Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (also known as Foster's Home, or simply Foster's for short) is an American animated TV series created by Craig McCracken, best known as the creator of The Power Puff Girls. The show premiered on August 13, 2004, and ended on May 3, 2009. Throughout its run, Foster's earned a bevy of awards and nominations, including 7 Emmy Awards and 5 Annie Awards out of 35 total nominations.
This show was being started as Craig McCracken was ready to cancel The Powerpuff Girls. Craig McCracken had used the Powerpuff Girls in several ways for Foster's Home, most notably the character of Mojo Jojo seen in the film House of Bloo's (Episode 1) as a "unimaginary friend", but we never saw Mojo Jojo's imagined copy ever again. The theme song can be briefly heard during "House of Bloo's: Part 1"'s end credits, while Bloo is watching TV in the top area on his bed. On Boomerang airings of the series, the theme song is shortened, but some episodes have the longer theme.
The series is set in an alternate reality in which childhood imaginary friends coexist with humans. In the show's universe, imaginary friends take physical form and become real as soon as children think them up. Once children outgrow them, friends are relocated to the titular orphanage, where they stay until other children adopt them. The home is run by the elderly Madame Foster, its lovable, kind founder; her imaginary friend Mr. Herriman, the strict rule-abider and business manager; and her granddaughter Frankie, who handles day-to-day operations.
The series was created by Craig McCracken, who had also created The Powerpuff Girls for Cartoon Network Studios. McCracken developed the idea for the series after adopting two dogs from an animal shelter with his then-fiancée Lauren Faust; he adapted the concept of pet adoption to that of imaginary friends. The show has an art style which is meant to evoke, according to McCracken, "that period of late 1960's psychedelia when Victorian stylings were coming into trippy poster designs". McCracken wanted Foster's to be similar to The Muppet Show, which he believed was a "fun, character driven show that the whole family could enjoy". It was announced in Cartoon Network's 2004 Upfront It was going to premiere on July 16, 2004 and It was pushed to August 13, 2004.
Animation for the show was done using a process involving Adobe software Illustrator, Flash, and After Effects. McCracken directed, executive produced and story edited the series. Most of the episodes were produced at the Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California, while the rest were produced at Boulder Media in Dublin, Ireland. The theme song was composed by James L. Venable, who had originally collaborated with McCracken on The Powerpuff Girls. Craig described the music as "psychedelic ragtime". Additional music was composed by Venable and Jennifer Kes Remington.
Collette Sunderman was the casting and recording director for the show. Sean Marquette was cast as Mac, and Keith Ferguson was cast as Bloo. The Powerpuff Girls voice actors Tom Kane, Tom Kenny, and Tara Strong were cast in Foster's as Mr. Herriman, Eduardo, and Terrence, respectively. Grey DeLisle was cast as Frankie Foster, and Candi Milo was cast as Coco and Madame Foster. From Season 2 onwards, Milo also lent her voice to Cheese. DeLisle also voiced Goo after the character's debut in Season 3.
The series was officially announced at Cartoon Network's upfront in 2002 or 2003.
Main article: Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends/Characters
Main article: Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends/Episodes
The show spanned 79 episodes and 6 seasons; it has also aired 80 shorts.
While the first 4 seasons were produced in a fullscreen format, the series' 5th and 6th seasons were officially produced in a widescreen format (which were cropped in a fullscreen format during its original broadcast), as revealed in HBO Max.
Merchandising and Media
There are two video games based on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. The first has the same name as the show and was developed by Crave Entertainment for the Game Boy Advance. It was released on October 17, 2006. In the game, players control Mac or Bloo while collecting items to complete objectives. Jack Devries of IGN rated it a 5.5 out of 10, stating that it "falls short" and is "skippable". The second game, titled Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Imagination Invaders, was released on November 12, 2007, for the Nintendo DS by Midway. In the game, the player controls Bloo, who performs tasks and completes quests while fighting against "Space Nut Boogies". Devries rated it 4 out of 10, calling it "terrible to play" and "completely worthless". Characters from the show also appear on the games Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion and FusionFall.
On May 15, 2006, Cartoon Network introduced an online game, Big Fat Awesome House Party, which allowed players to create an online friend to join Bloo and the others in a one-year game online, earning points that would give them gifts, cards and other on-line "merchandise" for their albums. A player's friend, made from one of over 900,000 possible characters, could wind up in a future episode of Foster's. Over 13 million users were registered to play the game after its launch in May 2006. Because of its success and popularity, Cartoon Network announced in May 2007 that the game would continue for 6 more months, into November 2007.
On March 6, 2007, the series got a DVD release of the complete 1st season titled: "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Complete Season 1". It contains all episodes from the first season, including it's pilot movie "House of Bloos" (released as 3 parts).
On September 11, 2007, it got a DVD release of the 2nd season titled: "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Complete Season 2".
The complete 3rd season DVD titled "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Season 3" was released on DVD on November 12, 2014. It's a made-on-demand DVD-R set.
All 6 seasons are available on iTunes and Amazon Prime. Only 1 episode, A Lost Claus, is omitted from the digital purchasing as according to the production code, it isn’t an official listed episode. However, it is available on Hulu.
Seasons 1 and 2 were available on Netflix from 2013 to 2015.
The series was released on HBO Max on May 2020.
Appearances in Other Projects
A Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends parody appeared in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy episode, Reap Walking. Wilt made a cameo in the short, Dream Date. Mac and Bloo appeared as cardboards cutouts in the episode, Billy and Mandy Moon the Moon.
Mac and Goo made brief cameo appearances in Codename: Kids Next Door and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy crossover special, The Grim Adventures of the KND, where they appeared popping out of the Delightful Reaper. Mac and Bloo appeared later during the end credits with a mini-crossover of Samurai Jack titled Samurai Mac, with Mac as Jack and Bloo as Aku.
Mac's name was listed in a list in the Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa crossover, Say Uncle.
Mac appeared in a segment of the Uncle Grandpa episode, Pizza Eve.
Terrence appeared in the Villainous special, The Lost Cases of Beach City. Frankie made a cameo in the episode, BH's Bizarre Bad-Venture.
Frankie made a cameo as stone in the OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode, Crossover Nexus.