For those of us who remember Care Bears as picture books, lo-tech animations, or huggable critters with velvet stomachs and plastic beads for noses, the brand’s new computer-generated TV series might take a little getting used to. Still, the techy revival—prompted by Care Bears’ 30th anniversary—is only fitting, poised to enchant a new generation of two- to seven-year-old viewers.
Last Saturday, during a coveted timeslot of weekend morning cartoons, Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot premiered on The Hub, produced in association with American Greetings Properties. The first episode, titled “Compassion-NOT,” features Funshine Bear as he struggles to choose between having fun and helping a friend. Harmony Bear also chimes in frequently with her diva melodies, making Welcome to Care-a-Lot more musically inclined than the show’s initial stint in the ’80s.
By now, CG revamping of beloved brands is an established trend—as seen by sleekified versions of My Little Pony, Thomas & Friends, and several other bands of characters. And while such makeovers have the potential to do more harm than good (Angelina Ballerina, for one, is not quite as enchanting in her pinkish, hairless avatar), Welcome to Care-a-Lot embraces technology with charm and brand congruence. The characters still look huggable, and the mystical Care-A-Lot looks luminous thanks to hi-res effects of glistening pebbles, dappled shade, and a few more rainbows than you might have expected.