Netflix this morning announced it’s preparing to expand its lineup of original and exclusive programs aimed at children with an order of five new kids’ shows, including remakes of well-loved classics like Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse. While children today may not be familiar with these titles themselves, their Gen X and millennials parents likely are – and they’re Netflix’s paying subscribers.
In the new 26-episode reboot of Inspector Gadget, the 80s kid cartoon which later became a feature film starting Matthew Broderick in the late 90s, the gadget-toting detective gets a modern-day makeover, with updated, high-tech gadgets. Meanwhile, Danger Mouse’s claim to fame is that it scored well-known British actor and comedian, Stephen Fry, to perform as Colonel K.
Four of the five new kids’ shows are animated series, including also a show called Bottersnikes & Gumbles, based on books by the same name, and SUPER 4, a CGI series inspired by PLAYMOBIL toys. A live action series about a toy shop called Some Assembly Required rounds out the new lineup.
Inspector Gadget will be the first of the new shows to debut on the service, arriving next month. SUPER 4 arrives in April, and Some Assembly Required comes this summer. The remaining shows will arrive in 2016.
Netflix has been steadily expanding its children’s TV lineup, which today includes content from partners like PBS, Disney Channel, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Mattel, Hasbro, Lego and Scholastic. A few years back, the company also signed an industry-first deal with the Walt Disney Company to make its service the pay TV home to all its live action and animated films beginning in 2016.
Netflix has a deal with DreamWorks, too, which sees the studio’s feature films brought to Netflix in the Pay TV window. And the studio is creating 300 hours of original shows for Netflix, with titles that are often spin-offs from its movie franchises, including Turbo F.A.S.T., All Hail King Julien, Puss In Boots, Dragons and DinoTrux, for example, as well as Richie Rich.
The kids cartoon reboots announced today are not the first series to have found a second life on Netflix – the company has also announced reboots of kids’ programming like Magic School Bus and Care Bears. And on the adults’ side of its business, Netflix is known for bringing back critically acclaimed shows, like when it brought back Arrested Development or when it added on a final season to The Killing, after the show’s network, AMC, cut the cord.
Netflix has for a long time, also made the kids’ experience on its service, a priority, with features like the “Just for Kids” user interface, and user profiles which allow parents to configure settings that restrict content based on age range and more. This has made it a desirable option for families, and especially among those cutting the cord with cable TV which is where a lot of children’s content is today found.
But Netflix isn’t the only streaming competitor to realize the value in better catering to the young demographic. Hulu, also, has its own “Kids” section on its service which features content like Jim Henson’s Doozers as well as several top Nickelodeon titles.
Meanwhile, Amazon this week also announced its plans to expand its kids’ content lineup, greenlighting second seasons of original kids’ shows including Tumble Leaf, Creative Galaxy, Annedroids and Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, which the company says have been some of its top-streamed children’s titles.