On February 1st, Netflix launched the David Fincher/Beau Willimon political drama “House of Cards,” and with it a continuing conversation about the future of television, binge-watching, cord-cutting and episodic structure. But “House of Cards,” like Netflix’s other upcoming series “Derek” (from Ricky Gervais), “Hemlock Grove” (from Eli Roth), “Arrested Development” and “Orange is the New Black” (from “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan), is very much a show for grown-ups, both in content and in form.
Netflix’s newest original series is not for grown-ups. Made in partnership with DreamWorks Animation, “Turbo: F.A.S.T.” (Fast Action Stunt Team) will be Netflix’s first kiddie series, and one that’s based on DreamWorks’ upcoming summer 2013 3D movie “Turbo.”
Scheduled to debut on Netflix this December, in the U.S. and all other Netflix territories, “Turbo: F.A.S.T.” will be an episodic sequel to the film, picking up where it leaves off. The film is about a snail who’s given super-speed thanks to a freak accident and (sigh) ends up competing in the Indianapolis 500. Ryan Reynolds is voicing Turbo the snail, with Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzmán, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Kurtwood Smith, Snoop Lion and Samuel L. Jackson joining him in the voice cast.
“Families love Netflix, so creating an original series for kids was a natural for us. And we’re doing it in a big way by adapting ‘Turbo,’ this year’s DreamWorks Animation summer tentpole movie,” explained Netflix’s Ted Sarandos in the announcement. “DreamWorks Animation has a long track record of creating incredibly successful characters and stories that delight people of all ages. We’re thrilled to add Turbo the series as well as all new DreamWorks Animation films, starting with their 2013 slate, to Netflix.” DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg added “Netflix boasts one of the largest and fastest-growing audiences in kids television. They pioneered a new model for TV dramas with House of Cards, and now together, we’re doing the same thing with kids’ programming. DreamWorks is thrilled to be part of the television revolution.”
DreamWorks Animation has also made a deal with Netflix to stream its new features, starting this year.
Will this delightful children’s entertainment/calculated corporate partnership pay off? It seems, at least at first glance, to be a smart idea — Netflix has made itself an easy place for a parent to find a lot of commercial-free kid-appropriate programming in one location, so the addition of original content attached to a familiar franchise should go down easily.