The Electric Company (2009 TV series)

For the original 1971 TV series, see The Electric Company.
The Electric Company
Starring Priscilla Diaz
Jenni Barber
Josh Segarra
Ricky Smith
Ashley Austin Morris
Chris Sullivan
Coy Stewart
Carly Rose Sonenclar
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 52 (list of episodes)
Location(s) Kaufman Astoria Studios
Running time 28 minutes
Production company(s) Sesame Workshop
Distributor PBS
Original network PBS Kids Go!
Original release January 23, 2009 (2009-01-23) – April 4, 2011 (2011-04-04)

The Electric Company is an American television series for young children for grades K-8 on PBS, derived from the 1971 series. The series premiered as a four-episode mini-marathon on PBS on January 23, 2009, then became a weekly series with an episode shown each Friday. On September 7, 2009, it became a daily series. Like the original, this version was produced by Sesame Workshop. The last new episode aired on April 4, 2011. A fourth season was planned, but the show was canceled before it went into production. Subsequent showings were reruns. The series was sometimes referred to as The New Electric Company to distinguish it from the 1970s series. It aired on PBS Kids Go! from 2009 to 2013.


The new version has similar short animations, sketches, and music videos to those seen in the original show, but each episode also features a story line designed to teach four to five vocabulary words with a mix of hip-hop- or contemporary R&B-style music.

Each story revolves around the Electric Company, a group of teenage literacy heroes who battle a group of neighborhood vandals dubbed the Pranksters. The heroes' headquarters is the Electric Diner, where their friend Shock, a beat-boxing short-order cook who also appears in the short-form segments.

In the show's nod to the original series, each episode's opening has a Company member call to the others to assemble by yelling "Hey, you guys!!"—a line that (as yelled by Rita Moreno and then Priscilla Diaz) led off the opening sequence of seasons two, five, and six.[1][2][3] Other nods to the original series include appearances by Paul the Gorilla and updated versions of the soft-shoe silhouette segments in which words are sounded out.

The revival includes interactive Web elements and is promoted and extended via community-outreach projects. The first season consisted of 28 weekly episodes. An additional season of twelve more episodes began airing January 2010. A third season debuted February 7, 2011, and ended on March 28, 2011, with new Company member Marcus and new Prankster Gilda.



Actor / Actress Season (s)
Season 1 Season 2 Season 3
Josh Segarra Main
P-Star Main
Jenni Barber Main Guest
Ricky Smith Main
Coy Stewart N / A Main
Ashley Austin Morris Main
Dominic Colón Main
William Jackson Harper Main
Sandie Rosa Main
Carly Rose Sonenclar N / A Main
Chris Sullivan Recurring
Lin-Manuel Miranda Recurring
L. Steven Taylor Guest N / A Recurring
Kyle Massey Guest Recurring N / A

The Electric Company

The Electric Company consists of a group of four friends who protect the neighborhood from the Pranksters. They all have the power to throw word balls, blue magical balls that create words on any surface. Each member has a special skill.


The Heffenbacher Family

The following family members only appear in "Revolutionary Doughnuts":

The Pranksters

The Pranksters are the Electric Company's enemies. In the Prankster Cam segments, each of the Pranksters explain about the letters, with Manny specializing in punctuation and Annie talking about apostrophe-S.


Animated characters

The Adventures of Captain Cluck

Pets Home Alone

In the Haunted House


Prankster Planet

An animated segment was shown at the end of each episode starting in 2012. Prankster Planet eventually supplanted the live show - actors were no longer employed, but Sesame Workshop continued to have Prankster Planet cartoons made. Jessica and Marcus visit the Pranksters' space base, where the Pranksters have full power to build inventions to damage words. Now without powers, Jessica and Marcus have to use their wits to turn off the inventions. Although they overcome the obstacles, the Pranksters catch up to them and prevent them from reaching the switch. The viewer is then encouraged to play an online game, in which you test your wits as well. The segment focuses more on measurement (in various forms) than the rest of the show. The first series of segments features Manny Spamboni's Wordsuckeruppenator which enables him to access all the words in the world. Multiple Pranksters appear to defend the off buttons. The second series of segments features Francine's Reverse-a-Ball machine, which reverses words. In this series, Francine watches Jessica and Marcus, along with a studio audience of Manny's robots. "Survey Time" is announced so the audience can vote on an obstacle for the duo, which is graphed. In the episodes alongside, words reverse, which is shown at the end.


Cast members include P-Star as Jessica, Jenni Barber as Lisa, Josh Segarra as Hector with Justin Farney yelling, Ricky Smith as Keith, Coy Stewart (Tyson Stewart) as Marcus Barnes, and Chris Sullivan as Shock.

The Celebrities who have appeared on the show include Pete Wentz, Samantha Bee, Ne-Yo, Mario, Sean Kingston, Marc Ecko, Jack McBrayer, Tiki Barber, Whoopi Goldberg, Kyle Massey, Common, Swizz Beatz, Good Charlotte, Jimmy Fallon, Dwight Howard, David Lee, Christopher Massey, Wyclef Jean, and Doug E. Fresh. Besides his brief appearances in season one, Kyle Massey had a recurring role in season two as PJ, Keith's eccentric cousin.

Mark Linn-Baker appears occasionally as Annie's uncle Sigmund. Broadway actor-composer Lin-Manuel Miranda does occasional guest appearances and contributes music to the show. He also appears in a season-two episode as Mario, Shock’s friend.

Tommy Kail, the director of Miranda's In the Heights, is one of the musical directors with Bill Sherman and the actor-musician Chris Jackson, a star of the original Broadway production of that show. Members of the hip hop comedy troupe Freestyle Love Supreme (of which Miranda, Sherman, Jackson, and Sullivan are members) make sporadic appearances in the musical segments as well.


Pilot (2006)


From season 1

Song Title Episode Main Character Performers
We've Got Skills "Skills" Hector, Jessica, and Lisa[4]
Take the Pledge "Skills" Keith, Hector, Jessica, Lisa[5]
100% Human "Scent of a Human" Hector
The Nature Lover "Lights, Camera, Beetles!" Danny
Where's and Why's "Call Me Tiki" Jessica[6]
Are We Gonna Make It "Lost and Spaced" Electric Company, Dax, Francine[7]

From season 2

From season 3

Critical reception


The show received generally positive reviews from critics, and currently has a 74/100 score on, based on eight reviews. Newsday said "With a visual sensibility that mimics a video game, Web browser and iPhone, as well as a hearty online presence with a social-networking bent, the new Electric Company seems to deliver."

Entertainment Weekly said "Though the hip ’n’ urban vibe seems overly calculated, did studies show that eight-year-olds respond to beatboxing white dudes? And the cast is aggressively up with people. You gotta love new characters."


Reviews that cited negative aspects of the show compared it to the 1970s Electric Company.


  1. Davis, Michael. “PBS Revives a Show That Shines a Light on Reading.” The New York Times, Vol. CLVII, No. 54,308, p. E2, 5/12/2008. Retrieved from on May 12, 2008.
  2. ""The Electric Company" to return in 2009". 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  3. Netburn, Deborah (January 11, 2009). "The Electric Company". Los Angeles Times.
  4. theelectriccompany (2009-01-16), We've Got Skills (The Electric Company), retrieved 2016-06-15
  5. theelectriccompany (2009-06-04), Take the Pledge (The Electric Company), retrieved 2016-06-15
  6. KIDS, PBS. "The Electric Company: Music Video: Are We Going to Make It? . VIDEO | PBS KIDS". Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  7. "electric company are we gonna make it - Google Search". Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  8. Genzlinger, Neil (January 19, 2009). "Back From the '70s, Without the Zaniness". The New York Times.
  9. Zeitchik, Steven. "Entertainment - entertainment, movies, tv, music, celebrity, Hollywood - -". Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  10. Hesse, Monica (January 23, 2009). "'Electric' Is Rewired For the '00s". The Washington Post.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.