Netflix has done some revolutionary work with its original content library, but the premium online platform has not made a huge mark with its comedy series. Out of all of Netflix’s originals, the tepidly-received fourth season of Arrested Development was the only true sitcom, until now. Netflix has offered up BoJack Horseman, an animated comedy that stars Will Arnett as the vain equine star of a fictional 90s sitcom.
BoJack takes place in a world where humans frequently intermingle with talking animals. Of the show’s five main characters, Arnett’s BoJack, Paul F. Tomkins‘ Mr. Peanutbutter, and Amy Sedaris‘ Princess Carolyn are animals (a horse, a dog, and a cat, respectively) while Alison Brie‘s Diane and Aaron Paul‘s Todd are humans. This anthropomorphic setup is often played for punny laughs (take, for example, a Navy SEAL character who is actually a seal), but the heart of BoJack lies in its satire of actors who attempt to retain the spotlight long past their primes.
This premise has divided critics almost evenly down the middle. Willa Paskin of Slate loves it, as does Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times. USA Today’s entertainment blog has noted the series’ 90s-style website as a particularly brilliant touch. Meanwhile, on the other side, BoJack‘s detractors find it to be ultimately forgettable. Despite a novel home on Netflix, these naysayers believe the series does little to elevate itself above similar late-night Adult Swim fare and other sitcoms that have already satirized over-the-hill celebrities.
Even with these mixed reviews, BoJack represents an important step for its home platform. In the period since Netflix released its last sitcom, Amazon and Hulu have both offered well-received comedies to their viewers, and Yahoo isn’t far behind. With that in mind, BoJack establishes a wider range for Netflix and allows it to keep pace with its upstart competitors.
You’re welcome to go ahead and formulate your own opinion of BoJack; all 12 of its episodes are available on Netflix.