Around the World with Justin Time

November 2, 2013

 

 Justin Time represents the key to world peace. Okay, that might be an exaggeration of the importance of this animated series for preschoolers but there is some truth to the premise. Airing to great popularity and profound ratings in Canada, the US, the UK, Germany, France, and South Korea vets the notion that children find certain concepts universally attractive. There’s an tone of interest and acceptance which permeates the characters and the adventures of this show. It’s only natural that a portion of this transfers to the parents who love their children. Young viewers are not focused on these differences, they simply love Justin, Olive, and Squidgy (the show’s main characters). Critics have an equal affinity for the show as proven by numerous nominations from the Daytime Emmy Awards nominations, ACTRA, Annie Awards, and wins at the Canadian Screen Awards. 

 

  Created by Guru Studio’s Creative Director Brandon James Scott, Justin Time is the animated adventures of a trio whose travels are not limited by time or technology. Whether rocketing through space or exploring with Vikings, Justin (voiced by Gage Munroe) and his friends Squidgy (Scott McCord) & Olive (Jenna Warren) explore all corners of the planet…and beyond. The stories are educational but primarily focus on friendship and adventure. Real-world youth problems like teamwork and sharing are the catalyst for the friends’ explorations through time. While Justin and Squidgy live in our world and time, Olive is their best friend who always manages to be present in the time and place to which they travel. Olive is the complement to Justin and his guide in each adventure. She’s the voice of reason in trying situations. Due to Olive’s presence in so many different settings, the role gave actress Jenna Warren copious opportunities to stretch in various episodes. Warren explains, “There were challenging aspects in portraying Olive. The locations and eras continually varied. She would play different characters as well. Often accents were needed to make the character she was portraying more authentic. I definitely did research on a lot of different accents for the show.” She continues, “The idea that voice actors just stand there and only use their voice isn’t well founded, at least not in my case. I have found that I try to use my whole body when I work.  It’s almost like you envision that there is an audience watching you. Using your whole body makes it easier to convey the emotions of the character.”

 

  There’s an unquestionable universal appeal to the show and these characters. The themes of each episode touch on the same conflicts which children experience all over the world. Justin Time airs on Disney Junior (English and French) in Canada, the Sprout channel in the United States, Tiny Pop in the United Kingdom, and Kids Talk Plus in South Korea. The combination of writing and charismatic acting has garnered committed fans globally. Netflix recently announced that a new original spin-off series entitled Justin Time: The New Adventures is soon to follow on the streaming service.

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