×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ni Hao, Kai-lan

Nick Jr. is understandably proud of the precedent-setting elements within this preschool series -- the first to regularly feature Mandarin words and phrases, as a bilingual Chinese-American girl periodically translates her brightly colored adventures.

With:
Voices: Jade-Lianna Gai Jian Peters, Clem Cheung, Jack Samson, Khamani Griffin, Angie Wu.

Nick Jr. is understandably proud of the precedent-setting elements within this preschool series — the first to regularly feature Mandarin words and phrases, as a bilingual Chinese-American girl periodically translates her brightly colored adventures. As for the series itself, it’s one of those tedious exercises that the smallest of kids might endure but which parents will have trouble sitting through without a stiff drink — or at least a glass of rice wine.

Filled with songs and planned pauses so kids can participate in the educational “think-along, play-along” moments, there’s precious little to “Ni Hao, Kai-lan” beyond repetition of its title catchphrase. Mostly, 5-year-old Kai-lan bounces around playing with her grandfather and an assortment of animal friends, including a monkey, tiger and koala bear.

The first half-hour focuses on a dragon-boat race and contains a little ditty that encourages kids to jump, crouch, wiggle and flap “like a dragon,” while incorporating feel-good platitudes and pro-social messages about what children should do if they begin to get angry or frustrated.

Granted, preschoolers need things kept simple, but gearing programming toward the under-5 set remains a rather dubious business trend, which has flourished thanks to the lure of licensing booty for properties like “Barney,” “Blue’s Clues” and the mind-numbing “Teletubbies.”

Even so, when preschoolers are targeted parents are also part of the intended audience, and absorbing “Ni Hao, Kai-lan’s” limited animation and simple design (mostly round-headed characters with enormous oval anime eyes), it’s difficult not to yearn for the day when kids age zygote-to-5 were either shielded from TV or muddled by viewing vastly better Warner Bros. or Disney cartoons that aimed well over their heads.

Today, the strategy is more about stooping to conquer — or rather, profit. Featuring animation produced in China, the series premiere coincides with Chinese New Year, and Nick has ordered 20 episodes. For those rusty on their Mandarin, by the way, “Ni hao” means “Hello,” but anyone older than 5 won’t be able to say “Zai jian” (goodbye) fast enough.

Ni Hao, Kai-lan

Nick Jr., Thurs. Feb. 7, 11 a.m.

Production: Produced by Harringtoons Prods. in association with Nick Jr. Prods. Executive producer, Mary Harrington; supervising producer, Dave Marshall; producer, Sascha Paladino; animation producer, Debby Hindman; director, Marshall; head writer, Paladino.

Crew: Creative supervisor, Karen Chau; voice direction, Julie Morgavi; music (for songs), Matt Mahaffey; casting, Sarah Noonan, Meredith Layne. 30 MIN.

Cast: Voices: Jade-Lianna Gai Jian Peters, Clem Cheung, Jack Samson, Khamani Griffin, Angie Wu.

More TV

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Blake Jenner What If TV Show

    'What/If' Star Blake Jenner on Creating Chemistry With Jane Levy, Renee Zellweger

    Blake Jenner first rose to fame in 2012 when he won “The Glee Project” and therefore earned a role on “Glee” proper. In the years since, though, he graduated from teen heartthrob status to meatier, edgier roles in films such as “American Animals” and now the Netflix limited series “What/If,” in which he stars opposite [...]

  • Mario Lopez Candy Crush

    Mario Lopez, Seth Kurland Set Latinx Family Comedy Series at Netflix

    Mario Lopez and Seth Kurland are teaming up for a new comedy series at Netflix. Variety has learned that the streamer has given a 16 episode order to the multi-cam comedy “The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” co-created by Lopez and Kurland. In the series, when Ashley Garcia — the world’s only 15-and-a-half-year-old robotics engineer [...]

  • HBO logo

    TV News Roundup: HBO Announces Recipients of 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship

    In today’s roundup, Fox Nation announces a fresh slate of programming for the summer and HBO announces the recipients of its HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. DEVELOPMENT: HBO has announced the recipients of its 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. The eight writers selected out of the 3,000 submissions will participate in an 8-month program of master classes and [...]

  • Big Bang Theory

    'Big Bang Theory,' 'Manifest' Among Top Live+7 Gainers of 2018-2019 Season

    With 2018-2019 broadcast season wrapping up, certain shows stand head and shoulders above their competition in the Nielsen Live+7 rankings. Live+7 data is currently available only through May 5, but the top dogs will likely see little change once the final numbers are in for the traditional September-May season. The top gainer in adults 18-49 [...]

  • Anna Kendrick Paul Feig

    Anna Kendrick, Paul Feig Team for Comedy Anthology Series at WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Anna Kendrick and Paul Feig are coming to the WarnerMedia streaming service Variety has learned that the upcoming streamer has ordered the romantic comedy anthology series “Love Life,” the first season of which will star Kendrick with Feig executive producing. WarnerMedia has ordered a 10-episode first season of the half-hour series. Lionsgate Television and FeigCo [...]

  • Jon Feltheimer

    Lionsgate Posts Loss, Underperforms Wall Street Expectations

    Lionsgate has posted a quarterly loss and its revenues and operating income have come in under Wall Street projections, despite growth from its premium cable channel, Starz. The studio reported a net loss of $24 million, or 11 cents a share, with adjusted operating income of $103 million for its fourth fiscal quarter ended March [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content