Pick of the Litter (2019– )

TVSeries


Pick of the Litter (TV Series 2019– )

Ups and downs of an adorable group of six dogs on their fascinating and surprisingly suspenseful quest to become guides for Guide Dogs for the Blind, the ultimate canine career.
USA
IMDb   8.1 /10
TheMovieDb    7.5 /10
RottenTomatoes
TV.com
FilmAffinity  
Creators
Creator Don Hardy
Creator Dana Nachman
Information
Release Date2019-12-20
Runtime35mins
GenreDocumentary, Family
Content RatingTV-PG (TV-PG)
Awards
CompanyKTF Films
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish

Pick of the Litter (TV series)

Pick of the Litter is an American documentary streaming television series by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy for Disney+ based on 2018 film of the same name, also written and directed by the duo, that began streaming on December 20, 2019.


Premise

The series follows six potential guide dogs named Paco, Pacino, Raffi, Amara, Tulane, and Tartan and how they are nurtured, trained, loved, and shepherded along the way forward potentially changing a blind human companion’s life and working as their guide dog.


Episodes

No.Title Directed byOriginal release date
1"Meet the Dogs"Don HardyDecember 20, 2019
Focuses on the six puppies and their puppy raisers and the bond between them. It also focuses on how the dogs undergo the evaluations to become guide dogs for the blind before advancing to professional training.
2"Off to Puppy College"Don HardyDecember 27, 2019
Focuses on how the puppies are recalled to the guide dog facility for their training and their medical tests at the center. It also touches on how visually impaired individuals can opt for a guide dog.
3"Training Begins"Dana NachmanJanuary 3, 2020
Focuses on how the puppies are trained as guide dogs, including undergoing testing with their trainer blindfolded. It also focuses on how puppies selected for breeding undergo distraction and other testing.
4"Next Level Training"Don HardyJanuary 10, 2020
Focuses on advanced levels of training from phase three to phase seven, where guide dogs in training have to use all their skills to pass the test in phase eight. It also focuses on the match-making process between dogs and clients.
5"Meet Your Match"Don HardyJanuary 17, 2020
The dogs in advanced training take their final exams in the hopes of being matched with clients.
6"Together at Last"Don HardyJanuary 24, 2020
The graduating dogs meet with their puppy raisers before they go home with their new partners.

Production

In August 2019, Kidscreen reported that Disney+ commissioned a six part series Pick of the Litter inspired by 2018 film of the same name attaching the film's writer-directors Dana Nachman and Don Hardy along with Mary Celenza, Josh Braun and Dan Braun as executive producers with ABC Studios producing the series.

Shortly after the trailer for the film released, Disney put out an idea to adapt the film into a series and the negotiations began for making the series. When the idea about this series is pitched to Chris Beginner, CEO of Guide dogs for Blind he accepted as it would make more people aware about their organisation. Instead of doing again the same thing what they did with the feature, the directing duo decided focus on the period of the transition from getting the puppies from puppy raiser homes to twelve weeks of training they undergo for becoming a guide dog by focusing on specific litter.

As the production doesn't want to disturb the training process, they used smaller camera on a gimbal that then goes into a monopod that can be flipped upside down. Another challenge they had faced is if the puppy raisers will be willing to open their homes for the documentary.


Release

The first episode premiered on Disney+ on December 20, 2019 with the following episodes debuting weekly on Fridays.

Marketing

The first poster and trailer for the show were released on November 19, 2019.

Reception

Common Sense Media rated the series 4 out of 5 stars, stating: "There's a lot of love flowing between humans in this series, and trainers and everyone else who comes in contact with the dogs treats them with heartwarming compassion, playing with them and petting them in between training sessions. The nature of training means that trainers will only have dogs for a limited period of time, and the moments when they have to return the dog to the program or give them to a client are painful; we see crying and hear about how difficult it is to say goodbye".