It has been almost two years since we saw Babak and his cousins Saman and Sousanne in the debut film A First Norooz. Now, a bit older, somewhat wiser and with a whole new group of friends Babak is back with a full animated television series called Mixed Nutz. The series is scheduled to air on Tapesh TV  in Farsi with a special Norooz launch date.
Mixed Nutz is a television comedy about a group of kids who feel like they just don’t fit in. Much like our hero Babak, who is shy to tell people he is from Iran, Michael, the redhead feels he is boring and no one wants to be his friend. Two new immigrants include Sanjay, who just came from Mumbai and Adele, a half-American, half-Austrian girl who has traveled the world so much, she doesn’t even know how to make friends. Jae, Briana, Saman, Sousanne and the parents round out the fun cast of a show that is simple in style but has a strong message for people of all ages.
“We wanted the show to have a simple Peanuts feel to it. The inspiration for the name came from there. If you look at the design, the backgrounds are very matte and the characters really stand out in every frame”, says Dustin Ellis, the original creator of Babak & Friends, and the co-director of the new series.
The series starts with the first day of school where the children have to prepare an assignment on where they are from. Both Babak and Michael are terrified by this assignment and end up making stories, which are similar in vain. In another episode, the kids learn great life lessons from Coach Stride, an overbearing ex-Navy Seal who is in love with himself and anything that can swim. In one episode, Sanjay falls in love with Ms. Pickleberry and has Bollywood inspired dreams while the school elections have Babak and Sousanne fighting head to head for the position of President.
Perhaps one of the most adventurous episodes is when Saman, Sousanne and Babak travel to Iran with the help of a little magician artist, voiced by famous actor and comedian Maz Jobrani. Encouraging the kids to use their imagination, the kids roam from a traditional Zoor Khooneh to a Bazaar and learn how to haggle. Their travels take them to great monuments and historic sites in Iran and they come back knowing that the land of their parents is a rich place to explore.
“The TV show is all about showing culture in the background while teaching children every day lessons and also entertain them all at the same time with a high quality production,” says Aly Jetha, the co-creator and producer of the show.
The production company has once again gone to great lengths to ensure Disney-quality animation with a superb cast of voices, musicians, artists and animators. Famous Iranian music band Kiosk and composer Mehrdad Arabifard were part of the production. The designs of characters and animation are headed up by Alfred Gimeno and Glen Kennedy, two animators who have not only won awards like Emmys but have worked at great companies likes Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbera and Disney. The Farsi version of the series was dubbed with professional voice-over actors from Iran to ensure quality.
Norooz Productions plans to launch Mixed Nutz on televisions stations around the world. The series, which currently consists of 13 episodes, is being dubbed into five languages, including Persian, Korean, Hindi, Spanish and French. The company has plans to air the series on major networks like Canada’s CBC, Korea’s EBS, Indian TV, Ariana TV in Afghanistan and the BBC. The founders hope that once the show is aired, the demand will enable them to renew the show for more seaons in the coming year.
Tapesh television will have a special Norooz airing of Babak & Friends – A First Norooz at the end of March. Mixed Nutz will follow this great Norooz special, airing every two weeks in Farsi on Thursdays on Tapesh TV.
For more on listings times, check out www.TapeshTV.com  or watch Tapesh TV.
About Norooz Productions
Norooz Productions develops products to entertain and teach children about different cultures. High quality products include animation movies, storybooks and language learning tools. With this mission, Norooz hopes to create a more diverse and understanding society.
The company has produced Babak & Friends –A First Norooz, along with books and other Babak accessories has now embarked on a new television series called Mixed Nutz, intended for a large and universal audience. Mixed Nutz will be available in Spring of 2008. For more, go to www.noroozproductions.com .
Sara Sefeed is Senior Editor, PersianMirror  - The Modern Magazine for Persian Celebrations, Culture, Cuisine & Community.