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Dora the Explorer is an American animated television series created by Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh Valdes and Eric Weiner that premiered on Nickelodeon on August 14, 2000. The series is produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio and is one of the longest-running series that aired on the Nick Jr. block.
From left to right: Swiper (in background), Dora, and Boots
The series centers around Dora, a seven-year-old Latina girl, with a love of embarking on quests related to an activity that she wants to partake of or a place that she wants to go to, accompanied by her talking purplebackpack and anthropomorphic monkey companion named Boots (named for his beloved pair of red boots). Each episode is based around a series of cyclical events that occur along the way during Dora's travels, along with obstacles that she and Boots are forced to overcome or puzzles that they have to solve (with "assistance" from the viewing audience) relating to riddles, the Spanish language, or counting. Common rituals may involve Dora's encounters with Swiper, a bipedal, anthropomorphic masked thieving fox whose theft of the possessions of others must be prevented through fourth wall-breaking interaction with the viewer. To stop Swiper, Dora must say "Swiper no swiping" three times. However, on occasions where Swiper steals the belongings of other people, the viewer is presented with the challenge of helping Boots and Dora locate the stolen items. Another obstacle involves encounters with another one of the program's antagonists; the "Grumpy Old Troll" dwelling beneath a bridge that Dora and Boots must cross, who challenges them with a riddle before permitting them the past that needs to be solved with the viewer's help. Known for the constant breaking of the fourth-wall depicted in every episode, the audience is usually presented to two primary landmarks that must be passed before Dora can reach her destination, normally being challenged with games or puzzles along the way. The episode always ends with Dora successfully reaching the locale, singing the "We Did It!" song with Boots in triumph.
On numerous occasions, television specials have been aired for the series in which the usual events of regular episodes are altered, threatened, or replaced. Usually said specials will present Dora with a bigger, more whimsical adventure than usual or with a magical task that must be fulfilled, or perhaps even offer a series of different adventures for Boots and Dora to travel through. They might be presented with an unusual, difficult task (such as assisting Swiper in his attempts to be erased from Santa Claus's Naughty List) that normally is not featured in average episodes, or challenge Dora with a goal that must be achieved (such as the emancipation of a trapped mermaid). Sometimes, the specials have involved the debut of new characters, such as the birth of Dora's superpowered twin baby siblings and the introduction of the enchanted anthropomorphic stars that accompany Dora on many of her quests.
The show was developed out of Nickelodeon's desire to "come up with the next big hit" similar to the network's other hit preschool shows at the time Little Bear and Blue's Clues. The creators sought to combine both shows format, with the narrative focus of Little Bear combined with the interactivity of Blue's Clues. The creators further developed the concept by observing preschoolers with the creators coming to the conclusion that "they are little explorers."
Dora is a Latina. According to a Nickelodeon spokesman, "she was developed to be pan-Latina to represent the diversity of Latino cultures". Initially the character was not planned to be Latina although after an executive at Nickelodeon attended a conference about the lack of Latino representation, the creators were asked if they could include such elements. At first there was hesitancy, but eventually they realized that they had "a great opportunity" and the character was designed as such. Nickelodeon at first did not like the antagonist Swiper, at first with researchers stating that "he was bad modeling and unsettling to kids"; however, the creators felt strongly about the inclusion of a villainous character and he remained in the final show.
Dora the Explorer as a tween, as seen after being revealed in 2009.
On March 8, 2009, Mattel and Nickelodeon announced that Dora will receive a tweenage makeover, switching from a young age to a teenage attending middle school. Initially, it was announced that the new look would not be revealed until late 2009, but after a short controversy, the tween Dora was unveiled on March 16, 2009.
In 2012, a CGI opening was created for new episodes of the series.
Dora's Explorer Girls
In 2009, Mattel and Nickelodeon introduced a preteen version of Dora, with four friends named Naiya, Kate, Emma, and Alana, who call themselves the Explorer Girls. The Explorer Girls were included in the Dora and Friends spin-off in 2014.
Dora the Explorer has been produced in various other languages worldwide. It facilitates the learning of important foreign language words or phrases (mostly English, interspersed with a local language (e.g. Norwegian, Russian, Hindi, or German), with occasional use of Spanish (used in the Irish, Serbian, and Turkish versions) through its simplicity and use of repetition.
Arabic - The Arabic language version is broadcast on the "Nickelodeon on MBC3" block of MBC3, and is presented in Arabic-English.
Cantonese - The Cantonese language version (Chinese: ; lit.: 'Explore-loving Dora') is broadcast in Hong Kong. It is presented in Cantonese-English.
Danish - The Danish language version is called "Dora - udforskeren" and there are commands and expressions in English. It is broadcast on the national public children's channel, DR Ramasjang, and also on Nick Jr. through various pay TV providers.
Dutch - The Dutch language version broadcasts on Nickelodeon and Nick. Jr, It is presented in Dutch-English. The voice actors are Lottie Hellingman as Dora and Dieter Jansen as Boots.
French - The French language version, Dora l'exploratrice, broadcasts on TF1 in France and Télé-Québec in Canada. It is presented in French-English, with Dora and Boots (called Babouche) speaking French and other protagonists speaking and answering in English.
Filipino - The Filipino language version broadcasts on ABS-CBN and has the same English title "Dora, the Explorer". The characters speak Filipino and some English, Dora teaches English in this version.
Greek - The Greek language version is called " ? " (or Dora the Little Explorer). It broadcasts on Nickelodeon and Star Channel. The bilingualism is Greek-English. Dora and Boots (called Botas) speak Greek and other protagonists speak and answer in English.
Hebrew - The Hebrew language version broadcasts on HOP channel. The bilingualism is Hebrew-English. The series is called ? (or Megalim Im Dora--English: Discovering with Dora).
Hindi - In the Hindi language version, Dora and the other characters speak Hindi. It broadcasts on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. Dora teaches the viewers English words and numbers.
Hungarian - In the Hungarian language version, Dora and the other characters speak Hungarian with some English words or phrases. It broadcasts on Nickelodeon (Hungary). The series is called Dóra a felfedez?.
Irish - The Irish language version broadcasts on the Irish station TG4. The bilingualism is Irish-Spanish with Dora and Boots speaking in Irish and some other characters speaking Spanish as in the original American version.
Italian - The Italian language version broadcasts on Cartoonito and on Nickelodeon. The bilingualism is Italian-English. The series is called Dora l'esploratrice ("Dora the Explorer"). Most characters speak Italian, but some characters and especially Dora's parents and backpack speak English along with Italian.
Japanese - The Japanese language version broadcasts on Nick Japan. The bilingualism is Japanese-English, with Dora and Boots speaking Japanese and other protagonists speaking and answering in English. The version is called (D?ra to issho ni dai b?ken/Adventures with Dora).
Kannada - The Kannada language version broadcasts on Chintu TV and is a very popular program on that network. Hindi is the second language in this version.
Korean - The Korean language version broadcasts on Nick Jr in Korea. The title is "Hi Dora" and is introduced by a real person whose name is Dami - she introduces key English vocabulary for each episode. The episode is primarily in Korean with some English.
Macedonian - The Macedonian language version broadcasts on MRT 1 in Macedonia. The title is "? " (or Dora the Explorer). The bilingualism is Macedonian-English.
Malay - The Malay language version broadcasts on TV9. The bilingualism is Malay-English. Dora speaks primarily in Malay, and the secondary language is English. The original English-Spanish version, however, is also available on Nickelodeon South East Asia via the Nick Jr. programming slot to subscribers of the ASTRO satellite TV service.
Malayalam - The Malayalam language version is called Dorayude Prayanam (? ?) and broadcasts on a local kids programming channel Kochu TV, which is the Malayalam dubbed version of Chutti TV.
Mandarin - In the Mandarin Chinese language version Dora the characters speak mainly Mandarin with limited English. It broadcasts on Yo-yo TV in Taiwan (Channel 25).
Polish - The Polish language version broadcasts on Nickelodeon in Poland. The bilingualism is Polish-English. The series is called Dora poznaje ?wiat ("Dora explores the world").
Portuguese - In the Portuguese language versions, Dora a Exploradora broadcasts on RTP2 and Nickelodeon Portugal. On Nickelodeon Brazil and TV Cultura, the show is called Dora a Aventureira, and Dora and Boots (called Boots in the Portuguese version and Botas in the Brazilian version) speak Portuguese, while the other protagonists speak and answer in English. Some Portuguese episodes are available on DVD.
Russian - The Russian language version broadcasts on TNT and Nickelodeon. The bilingualism is Russian-English. The series is called Dasha-sledopyt ("Dasha the Pathfinder"). Dasha is the children's name of Daria (Darya).
Serbian - The Serbian language version broadcasts on B92. The bilingualism is Serbian-Spanish. The series is called Dora istra?uje (Dora is exploring).
Spanish - There are different Spanish language versions for Mexico, Latin America, and Spain. Dora la Exploradora broadcasts on Nickelodeon in Latin America (and up to September 2006 on Telemundo in the USA; from April 2008 on Univisión). Dora and Boots (called Botas) speak Spanish and the other protagonists speak and answer in English. Some Spanish episodes are available to US viewers on VHS, and some DVDs have a Spanish track (including Dora's Egg Hunt). This version is entirely the reverse of the original English version; Tico and Señor Tucan (called Mr. Toucan) only speak English. Additionally, Univision has added on-screen captions of the Spanish words spoken in English. In Spain, Dora la exploradora is aired on TVE 1, Clan TVE and Nickelodeon. It is another reverse of the original English version (the characters speak mainly Spanish but there are commands and expressions in English).
Swedish - In the Swedish language version Dora- utforskaren the characters speak mainly Swedish but there are commands and expressions in English. It broadcasts on Nickelodeon and TV4.
Tamil - In the Tamil language version Doravin Payanangal ( ), the characters all speak Tamil, with some English interspersed. It broadcasts on a local kids programming channel Chutti TV.
Thai - In the Thai language version or , the characters speak Thai; however, Tico speaks English. It broadcasts on Gang Cartoon Channel, Nick Jr., Thai PBS.
Turkish - In the Turkish language version Dora the characters speak mainly Turkish, Spanish, and English but there are commands and expressions in Turkish. It broadcasts on Nickelodeon and CNBC-e.
As shown by the list above, the usual second language is English, but Spanish is used in the original American version in English (broadcast also for Malay speakers), in the Irish, Serbian, and the trilingual Turkish versions.
Two stage versions of Dora the Explorer toured North America, the first being "City of Lost Toys", and the second being "Dora's Pirate Adventure". Produced by Nickelodeon and LiveNation, these productions featured live actors portraying the roles of Dora and her friends, including Boots, Diego, Isa, and the Fiesta Trio. Many of the characters wore elaborate foam costumes designed to resemble the Dora characters. Each production featured a structure similar to an episode of the television series. City of Lost Toys featured Christina Bianco as Dora while Dora's Pirate Adventure featured Danay Ferrer of the band Innosense in the role of Dora and Frankie Grande as Boots. Both productions featured a version of the popular Gloria Estefan song "Get On Your Feet" as the final number of the show. Both productions were conceived by Chris Gifford, creator of the television show, and directed by Gip Hoppe.
There have been three Dora touring companies. The "City of Lost Toys" company and the "Pirate Adventure" company featured actors and crew that were members of Actor's Equity and IATSE, respectively, the unions for professional actors and stagehands in the United States. The third company performs a reduced version of "Pirate Adventure" and does not employ union personnel. This production is currently touring North America, and scheduled to travel to the United Kingdom and France.
Dora the Explorer merchandise
There are many action figures and playsets available in many markets, along with DVDs, cosmetics, hygiene products, ride-ons, books, board games, plush dolls, apparel, handbags, play tents, play kitchens, and more. Licensees include Fisher-Price in the United States and Holland Publishing in the United Kingdom.
In 2004 Lego released four sets based on the TV series' characters. These include 7330 Dora's Treasure Island, 7331 Diego's Rescue Truck, 7332 Dora and Boots at Play Park, and 7333 Dora and Diego's Animal Adventure.
In 2007, lead paint used by a contract toy manufacturer in China prompted Mattel to issue recalls for nearly a million toys, many of which featured Sesame Street and Nickelodeon characters, including Dora the Explorer. Nickelodeon responded that they would introduce "third-party monitoring" of all manufacturers of products under its brands.
Video games based on the 2000 television show Dora the Explorer were released. In Canada, Cheerios offered a free Dora the Explorer the GameCD-ROMs in specially marked packages. However, packages sold in Quebec would only have the French version. Dora the Explorer: Barnyard Buddies is a video game released for the PlayStation in 2003 in the US, thus making it the first Dora the Explorer video game for the home consoles. It was not released in Europe until 2005 being one of the very last games released on that platform in that territory following the PlayStation's discontinuation the following year and all production on PS1 games in 2006. Dora the Explorer: Super Star Adventures is an adventure video game for the Game Boy Advance released in 2004. It was developed by Imaginengine and published by Global Star.
Dora the Explorer: Journey to the Purple Planet is an action-adventure video game, developed by Monkey Bar Games, published by Global Star Software and powered by Vicious Engine. The game was released for GameCube in North America on October 13, 2005, and later in PAL regions on December 16, 2005. The PlayStation 2 version was released on PAL regions on December 2, 2005, and later in North America on February 9, 2006. The game is about Dora and Boots who finds some lost aliens from the purple planet. However, to take them home, she and Boots are required to collect keys to open the space gate, leading to the saturn planet. The game is unique in that it uses pictures and symbols to communicate rather than words. The object of the game is to capture one of the six explorer stars. Each explorer star has a special power such as the ability to be noisy or the ability to create music. In order to capture the star, the player must complete a hide-and-seek activity. These activities include maze navigation, matching games, side-scrolling race games, a "Frogger"-type game, a complete-the-pattern activity and a song playing game.
Dora the Explorer: Dora's Cooking Club is a cooking video game for the Nintendo DS. It was published by 2K Play in 2010. In the game, players have to chop veggies, stir soups, top pizzas, and more using math skills. They may be sorting cookies into numbered groups or counting out different amounts of ingredients.
Dora the Explorer: Dora Saves the Snow Princess is a video game that was released for the PlayStation 2 and the Wii console in 2008.
Dora the Explorer: Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom is a video game that was released for the PlayStation 2 and the Wii console in 2009.
Seasons of Dora the Explorer are available on a variety of streaming or direct purchase video services.
In 2013, Nickelodeon announced that it was making a sequel to Dora the Explorer titled as Dora and Friends: Into the City!. It stars Dora as a 10-year-old who goes on city adventures with the Explorer Girls, accompanied by a male pal named Pablo. The series had two seasons (20 episodes each) and aired on Nickelodeon from August 8, 2014 to February 5, 2017.