (cropped 4:3)|
|7||Snow (1 | (2 | 3)||Found|
|11||Chipmunk in the House||Found|
|1||Hooray for You||Found|
|5||Under My Wing||Found|
|6||Sick as a Dog||Found|
|13||Night Night Nana||Found|
|15||1-2-3 Apple Tree||Found|
|17||Russell Did It (Clip 1 | (Clip 2)||Partially Found|
|20||Soft as Nana (Clip 1 | (Clip 2)||Partially Found|
|21||Mud Puddle (Clip 1 | (Clip 2 | Clip 3)||Partially Found|
|23||Toad and Budgie||Lost|
|24||Mona a Go-Go||Partially Found|
|26||Winter Wonderland||Partially Found|
- Wikipedia article on the series.