SHOWRUNNER Q&A: A NEW SPIRIT RIDES TO NETFLIX
DreamWorks Animation Television on May 5 will debut the first six eps of Spirit Riding Free, a Netflix series based on film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron that features a new Spirit, the son of Spirit and Rain from the 2002 movie. Showrunner Aury Wallington shares some insights into the next generation of storytelling for the next generation of audience.
It’s a girl
The main character is a 12-year-old girl named Lucky Prescott. Her father is the son of a railroad baron and her mom was a trick rider with a Mexican traveling circus. Lucky’s mom died when she was a baby so she grew up in the big city in this upper crusty blueblood family. Her dad has to oversee the railroad expansion in California and he brings Lucky along and when Lucky arrives she gets a chance to connect with this world of freedom and horses and daring and adventure that her mom embodied and that she hasn’t had access to.
Keeping it real
The show has so many moments of grand adventure like the film, but we are also focusing the story around g the friendship Lucky finds with two other girls who live in the town. These girls are best friends, and I wanted to make sure the friendship, and the girls themselves are as real as they can be. They don’t have superpowers, they aren’t princesses, they aren’t superhuman in any way. They are real kids and they make mistakes and they get in trouble. But at the same time, they are essentially nice girls. I dislike it when the humor in a show comes from characters being mean or at other people’s expense, and I think we have a lot of that on TV.
Historic setting, modern vibe
The show is set in 1890 but we don’t ever name the specific year. We wanted to keep it relatable. It’s a very contemporary-feeling show in this historical setting. We didn’t want the periodness of it to make it inaccessible. The girls’ attitudes are very contemporary, and the fact that they are girls in no way limits their thinking and possibilities the way it actually would have happened in that time period.
DEVELOPMENT & PRODUCTION
and AwesomenessTV are getting their freak on once again. Teen horror series Freakish will return for a second season, with 10 half-hour episodes. Freakish was created by Beth Szymkowski, who will return as exec producer alongside Shelley Zimmerman, Chris Grismer, Kay Reindl and Erin Maher. Freakish is produced by AwesomenessTV. Season 1 is currently streaming on Hulu.
In other news from the company’s will be creating news channel Awesomeness News, available across all AwesomenessTV platforms, to dive into issues of importance to Gen Z including the environment and social justice. Awesomeness also will debut its next feature film, You Get Me, starring Bella Thorne and Halston Sage, on June 16 on Netflix. Aside from AwesomenessTV, the company also runs DreamWorksTV for the younger set, and Awestruck, aimed at millennial moms.
will air the first six original Star Wars movies tomorrow (May 4), the date known globally as Star Wars Day. The network will show the Lucasfilm movies back-to-back in series order, with limited commercial interruptions over more than 16 hours.
New episodes of Cartoon Network series Steven Universe return with a five-night event beginning Monday, May 8 at 7p with an ep titled “Lion 4: Alternate Ending.” Fans can also find all five episodes on the Cartoon Network app on Friday, May 5. Also on Cartoon, new eps of Ben 10 begin airing Monday, May 1 at 5p, with premieres on the CN app the Friday before each RV debut. New eps of Teen Titans Go! (beginning May 5), The Powerpuff Girls (beginning May 7) and Ninjago (beginning May 15) also are on tap.
original series Dino Dana will debut on Prime Video on Friday, May 26. The follow-up to the 2015 Emmy-winning series Dino Dan: Trek’s Adventures, Dino Dana combines live-action with CGI animation, features 11 new prehistoric creatures and, for the first time, two sisters. Series was created by J.J. Johnson (Dino Dan, Annedroids), and exec-produced by Sinking Ship partners Johnson, Blair Powers and Christin Simms with animation executive produced by Matthew J.R. Bishop.
Puppet comedians Mario and Fafa, stars of Bento Box Entertainment’s digital series Glove and Boots, are back for a seventh season, premiering this week on YouTube. Last year, views for the channel grew by 17 percent, according to the company; this year Mario and Fafa will continue creating long-form video blog posts and add new short videos of fan favorite segments, a monthly live-streamed show and a new YouTube channel – Glove and Boots Gaming.
AROUND THE INDUSTRY
Dressed as his character Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp last week made a surprise appearance at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. The marketing stunt was timed exactly one month before the US premiere of the fifth installment in the Pirates franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales.
London-based Media I.M. Inc, appointed Evolution to represent the North American licensing, merchandising and promotions rights for its Belarus-originated animated show Sunny Bunnies. Disney Junior and Disney Channel both licensed the series and are airing it in the States.
AROUND THE GLOBE
Giver, TVOKids’ live-action children’s series about kids helping build playgrounds in their local Ontario communities, is set for a fourth season on TVOKids. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, Giver 150 takes playground construction to the capital city Ottawa, to build the biggest playground in the country.