Netflix Original Kulipari An Army of Frogs Show Stills_(2) Netflix Original Kulipari An Army of Frogs Show Stills_(2)
Internet Television

Netflix Continues Animation Expansion With Four New Series

"Puffin Rock." (Click to enlarge.)
“Puffin Rock.” (Click to enlarge.)

The streaming entertainment titan announced a quartet of animated television shows, as it dives deeper into the original programming game to compete with lifers like Disney, Nick, and more. It’s a relatively diverse bunch of series, variously inspired by the seas of Ireland and the warlike competition of pro football, as well as better-known characters like Tarzan and Jane and circus performers like Cirque du Soleil. Here’s more information about the shows:

Puffin Rock
Debuting September 1, this preschool environmental fable arrives from Random House Childrens, Dog Ears and Cartoon Saloon — whose Oscar-nominated masterpiece Song of the Sea was arguably one of the best films of 2014, in any format.

Although it aired in the UK on Nick Jr., Netflix has sewed up the Puffin Rock premiere for America, Canada, Latin America, France and Germany. Taking place on an ethereal island off the coast of Cartoon Saloon’s native Ireland, its puffling protagonists explore the nation’s wondrous natural environs in animated form through 13 episodes aimed at 2-5 year olds, with standard age-appropriate messaging about learning, friendship, and family relationships.

"Tarzan and Jane"

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and Jane
Netflix’s other series all debut in 2016, including this interesting twist on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ legendarily loin-clothed hero. Executive produced by Avi Arad, who brought Marvel’s heroic roster alive for a series of uneven straight-to-DVD animated features before Disney arrived with bags of cash, Tarzan and Jane transports the class-crossed teenage lovers back across the pond to London for eight episodes, where they clumsily but assuredly solve crimes of many kinds, most notably “environmental injustice,” according to Netflix’s press release. The plot thickens.

Netflix Original Kulipari An Army of Frogs Show Stills_(2)

Kulipari: An Army of Frogs
Speaking of environmental injustice, this 13-episode animated adaptation of pro footballer Trevor Pryce’s book trilogy is anchored by a perpetual war of existential primacy between the poisonous scorpions, spiders, and the frogs that used to scare the living daylights out of its 6′-5″, 290lb. author. Pryce’s first book in the trilogy was titled Army of Frogs. so you can likely bet that if its animated iteration, premiering worldwide exclusively on Netflix, plays its heart out, The Rainbow Serpent probably won’t be far behind.

Netflix Original Luna Petunia - horizontal

Cirque du Soleil Luna Petunia
Arriving in fall 2016 from Cirque du Soleil and Saban Brands, home of Digimon and the Power Rangers, Luna Petunia differs from Puffin Rock in that it already has a franchise plan in place for everything from toys to a live tour. It too relies on a sense of wonder to transmit to the preschool set, alternately taking place in our own world as well as a “dreamland where [Luna] learns how to make the impossible possible.” Season one debuts worldwide with 11 episodes exclusively on Netflix, which along with Kulipari gives the streaming giant two properties of its own to gamble with as it goes up against more established studios with longer histories.

Netflix also announced exclusive American first-runs for three series. They include the awesomely named The Day My Butt Went Psycho, from Canada’s Nelvana Studios, which began streaming this month. Norway’s preschool series Elias is also now exclusive streaming on Netflix in the U.S. as well as Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. And then there is Russia’s intriguing Masha and the Bear — about a sweet but mischievous girl who causes a retired circus bear, and plenty of other forest animals, lots of trouble — which arrives in August.

It’s a somewhat interesting mix, one that perhaps may help Netflix climb the animated television ranks currently overlorded by names we all know well — especially if their franchises become hits. Whether or not they do, Netflix is making a serious bid as both a producer and distributor of cartoon fare. The company is expected to spend $450 million on original programming in 2015, up from $243 million last year.

  • Adzl33t

    I certainly hoped that Netflix start making more great animated series after Bojack Horseman, but also great family shows, though the dreadful Richie Rich show and Dreamworks series are so bland and safe, that I dont understand why they even bother making them after great shows like Orange is The New Black

    I hope that Netflix are not gonna be like Miramax, where they produce and distribute great original content but don’t understand family entertainment at all, and just do generic lazy schlock

  • Ravlic

    Puffin Rooock! While it’s obviously outside my age range, I’m always happy to see Cartoon Saloon do good stuff. It looks like a nice, calm cartoon for kids, unlike most neurotic ones today and I love how it resembles Song of the Sea.

  • Paul M

    Still waiting for Legend of Korra to debut on Netflix in Canada. Speaking of which, I was hoping Studio Mir would have inked a deal with Netflix for a new action series, having already partnered with Dreamworks and all. Tarzan and Jane looks promising, though.

  • Lukey

    Kulipari is going to rock!

  • Pedro Nakama

    I like the look of Puffin Rock.

  • Who Knows…

    I wish for once that they’d leave Tarzan alone and stop with the adjustments to make him “work” for today’s audiences. Tarzan works best as a grown man. Oh well, this will be another show that’ll hopefully be forgotten until the next version comes along. If they have to do a kid’s show they could use Korak, Tarzan’s son. By the way, I’m sure there are some animators working on that show who are wishing they could do the real Tarzan.

  • Callum

    I am looking forward to Puffin Rock and An Army of Frogs.

  • Mister Twister

    Not sure if this is proper to mention, but… Sym-Biotic Titan could easily be greenlit for a 2nd season for Netflix.

  • Joel

    I’m really looking forward to “Puffin Rock”! As for the rest, I’m not particularly excited, but I suppose I won’t know for certain ’til I try ’em.