Shaun the Sheep proves that communication through body language and strong visuals can be just as impactful, if not more impactful, than verbal communication. The show has the significant idiosyncrasy of being a children’s cartoon without any verbal dialogue and discernible writing. At 7 minutes an episode, it is also shorter than the typical children’s television program. Yet these are not handicaps, as it is able to accomplish more and hold more of the audience’s attention than similar programming. The show relies on the imaginative adventures and the physical comedy provided by the stop-motion antics of Shaun the sheep, his flock, Bitzer the sheepdog, and a host of ancillary human characters.
This is not a unique concept in the history of animation. Krysar did something similar in 1986 by creating a wood-cut world with a fictional language that sounded like gibberish. Pingu is another series of this same silent class which has been popular internationally. Yet #ShaunSheep is developing the following to be even more widely popular among people of all ages than those and it is even making inroads in the United States. Shaun’s silver screen adventures grossed almost as much at the North American box offices as they did in its native England in 2015 with #SS Movie. It looks like the stop-motion animation style still has some fight in it despite being largely displaced by CGI in contemporary children’s television.
To be sure, the haphazard run of Shaun up until now is worrisome for its devotees. Season one ran in 2007 and season two was not aired until 2009. With season four and five, the same one-year lapse between them can be seen, with the fourth airing in 2014 and the fifth ramping up again in September of this year. Due to the brevity of the shorts, much of the program’s fortunes must ride on the waves of the programming before and after it, so this makes it difficult to gauge its success with viewers. A better indicator of the health of its future lies in the box office performance of its spin-off movies. SS Movie proved to be something of a sleeper hit for its producers, Aardman Animations, grossing 100 million dollars internationally on a 25-million dollar budget and sells corresponding merchandise globally. This means that, at least for the time being, it is granted more life.
Fortunately, critics and a zealous fan base keep its spirit alive online. The TV series as a whole currently rates an 8.3 an IMBD – a giant of a score especially considering that it has been earned on the back of thousands of reviews. His international big screen debut in 2015 holds an enviable 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, which means even bellicose critics agree that it is a modern classic. All factors considered, it looks like we’ll be seeing a sixth season of the wily sheep’s shenanigans even if we may have to wait until 2018.
What do you think of #SS? Do you think that stop-motion animation can hold its own against CGI these days? Do you
The tumultuous run history of Shaun makes it especially difficult to keep up with it as a fan, so you should consider subscribing below to our e-mail list for this one. You’ll receive an e-mail updating you on the situation if the show is renewed or tearfully informing you of its cancellation if it comes to that.