'Sesame Street' begins its 46th season

NEW YORK -- With the extension of "Sesame Street" into a high-price neighbourhood -- HBO, where it premieres Saturday morning -- it has signalled significant urban renewal.

See Full Article

"Sesame Street" grew out of the socially progressive ethos of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society of the 1960s. Premiering on public television as a breakthrough in children's TV on Nov. 10, 1969, it was conceived primarily to help prepare underprivileged preschoolers for their entry into the classroom. And this "Street" could be visited toll-free.

Needless to say, the Sixties are long gone.

Now "Sesame Street" is setting off for its 46th season of making kids "smarter, stronger, kinder" (the show's motto) at its new HBO address.

Those 35 new half-hours won't begin rolling out on PBS until fall.

In the meantime, the continuing PBS version of "Sesame" has been retrofitted from its traditional hour's length to "best-of" half-hours drawn from the past few seasons (check local listings for air times).

The five-season deal with HBO, which provides the program with what its producers have called "critical funding," will make the show available on HBO and related platforms, including HBO GO and HBO on Demand, in both English and Spanish.

The changes afoot reflect the current flood of children's programming (by contrast, "Sesame" originally filled a niche almost no other kids' show even recognized), as well as the new ways this umpteenth generation of "Sesame" fans practices viewing habits vastly different from decades ago.

"Sesame" will premiere on HBO on Saturday at 9 a.m. EST with two new half-hours. Episodes will air simultaneously on HBO Latino, and an hour of repeats will air on HBO Family daily at 8 a.m.

This new "Street" represents the "boldest" changes in the program's history, says Sesame Workshop.

Based on the first two episodes available for preview, those changes go beyond the added media outlet and scaled-down length. The show, perhaps more beautifully produced than ever, is now efficiently packaged in a single theme per episode, rather than the magazine format of its past.

One of this week's shows addresses "Exploration" (including a sequence with actor Alan Cumming as Mucko Polo, a "grouch explorer" who leads Elmo and fellow Muppets on escapades using their five senses to track down yucky things).

The other episode's theme is "Bedtime," as Elmo and Abby Cadabby get help in adopting a calm-down bedtime routine from a new human character, Nina (played by the enormously appealing Suki Lopez).

Expected elements remain Elmo's Letter of the Day ("B" is for Bedtime) and the Count saluting his Number of the Day.

Cookie Monster has a brand-new feature, "Smart Cookies," where he and a team of crime-fighting cookie friends thwart the efforts of the villainous Crumb.

As always, star turns are part of "Street" life. Besides "The Good Wife's" Cumming, bold-face names include Sara Bareilles, Ne-Yo, Tracee Ellis Ross and Gina Rodriguez.

But the biggest star, by far, remains Elmo, who headlines most of the segments and, joined by legions of his fellow Muppets, dominates to the near-exclusion of any human "Sesame" inhabitants. And even moving beyond the physicality of puppets, the episodes make generous use of digital imagery in a seamless abstract integration.

Bottom line: The easygoing pace in the neighbourhood of old seems to have fallen prey to a newly revved-up virtual world. A dazzling new opening is set (for the first time) on Sesame Street itself, but in the action that follows, this precious urban retreat is more a state of mind than on-screen real estate.

Even so, it's hard not to get caught up in the lively, trippy antics of this newly Street-wise show, such as when Elmo performs a musical tribute to guacamole alongside a singing, dancing nose.

And grown-ups sneaking a peek with their kids can still learn from the show they grew up with. By now, have you maybe forgotten what a rhombus is? This week's "Sesame Street" will school you. If you have HBO.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • 'Bachelor' star Chris Soules acted reasonably after crash, legal team says

    Entertainment CTV News
    This Tuesday, April 25, 2017, photo provided by the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office in Independence, Iowa, shows Chris Soules, former star of ABC's "The Bachelor," after being booked early Tuesday after his arrest on a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident near Arlington, Iowa. Source
  • Bella Thorne Snapchats her bikini wax

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress Bella Thorne has shared her first bikini waxing session online. The 19-year-old posted footage of herself getting her summer groom on via Snapchat this week. Fans watched as she sat on a white towel with a pair of scissors in her right hand, apparently trimming her pubic hair, ahead of the waxing session with a beautician. Source
  • What's happening right now at the ECMAs in Saint John

    Entertainment CBC News
    Roll out the red carpet: the East Coast Music Awards show kicks off Thursday evening at Harbour Station. Starting at 8 p.m., winners will be announced in categories including album/video/solo recording of the year, enregistrement francophone de l'année, Indigenous artist of the year, song of the year, and the country, rock and rising star categories. Source
  • Mississippi man sues R. Kelly, says singer ruined marriage

    Entertainment CTV News
    JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi sheriff's deputy is suing singer R. Kelly, alleging that Kelly had a yearslong affair with his wife that broke up his marriage. Deputy Kenneth Bryant, who married Asia Childress in Mississippi in 2012, filed suit last week in state court in Jackson. Source
  • New Shania Twain album coming in September, single in June

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Shania Twain says her first album in 15 years will be available in September, while a new single is coming in June. The country superstar from Timmins, Ont., made the announcement on the singing competition series “The Voice,” in which she’s acting as a key mentor this season. Source
  • From the wrestling ring to Hollywood, Dwayne Johnson wants 'to change the way the game is played' [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — In 2000, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was trying to break into Hollywood. He was off to an OK start. The pro-wrestler already had a following, a role in “The Mummy Returns” and high-wattage charm. Source
  • She's still the one: Shania Twain's 1st album in 15 years coming out in September

    Entertainment CBC News
    Here's something that's bound to impress you: Shania Twain says her first album in 15 years will be available in September, while a new single is coming in June. The country superstar from Timmins, Ont. Source
  • Late Night 'toothiness': Jim Carr laughs off beaver file photo on Colbert's talk show

    Entertainment CBC News
    Canada's natural resources minister is responding to the light mocking he received on a late-night talk show this week. The Late Show host Stephen Colbert chose a photo of a hearty Canadian beaver in a suit and tie to represent Manitoba MP Jim Carr in a broadcast Tuesday. Source
  • Roman Polanski's latest movie added to Cannes Film Festival

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Roman Polanski's latest film is heading to the Cannes Film Festival. The French festival announced a few additions to its lineup on Thursday. Polanksi's "Based on a True Story" will play out of competition. Source
  • Ridley Scott looks forward with 'Alien,' Blade Runner' sequels [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Ridley Scott insists he is not a nostalgic person, but you wouldn’t know that looking at the 2017 movie calendar. Not only are audiences getting another “Alien” movie, “Alien: Covenant,” on May 19, but also a long-time-coming “Blade Runner” sequel in October. Source