Creators of popular children’s series “PAW Patrol” recently celebrated the show’s 10th anniversary. They also recently launched their first spin-off series, “Rubble & Crew,” and opened up about the development process.
“PAW Patrol” debuted in 2013 as both a toy line and tv series aimed at preschoolers. Both were created by Canadian company Spin Master, who distributed the series in the US through Nickelodeon. It centers around a group of six puppies who go on high-stakes rescue missions. Of course, all while teaching kids about things like problem-solving and teamwork. It has been a nonstop phenomenon from the series to toys to movies to the stage.
So this begs the question, why wait 10 years to make a spin off show? “When you’re dealing with a really young audience, there’s always a question of, How much do they want? How much do they need? Where can you take the story creatively?,” Spin Master’s Executive Vice President of Entertainment, Jen Dodge explained. Ensuring children’s entertainment maintains the same quality as any other form is always a serious concern. Considering we are only a few decades out from children’s programing being nothing but infomercials for toys and cereal.
“I think we’ve always taken a step-by-step approach,” Dodge continued. “We started out with 11-minute episodes, then we played with 22-minute specials, then we played with 44-minute specials, and at 44, they’re still interested, attentive, and they can handle that deeper storyline. That gave us the confidence to try the movie, and then obviously, that worked very well. [It was] deeper story, bigger action, a more emotional storyline.” Over those 10 years of testing the waters they also introduced 10 new puppies to the lineup, and were well received. They also looked at Marvel Studios, “Star Trek,” and DC Studios for how to build a cohesive universe that’s not just repeating itself.
The creators initially explored how they would do a spin-off for all six of the core puppies. Rubble was picked since he was the funniest and slightly less rescue focused. While “PAW Patrol” developed around community building and celebrating emergency responders after 9/11, “Rubble & Crew” is more focused on building. Which makes perfect sense, since the show’s creator, Keith Chapman also created “Bob the Builder.” So it’s safe to say he knows what works in that area. “There is some rescue at the heart of Paw Patrol within the stories, but primarily, they’re about building, fixing, community,” said Dodge.
But this divation allowed them to still have the core puppies focused on helping their community, just presented in a differnt way. This also allowed them to center the show more around the family dynamic. “it’s his family around him that he’s building with,” Dodge explained. “We can tell family stories about aunties, uncles, cousins — those are really important connections in a child’s life. So it gave us a different way to tell stories, a different play pattern with construction and building, and could still be the core of the Paw Patrol — rescue and community.”
“Rubble & Crew” airs on Nickelodeon. Check out the trailer below: