The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Thanks to Mark Bishop this week for sending me the pilot episode for This is Daniel Cook, a new kids series that recently won Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund production money. The DVD was timely, coming as it did in the wake of a disconcerting new report commissioned by the Media Awareness Network that seems to show an alarming number of young boys are specifically seeking out interactive games and traditional television shows that feature violence as a main inducement to play. Violence on the screen - in theatres, on television, and in interactive media - should be a cause for worry, and Canadians should be worried about what values their kids are consuming along with their entertainment. Granted, the TV dial is much different on Saturday mornings today than when we were kids. But, much of what’s replaced the (as The Simpsons wickedly put it) Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Choc-o-Bot Hour is simply awful. If I occasionally don’t watch TV with my son, it’s because so much programming aimed at him is simply too shitty to view. If the kids are tuning it out in favour of material that’s more mature, we can hardly blame them. The bland pap that dominates the dial these days is easily as bad as the more violent, commercial pap it’s replaced. This is Daniel Cook is engaging, smart, funny and adorable. The patronization that marks so much children’s television is missing and the learning is secondary to the fun. It’s critical that more shows like this get made along with their interactive corrolaries. Some might look askance at Marble Media’s double dipping into the Bell Fund (DeafPlanet also won funding), but we wholeheartedly applaud the Bell Fund’s courage of convictions. One can tell when one is watching a Canadian-made kids show and, unlike in drama, it’s not a difference of production values. Our kids programming is simply better. As kids entertainment transitions to interactive, let’s hope the funds are available to ensure it keeps getting made.