Call it Nickelodeon's march of the penguins.
The network is debuting its new animated series The Penguins of Madagascar right after its 22nd annual Kids' Choice Awards, followed by two weeks of primetime premieres before the show settles in to its regular Saturday-morning slot on April 18. Penguins-related content is also waddling its way to on demand, online through Nick.com and TurboNick, and wirelessly via Nickelodeon Mobile.
Whether viewers consider all this penguin programming a happy feat will depend on their opinion of the Madagascar films that inspired the show. A co-production with Dreamworks Animation (which was also behind the theatricals), the series is visually vibrant, fast-paced and good natured. But its computer-generated stars are, for the most part, a one-dimensional excuse for antics that tend to be mildly amusing rather than flat-out funny.
Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private are penguin brothers living in New York City's Central Park Zoo, who fancy themselves an elite strike force. Their "missions" run the gamut from tracing spooky noises around the zoo to launching themselves into space just to escape their obnoxious lemur neighbors.
Younger viewers and franchise fans may be charmed; others will probably reach for their channel flippers.
The Penguins of Madagascar debuts on Nickelodeon on March 28 at 9:30 p.m.