Amidst a looming acquisition deal by ITV, The Weinstein Company’s TV division looks to branch out beyond live-action scripted and reality fare.
According to Deadline, TWC TV will make an aggressive push into family-themed animated programming, and will do so by delving into some very familiar properties.
The first three shows that will lead this push include an animated series based on the live-action Spy Kids franchise, a remake of the 80’s animated property David the Gnome (simply titled Gnomes), and a CG/live-action hybrid series that serves as a reboot (ironically) of the classic ReBoot TV series.
Spy Kids Animated TV Series
Created and developed by Michael Hefferon and Sean Jara and based on Robert Rodriguez’s movies (no word on whether or not he will be involved), the animated Spy Kids TV series focuses on Juni and Carmen (the main characters of the first three films) and puts them in an ‘alternate universe’ situation. In this ‘alternate universe’ they must attend the ‘Spy Kids Academy,’ a pseudo-boarding school that doubles as something of a Hogwarts for the kids of international spies. There, they are grouped in with several teams of the best and brightest as they play out rivalries and develop skills that will help them go up against CORTEX, an evil organization that “hypnotized a legion of kids who’ve become hooked on a video game called Mind Corrupt.” The villains are described as being “as colorful” as the protagonists, and the series itself (now in development for a 26-episode first season) is said to contain “as much comedy as wish fulfillment.”
Gnomes is based on the 1985 Spanish animated television series, which itself is based on a children’s book titled The Secret Life of Gnomes by author Wil Huygen and illustrator Rien Poortvliet. Miramax Films (once run by Bob and Harvey Weinstein under the guise of Disney) teamed up with Canadian studio CINAR to dub the original series for the US. Both that series (and presumably the remake as well) center around the exploits of David, a 200-year-old doctor who lives with his family of gnomes. They are seven times stronger than humans and their sense of smell is 19 times stronger than normal humans. As such, they travel the world and battle against a race of evil trolls.
The current understanding about this particular property is that the Weinstein brothers didn’t snatch the rights back up just to do this show. They now have complete and total control over all the rights relating to the Gnomes property. This basically means that if the Weinstein brothers ever wanted to launch a new film franchise based on the property, they could. But, for now, the focus is solely on the TV series.
ReBoot: The Guardian Code
As stated before, ReBoot: The Guardian Code will be a CG/live-action hybrid remake of the original CG-animated series that ran from 1994 to 2001. The original series is notable, as it was the first fully-animated, half-hour CG TV show of its kind.
Whereas the original series took place completely inside the world of a computer system known by its inhabitants as Mainframe (chosen deliberately to justify the blocky models and rough animation), the new series will follow “a quartet of teens who enter cyberspace and become heroic figures who defend humanity from computer viruses, malware and other bad concoctions.” The series is also headed up by Michael Hefferon (who happens to be the current president at Rainmaker Entertainment).
The Weinstein Company will fully finance all three series. Both Spy Kids and ReBoot: The Generation Code will be developed in partnership with Rainmaker Entertainment (its 2013 film Escape from Planet Earth was distributed by TWC), while Gnomes will be made in association with the Spanish animation studio and former rights holder BRB. Harvey Weinstein will oversee the development of Gnomes, while Bob Weinstein will likewise oversee development for Spy Kids and ReBoot: The Guardian Code.
There’s currently no word on where TWC TV plans to take its shows, but the current mindset seems to be that these shows will get shopped around to various network and cable channels, in addition to online streaming services such as Netflix.
What are your thoughts on this news? Are you looking forward to any of these shows?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes