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Internet Television

Netflix Announces 6 New Animated Series

Saturday morning cartoons didn’t die—they just shifted over to Netflix, which continues to aggressively commission animated series of all varieties for its streaming service. This month, the network announced six new animated series that it will launch over the next few years.

Five of the shows are children’s series and one is targeted at adults. Interestingly, all five kids’ pick-ups are based on existing concepts, ranging from films (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Spy Kids) to videogames (Skylanders) and books (Llama, Llama) to graphic novels (Hilda, pictured at top). The sole original idea is the adult series, which is the celebrity-driven Big Mouth from actor Nick Kroll.

The latter, described as an “edgy, surreal animated comedy” about teenagers experiencing puberty, was developed by Kroll and Family Guy writer/producer Andrew Goldberg, as well as Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. Confirmed voice actors for the series are Maya Rudolph, Jason Mantzoukas, Jordan Peele, Fred Armisen, Jenny Slate, and Jessi Klein. Ten episodes will premiere in 2017.

Below are Netflix’s official descriptions for its five new kids’ shows:

Skylanders Academy, Activision Blizzard Studios – Fall 2016

Animated action-comedy Skylanders Academy follows the heroic adventures of the Skylanders team, a ragtag group of heroes with unique elemental skills who travel the vast Skylands universe, protecting it from evil-doers. They achieve victory by setting aside their egos, learning to trust one another and fighting as one to maintain harmony and balance in the land. Led by showrunner Eric Rogers (Futurama), the series features the voices of Justin Long (Ask Me Anything) as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical, Phineas and Ferb) as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) as Eruptor and Norm MacDonald (Saturday Night Live) as Glumshanks. Additional voice talent includes Susan Sarandon, Daniel Wu, Parker Posey, James Hetfield, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Diamantopoulos and Harland Williams, among others. Available to Netflix members worldwide, starting with 13 episodes this fall and continuing with a second season in late 2017.

Llama Llama, Genius Brands – 2017

Based on the award-winning and best selling book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney, Llama Llama is an animated show about childhood moments and adventures, as well as the special connections between lead character Llama, his parents, grandparents and best friends. Set to premiere in 2017 to Netflix members worldwide, Llama Llama tells heart-warming tales of life in a safe, friendly town seen through the eyes of Llama as he interacts with the amazing world around him. The series is led by an all-star team of creators including Oscar-winning director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King), director Saul Blinkoff (Doc McStuffins), showrunner Joe Purdy, legendary art director Ruben Aquino (Frozen, The Lion King, Aladdin, Mulan) and Emmy-award winning producers Jane Startz and Andy Heyward.

Spirit Riding Free, DreamWorks Animation – 2017

Inspired by the Oscar-nominated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Spirit Riding Free follows the heartfelt journey of a wild mustang who could not be tamed. A whole new generation will experience all the daring adventures when Spirit meets a girl named Lucky whose courage matches his own. Together they push limits, harness the power of friendship and discover what it means to be free. With their best friends by their side, they explore a world filled with endless rides, magnificent horses and never-ending fun. The series will premiere exclusively on Netflix in 2017 in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the Nordics, Benelux and France.

Spy Kids: Mission Critical, The Weinstein Company – 2018

From producer Bob Weinstein comes an animated adventure comedy series based on the beloved family film franchise, Spy Kids. The show follows brother and sister team Juni and Carmen Cortez as they attend Spy Kids Academy, a top secret spy school for kid agents. When a new counter-spy agency threatens the safety of the world, it will be up to junior spies Juni and Carmen to train and lead a team of fellow Spy Kids cadets against the forces of S.W.A.M.P. (Sinister Wrongdoers Against Mankind’s Preservation) and their diabolical leader, Golden Brain. The Mission Critical team may not be ready, but they are the only ones to call when grown-up spies can’t do the job! Featuring FM DeMarco of Netflix original series Dragons: Race to the Edge as head writer, Spy Kids: Mission Critical will be available to Netflix members worldwide in 2018.

Hilda, Silvergate – 2018

A production of Silvergate Media, the makers of Octonauts, in collaboration with Mercury Filmworks, Hilda transforms the Eisner-Award nominated graphic novels by Luke Pearson and published by Nobrow into an incredible animated adventure for older kids. The series follows the journey of a fearless blue-haired girl as she travels from her home in a vast magical wilderness full of elves and giants to the bustling city of Trolberg, where she makes new friends and discovers mysterious creatures who are stranger –and sometimes more dangerous– than she ever expected. Twelve episodes available to Netflix members worldwide beginning in 2018.

In addition to the new series, Netflix also commissioned a second season of Kong: King of the Apes from 41 Entertainment and Avi Arad Productions. The new season will debut in 2017.

  • Marc Hendry

    Glad to see more involvement from Netflix, but I doubt it’s possible to do Spirit style horses with TV animation techniques. I guess it’ll work similarly to Lion Guard

  • Patrice Jean-Baptiste

    Looks interesting, but the way they worded the Spirit show, I feel like it’s gonna be like in the style of the Secret of Nimh 2 movie. Granted I know why but still.

    • Marc Hendry

      the feel of the movie is a little cheesy now, but the animation and painting is unreal. Seems like an odd choice for adaptation

      • It’s one of those that probably could’ve gone under the radar as a live-action movie any other time rather than animated.

    • Netko

      Yeah that Spirit summary sounds like someone didn’t watch the original movie at all, they just heard it stars a horse and kids love horses, make a horse series.

    • Wasn’t really a talking animal film simply because they didn’t talk to begin with.

  • Tt

    HYPED FOR HILDA!! It’s giving me Over the Garden Wall vibe.

  • Cameron Ward

    Hilda seems the most promising since it looks like 2D animation and when it comes to 2D animation from Europe, you are in good hands for the most part.

    Kind of odd they would turn one of DreamWorks weakest good films into a TV series. Seems like the silent charm of the film will get lost in translation

    • AmidAmidi

      For the record, it’s not a European animated series. The animation studio is Mercury Filmworks, the Canadian studio that animates a lot of Disney’s TV series.

      • Cameron Ward

        ah okay. my bad! ^_^ Still, it seems the most interesting.

  • It would be interesting if DreamWorks came up with an entirely new idea for an animated series…it would show us how innovative they can be, and just might have us intrigued instead of doing something familiar they have already done as films.

    • Metlow Rovenstein

      Well, to be fair, most of what I’ve seen of their Netflix shows seems to indicate that they have been at least decent.

      • Ah, cool cool. That’s good to hear that the shows have been decent (though I didn’t enjoy Mr. Peabody & Sherman show – it could’ve been better).

        As decent as they are, it would still be nice to see them step away from something already done, and do something completely new. Something that would catch us off guard and might intrigue us to stick around longer.

  • Paul M

    Still waiting for the next great action adventure cartoon, Netflix. Voltron was so-so. Why not take a gamble on an original story?

    • Callum

      They have Kulipari: An Army of Frogs in September.

  • Jacob D Johnston

    While I am pretty excited to hear that Dreamworks is FINALLY doing something else with Spirit, my all time favorite movie, I’m a little concerned about the premise as described here. The thing I love most about the 2002 animated movie is that even though humans are involved in the story and the animals don’t actually speak, Spirit and the other horses take center stage and the human characters take a back seat to them. It was supposed to be all about Spirit, after all. From the description given in this article, it sounds like they’re making a human child the main focal point of the series and that Spirit is essentially her horse and I don’t like the sound of that at all. Spirit has already had a few brushes with captivity and domestication and he finally got his freedom and his family back and now he’s suddenly thrown back in with humans?! What about Rain and Esperanza and the rest of the herd? Have Rain and Spirit had a foal yet? This is what I want to know and what I want to see, not Spirit being ridden around, by some kid! It sounds like it’ll be more like HorseLand, or My Friend Flicka, than like Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and I don’t want that.

    • Well, it is a series, and I’m sure they’re doing this simply because of the different medium the character is being thrown into. It was much easier to do it as a movie before, and it probably should’ve stayed a movie.

    • C. Rose

      I definitely feel you on the skepticism, especially in regards to the human girl character. At best, hopefully the relationship between Spirit and this new human character will be handled in the same way that his relationship with Little Creek was. Here’s hoping the show-runners know what they’re doing with the property.

  • ea

    Western animation can only be for adults if it’s a comedy.

    • David

      Unfortunately that’s the current state of affairs in American animation.

    • Chloe

      whats wrong with that though? I love adult animations. Not into it?

  • ThatGuy

    Let me guess. They’ll al be produced in Canada like all the animation tv jobs are now. (Seriouslly, go to toonboom.com and look at theuir job list and tell me if there are ANY animation jobs outside Canada, well, that you wouldnt have to travel to EUROPE for…

  • ThatGuy

    i might be misinterpreting your post but this seems rude. People can like what they like.

  • ThatGuy

    Will we have to buy a new SKYLANDERS action figure to unlock each episode? Skylanders was the worst thing to ever happen to Spyro the dragon by the way….

  • ThatGuy

    I just want more Bojack Horseman.

    • KobaltOrange

      You only need to wait three weeks for that…

  • Platynews

    I hope the spy kids series confirms that uncle Machete and Machete Kills are the same character xD
    Also, I wonder if Bowser and DK might make cameos on skylanders next to Spyro and Crash

  • Mister Twister

    Skylanders? PLEASE STOP IT! Spirit TV show? For what purposes.

  • Nina

    I’m surprised that DW is doing a “Spirit” series, given that it’s been nearly 15 years since the film came out, and even then, it’s not a very well-known DW flick. The premise gives me pause…”new generation” doesn’t sit right with me. I have a bad feeling they’re going to take the film out of its original 19th/early 20th c. setting. It would have been nice if the show could focus on Native American characters, but given that the protagonist’s name is, ahem…Lucky (?…), I doubt it will.

    Why not do an “Over the Hedge” cartoon? The characters lend themselves way more to a cartoon series than the characters from “Spirit”.

  • David

    Not sure this is a step forward for animation, just the natural process for any media to include animation. However, it’s not that it’s important to have animation but what kind of animation. From the announced projects, just sounds like the run of the mill kiddie stuff. No Bakshi, no Petrov, no Jankovics. Heck, I hope Mamoru Oshii is offered a mature and non-sci-fi project that could equate his classics (Angel’s Egg, Ghost In The Shell).

    • Metlow Rovenstein

      You know, I wouldn’t mind a Netflix original anime with Oshii as showrunner. Maybe an anime adaptation of Swamp Thing (DC Comics)?
      To get on topic, I honestly wouldn’t mind an atypical Netflix original animated TV show/movie – as long as it’s well done.

  • jawsnnn

    It is not a bad movie by any means. I like it a lot

  • jawsnnn

    Spirit riding free – directed by Tina Belcher