Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a CGI-animated program for preschoolers produced by The Fred Rogers Company, is devoted to carrying on the work of its iconic namesake. The program features original characters from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (Daniel is the son of Daniel Striped Tiger) plus a cast of new characters, all reflecting, and embracing, diversity.
Most half-hour programs feature two short stories with separate plots, yet related themes. A few offer longer single stories. In all, young Daniel grapples with the usual challenges of early childhood: Accepting responsibility, learning to cooperate, and solving problems. In one episode, Daniel and his friend Prince Wednesday handle a disagreement about a lemonade stand they’re running; and in the second story, Daniel has to cope with his anger when a wave washes away his sandcastle.
Other themes include being alone, managing disappointments, and being open to new experiences. The focus always skews heavily towards making kind and moral choices, something that’s easier once one considers the perspective of others, and even examines personal fears and feelings. The program format includes song breaks with lyrics to reinforce these lessons, plus additional live-action interstitial elements featuring children.
Lots of programs vie for the attention of preschool viewers but Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a stand-out selection for its ability to celebrate the legacy of an iconic children’s program while still feeling fresh and relevant for modern-day audiences.