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Television

First a Sparrow, Now…

More news from Animation World Network, this time featuring a well-known celebrity. “Iervolino Entertainment has debuted the first images from its new animated series Puffins, revealing the character ‘Johnny Puff,’ who is being voiced by star Johnny Depp. The mobile-first, short-form project was announced in June and is now in production… Puffins follows the adventures of a group of cute little birds, who work for the wily walrus Otto. The main characters of the series are five puffins: Johnny Puff, Tic and Tac, Didi and Pie. They live with a tribe of puffins in the vast and technological realm of Tana. The stories in the series will range from the bold missions of Otto, to multiple situations related to the small, fun problems of everyday life, addressing the issues of social impact in a childish way.” Now let’s see if this one winds up available in North America. [Thanks for reading — and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, from ye humble ed-otter.]

image c. 2020 Iervolino Entertainment

Mumfie’s The Word

News from Animation World Network that Zodiac Kids (part of Banijay Studios in California) will be producing a new Mumfie animated series for markets in Europe. “Mumfie is a preschool comedy series based on Magic Adventures of Mumfie by Britt Allcroft (creator of Thomas & Friends and the film Thomas & The Magic Railroad). Told with heart and humor, the brand-new series features the optimistic young elephant Mumfie, who along with his best friends, Pinky the flying pig and Jelly Bean the color-changing jellyfish, are the helpful heroes of this whimsical series. As our trio embark on their daily adventures you’ll get to meet their eclectic bunch of animal friends: A cheeky crocodile who thinks he’s a king and his mischievous cat confidant; there’s a hermit crab mayor and a giraffe who runs a hotel on an iceberg; you’ll see a jolly yellow whale and a skateboarding zebra, as well as some pirate wolves and a Greek chorus of funny frogs. In this world, nothing is quite what it seems and no matter what challenges arise, no flop, failure or fiasco is unfixable for Mumfie and his friends.” As is typical for such properties, there’s no word on if this new series will be distributed in North America, but with the Internet anything is possible.

image c. 2020 Zodiac Kids

Welcome to New York, Boy

We found out about this through Twitter, then we checked it out over at Animation Magazine. “Netflix announces a new 2D animated movie musical Arlo the Alligator Boy and series I ❤️️Arlo from creator Ryan Crego (Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh, Puss in Boots, Shrek Forever After). The animated movie musical will premiere globally in 2021. The animation is being handled by Titmouse (Big Mouth, The Midnight Gospel). Upon learning that he is from New York City, a wide-eyed boy, who is half human and half alligator, decides to leave his sheltered life in the swamp and search for his long lost father. The movie, Arlo the Alligator Boy, will launch Arlo’s journey as he meets a group of misfits who quickly become his new family. Once Arlo’s adventure lands him in New York City, the series, I ❤️️Arlo, will kick off as he and his newfound crew set up shop in an abandoned seaside neighborhood and help bring it back to life.” Lots more details in the article too. Check out that splash picture!

image c. 2020 Titmouse

A Triple-Shot of Furries

Mo Willems is an award-winning author and playwright — who recently signed a deal for not one but three new animated projects, all of them quite a bit furry. We got this from Animation World Network: “HBO Max and Cartoon Network have just announced greenlighting three new projects with New York Times best-selling children’s book author, illustrator, and playwright Mo Willems: A hilarious animated series Unlimited Squirrels!; a CGI animated rock special Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Special; and a pilot order for a live-action immersive series, Cat the Cat’s Show the Show Show with YOU the YOU! The projects are designed to encourage kids (and former kids) to feel comfortable in their own skin. The three new orders join the recent live-action special, Mo Willems and The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!, and a collection of Weston Woods Studios animated films adapted from his award-winning books, Mo Willems Storytime Shorts!, to further expand the innovative content slate that is part of the streamer’s multi-year deal with Willems. The new projects will also be executive produced by Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures.” The article goes into a lot more detail about each of the new shows, as well as Willem’s previous works. [Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!]

images c. 2020 by Mo Willems

Oh Blimey, Oh Goody, Back in your Neighborhood-y

This has been flying around the Internet all day: Following the re-boot of Animaniacs, it’s time for a reboot of Tiny Toons. Here’s what Animation Scoop had to say: “HBO Max and Cartoon Network are returning to Acme Acres with a series order for Tiny Toons Looniversity, an all-new half hour animated comedy series featuring characters from the Emmy Award-Winning Tiny Toon Adventures from Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and Amblin Television.  Steven Spielberg will return as executive producer…  Erin Gibson (Throwing Shade podcast) will serve as showrunner and co-executive producer. Nate Cash (Adventure Time) is also on board as co-executive producer. Babs, Buster Bunny and the rest of the gang follow their comedic ambitions all the way to Acme Looniversity, the esteemed institution of higher hijinx learning, where young dreamers become professional toons. Here they form long-lasting friendships with one another and perfect their cartoony craft while studying under the greatest cartoon characters in history, the Looney Tunes.” No word yet on a planned release date, but with more and more animation coming down the pipe these days, it shouldn’t be long.

image c. 2020 Warner Brothers Animation

To the Bat Garage, Robin!

Okay… Folks, we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: We cannot make this stuff up. If we could, we’d be making a whole lot more money. This came across our Twitter feed, which lead us to an article from Variety: “Warner Bros. Animation has started production on an animated preschool series called Batwheels, which will star some of the most iconic vehicles from across the DC universe, fighting crime in Gotham City alongside the usual squad of Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and more. The show’s main crime-fighting crew is led by Bam (The Batmobile), and also includes Bibi (The Batgirl Cycle), Red (The Redbird), Jett (The Batwing), and Buff (The Bat Truck). Together, the sentient super-powered vehicles must navigate the growing pains of being a newly-formed super team, as well as the growing pains that come with just being a kid.” Batman meets Cars, coming to Cartoon Network and HBO Max. Did we mention that the series is aimed at preschoolers?

image c. 2020 Warner Bros. Animation

One Handy Wise Panda

Animation World Network recently had an article about some new animated series coming to Apple TV+ later this year — and at least one of them is something that furry fans might notice. “Based on the Scholastic book series Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth, Stillwater centers on siblings Karl, Addy, and Michael, who are typical kids with typical kid challenges – meaning that sometimes even the smallest things can feel insurmountable. Fortunately for these three, they have Stillwater, a wise panda, as their next-door neighbor. Through his example, stories and gentle humor, Stillwater gives the children a deeper understanding of their feelings as well as tools that help them face their own day-to-day challenges. Stillwater also brings newfound fun and adventure for the three, opening their eyes to the quiet wonders of the world around them, and guiding them to their place within it.” Stillwater is set to premiere on December 4th.

image c. 2020 Gaumont and Scholastic

Wild Animals… in a Mall

So we found out about Wild Life, a new animated TV series coming to SYFY’s TZGZ lineup on September 26th. Animation Scoop put it like this: “It’s an adult, post-apocalyptic, talking animal, animated comedy… or as it’s been called by the creative team, “It’s like if The Walking Dead smoked a bunch of Adventure Time and binge-watched Friends.”” Wow, that’s a lot to take in. AS has an interview with series creator Adam Davies and his mates.

image c. 2020 SYFY

Cold Reception

Arctic Dogs (2019) didn’t exactly blow up the box office or impress the critics much. (Ye EdOtter is still trying to figure out how the planned action-adventure film Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad morphed into this silly comedy…) Apparently though, Arctic Dogs has been very popular on Netflix — enough so that a spin-off series of animated shorts called Arctic Friends has been created. According to Animation Magazine: “Arctic Friends follows the exciting adventures of Swifty, the arctic fox who has finally achieved his dream job: Be the best delivery dog at Arctic Blast Delivery Service. With the help of his best friend PB the polar bear, Jade the red fox, and the ABDS team, this crew is ready to deliver at any cost! Constantly thwarted by the nefarious mastermind Otto Van Walrus and his mischievous puffins, Swifty must outsmart these villains to ensure that all packages are delivered to their rightful recipients.” The series recently premiered on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.

image c. 2020 Iervolino Entertainment