An Amazon Prime Instant Video exclusive series for preschoolers, Creative Galaxy introduces young audiences to arts and crafts via Artie, an extraterrestrial boy who has a floating, purple, polka-dotted friend named Epiphany. The new show is from Amazon Studios and Out of the Blue, and was created by Angela Santomero of Blue’s Clues fame. Much like that earlier TV show, Creative Galaxy engages through a combination of quality animation and familiarity, with each half-hour episode split into two segments, and each of those, in turn, following a comfortable formula: Artie encounters a problem, Epiphany creates their magical spaceship, and off they go to find the solution, which generally involves art. In addition, segments typically feature real-life kids; for example, the debut episode, which centers on Artie learning about Pointillism, segues to footage of children using the same art technique to create their own masterpieces.
Through the first few episodes of Creative Galaxy, the kinds of art featured include paper crafts, mosaics, drip painting (a la Jackson Pollock), and more. The range of topics is ambitious, yet each segment also kicks off with a brief art project that most kids could probably duplicate (albeit with parental supervision, depending on the child’s age). For example, in an episode in which Artie’s mother is celebrating her birthday, he produces a few random items, invites the audience to guess what he’s going to make, and then proceeds to create a homemade birthday whistle. Such breaking-the-fourth-wall moments happen repeatedly in Creative Galaxy, as Artie will regularly ask viewers to keep an eye out for cool objects to add to his idea box, or to look for a particular type of shape that he was just talking about. This type of call and response, similarly utilized in Blue’s Clues, not only keeps children engaged, but supports the knowledge that they’re picking up while watching the show.
Overall, Creative Galaxy is both informative and entertaining, though its best trait might be the balance of high concept with low stakes. The settings are always fantastical, but the crises in every episode are nothing to get worked up over—the new library has boring walls, Artie’s new space bunny needs a suitable hand-crafted home, his baby sister won’t stop crying, etc. Despite being green-skinned aliens, the characters are, in many ways, familiar archetypes, though there are subversive touches here and there, such as Artie’s mom (voiced by Samantha Bee, whose prior work includes The Daily Show) being a pretty successful architect, while his dad (Jason Jones, also of The Daily Show) is the sensitive artist type.
Not that the average kid in Creative Galaxy‘s target demographic will even notice amidst the show’s colorful, whimsical packaging, as well as cute character designs and built-in catch phrases for Artie and Epiphany. One of Artie’s recurring lines is, “I can fix it… with art!” However, from where I’m sitting, there aren’t any flaws in this new show that need fixing, with art or otherwise.