Netflix Greenlights ‘Stranger Things’ Animated Series Production

Netflix has reportedly approved development of an animated series based on the “Stranger Things” storyline from executive producer Eric Robles and the series’ creators the Duffer Bros., among others.

The cult favorite sci-fi series is set to end following the fifth season, the endcap to the streamer’s most-viewed English language show that began in 2016 from the Duffer Bros.

“We’ve always dreamed of an animated ‘Stranger Things’ in the vein of the Saturday morning cartoons that we grew up loving, and to see this dream realized has been absolutely thrilling,” the Duffer Bros. wrote in a statement. “We couldn’t be more blown away by what Eric and his team have come up with — the scripts and artwork are incredible, and we can’t wait to share more with you! The adventure continues.”

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“Stranger Things 4” has been generated more than 1.35 billion hours of streaming viewing in the program’s first 28 days — just ahead of No. 2 all-time series, “Wednesday,” with 1.23 billion hours.

Monsters at Work

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Animated;
Not rated.
Voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Ben Feldman, Mindy Kaling, Henry Winkler, Lucas Neff, Alanna Ubach, Bonnie Hunt, Curtis Armstrong, Jennifer Tilly, Bob Peterson, Stephen Stanton, John Ratzenberger.

The “Monsters at Work” animated series streaming on Disney+ is a delightful continuation of the franchise that started with Pixar’s 2001 film Monsters, Inc.

The film focused on a world of monsters and a power plant that harnessed the screams of children to power the city. Two of the monsters, Mike and Sulley (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman) eventually learn that the laughter of children is 10 times more powerful than screams.

“Monsters at Work” serves as a sequel to the film, showing how the power plant transitioned from scream power to laugh power. It also cleverly weaves together bits of world-building not only from the original film, but also its 2013 prequel, Monsters University, which focused on Mike and Sulley’s time in college.

While the show does continue the adventures of Mike and Sulley, the focus is primarily on a different department of the power plant, the Monsters Incorporated Facilities Team (MIFT), which is tasked with the maintenance of the equipment used to collect the power.

The main character is Tyler Tuskmon (voiced by Ben Feldman), who just graduated from Monsters U. and was recruited to join the Monsters, Inc. scare team just before the events of the first film. On his first day he learns of the transition to laugh power, but being a scarer and not very funny, he is assigned to the MIFT team.

Meanwhile, Mike takes charge of recruiting a new team of “jokesters” to replace the scarers who are now obsolete, and begins teaching comedy classes, which Tyler attends as he yearns to move out of the MIFT basement.

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The 10-episode first season details Tyler’s adventures with his fellow MIFT employees, which occasionally intersect with Mike and Sulley’s attempts to keep the plant afloat using laugh power. The show actually takes place during the epilogue of the first film, so it could be considered a bit of a sidequel as well.

Episodes two through nine also include a brief “Mike’s Comedy Class” vignette that gives the show a chance for more gags.

The series ties in well with established “Monsters” lore while making its own worthwhile contributions to the canon, which should entertain kids and make any fan of the franchise happy.

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New ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Animated Series Announced for Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios July 23 announced a new animated series called “Star Trek: Prodigy” to debut in 2021. The title and logo were revealed during an online Comic-Con@Home panel.

The CG-animated series will air exclusively on Nickelodeon and follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning and salvation.

The series is being developed by Emmy winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”) and overseen for Nickelodeon by Ramsey Naito, EVP of animation production and development at Nickelodeon.

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The series will be from CBS’s Eye Animation Productions, CBS Television Studios’ new animation arm; production company Secret Hideout, which oversees the “Trek” franchise; and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will serve as executive producers alongside Kevin and Dan Hageman. Aaron Baiers will serve as a co-executive producer.

“Star Trek: Prodigy” is being billed as the first “Trek” series aimed at younger audiences for Nickelodeon. It will be the third animated “Star Trek” series, following the 1973-74 FIlmation series featuring the cast of the original series, and “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” which arrives on the CBS All Access Streaming Service Aug. 6.

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Current CBS All Access live-action series include “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard.” Series in development for the streaming service include the Capt. Pike spinoff “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” as well as a series based on Section 31, the enigmatic Starfleet intelligence service.

Warner Archive Releasing ‘Legion of Super Heroes’ Animated Series on Blu-ray

Warner Archive Collection on July 14 will release Legion of Super Heroes: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc.

In season one, Legionnaires Bouncing Boy (Michael Cornacchia), Brainiac 5 (Adam Wylie), Saturn Girl (Kari Wahlgren) and Lightning Lad (Andy Milder) travel back in time to convince an awkward teen named Clark Kent (Yuri Lowenthal) to join the Legion and battle their archnemeses, the Fatal Five. Season two presents Superman and the Legion with an even greater challenge: Kell-El, the Superman of the 41st century.

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The Blu-ray will include all 26 episodes from the 2006-08 animated series, plus the featurette “We Are Legion” and an exclusive audio commentary on the series’ two-part finale, “Dark Victory,” with producer James Tucker, director Brandon Vietti and Wahlgren.

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The first season was previously released in three DVD volumes. Warner Archive will also be releasing a DVD of the second season.

Kids’ Series ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten’ With Arnold Schwarzenegger Coming to Amazon Prime, Alibaba’s Youku

Genius Brands’ children’s animated series “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, will premiere in spring 2021 on Amazon Prime.

Alibaba Group will also launch the series in China on its video streaming platform for kids Youku.

“With Amazon Prime in the U.S. and Alibaba in China, we are very excited to launch on these two premiere platforms in the two largest territories in the world,” said Genius Brands’ chairman and CEO Andy Heyward in a statement.

“Years ago, Stan Lee and I spoke of such a project, and I’m excited to finally bring great storytelling to kids around the world, which will also promote lessons of health, exercise, fitness and anti-bullying,” said Schwarzenegger in a statement.

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“Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten” is an action-adventure comedy series targeting kids 4-7 and is co-produced by Alibaba Group, Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment and Schwarzenegger’s Oak Productions. In addition to his likeness, Schwarzenegger lends his voice as the lead character in the series. Co-creator of Deadpool, Fabian Nicieza, who has sold more than 100 million comics worldwide, is scripting the series.

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In “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” five years ago, a tremendous superhero battle blanketed the small town of Greenvale in cosmic radiation. Shortly thereafter, a previously ordinary, diverse group of boys and girls are showing the most unusual superpowers. Their superpowers, however, rather than coming from Kryptonite, or a radioactive spider, come from items in their kindergarten classroom — white glue, wooden blocks, crayons, silly putty, etc. A kindergarten teacher Arnold Armstrong (Schwarzenegger) arrives in Greenvale to train these super-kids. He knows what it is like to control superpowers, because he used to be Captain Courage, the hero whose final battle resulted in the previously unknown powers of the kids. Their new instructor teaches the kids how to become the heroes of tomorrow.

“This is a series of action, comedy, and fun, based on the genius and imagination of the great creative icon, Stan Lee, and with the important lessons of health, exercise, nutrition, and anti-bullying,” according to the Genius press release. “Just as he appeared as a cameo in all of the Marvel movies, Stan himself will be an animated cameo in each episode, with a digitized recreation of his voice as well.”

“We are gathering steam with our latest tentpole series, ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,’ and are thrilled to have two of the top digital streaming partners worldwide, Amazon and Alibaba, on board as launch partners, reaching a potential global audience of hundreds of millions, as well as the talents of Arnold and the genius that was Stan,” added Heyward. “In an ever-changing children’s media landscape and current viewing patterns of children around the globe, our strategy is to offer this dynamic series where kids predominantly go to find their entertainment now. We know we have a hit on our hands and cannot wait to share it with kids everywhere.”

First Season of ‘Harley Quinn’ Due on DVD June 2

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Harley Quinn: The Complete First Season on DVD June 2.

The DVD will include all 13 episodes from the first season of the animated series that debuted on the DC Universe streaming service. The show is currently in its second season on DC Universe.

Based on the character from Batman’s rogues gallery, the show stars Kaley Cuoco (“The Big Bang Theory) as the voice of Harley Quinn, who has broken up with the Joker and vows to become the Queenpin of Gotham City with the help of her fellow villain Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) and a crew of minor criminal characters. Her ultimate goal is a seat at the biggest table in villainy — the Legion of the Doom.

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The voice cast also includes Jason Alexander as Sy Borgman, Tony Hale as Doctor Psycho and Felix Faust, J.B. Smoove as Frank the Plant, Alan Tudyk as Joker, Ron Funches as King Shark, Wanda Sykes as Queen of Fables, Christopher Meloni as Commissioner Gordon, Jacob Tremblay as Robin, and Diedrich Bader as Batman.

Bader previously voiced the Caped Crusader on “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”

Netflix to Bow ‘Angry Birds’ Series Worldwide in 2021

The new animated series “Angry Birds: Summer Madness,” based on the world of the “Angry Birds” made famous by the game and movie series, will debut globally on Netflix starting in 2021.

The 40, 11-minute episode series will be “taking its cue from the humor and tone of The Angry Birds Movie franchise while revealing a fresh new look,” according to a Netflix release.

“Angry Birds: Summer Madness” sees much-loved birds Red, Bomb and Chuck, as well as a cast of new feathered friends, as tween birds at summer camp under the questionable guidance of their counselor Mighty Eagle. Explosive antics, improbable pranks and crazy summertime adventures see the birds pushing boundaries and breaking all the rules while fending off the brash and obnoxious pigs on the other side of the lake.

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This is the latest collaboration in a long-term partnership between CAKE and Rovio Entertainment, which includes international distribution rights to Rovio’s expanding library of non-dialogue shorts.

“Angry Birds are about to smash the small screen and we are thrilled to be making the journey with Netflix as our global partner,” Ed Galton, CCO and managing director of CAKE, said in a statement.

“Angry Birds animated content plays a key role in our long-term franchise strategy,” Ville Heijari, CMO of Rovio, said in a statement. “After more than a decade in hit games, blockbuster movies and licensed products, this is the Angry Birds’ first foray into a long-form series. We’re delighted to continue our partnership with CAKE and can’t wait to unveil the world of ‘Angry Birds: Summer Madness’ to viewers on Netflix.”

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“Angry Birds have been a true phenomenon for kids around the world and we’re excited to bring them home to the nest at Netflix where they will be angrier and bird-ier than ever,” Curtis Lelash, Netflix director of original animated series, said in a statement.

MovieSpree TVOD Service Bows Sales on Animated Kids’ Series Including ‘Gigantosaurus’

MovieSpree, Mill Creek Entertainment’s transactional VOD service, is offering sales on several animated kids’ series to keep the little ones occupied while they stay at home.

On March 25, MovieSpree launched the complete first season of the animated kids’ series “Gigantosaurus,” on sale for $22.49 — 25% off of the regular price. In the series, young dinosaurs Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu are growing up in the Cretaceous period where life is always an adventure — new volcanoes are popping up all the time, the long-necked brachiosauruses and enormous triceratops roam free, meteor showers light up the night sky, and the big, fierce Gigantosaurus reigns over it all.

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“Liberty’s Kids”

Also on sale are several complete animated series at $2.99, including “Liberty’s Kids” (including all 40 episodes of the edutainment series), “Street Sharks,” “C.O.P.S.,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century,” “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” and “Horseland.”

Season 11 of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Swimming to DVD March 31

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Eleventh Season will arrive on DVD March 31 from Paramount Home Entertainment and Nickelodeon Home Entertainment.

In the season, viewers enter DoodleBob’s alternate dimension, take a trip to Bubble Buddy’s hometown, take a trip to the moon, solve the curious case of the missing clarinet and hear Gary speak for the very first time. Also, they see SpongeBob keep Fred’s leg out of harm’s way, move Bubble Bass out of his mom’s basement, and stop SpongeGar from wreaking havoc all over town. The season includes new characters, such as an imaginary hamster, a sea bunny, the Krusty Krab’s peculiar night crew and Sandy’s nutty nieces.

The 3-DVD set features every episode from Season 11, plus Plankton’s Color Nullifier.

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Disney+ Revives ‘The Proud Family’ Animated Series

SVOD service Disney+ has ordered the revival of the animated series “The Proud Family” which premiered 18 years ago on the Disney Channel.

The series “is still beloved for its characters, stories and multilayered humor and for its messages about inclusion and cultural diversity in a smart, modern way,” according to a Disney press release.

The new animated family sitcom “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” is currently in production at Disney Television Animation with creator/executive producer Bruce W. Smith and executive producer Ralph Farquhar, who led the original series, at the helm, reuniting them with Calvin Brown Jr. who is co-executive producer and story editor.

All previous seasons of “The Proud Family” are currently available on Disney+.

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“In our minds, the show never really went away, as we still had tons of stories left to tell,” Smith and Farquhar said in a joint statement. “It’s the perfect time to bring back this show, and we can’t wait to take fans, old and new alike, on this journey with us.”

Picking up the story of its central character Penny Proud, the new series will also include her family: parents Oscar and Trudy, twin siblings BeBe and CeCe, and her grandmother Suga Mama (and Puff!). Also returning are Penny’s crew Dijonay Jones, LaCienega Boulevardez and Zoey Howzer, among others.

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Reprising their voice roles are Kyla Pratt as Penny Proud, Tommy Davidson as Oscar Proud, Paula Jai Parker as Trudy Proud, Jo Marie Payton as Suga Mama, Karen Malina White as Dijonay Jones, Soleil Moon Frye as Zoey Howzer and Alisa Reyes as LaCienega Boulevardez. Cedric the Entertainer will also return as Uncle Bobby Proud.

“The show’s humor and relatable stories are as relevant with audiences today as ever,” Agnes Chu, SVP of content at Disney+, said in a statement. “Our audiences have loved rediscovering their favorite episodes of ‘The Proud Family,’ and we’re excited Bruce, Ralph, Calvin, and the returning cast are creating new stories for their new home on Disney+.”

“The genius of the original ‘Proud Family’ series was that, under the guise of a family comedy, it provided a brilliant social commentary on our life and times,” Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, said in a statement. “With this new series, Bruce and Ralph will once again challenge everyone to think differently about the world we share.”