Took ’em a while, but Dreamworks have finally brought us more adventures with Spirit, star of the 2002 2D animated feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Animation Scoop has a recent article introducing us to Spirit Riding Free, a new DreamworksTV animated series coming to NetFlix on May 5th. The story and characters are considerably different from the animated feature this time around: “When city-turned-country girl Lucky meets a wild mustang named Spirit, she feels an instant connection to the untamable horse. A courageous and natural-born leader, Lucky navigates this new world with her two new best friends, Pru and Abigail by her side. The trio embark on thrilling adventures, find genuine friendship, and discover what it means to be free!” No sign of Matt Damon to be found. Anyway, visit the article to see a trailer for the series.
image c. 2017 DreamworksTV
From out of nowhere department, largely! Things are still ramping up for this summer’s release of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. According to our friends over at Animation Scoop, “Marvel and Disney XD announced today a 12-episode series of Rocket & Groot animated shorts. The shorts follow Rocket and Groot (from the Guardians Of The Galaxy) as they try to figure out how to get enough credits to buy a new ship after their old one breaks down. A compilation of all the shorts will premiere on Disney XD at 7:00am ET/PT on April 10th. Rocket is voiced by Trevor Devall (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Johnny Test) and Groot is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, The Cleveland Show). Featuring animation by Oscar-nominated Passion Pictures, the shorts are directed by Arnaud Delord and written by Chris ‘Doc’ Wyatt and Kevin Burke.” The Animation Scoop article has a preview.
Image c. 2017 Marvel/Disney XD
From an article at Animation World Network we’ve learned that Radical Sheep Productions have hooked up with Teletoon in a deal to broadcast their new animated TV series The Bagel and Becky Show in Canada. “The animated series is based on the book Bagel’s Lucky Hat by Dave Cooper (creator of PigGoatBananaCricket). The Bagel and Becky Show is a bugged-out, offbeat comedy for kids 6-11 that follows mismatched siblings Bagel voiced by Kevin McDonald (Kids in the Hall, Phineas and Ferb), and his sister Becky voiced by Nikki Payne (Last Comic Standing, Satisfaction) as they explore their neighborhood of Awkward Hills and stumble into whack-loads of outlandish situations.” No word yet on when it might be distributed to other parts of North America. Also no word as to why the little doggie has a cat for a sister, but we should probably be used to that kind of thing by now…
image c. 2016 Radical Sheep Productions
Recently we learned of a new Chinese/American co-production for television and the ‘nets called Valt the Wonder Deer. It’s produced by DreamEast Pictures, and late last year they inked a deal with Jetpack Distribution to bring the series out to the world. Valt is based on the Chinese myth of the nine-colored deer. According to an article at Animation magazine’s web site, “Valt the Wonder Deer follows Valt and his friends as they encounter funny moments, scary trials and plenty of adventure on their journey to obtain the power of the Five Magic Elements and rescue his trapped parents, the Deer King and Queen, from the comically evil overlords of the Land of Metal. The show uses the group’s journey and experiences to demonstrate themes of love, courage, friendship and responsibility to its young viewers.” Some of the American crew of Valt have previously worked on animation as diverse as Beavis & Butt-Head, Skylanders, Ben 10, Kung Fu Panda, and Dragons: Riders of Berk. Furry.Today has more, including the trailer up on Vimeo. [Again, thanks to Changa Lion for this!]
image c. 2017 DreamEast Pictures
Netflix has a new stop-motion animated series hitting the digital byways soon. Here’s what the creators say: “From American Greetings Entertainment and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Buddy Thunderstruck is an action-comedy, stop-motion extravaganza that follows the adventures of a semi-truck racing dog named Buddy and his albino ferret mechanic. It all goes down in race-obsessed Greasepit, a place chock full of larger-than-life characters and nitro-burning, gear-slamming, tire-squealing, fish-tailing good times.” In case you didn’t know, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios are the house that animates Robot Chicken, and American Greetings Entertainment are the original creators of the Care Bears — as the trailer says, Yes Really. [Thanks to Changa Lion from Furry.Today for pointing this one out. Visit there to see new trailer!]
image c. 2017 Stoopid Buddy Stoodios
We missed this one earlier this year, but it’s worth mentioning: For a few years now Disney has been distributing Animasia Studio’s 2D animated series Chuck Chicken on their channels in Southeast Asia. Now Animation Magazine has announced that Animasia have teamed up with Zero One Animation in China to create Chuck Chicken — The Movie. Animasia’s official web site lays it out pretty clear: “Chuck Chicken takes place on an island called Rocky Perch, a land filled with chaos, mayhem and birds…… lots and lots of birds. Welcome to Golden Egg Securities, the number one security service on Rocky Perch. Chuck, who runs the company with his two friends, Flick and Wing. They provide Kung Fu style security to the citizens of Rocky Perch and their valuables, as they travel across the island. Chuck also inherited a very special talisman in the shape of a golden egg, an object that bestows amazing powers on whomever possesses it, and turns Chuck into Kung Fu Chicken. Unfortunately for Chuck, the talisman doesn’t come with any instructions, so he doesn’t know how to properly control his new abilities.” Got all that? Given the interest that many Chinese animation studios have shown in creating product intended for American markets, there’s a good chance we may have an English version of Chuck Chicken waiting in the wings.
image c. 2016 Animasia Studios
We can kind of see how the pitch for this series probably went… “Okay, kids love dinosaurs, and kids love superheroes. How about… a show that has both??” That’s the basic idea behind Supersaurus 7, a new CGI animated series from Misery Bear creator Chris Hayward (helped along by designer and illustrator Henry Coate). According to Animation World Network, the show is “…set on a reimagined planet Earth, on the prehistoric sprawling continent of Pangea, long before human existence. Supersaurus 7 follows the comedic adventures of a group of young dinosaurs who chance upon a mysterious blue lava flowing from the very core of the Earth, whose energy transforms them into superhero dinosaurs. Each is armed with a super power that amplifies their dinosaur traits, and when they work together they can be an indomitable force, that is if they can learn to use their new powers correctly! Fending off rampaging T-Rex’s, rescuing distressed dinos from erupting volcanoes, and zapping incoming asteroids, these hot-headed, heroic and technologically advanced young dinosaurs strive to save the day. They also have to confront the rise of a new threat, the mammals, led by a despotic Gerbil with short rodent syndrome.” Like many of the shows we’ve discussed, it’s looking for distribution now.
image c. 2016 Technicolor
And on to Italy for Pio Rocks, a new show inspired by a popular YouTube series called Pulchino Pio. According to the review from Animation Magazine, “Pio Rocks! – The Series revolves around Pio’s life at school at Highnote High, a school like any other, except every class is about music! With plenty of challenges, betrayals, friendships forged forever and ex-friends you swear you’ll never speak to again… Pio Rocks! is a comedy about friendship, growing up, achieving goals and acceptance. Being a kid, in other words.” Produced by Planeta Junior, the series is set to hit the air in Europe this January.
image c. 2016 Planeta Junior
Now back to France for Paprika, an animated series about a rambunctious pair of cats. “Olivia and Stan are about as close as a brother and sister can get because…they’re twins! They share pretty much everything and though they’re totally different, they balance out to perfection! Stan is a brave little daredevil who puts faith in his instinct and his motorized wheelchair. Olivia is creative, efficient and brainy. But when it comes to having a ton of fun they’re both world champions!” Paprika is unusual among TV shows for kids in that it features a lead character who is wheelchair-bound. Currently the show has been airing around the Mediterranean, but Xilam Animation is looking to break it out internationally.
image c. 2016 Xilam Animation