After reporting it as a rumor in August of last year, we finally have official confirmation: DreamWorks Animation Television is indeed developing a new Mr. Peabody & Sherman TV series for Netflix.
According to Variety (which first broke the story last Thursday), the show will be (appropriately) titled The New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show and will be the second DWA/Netflix series (after Dragons: Race to the Edge) to premiere with 13 half-hour episodes.
When will it premiere? Very soon, by the looks of it. The New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show will premiere on October 9.
Based on the ’60s short segments created by TV animation pioneer Jay Ward, The New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show follows the same basic structure of the shorts and the 2014 film adaptation: Mr. Peabody, a super smart dog, and his kid companion Sherman, use the WABAC machine to venture through time and interact with historical figures. This time around, there’s a twist: The New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show will feature the duo as hosts of a late-night comedy show, broadcast from their Manhattan apartment in front of a live audience. As such, historical figures like Mozart, Napoleon, and Edgar Allen Poe are featured as guests.
Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock alum Chris Parnell will take over from Ty Burrell as the voice of Mr. Peabody, while child actor Max Charles will reprise his role from the film as Sherman.
The series follows in the footsteps of Turbo FAST in that it follows up a feature film that didn’t do quite well at the box office, but was able to generate enough interest in the property (the film has a 79% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) to encourage the studio to give it another spin.
When speaking to Variety, executive producer Dave Smith noted that, while the show is aimed at DWA’s general target demo of kids 8-12, it was written with the intention of appealing to audiences of all ages (especially those with a fond memory of the original shorts). Smith elaborated on his adoration for Jay Ward’s work:
“The love I have for Jay Ward and his creations, and his comedic tone, have been an inspiration for me ever since I was a kid,” he told Variety.
If the promo image (which can be seen above) is any indication, then the show looks to take its Jay Ward influence one step further. Instead of being animated in CG, the show will be 2D-animated, utilizing a hand-drawn look that will echo the original shorts. DreamWorks Animation Television produced the series in collaboration with Vancouver’s DHX Media and production work for each episode took at least three and a half months. Assuming the show was already in production back when it existed solely as a rumor, this would explain why its now far enough along that it already has a launch date.
Elements from the 2014 film will also be present in the show. But the biggest surprise of all is that the show will actually share some form of continuity with the events of the film itself. According to Smith, the main reason why the duo launched a TV variety show is because they were publicly outed as time travelers at the end of the movie, and thus decided to capitalize on it. “We loved the straight-up lampooning of historical figures,” Smith said. “We mixed it up a lot, while retaining the comedy of the Jay Ward show.”
Not counting the shows that are still in development (The Croods, Cow Boy, etc.), this will be the seventh DWA/Netflix show to bow on the streaming service thus far (after Dinotrux). It is also the second DWA/Netflix show not to be CG-animated (the first being Turbo FAST), in addition to being the second DWA/Netflix show to be based on a DreamWorks Classics property (after VeggieTales in the House). If you really want to get technical, it is also the second DWA/Netflix show based on a property that didn’t originate from DreamWorks Animation (again, after VeggieTales in the House).
In a recent earnings call, the studio noted that its current programming deal with Netflix expires in 2017, but both parties seem more than willing to extend this partnership if possible.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to The New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes