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.