Dinosaurs (ABC, 1991-1994)
Dinosaurs was a somewhat domestic sitcom that was popular in the early-90s and featured the adventures of the Sinclair family as they worked their way through the ups and downs of work and life, but with one difference to similar shows of the time… they were all puppet dinosaurs!
Dinosaurs was a show that was developed from an idea by Jim Henson of The Muppets fame. The show is set in the year 60,000,003 BC and the main character was Earl Sinclair. He worked for the Wesayso Development Corporation and his job was to knock down trees to make way for housing developments, alongside his colleague Roy, but he didn’t really enjoy it that much.
The other members of the Sinclair family were Earl’s wife Fran and their three children, 14-year-old Robbie who was rather cool, 12-year-old Charlene, and the rather mischievous Baby who was to some extent the Stewie Griffin of his era. Other characters included Ethyl who was Earl’s irritating grandmother, Earl’s intimidating boss BP Richfield, and many more who appeared throughout the four series and were wonderfully creative.
Dinosaurs was something of a send-up of the genre of regular sitcoms by putting the conventional family idea into a different era, and the puppetry in the show was very impressive, with a lot of memorable characters and funny moments. The show was a small success in this country with some merchandise being released, I’m sure I used to have a Robbie toy, but once again I didn’t keep it.
The dates at the start reflect when Dinosaurs was shown in America. The scheduling of the show in the UK was rather erratic, with the amount of episodes shown varying in each ITV region. In the LWT region it was shown in 1991 and 1992 on Sunday afternoons which is when I remember seeing the show.
After all these years the show is still great to watch and I have fond memories of it, it was an unusual idea that was well realised, although unfortunately as far as I know there has been no DVD release in this country.