The Second Life for Franchises on Netflix
Ron Seifried | On 14, Mar 2014
The last couple of years witnessed a transformation in home viewer’s habits in an unprecedented scope. The change began with the public’s embrace of time-shift viewing, more commonly known as DVR recording, itself a descendent of video tape recording. With the availability of more original programming online, streaming services like Netflix has seen a tremendous growth in popularity and acceptance. The shift is in full swing where viewers are abandoning their cable-TV subscriptions for online-only content, even migrating away from movie theaters for the comfort of their own home and 50”+ screens.
Producers and studio executives recognize this trend and are now looking toward expanding established franchises onto Netflix, developing rich content and a seamlessly unlimited number of narrative storytelling in the “golden age of television.” Netflix wants original programming and is prepared to pay handsomely for it, so it’s only natural for franchises to explore other avenues of distribution. Here is a list of franchise projects streaming or in development at Netflix.
The DreamWorks Animation Projects
DreamWorks knows the value of animation franchises and understand the popularity the streaming site is for kids launching a separate user interface a few years ago, so it’s no surprise three new projects have been announced. Last summer, Netflix and DreamWorks announced a partnership that will produce over 300 hours of original content, Netflix biggest production deal to date.
First up is “Turbo FAST” available on April 4, a spinoff series based on 2013’s “Turbo” about racing snails. Five episodes premiered last year on December 25 on a limited run due to production limitations, but the new series will have 26 episodes in total, making this Netflix’s first original series for kids. The feature film “Turbo” will be available via streaming this spring as well.
Another spinoff from the hugely successful “Madagascar” franchise, “King Julien” is based on the energetic lemur from the films. “Puss in Boots”, the swashbuckling cat from the “Shrek” series and its own film, will also premiere later this year. No word if Antonio Banderas will return to voice the loveable cat, but my bet is on a new actor stepping in.
The Marvel Universe
Last fall, The Walt Disney Co announced a deal to bring four live-action adventure series leading to a mini-series event. Starting in 2015, “Daredevil” will once again be giving the live-action treatment in a 13-episode series, followed by “Jessica Jones” , “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage” each getting the same treatment, focusing on the comic book heroes of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. At the conclusion of the four 13 episode series, or 52 hours of original programming, Marvel will launch the mini-series event “The Defenders” based on the heroes. Produced with ABC Television, the series will be Marvel’s most ambitious production ever, surpassing the first two phases of the feature film Avengers initiative and the current “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on ABC.
This announcement followed the landmark deal making Netflix the exclusive U.S. subscription service for first-run live action and animated movies from Walt Disney starting in 2016.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
Based on the Robert Rodriquez/Quentin Tarantino 1996 cult classic film collaboration, the new series will be streaming on Netflix 24 hours after airing on Rodriquez’s El Ray network. The show brings back the Gecko brothers Seth and Rickie (played by George Clooney and Tarantino in the first film), along with their captives the Fullers. Not to be confused with the two direct-to-video sequel and prequel, the series will expand on the characters from the first film, with deeper probing into the Aztec mythology.
The 10 hourly episode series stars DJ Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Robert Patrick , Jesse Garcia, Wilmer Valderrama and Don Johnson and is being developed by Rodriquez, the first time he is developing for television. It is a new distribution model for Netflix, reverting to the more traditional weekly premieres after the first broadcast, so no initial binge watching.
The show will focus on bank robber Seth Gecko (Cotrona) and his violent brother Richie (Holtz), who kidnap a former pastor (Patrick) and escape across the border into Mexico in his RV. Pursued by two Texas Rangers (Johnson and Garcia) the trip takes a morbid turn into a Vampire-filled strip club.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
In a smaller but just as significant project, the 3D CGI animated Star Wars spinoff “The Clone Wars” began streaming exclusively on Netflix in February. Included in the series is the final abbreviated 13 episodes season 6, airing for the first time anywhere on Netflix. Taking place between the prequel films “Episode II: Attack of the Clones” and “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” each episode runs 22 minutes concluding at 122 episodes.