Apple / Scholastic Entertainment / Gaumont
Stillwater is a serene-looking panda who very much lives up to his name. As does the animated television show crafted around him. Based on the picture book Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth, Stillwater embraces tranquility—and yes, stillness—in a way that television series rarely do, even those aimed at adults. Structured around a number of parables told by the affable panda bear to his three young neighbors, every episode feels like an engrossing painting come to life that demands you slow down and take care to relish its every brushstroke. It helps that these self-contained tales are rendered in a hand-drawn style that stands in stark contrast with the nevertheless painterly 3D world of the panda and the kids. Intentionally designed to get its young audience to embrace mindfulness, empathy, and kindness, Stillwater is a balm to watch, its essence best captured by the soothing patience of voice actor James Sie, who makes the titular character as much a role model for kids as for those parents watching. For offering young viewers the chance to rejoice in the quiet wonders of the world around them, Stillwater deserves a Peabody.