Postcards from Buster (TV Series 2004– )
|Genre||Animation, Comedy, Family|
|Content Rating||TV-Y (TV-Y)|
|Company||Marc Brown Studios, WGBH, Cookie Jar Entertainment|
Postcards from Buster
Postcards from Buster is an American-Canadian children's television series containing both live action and animation that originally aired on PBS. It is a spin-off of the Arthur TV series. The show stars Arthur's best friend, 8-year-old anthropomorphic rabbit Buster Baxter. Based by a backdoor pilot episode of Arthur entitled "Postcards from Buster", the television series was created by Cookie Jar Group (now known as DHX Media), WGBH Boston and Marc Brown Studios.
The pilot was aired on December 22, 2003 as an episode of Arthur. The official series aired from October 11, 2004 to February 24, 2012, on PBS Kids and PBS Kids Go!. Buster's interests include eating anything, reading comic books, and playing video games. Buster's personality is that of a fairly intelligent and curious child. He also believes that extraterrestrials are real. Buster's parents are divorced; in this series, Buster is seen with his father, Bo Baxter.
Arthur Read and many other characters from the PBS Kids animated television series Arthur make cameo appearances in this series, and most episodes have an Arthur character playing a minor role. The series went on hiatus between November 2008 and February 2012.
Postcards from Buster centered on Buster traveling to different places around North America and worldwide, usually in the United States but also in the Caribbean, Canada and other places, with his father, who is a pilot for a band of musicians. In each episode, Buster meets children in the location, who show him views of their real-life families and global culture.
The sequences with Buster are animated, while the portions featuring the children are live-action (viewed from the viewpoint of Buster's video camcorder). After each location, Buster sends to Arthur a "video postcard" video tape summarizing what he's done and who he's met in each location.
The children and their families that appeared on the series are meant to be multicultural and diverse, and range from a Mormon family in Utah to a Mestizo family in Texas.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||40||October 11, 2004||April 1, 2005|
|2||10||November 27, 2006||February 19, 2007|
|3||3||November 7, 2008||November 21, 2008|
|4||2||February 18, 2012||February 20, 2012|
Voice actors and their characters
- Daniel Brochu – Buster Baxter
- Ellen David – Bitzi Baxter
- Marcel Jeannin – Bo Baxter
- Elyzabeth Diaga (season 1) and Stephanie Martin (seasons 2–3) – Mora of Los Viajeros
- Norman Groulx (season 1) and Glenn Coulson (seasons 2–3) – Carlos of Los Viajeros
- Cameron Ansell (seasons 1–2) and Dallas Jokic (season 3) – Arthur Read
- Jason Szwimmer (seasons 1–2) and Robert Naylor (season 3) – D.W. Read
- Melissa Altro – Muffy Crosswire
- Jodie Resther – Francine Frensky
- Mukundan Jr – Triple J (season 3)
- Robert Naylor (Seasons 1-2) And Jake Beale (Season 3) - James
Home media releases
A series of Postcards from Buster DVDs and VHS releases of a certain topic have been released by PBS Distribution through Paramount Home Entertainment. This includes Buster's Outdoor Journeys (featuring episodes Sugartime, Meet Me at the Fair, The Giant Pumpkins and Bayou by Me), Buster's Got the Beat (featuring episodes Beats by the Bay, Buster and Beatrice, The Music Mystery and Buster's Sweet Song), Buster's Buddies (featuring episodes Buster's League of Champions, Best Friends, A Sense of Direction and Sleepy in Seattle) and Buster's World of Sports (featuring episodes Winter Gold, Swimming in the Desert, Rock and Roll and Rodeo Cowgirl). VHS releases, however, only include the first two episodes from the DVDs.
On October 12, 2010, Mill Creek Entertainment released the complete first season on DVD in Region 1. For some unknown reason, the cover art for the DVD states that this is 'The complete series', when in fact it is not as there are 16 more episodes.
Criticism and controversy
In January 2005, Margaret Spellings, United States Secretary of Education, revealed that the show had explored same-sex marriage. Episode #33, "Sugartime!", which features Buster visiting Hinesburg, Vermont, to learn about the production of maple sugar, includes Buster meeting several children who have lesbian parents. Vermont was one of the first states to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples. In the episode, the word lesbian or homosexual is never said, and the episode — like all Postcards episodes — has no sexual content.
Buster meets the children and comments, "Boy, that's a lot of moms!"; one girl mentions her "mom and stepmom," adding that she loves her stepmother very much, and no other comments are made about the couple. PBS vice president of media relations Lea Sloan said at the time, "The fact that there is a family structure that is objectionable to the Department of Education is not at all the focus of the show, nor is it addressed in the show."
Spellings demanded that PBS return all federal funding that had been used in the production of the episode, claiming that "many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode." PBS decided not to air this episode, but some member stations across the country chose to air the episode, including WNET in New York, KCET in Los Angeles, and KERA in Dallas–Fort Worth, which are flagship stations; and the show's co-producer, WGBH in Boston (which distributed the episode directly to public television stations after PBS's decision). It was, however, included in both the VHS and DVD version of the collection "Buster's Outdoor Journeys" which was distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment.
Some of these stations opted to air this episode in prime-time, with some following the episode with a local discussion on the controversy. Shortly after the controversy, PBS's CEO announced she would step down when her contract expired in 2006. Cusi Cram, a writer for Arthur, later wrote a play titled Dusty and the Big Bad World, based on this controversy.