Shoebox Zoo (2004– )

TV Series  -   -  Adventure | Fantasy | Drama
7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 79 users  
Reviews: 9 user

An American student living and studying in Edinburgh is given a mysterious box of toy animals for her birthday, toys that come alive during the night in their quest to find an ancient magical book.

0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 115 titles
created 30 Aug 2011
 
a list of 14 titles
created 03 Dec 2011
 
TV
a list of 35 titles
created 18 Jul 2012
 
a list of 5586 titles
created 07 Nov 2012
 
a list of 186 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Shoebox Zoo (2004– )

Shoebox Zoo (2004– ) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Shoebox Zoo.

Season:

2 | 1

Year:

2005 | 2004
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Bruno the Bear (13 episodes, 2004)
...
 Edwin the Eagle (13 episodes, 2004)
...
 Ailsa the Adder (13 episodes, 2004)
...
 Storyteller (13 episodes, 2004)
...
 Marnie McBride (13 episodes, 2004)
...
 Michael Scot (12 episodes, 2004)
...
 Wolfgang the Wolf (12 episodes, 2004)
David McKay ...
 McTaggart (11 episodes, 2004)
...
 Dad (10 episodes, 2004)
Tony Donaldson ...
 Toledo (10 episodes, 2004)
Krystina Coates ...
 Laura (10 episodes, 2004)
Frances Low ...
 Ms. MacKay (7 episodes, 2004)
Sean Joseph Young ...
 Stewart (6 episodes, 2004)
Edit

Storyline

Colorado-born eleven year old Marnie McBride is mourning the loss of her beloved mother as she settles into her new home in Scotland with her widowed father, who takes her to a run-down junk shop on her eleventh birthday. There, she is given a box of toy animals by a mysterious old man, which spring to life the next morning. She soon learns from these creatures that they are on an important quest to find an ancient book that holds a dark magical power within its pages, and need to find it before the evil shape shifter, Toledo does first. Marnie reluctantly offers to help, but finds she has her own fair share of problems to deal with, as she tries to make some friends at her new school, as well as put up with the classroom bullies. Written by Extraordinary Machine

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

book | birthday | quest | scotland | bully | See more »

Taglines:

Believe. See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 September 2004 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Shoebox Zoo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

£8,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(26 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Scot was a medieval mathematician and astrologer who lived around (1175 -1232). Efforts have been made by the author Sir Walter Scott to connect Scot with Sir Michael Scot of Balwearie, featured in Sir Walter Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Son of the Mask (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The lack of finesse in Justin Molotnikov's direction causes a once-promising fantasy tale to crumble under its own lofty aspirations...
2 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

"Shoebox Zoo"

(Season 1)

Colorado-born eleven year old Marnie McBride (Vivien Endicott Douglas) is mourning the loss of her beloved mother as she settles into her new home in Scotland with her widowed father (Jason Connery, son of Sean), who takes her to a run-down junk shop on her eleventh birthday. There, she is given a box of toy animals by a mysterious old man (a sleepy Peter Mullan), which spring to life (they are voiced by Rik Mayall, Siobhan Redmond, Alan Cumming and Simon Callow) the next morning. She soon learns from these creatures that they are on an important quest to find an ancient book that holds a dark magical power within its pages, and need to find it before the evil shape shifter, Toledo (Tony Donaldson, in an dire, pantomime-like performance) does first. Marnie reluctantly offers to help, but finds she has her own fair share of problems to deal with, as she tries to make some friends (Krystina Coates) at her new school, as well as put up with the classroom bullies (Maxi Moffatt, Sean Young and Fergus Nimmo, all of whom should be banned from acting hereafter).

While 'Lord of the Rings', 'Harry Potter' and other fantasy franchises seem to be coming at cinemas left right and centre, it's quite difficult to recall a broad, generously budgeted BBC television fantasy drama since the sublime 'Chronicles of Narnia' and 'The Phoenix and the Carpet' miniseries (both of which were based on novels). "Shoebox Zoo" comes to life from the collaborative minds of writer Brian Ward, CBBC Scotland producer Claire Mundell, and director Justin Molotnikov, and it's undoubtedly an ambitious project. But let's not kid ourselves: "Zoo" is clearly the Beeb's answer to the recent crop of theatrical fantasy blockbusters, and who can blame them? The imaginations of children nationwide have been captured by Harry and Frodo's magical adventures, and I applaud the BBC for giving families a chance to enjoy observing similar quests in the comforts of their own home.

The problems become apparent in the on-screen execution of the show. "Shoebox Zoo" strives to be epic and involving, but the lack of finesse in Justin Molotnikov's direction causes a once-promising fantasy tale to crumble under its own lofty aspirations. Molotnikov brings to "Shoebox" a dull, unimaginative aesthetic, hampered even more so by downright lazy plot movements and references that borrow heavily from other, superior films and television shows, from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to the aforementioned 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. Much has been made of the higher than normal production cost for the show (£4 million per season), but in this case, bigger does not necessarily mean better, with special effects that are decidedly half-baked, extracting the viewer straight out of the world of "Shoebox" faster than you can say "Toledo the Shapeshifter". In particular, the computer animation used to bring the animals inhabiting the "Zoo" of the title to life makes has been poorly rendered, which is the last thing the show needs on its plate, as Molotnikov cuts to the wooden (in more ways than one) creatures too many times. Alas, the vocal cast of solid British acting talent surprisingly doesn't help in breathing life into the motley group of characters, with none of the performers emoting beyond their subhuman caricatures (Siobhan Redmond, you should be ashamed), but it's doubtful that Edwin, Ailsa and pals would convince even if the actors were trying their very best. The production values of "Zoo" are dreadfully meagre, and everything Molotnikov does with them seems forced and unnatural.

Also, it just doesn't feel as if Marnie's actions seem to matter in the grander scheme of things, and she's trying to prevent the end of the world for Christ's sakes!

Another thorn in the side of "Shoebox Zoo" is Molotnikov's continued reliance on actress Vivien Endicott Douglas's shrill performance as Marnie McBride. I'm sure many will use her age and inexperience to justify, but let's be honest: Douglas is all wrong for the part of Marnie, which requires far more acting finesse and ability to project natural teen angst in front of a camera than the thirteen year old is capable of. Marnie is a wallflower of sorts, but Douglas is all too happy with playing up the character's bitchy outbursts, and actually botches scenes where Marnie is allowed to grieve over the loss of her mother. Douglas makes Marnie cold and unlikeable, when an affable central character was a key factor in making "Shoebox" work.

Of course, not being based on a novel or any previously produced or published work of any kind, Brian Ward seems to have been given the permission to run to the hills with his creation for as long as he wants; apparently a second season of "Shoebox Zoo" is currently in production. Additionally, two more lay in wait some way down the pipeline, along with a feature film. But what's the point of unleashing a story onto the big screen when it can't even be executed properly on the tube? Hopefully, none of these grandiose plans will ever make it past development. Yes, "Shoebox Zoo" does have potential, but unless the show carries through with its promise to deliver a classic fantasy story, this is one "Zoo" I won't be revisiting any time soon.

~5/10 ~


7 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Who plays..........? cheese_monger
My friend is in this... loveinyoureye
how FAB firebreathingdragonfrog
Who was John? ladyhawk2011
Any news viper870621345
Something doesnt add up the-sneaker
Discuss Shoebox Zoo (2004) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?