Our regular round-up of animated series that have been announced for development, production, or distribution.
Hulu: M.O.D.O.K., Hit Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler Show, Howard the Duck
Four new animated series based on Marvel characters are in the works at Hulu. The shows will collectively lead up to a special event bringing them all together titled The Offenders. All of these projects will target mature audiences.
Jordan Blum (American Dad!) and comedian/actor Patton Oswalt are writing M.O.D.O.K., about an evil mastermind with limited body mass and big plans.
Hit Monkey, with Josh Gordon and Will Speck as writers, follows a Japanese snow monkey transformed into a vengeful assassin in Tokyo’s criminal underworld.
Set in Los Angeles, Tigra & Dazzler Show, follows a pair of “woke” female heroes pushing to stand out in a city full talented people. Comedian Chelsea Handler and Erica Rivinoja (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) have been tasked with writing the project.
Lastly, there is Howard the Duck, centered on the publisher’s notorious anthropomorphic bird trapped in the human world. Director Kevin Smith (Clerks) and Dave Willis (creator, Aqua Teen Hunger Force) are writing this dark comedy and will also executive produce.
Comic writer Jeph Loeb (also a producer on Smallville and Lost) will act as executive producer on all four projects, as well as the crossover finale. No writers have been announced yet for the crossover finale, in which all of these characters will "form a team no one asked for" to save the world. Marvel Television has not revealed how many episodes will be produced for each series or when the shows will premiere. Marvel is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, and Hulu is a joint venture between Disney, 21st Century Fox, Comcast-NBCUniversal, and AT&T-Warnermedia.
Netflix: Transformers: War For Cybertron
A new Transformers series titled War for Cybertron is set to debut on Netflix in 2020. The streaming giant and Hasbro have tasked Austin, Texas-based Rooster Teeth to produce the show, while Tokyo-based Polygon Pictures will serve as the animation studio.
Netflix says the series will have “a new animation look and style.” The series is an origin story that will explore the expansive universe of Cybertron, the planet where the Transformers are from.
Headed by showrunner FJ DeSanto (Transformers: Titans Return, Transformers: Power of the Primes), the show’s writing team will include several Transformers veterans familiar with the animated franchise: George Krstic (Megas XLR, Transformers: Combiner Wars), Gavin Hignight (Transformers: Cyberverse), and Brandon Easton (Agent Carter, Transformers: Rescue Bots).
Pipeline Studios/Toonbox Entertainment: Nut Jobs
Two Canadian production companies — Hamilton, Ontario’s Pipeline Studios and Toronto’s Toonbox Entertainment — are jointly developing a slate of animated content following a multi-year co-development deal they signed last year.
Their first venture as partners is the animated series Nut Jobs, based on Toonbox’s theatrical franchise The Nut Job. The new 2d series for 6-11-year-olds will bank on the characters made popular by the two feature-length installments, which together grossed over $120 million at the international box-office.
Nickelodeon’s former executive director in charge of production, Grant Moran has been tapped as showrunner for the tv series.
No broadcast sales have been announced yet for the production.
Cartoon Network: Power Players
Independent studio Zag America (Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir) has sold broadcast rights to its action-comedy animated series Power Players to Cartoon Network. The project was developed by Zag Entertainment’s founder Jeremy Zag, written by the Man of Action collective (Ben 10, Big Hero 6), and co-produced by On Entertainment. Zag has also partnered with Playmates Toys for a toy line based on characters from the new show.
The makers are using an original cgi-hybrid animation technique, which they claim is “the first time this rendering technique has been used in a series format.” Power Players follows Axel, a boy with the ability to transform into a living action figure. As a toy-size hero, he recruits other toys and experiences the world around him from a new perspective.
The series is expected to debut later this year.
Nickelodeon International: Dorg Van Dango
Dorg Van Dango, the Canada-Ireland co-production from DHX Media and Cartoon Saloon, in association with Family Channel (Canada) and RTE (Ireland), has been picked up by Nickelodeon International for many territories around the world: U.K., Australia, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Spain, Central Eastern Europe, Poland, Israel, Latin America, Asia (excluding China), India, the Middle East and North Africa. In Canada the 52 x 11′ series will be broadcast on the Family Channel. No U.S. deal has been announced at this time.
Based on an original idea by Fabian Erlinghäuser (animation director Song of the Sea, The Breadwinner) and Nora Twomey (director, The Breadwinner), Dorg Van Dango is a 6-11-targeted comedy following a regular kid named Dorg who lives in the mundane town of Normill. His pedestrian existence changes when he encounters a team of misfits known as The Magicals, comprised of an edgy unicorn, an ancient witch, a curious alien, and a spooky ghost, all of whom have just escaped from the infamous Area 51. Dorg helps them hide amongst Normill’s citizenry by disguising them as teenagers and hiding them in the basement in the local shopping mall.
Cartoon Saloon (currently nominated for an Oscar for their short film Late Afternoon) is in charge of the writing, designs, storyboards, and post-production; as well as distribution in Ireland and the U.K., while DHX Media will deal with voice records, character and background creation, animation, and distribution in rest of the world.
Nick Murphy heads up the writing team, while Erlinghäuser and DHX Media’s Matt Ferguson head up the creative teams. The series is currently being produced by DHX Media’s Vancouver studio and is expected to roll out internationally in 2020.