Skylanders, Spy Kids, Kong Season 2: Netflix unveils new original kids’ slate
James R | On 17, Jun 2016
Not content with just announcing further details of Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters, Netflix is continuing to place an emphasis on its original kids’ content with five new animated series.
“At Netflix, we invest in stories that our members will love and cherish,” says Andy Yeatman, Director of Global Kids Content for Netflix. “This passion for discovering great storytelling extends to what we offer our youngest members, and we’re excited today to announce a lineup of original shows that will bring a number of well-known and beloved characters to kids and families around the globe.”
Those well-known characters, as you’d expect, include a project produced by DreamWorks Animation: Spirit Riding Free, inspired by the wild mustang of Oscar-nominated Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Animated adventure comedy Spy Kids: Mission Critical, meanwhile, is based on the The Weinstein Company’s Spy Kids movie franchise.
But while feature film spin-offs remain Netflix’s child-friendly bread and butter, the streaming giant is also turning to video games for inspiration, with the adapting of Skylanders into a TV show. That, promisingly, is led by Futurama’s Eric Roberts, with Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks one of many impressive star names attached.
Books and graphic novels are also on the cards, from Genius Brands’ Llama Llama, which brings to life the tender tales of childhood told in the best-selling preschool books by Anna Dewdney, to Silvergate’s Hilda, which is based on Luke Pearson’s acclaimed graphic novels.
The new series will be joined by the return of a familiar face: Kong: King of the Apes has been renewed for a second season, set to premiere in 2017.
Here are the full details of each show:
Skylanders Academy, Activision Blizzard Studios – Autumn 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. Starting with 13 episodes this autumn 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.
Kong: King of the Apes, Season 2, 41 Entertainment & Avi Arad Prods. – 2017
Picking from Season 1’s cliffhanger finale, Season 2 will reveal the fate of the group, along with a prehistoric underworld where dinosaurs roam the land, pterosaurs soar and giant insects still exist. Will Kong, Lukas and their loyal team manage to save the Earth from Botila’s plans to replace nature with technology? Netflix members worldwide will find out in 2017, with the launch of the series’ second season.
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. Netflix members worldwide will be able to join Hilda on her thrills and escapades beginning in 2018.