The Impossible Dream/Stuck In The Rain
Gift Of Compassion/ Larger Than Life
Soaked / A Perfect Fit
Downward Dog / The Sleeping Moon
The Race / Dressed Up
The Haircut / Paper Wings
Stillwater is a charming animated series for kids, armed with excellent CGI graphics and strong morals at its core. While the adventures are fun and the colours are certainly vibrant, the lack of charisma for some of the characters holds this back from being a more zany and unique entry in a crowded market of animated titles.
When it comes to charismatic and memorable characters, Stillwater is up against some stiff competition. From Pocoyo and Doc McStuffins to The Octonauts and Paw Patrol, kids have a wealth of different options to choose from meaning any newcomers to the field need to be doing something very different to stand out.
Apple TV+ then has a pretty good IP on its hands in Stillwater but the decision to play things straight rather than leaning into the absurdity of the premise may turn some kids away.
The main character here is Stillwater himself, a giant panda bear who helps his neighbours out with any problems and steps in to give some words of wisdom when the time comes for it.
Split across 6 bitesize episodes, Stillwater breaks up these 24 minutes into two chapters exploring a different life lesson or moral in a pretty engaging way. This usually comes in the form of story time, with Stillwater calmly sitting the kids down and telling them a fable or story, complete with hand-drawn animation and – on the odd occasion – a song.
The messages themselves are fantastic and range from reinforcing to kids that nothing is impossible, how to be compassionate to others, friendship and never giving up. These are simple but effective values that work well across each episode to give a deeper meaning to the animation on display.
And that animation looks absolutely sublime too. Stillwater’s fur is beautifully rendered while the hair and facial work are equally impressive too. There’s been some real care and attention to detail thrown into this but Stillwater himself lacks discernable features. Compared to Kung Fu Panda: Paws Of Destiny, this panda series may struggle to hit a large enough demographic to stand out.
Still, there’s enough here to like and for young kids and families, Stillwater has some good family values that definitely make it worth a watch. While the show does lose some points for not being more more memorable or having any wacky comedy, the feel-good factor and vibrant episodes are enough to make this worth recommending to families with young kids.
Verdict - 7/10