THE LIFE & TIMES OF JUNIPER LEE, an animated comedy/adventure created by comicbook auteur Judd Winick, premieres May 30, 2005, at 7:00 pm on Cartoon Network and then will air regularly on Sunday nights at 7:30 pm. The series centers around 11-year-old Juniper Lee, a seemingly normal Asian American girl who possesses magical powers to protect the world.
Juniper Lee leads a pretty normal life attending school, many after-school activities and hobbies, hangs out with friends and has to deal with an overzealous younger brother. But on top of the everyday pre-teen escapades, Juniper is the Te Xuan Ze (the Protector). A member of her family has had both the honor and burden of keeping the balance between the real and magical world. Now its Junipers turn, a responsibility she reluctantly takes on because shed rather just enjoy herself as a kid. She must skip out on her everyday activities to smack down an unruly magical creature she accomplishes with the strength of 10 people and exemplary skills magic.
Her sudden disappearances have earned her a reputation of being a little flaky, but fortunately a few people know her secret. Her grandmother, Ah-Mah, the Te Xuan Ze before her, uses her wisdom and laid-back personality to guide Juniper through the burdens of being the Protector. Ray Ray, Junipers fearless eight-year-old brother, shares in some of her magical gifts and is her constant sidekick. Junipers smart-mouthed talking pug, Monroe, has shared his knowledge of both magic and history to generations of Te Xuan Ze.
Creator/producer Winick created the comic strips NUTS AND BOLTS when he was 16 in his hometown on Long Island, New York. He then created the syndicated comic strip FRUMPY THE CLOWN and published the critical hit, THE ADVENTURES OF BARRY WEEN, BOY GENIUS. In 2001, Winick began writing several DC Comics titles, including BATMAN, GREEN LANTERN and GREEN ARROW.
In 1994, Winick was cast as a member of the San Francisco edition of MTVs THE REAL WORLD. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and fellow REAL WORLD cast member, Pamela Ling.
Juniper resembles his wife, Pam, who helped him come up with the show idea and urged him to have a female Asian protagonist. Both have colored steaks in their hair. They both are tough, funny and sarcastic but Juniper is snarky, sometimes rude to her elders, while Pam is much more reverent toward them.
His comics background definitely influences the bright color palettes ands staging of the series. If you think Juniper resembles an Asian-looking Kim Possible, the design talent has not drifted far. Art director Alan Bodner was original art director on the Disney Channel hit KIM POSSIBLE. Bodner worked on shows such as MIGHTY MOUSE, THE FAT ALBERT SHOW and HECKLE & JECKLE, before working with ABC News in New York City as a supervising graphic artist for such shows as NIGHTLINE and WORLD NEWS TONIGHT. He returned to animation in 1986 to Warner Bros. Animation, went to Miramax TV to work on Kevin Smiths CLEERKS: THE ANIMATED SERIES and then over to Walt Disney TV Animation for development work. He also won an Annie Awards for his artistic contributions to THE IRON GIANT.
Supervising director Frank Squillace certainly lends his influence, having worked five years on the JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES. CHARACTER designer and storyboard artist Mike Kunkel offers 14 years of experience on characters and properties from comicbooks, movies, videogames and TV series. He has his own company, The Astonish Factory and created the Eisner Award-winning comicbook series, HEROBEAR AND THE KIDS.
Juniper lives in Orchid Bay, which is a cartoony interpretation of San Francisco, with cable cars, painted lady houses, steep hills and old architecture. The city is intended to practically be another character. Winick created a map of Orchid Bay with Bodner and Squillace, to give the show a spine and sense of place. Winick said they strove for a book something between classic Disney and Warner Bros. old school stuff with a lot of Chuck Jones influence.
The series, cast and voice directed by Sue Blu, stars the voices of Lara Jill Miller (GIMME A BREAK!) as Juniper Lee, Kath Soucie does Ray Ray, Carlos Alazraqui (RENO 911 & the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua)) is Monroe, Amy Hill provides the voice of Ah-Mah, Tara Strong is Roger, Candi Milo does Ophelia, Colleen OShaughnessey provides the voice of Jody and Phil LaMarr is Marcus.
THE LIFE & TIMES OF JUNIPER LEE is the first Cartoon Network original series to launch on Sunday nights, said Bob Higgins, svp of programming & original animation for Cartoon Network. The blend of action and comedy is the perfect addition to the block that already attracts a wide audience of both boys and girls. We are confident that the show will be a key building block toward strong Sunday-night programming,
Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California, is producing 26 half-hour episodes of THE LIFE & TIMES OF JUNIPER LEE. Production credits:
Supervising director: Frank Squillace
Art director: Alan Bodner
Character designers: Mike Kunkel, Phil Mosness
Line producer: Janet Dimon Story editor: Marsha Griffin Prop and effects designer: Terry Hudson
Background design: Fred Gardner, Steve Lewis
Background painters: Kit Boyce, Ashby Manson
Color stylists: David Patton, Webb Music by: Stewart Copeland
Main title theme written by: Stewart Copeland, Rob Guariglia, David Lehner, Rob Lehner
Picture editor: Roger Hinze
Dialogue editor: Matthew Brown Post-production sound services by: Hacienda Post Sound editors: Marc Mailand, Daisuki Sawa Music editor: Brian Mars
Re-recording mixers: Eric Freeman, Timothy J. Borquez, CAS
Overseas production facility: Rough Draft Korea Main title animation by: The Astonish Factory
Exec producer for Cartoon Network Studios: Brian A. Miller
Supervising producer: Jennifer Pelphrey
Execs in charge of production for Cartoon Network: Jay Bastian, Khaki Jones Exec producer: Judd Winick
Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com), currently seen in 87.6 million U.S. homes and 160 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System Inc.s ad-supported cable service offering 24/7 original, acquired and classic animated entertainment for kids and families.