Netflix is upping the ante on its family-friendly fare with a just-announced slate of six animated TV series and films. The forthcoming programming will feature the voices of Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, and pop chanteuse Alessia Cara, as well as a new series from Craig McCracken — the creator of cult-favorite cartoon The Powerpuff Girls.
Netflix has two animated movies in the works, reports Variety, including My Father’s Dragon (directed by Oscar nominee Nora Twomey), and The Willoughbys — an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 2008 novel featuring the voices of Gervais, Rudolph, and Cara. My Father’s Dragon (premiering in 2021) tells the story of a young runaway searching for a captive dragon on a magical island, while The Willoughbys (2020) follows four children who must fend for themselves after being abandoned by their selfish parents.
On TV, Netflix is readying three shows: McCracken’s Kid Cosmic (2020), about a young boy who struggles to harness his newfound powers after he is transformed into a superhero; Trash Truck (2020), about a six-year-old and his unlikely friendship with a garbage truck; and Go! Go! Cory Carson (2019), which is based on the VTech Electronics’ Go! Go! Smart Wheels toy line.
Lastly, Netflix is readying a limited series titled Maya And The Three, which creator Jorge Gutierrez (Book Of Life) likened to “a Mexican Lord Of The Rings, but hilarious,” according to Variety — and with a female protagonist. Maya will bow in 2021.
Netflix’s kids and family programming efforts are being overseen by Melissa Cobb, an industry veteran who was poached by the streaming giant from Dreamworks Animation last September. According to Variety, Cobb hosted a meeting at the company’s headquarters in January for top creators in the kids and family entertainment space, putting the call out for pitches. Variety notes that the push arrives as Disney will remove all of its content from Netflix next year to launch its own streaming service — though Cobb said that Netflix’s increase in family-friendly originals was unrelated.
“The specific impact of what they’re doing isn’t really driving our content decisions,” she told Variety.