Shoebox Zoo is a children's fantasy TV series made in a collaboration between BBC Scotland and various Canadian television companies.
It is mostly live-action, but with CGI used for the animal figurines. It was first broadcast in 2004 by CBBC. The series was broadcast in the United States by the Showtime network
1100 years prior to the show's present day events, the great wizard Michael Scot created the Book of Forbidden Knowledge, a lexicon filled with dark magic and untold secrets. From the book, and the four elements, he created Juan Roberto Montoya de Toledo, a shapeshifter who desired the book's powers for himself and to cover the world in darkness. Michael's son, Wolfgang, out of hatred towards his father and to protect the world, stole the book with help from his fellow scholars Edwin, Ailsa and Bruno. They cast it into the sea, but as punishment, Michael transformed them into toy animals, cursed in these forms and put to sleep in a shoebox. Michael's manservant, McTaggart, also stole the book to keep it from Toledo but it was ultimately lost, McTaggart being made cruelly immortal until the book was discovered.
In the present day, an 11-year old girl named Marnie McBride is whisked away from her home in Denver, Colorado by her father Ross and taken to live in Scotland where she finds the Shoebox Zoo, prompting her to become the Chosen One and find the book, therefore allowing the scholars to become human and for McTaggart to rest in peace. Toledo stalks Marnie throughout the series as her magical powers grow, Marnie having to deal with her normal life and her duty as the Chosen One. Wolfgang spends some time allied with Toledo, but he rejoins Marnie and the rest of the animals when his past is revealed. Marnie finds the book in a local library but Toledo confronts her which results in Wolfgang's murder, the wolf burnt away in a fireplace. Marnie discovers the book is a fake and the real one was cast into the sea by her deceased mother, ending up in America.
In the second series, Marnie and the Shoebox Zoo travel to Colorado to stay with Marnie's grandparents whilst looking for the real book, with Michael and McTaggart following her. Toledo rises from the grave, having been killed at the end of the first series, and regains a physical form by murdering Michael and controlling the body of Aurora Dexter, who Toledo believes will become the Dawn Queen, a being of great evil and darkness. Marnie is aided by her friend Kyle, his grandfather Nathaniel who is a medicine man and another toy, a wooden horse named Hunter. Marnie eventually becomes corrupted by the darkness of the book, which she finds in her grandfather's woodshed, but it is stolen by Toledo and Aurora, McTaggart dying in the process. Aurora gives Toledo his body back but decides to take over the world herself. Marnie turns good again and decides to destroy the book, much to the dismay of the Shoebox Zoo. Wolfgang is resurrected by Marnie in order to destroy the book. In a television broadcast hosted by Aurora, she attempts to corrupt viewers but is ultimately defeated by Marnie who fires a magic archery arrow at the book, destroying it, killing Toledo and the Dawn Queen's darkness in the process, but leaving Aurora alive.
At the conclusion of the series, Marnie sadly leaves the Shoebox Zoo in a junkshop so somebody else can look after the animals. It has been speculated that the narrator is the person seen opening the shoebox in the final scene of the series, as described by the narrator himself.
Main Article: Characters
Main Article: Episode Guide
Shoebox Zoo ran on CBBC from 21 September 2004 – 27 November 2005 and lasted a total of two series which overall contained a total of twenty six episodes.