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Television

Celebrate Diversity — All Around You

Right on time! A couple of years ago we told you about a new animated TV series headed to the Disney Channel in 2023 — and now here we are. Animation World Network has this news: “Disney-Branded Television announced that Kiff, their nutty new animated buddy-comedy about optimistic squirrel Kiff and her chill bunny bestie Barry, will premiere Friday, March 10, on Disney Channel and Wednesday, March 15, on Disney+. Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is the New Black) stars in the titular role of Kiff, whose thirst for life takes her on countless adventures through their city alongside Barry, voiced by H. Michael Croner (Craig of the Creek). From creators and executive producers Lucy Heavens and Nic Smal, the series follows Kiff and Barry as they navigate school, relationships and their often-eccentric community in Table Town, a world where animals and magical oddballs tackle day-to-day life together.” We’ll see it all this spring!

image c. 2023 The Disney Channel

Bear With Him

This is a bit complex, so we’ll let Animation World Network explain it: “Nickelodeon has released a handful of first look images for Bossy Bear, the new animated preschool series from husband-and-wife team David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim (UglyDolls, Tea Time Cats), based on the Korean / U.S. pop culture blend book series by Horvath. The series follows the misadventures of unlikely besties Bossy Bear (an overly enthusiastic extrovert) and Turtle (a thoughtful introvert) in their Koreatown-inspired city of Pleasantburg.” Look for the show on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. in 2023. [And have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!]

image c. 2022 Nickelodeon

Multi-Species Messaging

Somehow we missed The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse when it was an illustrated book sensation three years ago. But now it’s been made into a new 2D-animated film, directed by the book’s author Charlie Mackesy with the help of animator Peter Baynton (The Tiger Who Came To Tea). “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse features traditional hand-drawn animation to tell a heartwarming tale of the unlikely friendship between the title characters as they journey in search of the boy’s home. Yet, as simple as the story is, the film, like the book, contains deep and profound insights into the things that matter most in life, offering a sorely needed message of hope in a troubled time.” Animation World Network has a detailed article about the film, which premiered on Apple TV+ at Christmas. Interesting to note: Idris Elba, Chief Bogo himself, voices the Fox.

image c. 2022 Apple Original Films

They Do Anything. Really.

We stumbled across an ad for Lee’s Detective Agency, a new anime mini-series that’s a spinoff of the popular Arknights smart-phone game and anime series. Set in the same multi-species dystopian world, if follows the exploits of “…an odd jobs business in guise of a private investigation firm based in [the city of] Lungmen that is run by the namesake Mr. Lee and his personal, close-knit ‘family’.” We’re not sure how it works either, but it’s coming soon (December 23rd) on Crunchyroll, and they’ve got the trailer up for you to see.

image c. 2022 Yostar Pictures

The Internet Is For… Cats

Recently got this from Animation World Network: “Disney Branded Television and Emmy Award-winning Baobab Studios have begun development, with award-winning screenwriter Pamela Ribon, on Intercats, an animated sitcom set in a cat workplace… Baobab’s co-founder and chief creative officer, Eric Darnell (Baba Yaga, Madagascar, Antz), is the creator and executive producer on Intercats…  Jony Chandra (Nimona, Spies in Disguise) will direct… Told through the big reflective eyes of cats, Intercats is a four-quadrant animated workplace comedy about the cats who produce the hysterical cat videos that go viral on the Internet. It features a ragtag team of cats aspiring to get what all cats want: their independence. But, to do so, they must first learn to navigate their own internal relationships and build upon their success as the premier studio for viral cat videos.” Interestingly, Pamela Ribon is also the writer of My Boyfriend Is A Bear, which we’ve talked about previously here.

image c. 2022 YouTube

Cute and Courageous

And another new furry animated series for young folk, coming next year to Disney Junior. “Disney Junior released a trailer for its new 3DCG animated series, SuperKitties, premiering this coming January. The action-packed show follows four fierce and furry superhero kittens — Ginny, Sparks, Buddy, and Bitsy — on a mission to make Kittydale a more caring and ‘pawesome’ place. The heroic kitties defeat villains while imparting important messages of kindness, empathy, friendship, resilience, and problem-solving.” Animation World Network has more.

image c. 2022 Disney Junior

Celebrate the Ducks

Just in time for holiday wish lists, Disney and Dark Horse Comics bring us the Deluxe Edition of The Art of DuckTales, edited by Ken Plume. “Scrooge McDuck and nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie are back in the 2017 remake of the classic series from Disney Television Animation, DuckTales! Now, find out about the making of DuckTales and read stories from the developers and cast covering every episode from all three seasons! The deluxe edition of the Art of DuckTales gives you all the content of the standard edition along with a slipcase that houses a gold-gilded version the book, an exclusive DuckTales Guidebook that contains expanded versions of the interviews with the crew and cast, and a finely-crafted replica of Scrooge’s Number One Dime!” Start wishing.

image c. 2022 Dark Horse Comics

Strength From Within — And Puppets

Animation World Network let us know about Slumberkins, a new TV series that recently started streaming on Apple TV+. “Based on the plushie and book series line of the same name from Thrive co-founders and CEOs Kelly Oriard and Callie Christensen, AppleTV+’s Slumberkins series features characters Bigfoot, Unicorn, Sloth, Yak, and Fox as they explore a world of feelings in this puppet/2D animation show that empowers the emotional wellness of children through supportive storytelling. Slumberkins brings to life characters from Oriard’s and Christensen’s books who all experience a diverse range of emotional explorations, discovering that awareness of their own feelings and the ability to sort through those emotions lead to blossoming relationships and unwavering self-confidence. This was the main concept behind the original Slumberkins plushies, each with its own book series that includes interactive questions to support emotional growth.” And with puppets created by The Jim Henson Company no less.

image c. 2022 Apple TV+

African Adventures

More from the latest Animation Magazine: Zizi and Hannibal is a South African animated series that’s been picked up for distribution by Monster Entertainment from Ireland. “Zizi is an adventurous and curious five-year-old girl. Her best friend, Hannibal, is a bumbling, fun-loving Hippo. Together they explore the beautiful places of Africa and meet all the wonderful animals that live there. Hannibal loves singing songs, rhymes and having fun and Zizi is always keen to learn more about the animals they meet.” Now we’ll see where it gets shown!

image c. 2022 Pixcomm