Dora the Explorer is an American animated television series created by Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh Valdes and Eric Weiner that premiered on Nickelodeon on August 14, 2000. The series is produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio and is one of the longest-running series that has aired on the Nick Jr. block.
The series centers around Dora, a seven-year-old Latina girl, with a love of embarking on quests related to an activity that she wants to partake of or a place that she wants to go to, accompanied by her talking purple backpack and anthropomorphic monkey companion named Boots (named for his beloved pair of red boots). Each episode is based around a series of cyclical events that occur along the way during Dora's travels, along with obstacles that she and Boots are forced to overcome or puzzles that they have to solve (with "assistance" from the viewing audience) relating to riddles, the Spanish language, or counting. Common rituals may involve Dora's encounters with Swiper, a bipedal, anthropomorphic masked thieving fox whose theft of the possessions of others must be prevented through fourth wall-breaking interaction with the viewer. To stop Swiper, Dora must say "Swiper no swiping" three times. However, on occasions where Swiper steals the belongings of other people, the viewer is presented with the challenge of helping Boots and Dora locate the stolen items. Another obstacle involves encounters with another one of the program's antagonists; the "Grumpy Old Troll" dwelling beneath a bridge that Dora and Boots must cross, who challenges them with a riddle before permitting them the past that needs to be solved with the viewer's help. Known for the constant breaking of the fourth-wall depicted in every episode, the audience is usually presented to two primary landmarks that must be passed before Dora can reach her destination, normally being challenged with games or puzzles along the way. The episode always ends with Dora successfully reaching the locale, singing the "We Did It!" song with Boots in triumph.
On numerous occasions, television specials have been aired for the series in which the usual events of regular episodes are altered, threatened, or replaced. Usually said specials will present Dora with a bigger, more whimsical adventure than usual or with a magical task that must be fulfilled, or perhaps even offer a series of different adventures for Boots and Dora to travel through. They might be presented with an unusual, difficult task (such as assisting Swiper in his attempts to be erased from Santa Claus's Naughty List) that normally is not featured in average episodes, or challenge Dora with a goal that must be achieved (such as the emancipation of a trapped mermaid). Sometimes, the specials have involved the debut of new characters, such as the birth of Dora's superpowered twin baby siblings and the introduction of the enchanted anthropomorphic stars that accompany Dora on many of her
The show was developed out of Nickelodeon's desire to "come up with the next big hit" similar to the network's other hit preschool shows at the time Little Bear and Blue's Clues. The creators sought to combine both shows format, with the narrative focus of Little Bear combined with the interactivity of Blue's Clues. The creators further developed the concept by observing preschoolers with the creators coming to the conclusion that "they are little explorers."
Dora is a Latina. According to a Nickelodeon spokesman, "she was developed to be pan-Latina to represent the diversity of Latino cultures". Initially the character was not planned to be Latina although after an executive at Nickelodeon attended a conference about the lack of Latino representation, the creators were asked if they could include such elements. At first there was hesitancy, but eventually they realized that they had "a great opportunity" and the character was designed as such. Nickelodeon at first did not like the antagonist Swiper, at first with researchers stating that "he was bad modeling and unsettling to kids"; however, the creators felt strongly about the inclusion of a villainous character and he remained in the final show.
Dora the Explorer as a tween, as seen after being revealed in 2009.
On March 8, 2009, Mattel and Nickelodeon announced that Dora will receive a tweenage makeover, switching from a young age to a teenage attending middle school. Initially, it was announced that the new look would not be revealed until late 2009, but after a short controversy, the tween Dora was unveiled on March 16, 2009.
In 2012, a CGI opening was created for new episodes of the series.
Dora's Explorer Girls
In 2009, Mattel and Nickelodeon introduced a preteen version of Dora, with four friends named Naiya, Kate, Emma, and Alana, who call themselves the Explorer Girls. The Explorer Girls were included in the Dora and Friends spin-off in 2014.
In 2013, Nickelodeon announced that it was making a sequel to Dora the Explorer titled as Dora and Friends: Into the City!. It stars Dora as a 10-year-old who goes on city adventures with the Explorer Girls, accompanied by a male pal named Pablo. The series had two seasons (20 episodes each) and aired on Nickelodeon from August 8, 2014 to February 5, 2017.