WORLD CULTURE. This image released by the Public Broadcasting
Service shows a scene from the animated series "Let’s Go Luna!"
The show, aimed at children between four and seven years old,
recently debuted on PBS and PBS Kids video-streaming platforms
and visits countries such as Beijing, Delhi, Tokyo, Bangkok, and
Istanbul. (LATW Productions Inc./Public Broadcasting Service via
From The Asian Reporter, V28, #23 (December 3, 2018),
"Let’s Go Luna!" takes kids on a
By Lynn Elber
AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES — Carmen, Leo, and Andy are globetrotters to
envy, jumping from Paris to Nairobi to New Orleans and beyond in
the company of a tour guide who knows her way around: Luna the
An animated series by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS),
"Let’s Go Luna!" is a road trip aimed at giving viewers between
four and seven years old a glimpse of the world’s people and
cultures beyond their own familiar corner.
The series, which debuted in November (check local listings
for times), visits seven continents and 19 cities. Antarctica is
the stop for a special Christmas episode airing December 10.
PBS joined with Emmy Award-winning artist and writer Joe
Murray ("Rocko’s Modern Life," "Camp Lazlo") to fill a
social-studies need for its young audience, and the result is
lively, fun, and — don’t tell the kids — educational, since it’s
Carmen, a butterfly from Mexico, Australian wombat Leo, and
Andy, a frog from the United States, are buddies travelling with
Circo Fabuloso, a performance troupe run by their parents. The
group’s fourth wheel is Luna, whose nightshift duties makes her
available for daytime adventures. As created by Murray and
voiced by Judy Greer, Luna is a joyful — even madcap —
In the first episode, her exuberant dancing unleashed minor
chaos in Mexico City when she joined the children’s emergency
search for a substitute band to entertain the president.
There are mariachis to meet, a tour of the city, and a dash
of hiccup-causing salsa flavoring the story, a taste of what’s
to come as the series hopscotches around the world with clever,
Skeptics contended that young viewers would be at sea over
the show’s concept, said Linda Simensky, vice president of
children’s programming for PBS.
"We’ve been told a number of times that kids wouldn’t really
understand global awareness," with a perspective limited to
their town and perhaps where relatives live, she said, adding,
"We took that as a challenge."
While history, geography, anthropology, and more are folded
into the series, the result is what Simensky calls a "very
simple" concept: People do a lot of the same things all over the
world, just in different ways, or they do different things to
get to the same point.
"That sort of compare-and-contrast approach works well for
this age group," said Simensky, who knows her audience. She’s
been at PBS since 2003, developing series including "Wild
Kratts" and "Odd Squad," and previously worked at the Cartoon
Network and Nickelodeon.
Murray made the jump from network to public TV for "Let’s Go
Luna!" and found it a welcome change. As the father of a toddler
and a five-year-old, he’s familiar with the barrage of ads
targeting young TV viewers, and as a creator recalled one
network’s request that he work on a fast-food spot (he said no).
"I started feeling more and more that this wasn’t really the
place for me at this point of my career," he said of network TV.
For "Luna," produced by 9 Story Media Group, Murray has
resources, including early childhood advisers, an anthropologist
to vet cultural depictions, and composers schooled in
Each of the central characters was given a specific interest
to explore in their travels. Carmen, whose mom conducts the
circus orchestra, is musical; Leo, a chef’s son, is a foodie;
Andy is an artist.
Episodes will be available across PBS Kids streaming
platforms, including the PBS Kids video app. The series, in the
works for about three years, was inspired by Murray’s own family
"My wife is from Belgium and my kids have spent a lot of time
in Europe. We could see the advantage of having kids be more
exposed culturally to other places," he said. "I thought America
was especially kind of sequestered."